Instead of using a convoluted Windows XP backup/restore procedure, you may want to try the new XXClone software by Pixelab, available at xxclone.com. It is currently in beta testing (Feb 2004), so you have to sign up before you can download it.

The application is very simple to use. You unzip the executable to a folder, (like c:\program files), and then run it. There is just one screen, where you choose the source drive and destination drive. Then you choose the backup method (full, incremental, etc.) and other options, and click start.

The program then copies all the files from the source drive to the target drive, with special handling for registry data and other system data. It is far easier and quicker than the previously described XP Backup/Restore. Although the application does not have much documentation, not much is really needed because it is so easy to use. It works from a larger disk to a smaller disk and vice versa, as long as there is enough space for all the files.

The program works well for backups to a second drive. If your main drive goes down, all you have to do is reboot off the target drive, and everything is back to normal. The program supports command line functionality, so you can script or schedule it to run your backups.