How do I perform a full backup (hopefully a clone) of my iMac, which has Parallels Desktop installed, using Time Machine (or anything else)?

Greetings.  I have an iMac (running OS X v.10.5.5), and I've never backed it up before.  It has Parallels Desktop installed so that I could migrate my old Windows XP laptop onto my iMac and run it simultaneously.  It's my understanding (although I could be wrong) that Parallels partitions the Mac hard drive for itself differently from the rest of the drive in order to be able to run.  I need to back up my iMac (presumably with Time Machine, but I'll get whatever will work), but I'm afraid that Time Machine won't recognize that part of the hard drive (the part reserved for Windows XP) and therefore won't back up the Windows XP stuff.

What I really want to do is create a clone of the iMac's hard drive (including the XP part), so that if there's some kind of critical failure, I can just use the clone on the backup drive to recreate the iMac's hard drive in its current state.  But I don't know if this is possible, and I recognize that I may have to perform the backup in a different way, but however it's done, I need to get the entire drive, not just the OS X part.

For the purposes of this backup, I bought a Seagate SATA Barracuda 3.5" internal hard drive kit (500 GB/16 MB cache), and I installed it inside an OWC Mercury Elite-AL Pro high-speed external hard drive, with a FireWire 400 cable.  **I have not yet formatted this drive.**  I have no idea how to do it, or in what format to do it, so I'll need for someone to explain that to me as well.

I've been avoiding this for a while because I'm a Mac novice and this all seems very overwhelming to me, but I'm moving cross-country in three weeks, and I better damn well have my computer backed up before I leave.  I will be most grateful for any help, and please assume that I don't know *anything*.
enrikanAsked:
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TCB1Connect With a Mentor Commented:
Did you use Boot Camp to install XP on your mac before you got Parallels? Or did you install Parallels, then install XP inside the Virtual Machine. If you did the later, then the XP hard drive is nothing more than a file in your home directory--no windows partition to worry about. However, if you had windows installed via boot camp, there is an option in Parallels to use the boot camp windows partition as the source of the XP drive (instead of a virtual hard disk image).
So, to answer your question you could use time machine to backup your drive (windows included) if you have never used boot camp.

Also, you could use Disk Utility in the Applications/Utility folder to create an image of your hard disk. (In fact, this is basically what time machine uses behind the scenes.)
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SysExpertCommented:
see

http://forum.onmac.net/archive/index.php/t-948.html

for a start


I hope this helps !
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enrikanAuthor Commented:
Thanks!  I'll check into all of those right now. :)
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enrikanAuthor Commented:
The only thing I found in those links that looks promising is mention of a backup software product called CopyCatX:

http://subrosasoft.com/OSXSoftware/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=7

This sounds like it might work, but I didn't see anything in the product description or FAQ about how or if it would handle the part of the drive that's partitioned for XP (in Parallels).  Is anyone familiar with CopyCatX?  Will it do what I need it to do?
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enrikanAuthor Commented:
I don't know what Boot Camp is.  Is it part of the Parallels installation?  Is there any way I can tell if it's the one way or the other way?
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enrikanAuthor Commented:
Okay, the more I think about your question, the more I think it's the latter.  I bought my iMac, then I immediately bought and installed Parallels Desktop and used its migration feature to migrate over my entire laptop.  (So when I boot my Parallels virtual machine, it looks and behaves like my XP laptop.)  So this is good and makes things easier, right?
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enrikanAuthor Commented:
"Also, you could use Disk Utility in the Applications/Utility folder to create an image of your hard disk. (In fact, this is basically what time machine uses behind the scenes.)"

Is this better/easier/more straightforward than going through Time Machine, or can I just tell Time Machine to clone my entire hard drive and it will?  Which way would allow for easier restoration of my entire hard drive in case of a problem with my iMac?

Finally, can you tell me how to format my external hard drive?  I brought this up on an online forum a few months ago and there was some disagreement about the way I should format it (I think the choices were FAT32 and one or two other formats that I can't remember at the moment).  But that discussion is gone from the forum so I can't refer back to it.
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TCB1Connect With a Mentor Commented:
Is this hard drive only going to be used with your mac? If so, I'd format it with Disk Utility Mac OS Extended (Journaled).

If all you want to do is make a one time backup of the system, I'd use Disk Utility. If you want to make a backup and backup changes to the system on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis use time machine.

Also, if you insert the external drive into your mac, it should ask you if you want to use this drive for time machine. If you say yes, it will automatically format it for you.
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enrikanAuthor Commented:
Yeah, I'll just be using it for my Mac.  What I'd like to do is make a full image of the drive before I move in case something happens during the move, so that I can just reload the entire drive image.  But then after the move, I'd like to then perform monthly or quarterly backups to keep it up to date.  Is that possible?

Also, after it finishes making the backup, is there a way to make sure that it grabbed the XP data for the backup as well as the Mac data?
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SysExpertConnect With a Mentor Commented:
ANy of the MAC solutions should backup both, since your XP install via parallels is a native MAC file, not a separate partition.

You may want to see if any of the utils like gparted on the UBCD will show you the partitions to verify this.


UBCD
www.ultimatebootcd.com

System rescue CD with Gparted

http://www.sysresccd.org/Download.en.php
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enrikanAuthor Commented:
Thank you very much. :)  I have to admit, though, both of those links are just speaking Greek.  Pretend you're talking to your grandmother.  (Unless, of course, your grandmother happens to be a computer whiz.)
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SysExpertCommented:
If you do not have enough background to understand the utilities above, then you probably should accept the knowledge from the expert suggestions here, since you do not have the capability of testing this, unless you want to do a full Backup or 2, wipe your drive, and do a restore as a test.

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enrikanAuthor Commented:
"then you probably should accept the knowledge from the expert suggestions here"

I do.  Do you mean I should forget about testing it afterward?  I can live with that.
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TCB1Connect With a Mentor Commented:
You said that you had never used Boot Camp, so that tells me that the only partition you have on your system is the os x partition.
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enrikanAuthor Commented:
That's great.  Thank you. :)

I suppose it may be time for me to give this all a shot.  I'll report back.

Wish me luck. :)
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enrikanAuthor Commented:
Well, I suppose at this point it's anyone's guess if I've done all of this right or not.  I figure if I wake up in the morning and I have a full backup, I've done it right, and I'll award points and close this out.  If I don't, I haven't, and I'll probably have more questions.  But regardless, I greatly appreciate everyone's help.  Thank you. :)
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enrikanAuthor Commented:
Well, last night I went into Time Machine and said "Backup now," but when I woke up this morning, it appears that it didn't actually do anything.  I feel like I shouldn't close this out until I've successfully performed a backup, and if anyone has any thoughts on this, I'd love to hear them, but I'll be calling the Genius Bar in a bit to see if they can give me any help.  I thank you all for your help, and when I figure out and resolve the issue and complete a system backup, I'll close this out and award points.
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SysExpertConnect With a Mentor Commented:
If you have Apple support, I would call them, otherwise someone here may have more info.

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enrikanAuthor Commented:
Thank you. :)  

I just bought an Apple Care membership to extend my phone support, and I called them for help.  The machine is now backing itself up.  (I can see the progress.)  So I'm going to close this out.  Thank you all so much for your help. :)
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