When in doubt, back up your files! Create a disk image of your system files so that if a hard drive crash occurs, you will not be crippled.
The best imaging software simply makes an image of your hard drive that you can store on a DVD or another computer. We like to build our systems from scratch, about once a year, starting with formatting our hard drive, reinstalling Windows, getting all the security updates and patches installed, and finally, installing all of our “core” applications.
Then, we image our disk. We use Acronis True Image on our systems. The beauty of this software is that you follow this procedure once, provided you’re not building a new computer, but, rather, re-building an existing computer. Rebuilding a computer takes minutes compared to hours!
This back up system also works great during catastrophic hard drive failures and/or corrupted file systems. Restart your computer with the DVD image in the drive bay and follow the onscreen directions for a freshly-formatted hard drive with none of the junk present that accumulates over time (installing and uninstalling software, Internet browsing, among many others).
It’s really a simple, elegant use of some sophisticated software.
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