The shame of it being that the scenario can easily be avoided by instituting any of the commonly used backup methods, from simply saving any important data to external media right through to using the latest dedicated software. I used to back up all my photos, music, docs, etc. to CD/DVD discs and rely on my old pc’s system restore to get me out of any serious trouble and if even that does not works out formatting was the only option left with me reconfiguring everything again, re-installing OS, all my favorite software and then the updates, literally hours of downloading… There had to be a better way, and there was... Acronis True Image.
For the uninitiated; Acronis True Image’s, by using which, I make an image of my C: drive (my C: partition) so that I can reinstall it in its entirety. This saves me from having to reinstall Windows, find all my device driver disks, find all my program disks and reinstall the programs, locating and installing all the add-ons that I want to use in Firefox, and many more such tedious tasks. It also saves all my program configuration files and my data — it's a big, custom just-for-me "restore file," just like a Restore DVD, but with my programs, my data and my program configurations already done!
The image can then be saved to CD/DVD, flash drive or any internal/external hard drive as well as on a network share or FTP-server; from there you can search for and restore any individual files or restore the entire system. To aid in conserving space there are three levels of compression available; normal, high, and maximum, as well as the ability to schedule incremental and differential backups.
Acronis True Image has long been regarded as the premier imaging software and the latest version (2009) continues that trend with a host of new features making for even greater flexibility, for a full list of features take a look here: True Image Features
6) Any time you hit the ‘summary’ button (in steps #4 and #5 or in the Scheduling window) the setup process will be complete and Acronis will display this window:
You will notice I have selected, via the backup options, to ‘validate’ the archive. This will make the process somewhat longer but, in my opinion, is best enabled for both ‘creation’ and ‘restoration’ of full backups.
Now click on the ‘Proceed’ button and Acronis will begin the backup, displaying its ‘working’ window with a progress bar and estimated time to completion.
Acronis will issue you with a warning if you manage to choose incorrect settings or attempt something inadvisable.
This after selecting the main drive (‘C’) as both source and destination.