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Summary. “Available in Windows Vista Business, Ultimate, and Enterprise editions, Windows Complete PC Backup and Restore is a comprehensive, image-based backup tool that will help you out of a tight spot if you need to recover your entire system.” [source] The backup utility software included with some versions of Windows Vista is similar to programs like Acronis True Image Home ( Amazon | Download | Official Site ), Paragon Drive Backup ( Download | Official Site ), or Symantec Norton Ghost ( Official Site ).

Usage. The following steps describe a suggested use of the Vista Backup software.

  1. Separate Partitions. These instructions assume your computer has a separate partition for data files. The benefit of having separate partitions for system (OS) files and user data files is that if the computer won’t start because the operating system becomes corrupted, it is possible to restore the operating system partition without impacting the user data files. It is common to perform daily backups of user files. However, the operating system and program files partition can be backed up less frequently since it typically doesn’t change as much.
  2. Maintenance User Account. Create an administrative account called Maintenance and let it’s files remain on the C: drive.
  3. Your User Account. Ideally, your user account would have it’s home directory (and all data files) assigned to a location on a separate partition or hard drive. This is helpful for later if the OS needs to be reinstalled or restored from a system backup. The OS can be restored using Windows Complete PC Backup and the user files can be restored using the backup and restore center feature for backing up files on the computer.
  4. Run Windows Complete PC Backup for the system partition (usually Drive C:).
  5. Use the Backup and Restore Center (image below) to create an automatic daily backup for your data partition.
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