NOTE: It cost a lot of Time and effort in replacing your computer programs & files and Restoring your Operating System if your Computer should crash for any reason...
Having a Good Current Full System Backup just in case of a Crash or Corruption caused by a Bad Update (from Microsoft or other Software Update) or Hardware failure will save you Time and expense in Restoring all your Valuable Programs, Files and Data should the need arise..
I Use Acronis True Image Ver.12 for Image Backups (WinXP & Vista and Windows 7 ready Ver, 2010 for Win7 [32bit & 64bit]) and have successfully Restored Both my WinXP, Vista and Windows 7 Boot Drive from a Backed up Image..
I have also used the Free (Easeus Todo Backup software)
Here is the instructions for using Acronis True Image to make a Complete Backup Image, including the Boot Sector..
1.) Select the First option (BACKUP) click Next
2.) You will see a Welcome page, just Click Next
3.) Select the Top Option (My Computer) click Next
4.) Check Mark Disk 1 (to select everything on the Boot Drive) Click Next
5.) on the Folder Box use the down arrow on the right of Input Folder Box to select the Destination HD and enter a file name in the Folder input area (Example g:\MyBackup092509.tib (True Image will give it the extension of (.tib) for True Image Backup) Then click Next (Your entire Backup Image will be Compressed into that file name..
6.)Select Create a New Full Backup Archive click Next
7.) Select Use Default Options Click Next
8.) Optional Comment Notes area you can just click Next
9.) Now Click proceed to start the Image Backup.
To Restore from the Image Backup, select Recovery from an Image Backup on the main menu..
and select the Image File on the Backup Drive or DVD..
Here is How to Restore Just a File or Folder from the Acronis Backup Archive:
Start Acronis Backup program..
1.) click Backup / Restore
2.) click Restore
3.) click Next
4.) Choose Backup Archive Selection
5.) Click Next
6.) Choose Restore Specified Files or Folders
7.) Click Next
8.) Click Original Location
9.) click Next
10.) Click the Plus Sign (+) in front of C: drive
this will Open up and display all the Folders on C: drive of the Backup
11.) Place a check mark in the box in front of Each Folder you want to Restore,
or you can click on the (+) sign in front of each folder to select individual Files to Restore..
12.) click Next
13.) use Default option
14.) click Next
15.) Click Overwrite Exiting File
16.) Click Next
17.) Click Next again to By pass this page
18.) Click PROCEED.. to start the Restore..
after Restore is complete exit the Backup Program and Re-boot computerGood Luck..
Note: if you can't afore to buy Acronis True Image Backup Software,
you can try the FREE version of Easeus Todo Backup Software,
Easeus Todo Backup is just such a free backup and restore utility. Like any good backup tool, it will back up your entire system's current state, data, settings and all, or just what you want it to, including partitions or full disks, and restore your computer in the event of a hard-disk crash or other calamity. Its Disk Cloning feature will help you migrate your operating system and data to a new hard disk when it's time to replace the old one.