Hello Billy O'Neil,
First I strongly disagree with you opinion that Microsoft Backup cannot backup your whole system because it most certainly can do that without question. See here: http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/s...t_03july14.mspx
In fact the "backup everything on my computer" option is quite comprehensive and not only includes all files and folders, but all programs and associated registry entries, plus the current system state as well. Moreover, if you are running XP PRO, you also have the option to create a recovery floppy disk that can be used in the event of a major failure. The only thing that you can't do with the XP Home version is create the recovery from floppy. And finally, in my opinion, there is nothing that works faster or better than this program. Even, if I encountered a situation where my OS was so corrupted that I couldn't boot, I would simply do a quick HD format, a basic OS install, and then a backup reinstall from my external hard drive. All of this can be completed in less than 40 minutes on my PC (I've done this many times) and I would be done much more quickly than any backup program trying to load on boot from a CD, DVD, or tape drive (I did use a tape drive a few years back but it took hours to do a full system restore).
So again, thank you for your opinion but that was not the intent of my original post. As I am far from a beginner, there are still things to be learned and explored and one of the things that I never had a chance to participate in was the removal of malware using a full backup recovery as a tool; simply because I was never infected.
However, you did include a single sentence that has satisfied my curiosity about the potential usefulness of a Backup Utility in resolving malware issues and that was "Mainly, you can go to one of your backups, and instead of restoring the entire system to that point, you can simply mount the backup as a drive letter, and get read/write access to it." And, since the Microsoft Backup file can be mounted and selectively restored, then you have answered my question.
Thanks to all for answering my question.