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Symantec's Norton PartitionMagic 8.0
and Norton Ghost
10.0, they're both good Choices—but you can use any nondestructive partitioning
utility and the backup app of your choice, of course. And all you need to do is
create a partition that's large enough to hold your stuff; then back up your
primary drive to the partition. If and when the time comes to restore, run
Ghost and expand the backup image to your primary drive. Presto: You're back in
For the best results, start with a fresh install of Windows,
then load your applications, utilities, and drivers. Make sure to install all
the latest updates as well, especially for Windows and your security software.
Finally, tweak your system so it's exactly the way you like it: video
resolution, wallpaper, the works.
Create The Partition
Fire up PartitionMagic (or a similar utility) and create a partition with
enough available space to hold Windows and your apps. Ten gigabytes should be
ample for most users (remember, the backup image will be compressed), but
consider making it larger if you have a lot of programs installed or storage
space to burn.
NTFS is the file
system. As for the partition type, the active partition is the one that boots
the system. You need to create a logical drive (that is, one you can assign a
drive letter), which will live in an extended partition—the app takes care of
Set Up Ghost
Run Ghost (or a similar utility) to create a new backup. Don't bother with
scheduling, as this particular backup is a one-time-only affair. Disabling your
virus checker prior to starting the backup is a good idea; AV can gum up the works.
To use the recovery partition, make sure you've backed up all your vital data
to another drive or removable media, then boot your PC with the Ghost CD loaded
in the optical drive. You'll then be able to restore from the partition to your
primary drive, resulting in a ready-to-roll PC with all your apps, drivers, and