Originally Posted by tspitz
Is this any different than using a built in Windows setup? Can't remember what windows calls it-Backup & Restore maybe... Doesn't windows allow one to do a restore back to a certain date (from updates?)-this way I don't even need to worry about remembering and taking the time to back it up?
I think the native Windows 7 tool is called "Windows Restore", and the restoration data is called Windows Restore Points. Here, the Windows operating system automatically saves the current system state, like driver settings and system configuration. I don't think Windows saves any user-created data, like your documents, pictures or video/audio media files. (Someone please correct me if I'm wrong).
A backup tool, like Norton Ghost or Acronis, is a 3rd party utility (not native to Windows), and is better "insurance" in that it takes a snapshot of the entire system -- your Windows settings, your personal files -- absolutely everything that is present on your OS partition is backed up to an image file that can be restored at anytime. This (to me) is better than relying on Windows Restore for a few reasons.
1. An image backup tool can restore the Windows system to either the same disk from which it was created, or it can be migrated to another disk, if necessary. Windows Restore cannot do this; all restoration is on the local disk/partition only. An example of why you would want to be able to restore to another disk is given in item #3 below.
2. I don't think Windows Restore can save you from system changes brought on by viruses or malware.
3. The act of backing up your system partition (with Ghost or Acronis) serves not only to save ALL your data, but it also can help to let you know if your system drive (either hard disk drive or solid state drive) is going to fail. As an example, I've gotten a head's up on an impending disk drive failure from doing my weekly backup... in that instance, the Acronis backup tool interrupted the backup process because it could not read a sector block on the hard drive. Sure enough, my hard disk failed a disk check and was growing bad sectors. I was able to rescue the data, re-do the backup (which completed successfully after the data rescue), then restore the system onto a brand new disk, and then finally discard the failed disk. Without doing regular backups, I probably would have lost the drive, resulting in having to replace the drive and then re-install the OS and all my programs from scratch (and probably would have lost all my personally created data as well).
I hope this explanation helps.Edited by Vlad Theimpaler - 11/13/13 at 2:17pm