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Windows 7/Reinstalling everything after formatting

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QUESTION: Hello Chris,
I have a question on after-formatting the computer. I use Windows 7 64 bit OS. Because of some hardware issues, in the past I needed to format my computer for a lot of times. The real problem comes during installing all software and applications again and again. It is very time consuming. I heard that there are some programs which can create some 'map' or 'image' of all the installed programs and when I reformat my computer, I simply use that image. I am not a computer geek. So, can you suggest me what are these programs called and how effective are they? By effective, I mean, I use some software with 'flexlm' license server. If I make its image, can it run on next time when I use this image on formatted hard drive? I really need some advise on this. Thanks in advance.

ANSWER: Thanks for your question!

Easiest way to do so would be this:

1. Go to Windows "Backup and Restore" after you have freshly reinstalled Windows, and your desired programs.

2. Click "Create a system image", and follow the steps on the Wizard.  This will backup your computer, all of your programs, etc. in its current state.

Feel free to ask if you need clarification!

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi Chris,
Thanks for your reply. I would explore your way, windows backup and restore. However I was wondering now a days there are many special purpose tools, such as teracopy, which replaces built-in function of Windows' copy. So, do you know any special purpose tool for the said purpose? I think most times these special purpose tools work better and offer more functionality.

Answer
In my honest opinion, the best purpose tool for cloning a hard drive to an image would be CloneZilla.

It is a Linux based boot disk that you can use to create a backup image of your hard drive.  With it, you can restore the image on a whim, at any time, and it will essentially be a time capsule of your hard drive as it was when you created the image.  For documentation, and a download (this software is free), check out this official page.

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Chris

Expertise

I have familiarized myself with the windows environment since Windows 95. Windows 7 is one of the best operating systems i am familiar with, and am willing to help anybody with problems they may have. Be it hardware, software, or simply the Windows environment itself.

Experience

I have repaired computers most of my life. I am the site administrator of many websites for businesses including (but not limited to): yourprogeek.com (my site), fearthewolves.com, and more. I do local computer repair in my area and have a very satisfied clientele.

Organizations
I am a Network Engineer at Southern Illinois Network Consultants and an EOD Technician for the U.S. Army.

Education/Credentials
I am currently a student at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. I am majoring in Criminal Justice with a second major in Computer Science.

Awards and Honors
Corporation Ambassador for Courtesy Corporation.

Past/Present Clients
Valley Ranch and Cabins - Wisconsin

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