If your computer’s hard drive fails, it’s cheap enough to purchase a new one. New hard drives start at $75 and go up depending on form factor, technology, capacity and speed. It’s also (usually) a quick job to swap out one hard drive for another. But what about the time to re-install your operating system, re-install all of your programs, and configure your settings for the way you’re comfortable? Our experience is that this can easily take three or four hours. That’s why we recommend that when you buy a new computer, you consider creating an image of your hard drive. The image is a file from which your entire hard drive, as it existed at the time the image was made, can be restored quickly, generally in under an hour.
This image file is stored on an external hard drive, to be saved in case of emergency. Because it’s a copy of what’s on your computer, it may be a large file, so you will need a drive with enough space to store the file.
A hard drive image is not a replacement for a regular data backup. The image is static – it contains everything that was on your hard drive at the time the image was created. So when your data changes or is added to, that data will still need to be backed up on a consistent basis. In the event of a hard drive failure, your data will still need to be restored from your latest backup. But having a backup of your Windows setup can save you lots of time and get you back up and running more quickly.
We offer an imaging service in some of our Managed Services Plans, or we can create an image upon request for our residential customers. If you would like to know more about creating a snapshot of your hard drive, please ask!