How to Create Your Own XP System Restore Disk Guide + dual boot guide. This guide is for XP users with home built systems. It may also work for others, but I have not tested it on any brand name systems. Everybody knows that there is nothing sweeter then a fresh installation of XP. Your computer starts and runs faster. It almost never freezes up and crashes. Everybody also knows that as time goes by; your computer starts to slow to a crawl. You run the gambit of system utilities (defrag, registry cleaner, garbage cleaner etc), but your system never runs like it did when you first installed XP, and deep down you know that it never will until you do a complete reformat and reinstall of XP. So what is holding you back? Well, you also know that it will take a lot of time to reformat, reinstall windows, reinstall all of your favorite programs, and download the truck load of updates that have occurred since you first bought your system and your programs. And let’s not forget about your system drivers. Now if you bought a brand name system, it most likely came with a set of restore disk or a restore partition on your hard drive. Or it may have a program that asked you to create the restore disk when you first started it up. In any case, you may already have your restore capabilities if you have a brand name system. But even then doing a system restore would only take you back to the original OEM created system. I personally hate brand name computers because of all of the proprietary junk on them and usually blow away their junk on the hard drive and install a raw copy of XP. But that’s just me. Now back to the subject. This guide will show you how to create a full system restore disk that will contain your, Operating System, Installed Software, Updates, and Drivers at the time the restore disk was created. In order to make a clean disk, I suggest that you do complete reformat and new installation of you OS, system drivers, updates and favorite programs. This way when you create the restore disk, it will be of the best state that your system can be and will restore your system to that point when you use it. Assuming that you are at the point that and you want to create your restore disk, download and install Acronis True Image software. There are other programs that can do this but I have not used them and cannot give you a detailed walk through. Creating your Restore Image File 1. Now run Acronis True Image. 2. Under “Pick a Category” click on Backup and Restore. Click on Backup, up pops the “Create Backup Wizard”. Click next. 3. Select MY COMPTURE and click next. 4. Select “Disk and Partitions” and click next. 5. In the “Partition Selection” windows, select the partition containing the your XP installation (this will almost always be the (C drive). Click OK on the next window (Information pop up). 6. In the Backup Archive Location window select the drive where you wan to store the backup file. It really does not matter where you store the file if you are planning to burn it to a DVD later. If you don’t plan to burn it to a DVD, I strongly suggest that you save it to a secondary hard drive. Once you have selected the folder save it to, type a name in the Folder box after the \ mark, (Example: D:\System Backup Folder\Full System Backup). Click next. 7. Select “Full System Backup Archive” and click next. 8. Select, “Use Default Options” and click next. 9. If you to give your archive a detailed description you can do it in this next window, or you can leave it blank and click next. 10. And after clicking next for the 50th time you finally reach the end, and still need to click proceed. Depending on the speed of your system and the size of your backup, it could take a while to create you back up. Now that you have your backup file, you can burn the file to a DVD. You don’t need to do anything special here because you don’t need for this disk to be bootable. Just burn to a DVD like you would any data file like pictures or documents. Mark this disk “XP System Restore Disk 2. Creating Your Bootable Restore CD 1. Now reopen Acronis True Image. Under “Choose a Category” click on “Disk Utilities” in the top left corner you will see a light blue box named tool. In this box you will see “ Create Bootable Rescue Media”. Click on it. 2. Click next on the next three screens until you get to the “Bootable Media Selection” screen. The easiest thing to do here is to burn the image straight to a CD. You can also burn an ISO file, but why would you do that since you would then have to burn that to a CD. 3. Place a blank CD-R in your CD burner, select the drive in the window and click next. Yep, you guessed it, click proceed. After it finishes, mark this disk XP System Restore Disk 1. NOTE: You must have a full version to burn a functional bootable CD. If you try to use the trial, it will burn the CD and you can boot from it, but when you try to use it to restore your system, it will let you get all the way to the last step and then tell you that you can only perform a restore with the full version. True Image can cost as much as $50, but I found a way to buy it in a bundle with Disk Director, for $39.99. If you bought them both separate it could cost as much as $120. Here is the page that will tell you how to buy it for that low price: http://www.vnunet.com/vnunet/downloads/2157451/acronis-true-image-home Congratulations! You now have a full system restore disk with all of the updates and your favorite software. What’s even better is that when you use this disk to restore your system, you won’t have to deal with all those pesky activation reminders that come up every time you reinstall a program (even if you just uninstalled it five minutes before because it was crashing). Even the XP activation will not bother you if you install it on the same system it was made from, (even if you install it multiple times on different partitions). You can use this restore set on any computer (you will have to reactivate XP, but not any of the other software). Let’s say you want to replace your current system with a new system with that Vista crap on it. You have two options. Option A: Reformat the harddrive and use your restore disk set to make the system just like your old one was at its best. Option B: Install a second harddrive and restore to it or create a new partition on the current and restore to the second partition (Note: you will have to get all the hardware drivers for the new system. It’s best to do this first if you plan to reformat the drive using in option A). Or let’s say you want to dual boot your current system with two copies XP. Why in the heck would you want to do that? Well, let’s say you want one for gaming and playing around, and another strictly for serious business. If you have a second drive or an extended partition you could just restore to it. So as you can see, you have created a whole lot more then just a restore disk. You have simplified your life and can now rest at ease because you know that no matter what happens to your computer, whether it be something as simple as a slow down in performance, or your computer suddenly exploding, as long as you have your trusty restore disk, you can have your system back up and running in a fraction of the time it would take to do it all step by step. And with a whole lot less headache.