How would you like a way to backup your hard drive in a way that allows fast recovery with all of your programs ready to use? This is easily available with a disk image.
A disk image is a complete, exact copy of every byte stored on your hard drive, ready to be written back to the drive whenever needed. It will put your computer back exactly as it was at the time you made the image. The key is to image the drive with the computer clean, running well, and with all of your programs installed and configured the way you like them. You must keep and use a separate data backup of you documents, pictures, and other frequently-changing data. Restore that and you are back to where you were at the moment of the backup. You will only have lost anything added since the last data backup was made – you do that regularly, right?
A good backup of your hard drive will turn any computer disaster into a mere inconvenience. I don’t mean to make light of computer problems, but the disaster component usually happens when there is no backup and a person loses everything. It can take hours to restore a computer from the factory recovery disk and replace all of the programs you use. The documents, pictures, and other personal data are lost forever without a backup. A disk image, coupled with a data backup, will allow for a near-full recovery in an hour or so. The only thing it can’t restore is a program you added since you did the image.
Is it hard to back up your hard drive this well? Not at all. Current versions of Windows have the ability to do an image, and Mac OS X has had this ability for years. Inexpensive and free software also exists to do this. Most of the time in this process will be to ensure that your system is clean and reliable, and is worth restoring to. It may take an hour or so to make the image and you will not be able to use the computer during that time. It is not hard to do this yourself, or you can see my computer service page for options.
It is well worth your time and money to backup your hard drive in this way. In addition to easy recovery from malware and drive failures, this will also allow you to upgrade to a larger hard drive easily. Merely install the new drive and restore the image to the new drive.