Paranoid over a windows laptop

Hello

I have a new Windows laptop that is going to be my life for the next few years. It needs  to be backed up and have issues I need to ask about.

1) With a lower cost solution ( usb adapter and a hard drive perhaps ) I need to make sure I can
recover from a hard drive replacement ( including the ability to boot )

2) Versions would be nice without doing the whole drive again.

3) Being a person that left windows behind 15 years ago, how will windows respond to being restored to the same disk or new disk?  Now with your response to this question, can you find reference or your actual daily experience to agree with your statement please.  

4) The laptop will be a dell with the original build.  I have been told that in order to truly backup a windows laptop you need to purchase a second copy of windows so it actually will restore.  I would not mind making a second copy of my machine to visualize in case may laptop gets eaten by a "land shark" at the beach.
TIMFOX123Asked:
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dbruntonQuid, Me Anxius Sum?  Illegitimi non carborundum.Commented:
>>  I have been told that in order to truly backup a windows laptop you need to purchase a second copy of windows so it actually will restore.

No.  Depending on your version of Windows and the manufacturer (in this case Dell) you may be able to:
create restore media disks from the system
buy restore media disks from the manufacturer
media restore disks may come with the system
download media restore disks legally from the Internet

Some links to look at
http://www.tomshardware.com/answers/id-1800781/windows-iso-file.html (look at the solution offered there)

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-8/create-reset-refresh-media
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
You can make a full backup at regular intervals onto a USB hard drive using Ghost or Acronis. Make a bootable USB key and then you can restore the backup onto the hard drive.

You can also do daily backups of data and key files with Sync Back Pro to another computer. I do this and it works great.

I also am a big believer in common sense and getting commercial machines. My computers last a good long time.
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rindiCommented:
First, for a reliable backup, you MUST use more than just one device to backup to. The best way is to get a USB dock for HD's, then get several cheap, standard HD's, Which you can rotate your backups to. That way, you have more than one backup with several versions. you are then better protected should a backup disk fail (they fail too), and if you have to restore a certain version of y file, you also have better chances that the correct version is still available on one of your backups.

Windows 8.x has an option in the control panel from which you can make a system repair Booting USB stick that includes the recovery partition, so with that you can return the PC to it's factory state. You just need a USB stick that is slightly larger than the size of the recovery partition. Remember to create that stick as soon as possible, and to store it somewhere where it is safe and no one gets tempted to use it for anything else.

Windows 7 PC's usually have a tool installed by their manufacturer that allows you to create one set of factory recovery DVD's. This works differently from manufacturer to manufacturer, so you must check the PC's manual or read any popups you get mentioning that when you use the PC the first times, and also create those asap. Those DVD's are also bootable.
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TIMFOX123Author Commented:
Thank you all

I still need to know if Windows is going to cry like a spoiled child about licensing if I replace the hard disk  and restore.

Rindi, great points,.  You have been a source of great wisdom in the past ( and today also ).
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
If you make a proper clone backup of the hard drive, then it should restore properly. We have done that on a number of occasions. Windows accepts that.
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rindiCommented:
An HD replacement isn't enough to cause an Activation problem. You usually need another mainboard to cause that.
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TIMFOX123Author Commented:
Cool  thx
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
@TIMFOX123  - You are very welcome and I was happy to help.
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