My workstation is a relatively old one. I built it at the time when Athlon 1800+ was very popular. At that time RAID 5 arrays were not exactly popular (note that now many motherboards come with RAID5 controller built in). So, I have now three disks in my computer. One system and two for data storage. But hey, disks are not exactly reliable storage media – thus you need to do backups. You know that and you are doing that already, right? I won’t even start explaning the importance of backing up vital data: I remember a real episode when a guy, working for a huge company (a company that didn’t understand the term backup nor source safe – one of the reasons being money: you know, backups cost (funny thing was that they were working on multimillion dollar project)) came to his boss saying that they lost a part of source code due to some obscure Delphi 5 bug. Needless to say that they didn’t have any sort of backup other than programmer heads.
For data backup I use SyncBackSE, an excellent, flexible, reliable and cheap backup software. However, backuping up system disk is another story since OS keep locked many files, not to mention the restore problem (how would you restore system if you don’t have a system disk?). A backup beast that does disk image backup comes very handy. Meet Acronis True Image (9.1 for Workstation). Creating disk images on the fly is just a matter of few clicks and setting the schedule – voila, every night I do a backup image of my system disk (about 70Gb of data) and I sleep better knowing that restoring the system in case of system disk failure should be straightforward and quick – no huge time loss involved (didn’t need it so far and I hope I won’t need it ever, ah one can dream). The image is of course compressed to reduce the space usage – I get 50% compression ratio on average. In case you don’t want to create an image of entire disk you have an option to select folders and files manually.
True Image does more than this (there are other versions targeted at home and servers) and it is worth checking it out. Plus, Acronis is into disk management utilities in case you need to play with partitions and recovering data.
And remember, if you are not doing backups, start right now, even if you have to do it by writing batch files to do the copying!