How To Make a System Image of Windows XP System

Posted on 2011-10-13
Last Modified: 2012-05-12
Hi all,

I have a Dell Vostro 1710 laptop running XP sp3.  It does NOT have a floppy disk thus the Backup Utility that comes with XP won't work.  It wants the floppy disk.

In this 1710, the hard disk is starting to die.  I would like to create a system image (like I can on Windows 7) that would allow me to install the new hard disk and take the system image and lay it down on the new disk.  My goal is not to have to find all the software that has been installed.  I don't have any viruses or issues.

I don't want to have to buy any software like Ghost.  I have a CD/DVD writer on the laptop and I have USB disks that can be used.

Any thoughts or help is greatly appreciated.
Question by:stargazerm31
    LVL 17

    Accepted Solution

    You can use Clonezilla. Free and works very well.
    I upgraded my laptop harddrive using this and it works without issue.
    However, if you say that your disk is "dying", have you run a chkdsk on it to fix any issues.
    This would help the process and avoid any issues cloning the disk.
    LVL 8

    Expert Comment


    Author Comment

    It is not a chkdsk issue.  It is starting to have a physical issue.  After doing IT for over 21 years, I know the clunk of the internals of a disk dying.  I'll check out the two sites.  Thanks for the fast replies.
    LVL 1

    Expert Comment

    Like Spartan said CloneZilla is freeware so you can use it to backup or create images similar to Acronis which a very good and inexpensive product that comes with support to do exactly what you are trying to do.

    If there is anything wrong with the drive you will be notified to run chkdsk to clean the disk errors before the backup can be created. I know you said its a physical issue so i was just warning you about the chkdsk if the drive is having issues. You also have the choice to skip bad sectors (physical damage) while creating the backup with the system up and running.

    Have you thought of converting it to a virtual machine and running on Virtual Box or any other type virtual machine? It's a great way to keep a legacy system running.
    LVL 35

    Expert Comment

    If you have a physical problem with your HDD, you need to be very careful as to how to image it and with what software. Every copy process could damage the drive even further, and some of the software will stop working when damaged sectors are encountered.

    I'd suggest to download the Parted Magic live CD ( ), which contains a lot of tools for the purpose, and I'd recommend to use the ddrescue linux command line tool. It has been developed to skip damaged sectors, and it can, in a second go after the initial image, even be used in order to try and repair them.

    The ddrescue command is described here in detail:
    A short practical version can be found at the end of this page:

    The relevant passage is this:
    # first, grab most of the error-free areas in a hurry:
    ./ddrescue -n /dev/old_disk /dev/new_disk rescued.log
    # then try to recover as much of the dicy areas as possible:
    ./ddrescue -r 1 /dev/old_disk /dev/new_disk rescued.log

    Open in new window

    You need of course be able to find out which the exact Linux name of your damaged drive is. I could help you with that.

    Otherwise, if this sound too complicated, the TestDisk program (installed on Parted Magic, but also available for Windows: ) has an integrated option in the Advanced menu to create a bitwise disk image:

    I've never heard of that DriveImagerXP, and I should recommend not to try it out if the data is of any value.
    LVL 3

    Expert Comment

    you make an asr backup by ntutility without flopy drive but you need floppy drive for restoration
    then you can use a usb floppy drive if your laptop supports boot from usb devices .
    another option is to use http file and settings transfer wizard in xp in this case you need to install xp in new HDD then use
    this wizard to restore files and settings .
    you can also restore backup files made by ntbackup utility to windows 7 by this tool
    LVL 14

    Expert Comment

    Well the best to do this task is Acronis cloning feature which helps you to clone the old harddrive and transfer everything in a shot
    But since you dont want to buy any software then i would recommend you to use (Paragon Backup and Recovery)
    Its free and would solve your problem
    LVL 91

    Expert Comment

    i recommend the free paragon backup&Recovery too :      
    it is easy to use (windows like gui) and fast

    Author Closing Comment

    Thanks.  This worked perfectly.

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