From Bare Metal to Full Operation with Windows Vista's Complete PC Backup and File and Folder Backup
This article discusses how to restore a system that has suffered a complete hard disk failure by using both Complete PC Backup (available in Windows Vista Business, Enterprise, and Ultimate editions) and File and Folder Backup (all Vista editions).
Performing a Windows Complete PC Backup with Business, Enterprise, or Ultimate Editions
External USB hard disks are supported by both backup programs, and make excellent backup devices.
Start the Windows Complete PC Backup process by connecting the hard disk to an available USB port and turning it on. After the external hard disk has been detected by the system (you might need to reboot your system first), open the Control Panel, and click the Back Up Your Computer task in the System and Maintenance Category.
When Backup and Restore Center opens, select Back Up Computer (Figure1). You must be an administrator or provide administrator credentials when prompted by user account control (UAC) to run this task.
Figure 1 Windows Vista’s Backup and Restore Center for Business, Enterprise, and Ultimate Editions.
The system searches for backup devices. Click the On a Hard Disk radio button and select your USB backup drive. Click Next to continue.
The Confirm Your Backup Settings dialog appears. Your backup drive is listed in the top section, labeled Backup Location. Make sure the correct drive is selected. The bottom of the dialog lists the drive(s) to be backed up. The system drive (C:) is always on the list of drives. However, if you have additional drive letters on your system, they will also be listed. Click Start Backup (Figure2) to begin the backup process.
Figure 2 Confirming backup settings.
During the backup, a green progress bar appears as the backup is created. At the end of the process, a message informs you the backup is complete. You can then close the backup window.
The backup is stored as a .vhd (Virtual Hard Disk) file, the same type of file used by Virtual PC 2007 and Virtual Server.
Windows Complete PC Backup can be run as often as desired. To back up your system on a particular schedule, use Task Scheduler. I recommend using Complete PC Backup monthly.