In a series of articles looking at backup solutions for Windows Vista, we've examined using the Vista Backup Center and setting up automatic daily incremental backups in Task Manager for the Business, Enterprise, and Ultimate versions of Vista.
We found that the Home versions of Vista are far less capable, being able to only backup specific types of data and not able to make a full, recoverable copy of the hard drive. Then we addressed the problem of creating a bootable disk in Vista in order to be able to start a recovery environment in the event of complete hard drive failure. This boot disk allows us to recover the entire hard drive from an external backup.
Then we looked at a more powerful solution - Acronis True Image Home 2009 - that not only can make full-disk backups, but also daily incremental backups in all versions of Vista. We found that through the addition of helpful wizards, Acronis is easier to use than ever. We were also happy to find that it had not lost any of its ability to clone a laptop hard drive to a bigger drive, which is what True Image is mostly known for. Now it's a powerful multi-purpose backup tool, as well.
However, Acronis True Image may be overkill for some users. For those seeking an easy to master, unobtrusive, "set it and forget it" backup, without the need to image the hard drive, we'll now look at backing up not the entire hard drive, but just our essential data. Even better, this is a solution that will work in the Home and Basic versions of Vista as well as in Windows XP.