Save yourself the hassle of rebuilding your system in the event of a catastrophic disk failure, by creating a custom recovery disc... and learn about Rescue CDs and Slipstreaming while you do!
Eventually it will happen: your hard drive gets corrupted, damaged or wiped. Your PC has become a giant paperweight. If you have backups all of your data -you do back up your data, right?- you can spend hours manually re-installing your operatings system, updates and programs.
Or , follow our instructions to build a custom recovery disk that will quickly rebuild your systm exactly how you want it!
For creating custom image restores Roger prefers Macrium Reflect Free. While you can go with pay for disk imaging titles like Symantec's Ghost or Acronis True Image, or try your hand at an open source disk imaging tools I find that Macrium Reflect Free offers the best balance between price, ease of use and functionality.
Watch the show to see how Roger uses Macrium to create a custom backup disk!
Before you rebuild your Windows box, you might want to recover data, diagnose issues or reformat and repartition a new hard drive. A "Rescue CD" will be a huge help. Typically a collection of tools loaded onto a bootable CD/DVD or USB flash drive, a Rescue CD helps you troubleshoot your machine even if the hard drive isn't working.
All of them except the Ultimate Boot CD For Windows are ISO files you download and burn out using your favorite CD/DVD burner. Then set your machine to boot from the CD first and it will automatically boot into the rescue disk.
If you need to reinstall Windows either out of necessity or you just want to clear away the crud that's built over the months try slipstreaming your Windows installation. Slipstreaming means making a custom Windows install using all the latest updates, service packs and bug fixes into an install CD so you don't have to manually download them after running a regular install disk.
Slipstreaming doesn't require any additional software, but tools like nLite and AutoStreamer can make the process easier and, in some cases, more effective. For Vista users check out vLite. It's still in beta so bugs are still being worked out... but it's worked very well for us.