Posted 31 August 2007 - 10:59 PM
Looks like a nice community you have here. Thanks for having me.
Basically, I am looking to create DVD that can be used to restore an entire Vista installation. This is very easy to do in Vista Business and Vista Ultimate, because those two versions of the operating system contain the "Complete PC Backup" utility. I have successfully backed up entire Vista PCs, burned the WIM images to DVDs, and restored the PC using the burned image. Naturally, I am looking for the same type of functionality, but for versions of Vista that lack the Complete PC Backup utility.
I have tried products such as Acronis TrueImage 10 Home and Paragon Software DriveBackup 8.5. While these tools are inexpensive and simple to use, they do not work as one might expect. With either of the aforementioned products, I invariably have MBR or boot-loader problems (most often, "NTLDR is missing") after a restore attempt. In other words, I can always create the images just fine, but after I restore them, Windows rarely boots. Sometimes, I am able to use the original Vista installation DVD to load the Windows Recovery Environment and subsequently "automatically detect and fix problems that might prevent [my] PC from booting". This, however, does not work all the time. Apparently, I lack a solid understanding of how the MBR, boot-strap, etc. work in conjunction to render a Vista machine bootable.
I build custom PCs for friends and family, and could dramatically reduce the number of support phone calls that I receive if I were able to provide a facility for restoring their PCs to a given PC's "original condition" (the day I dumped the computer off on the doorstep).
I have downloaded the Windows Automated Installation Kit (AIK) from Microsoft's website, but it looks like overkill for what I'm attempting to accomplish.
Worst of all is that this functionality should come standard with any operating system (and, no less, one that crashes as often as Windows). Shame on Microsoft for making this feature available only to Business and Ultimate customers. F*&#ING jerks.
Thanks for any help or insight...