What is the best way to make a full reliable working image of my drive

I am running windows XP (due to compatability issues with the software I use and later windows platforms)

every time XP breaks itself I have to reload the whole system, drivers, software etc etc

what is the best method of taking a reliable working image of the whole drive which I can use to reload the system whenever it breaks ?

freeware preferably
Europa MacDonaldChief slayer of dragonsAsked:
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loki_lokiConnect With a Mentor Commented:
There are commercial programs that will do the job like Symantec ghost or Acronis.  There are also free programs but I do not have direct experience of them.  A quick google showed a review of these
http://www.thefreecountry.com/utilities/backupandimage.shtml

I use Ghost and it works very well.  I have the image on a USB stick and it takes about 15 mins to rebuild the whole machine.

Anthoer possible way of avoiding your issues is to do your testing on a virtual XP machine.  you can take snaphots of this, so when you break it you can set it back to the original within a few seconds.  Microsoft do free programs called Vritual PC and Virtual Server that will do this.  VMware is also another offering.
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Jackie ManConnect With a Mentor Commented:
The free way to use clonezilla boot CD or usb which can be downloaded from http://clonezilla.org/downloads.php

Start your xp with the boot CD and backup your HDD image to another external USB drive.

If you have $$$ to spend, acronis is much better in term of comptability and user-friendliness.
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