Backup to a CDRW

OK, first of all I come from the MS-DOS 2.11 days where all of the programs were encapsulated. Kids today and their DLLs and shared drivers and whatnot make it impossible to backup specific programs.

What I want to do is backup my harddrive to CDRW’s. I want to backup Windows, programs, data, everything so that if my hard drive ever craps out so badly that I need to wipe it and reformat (or move up to a larger drive), I just put the first CD in, reboot the machine, and the HD is restored.

What’s the best program to do that?

It isn’t a CDRW. It is which is a web backup and makes sure you can get back anything even if your house burns down. It is very cheap at $5 a month from unlimited backups and free for smaller ones. I just had to do a restore myself when my computer died and it worked fine. The initial backup can take days but it doesn’t interfere with anything else. Later backups can be scheduled for the middle of the night.

If you really want CD backups as well, something like Norton Ghost is the institutional way.

Here would be the holdup with that. If the HD crashes completely, how would I boot and get on the internet without having to reinstall WIndows OR would I have to reinstall Winows and have mozy overwrite everything?

I’m assuming you could boot with one of the Linux LiveCD packages like Ubuntu or Knoppix, if all you need to do is get online and the restore runs from there.

Having a computer crash is going to be a pain no matter what you do. CD’s only hold about 700 MB so you would need a lot of them. DVD’s hold ablout 4 GB but it is likely you would still need a number of them. Norton Ghost can image an entire drive however and restore the entire thing if you have the time. Mozy would require you to reinstall Windows and then grab what you need. Your data and media files will be safe but it might take some time to move things back to where you want them. I do both which isn’t a bad idea for anyone for lots of reasons. Mozy keeps your files completely current which I doubt you will do with a CD/DVD backup.

For a variety of reasons, not the least of which is “Registry Rot,” you’re better off installing Windows and all of your applications from their source CDs, then restore your data from a backup.

As things come and go on your computer, the Registry gets filled up with all sorts of junk that will do anything from simply slow things down to causing weird behaviors and even all-out crashes.

I’ll second this. Backup your documents and your applications. Should a HD crash, consider it a blessing in disguise as a fresh copy of Windows (even after you add your applications and documents) will almost always be noticeably faster due to less clutter and no ‘installed-but-forgotten’ programs.

Making a restorable drive image of a fresh installation isn’t a bad idea though - I did this with mine last time I did a wipe and do-over - install Windows, some drivers, updates, Antivirus and a few basic apps, then ghost the hard drive. Still have to back up data separately, but it means that if I have to wipe and reinstall, I at least know I can get to a good working installation within an hour or two.

I do this, also.