How to backup and restore your hard drive using Macrium. I am going to cover using Macrium Reflect Free Edition, For other applications review their instructions and support page. This is what has worked for me, your mileage may vary. Before you backup your windows installation you should first do some basic maintenance. Think about it this way, do you really want to backup several gigabytes of downloaded programs, internet cache, temporary files, etc. Run CCleaner or a similar application to clean your drive. Clean up your desktop, tidy up your computer to a state that you wouldn't mind restoring to 2 or 3 months from now. While not really necessary it may improve backup speed, you may want to defrag first. I use power defragmenter and contig however windows defrag works well too. 1. Download and install Macrium Reflect Free Edition. 2. Run the program and when prompted create the rescue disk, this is a small linux based boot disk with an application to select and restore the image that you will make later. 3. Now that you have the linux restore disk made restart your computer and boot to the CD, once it boots and the macrium restoration menu pops up make sure that your drives are listed, if you are going to save your image on a usb or other external drive make sure it is available in the menu too. Now if all of your drives are visible and you are satisfied that the disk is compatible with your computer then restart the computer and remove the CD. 4. Load windows, and start Macrium, on the menu bar select backup then click on create image, select full, at this point you will be asked to select the drive/partition you want to back up (note the size of the installation). Select what you want to backup and hit next, Now select the drive, media or network location you want to save your image to Select a drive with enough available space. Note: do not choose network location unless you know how to make that location accessible from the restoration media) Note: you cannot save the image to a drive that is going to be backed up. Note: In the free edition you cannot restore an image to a target drive that is smaller than the drive from the original image, in other words, if your 160 gb drive dies and you replace it with an 80 the image cannot be restored to the new smaller drive. To restore simply place your restoration CD in the cd drive, insure the drive containing the backup image is available, start your computer and when prompted by the restoration program locate the image and select next, you will be prompted to verify the image, I find that this has not been necessary for me, you can choose to but i have no idea how long it takes, I would skip it. You will be prompted to select boot record, select the one from the image (recommended), you will also be prompted to verify the target drive after reboot, again I don't think this is necessary but it is your choice. If your rescue CD did not recognize your drives then you cannot use it, you will need to create a bartPE disk (which must be done from XP). Alternatively you can pay for the program and create a winpe disk or obtain a disk from a friend. Ostensibly a disk made on one computer will only work on that computer however I have used my bartPE and winPE disks on every computer in my house and some of my friends and have never found a computer that it would not work on with the exception of networking. The full version bartPE and winPE allow both backup and restore from the CD, you do not need to install anything on your system once you have built your disks.