How to create a ghost image of a brand new computer?

How do I create a ghost of a completely new computers hard drive such that when it starts to slow down I can restore this Ghost.
I am very new to this and hoping to get step by step information. I currently will be reformatting and creating two partions, a second small one for the ghost.
My questions are:
1- how large should I make my second partition for the ghost. I want to include other programs like MS Office, PC Anywhere, Quickbooks and Symantic Antivirus, etc.
2- What program or how should this Ghost be created once I have everything I want installed on my main Partion. (before it starts to get corrupted)
3-Any god reading or additional information on this procedure for keeping my computer fresh new when it bogs down?

Thanks for input
MartykatzAsked:
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unassassinableConnect With a Mentor Commented:
BTW, dont install Norton antivirus, then clone.  If you do, you'll waste your subscription time.  Instead Clone, then install Norton AV, that way when you ever restore your image, you'll have another full years subscription!
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brawneyConnect With a Mentor Commented:
I recommend Acronis True Image.  Although I don't use this feature, it has a feature to allow you to have a special Secure Zone (http://www.acronis.com/resource/solutions/backup/2005/secure-zone.html) that you can use to place the backups.  And you can resize the Secure Zone partition later if you need more space.

But you can also just create a second partition like you said and Acronis can write the image there.  Thats what I do nightly, then I manually copy them to an external USB drive periodically for off line and off site storage.

Acronis is easy to use too.  It also creates a nice bootable CD that boots into its own little OS and runs the app so you can restore onto a drive.  I've done this to roll back my main OS partition before.... after a major virus attack.  Since I had a nightly image I found it easier to just roll back than to try and remove the virus.  :)
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PUNKYConnect With a Mentor Commented:
If you are trying to make second partition as recovery partition, then it is not good plan. You can, however, make good backup drive to external drive or DVD media, then restore it PC when needed. Either you use Acronis, Norton Ghost, or other tools, basically the procedure is similar .... The clone wizard should be:
Select option copy disk to disk.
Copy MBR
Set the drive Active
And do not assign drive letter if you want that drive later as replacement drive if the original drive die.
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MartykatzAuthor Commented:
Thanks for all the information
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