Recently my fairly new laptop running XP Home was failing to start up. It would just stop at the log in screen showing "Windows XP Home Edition, but NO USER ICONS! There was no way to get into the system, not even in safe mode. It would do the same exact thing. So I followed some advice from here to repair the OS from the XP cd, which should leave programs and documents intact. When I did this all of my original programs where still there but all my documents where wiped out and then after I restarted it froze up again at "Welcome". So I ended up reformatting and installing new. Luckily I had most of my documents backed up on cds but I still lost some important stuff. HERES THE QUESTION: What is the fastest and easiest way to back up large and numerous amounts of data? My laptop has a 40 GB HD and USB 2.0. I take allot of digital photos weekly (currently 10 GBs on HD), mp3s (currently 10 GBs on HD), and the usual word and excel documents. I was thinking about using a spare 5.25" 60 GB internal hard drive by using an external case SEE: http://www.meritline.com/firewire-usb-external-enclosure-5-25-cd-dvd-drive-hdd.html
. Then just copy and paste "My Documents" to the external HD. Will it need to completely rewrite “My Documents” or will it just find the new or changed files? Will this work or is there a completely better way? This way seems easy to me. Also, Is there a way to make a copy of my complete system so when this happens again I wont need to reinstall everything? Is there a way to do both of these things at the same time? What do you experts think?