I was not pleased to see that the new netbook that I mentioned in a previous post, did not come with restore DVD’s. However, I just realized that since there is no DVD drive, most regular people wouldn’t know what to do with restore DVDs.
Anyway, I decided to make a full disk image backup, in case the drive in the netbook crashes badly. Hard drives have moving parts, they all die eventually, the only question is if you have retired the computer before it goes.
Without restore DVDs, my next thought was to use the Windows 7 built-in disk image backup. I re-discovered that this feature does not back up over network drives*. You’re supposed to use an external USB hard drive, which is OK, given the price of external drives. But since I’m not familiar with the Win7 backup tools, and in particular, I can’t figure out if it will backup the hidden partitions that contain the original install files for Windows and the rest of the software bundle, I decided to fall back on my favorite disk image tool, G4L.
I have used G4L (http://sourceforge.net/projects/g4l/) for clients and personal use for years, so I strongly prefer to use it. Without a DVD drive, I needed to make a bootable USB thumb drive. That was surprisingly easy.
To create the bootable USB drive, I followed the instructions here: http://radified.com/cgi-bin/yabb2/YaBB.pl?num=1224777260/0
As I type this, G4L is busily sending a perfect disk image of the netbook to our on-site FTP server. It’s not quite a factory image (the netbook has been lightly used), but it’s close enough. Plus, the real restore partition is being backed up in case I really need to return it to factory settings.
* There are some tricks to do Windows 7 disk image backups over a network, one using Virtual drives feature of Win7, and another using iSCSI… but I digress.