I have re-built my laptop with all the software that I want (ie MS Office installed with the Outlook mail accounts working fine, MS Money, Norton 360, Moneydance and the users created). I now want to create an ISO disk so that in the event of having to wipe the hard drive and having to start again, I can just put the disk in the drive, change the boot order in the BIOS and the laptop re-installs the software back to where I am now.
Can some kind person guide me towards where there is a good guide and free ISO software to create an ISO disk?
An .iso file is a copy image of a DVD/CD. Doesn't quite fit with what you are wanting, because of the size of the file needed. Better to use an Image backup program like Acronis True Image or similar to create an Image file of your harddrive that can be restored either over the existing C: or to a new harddrive.
A free imaging / cloning tool is Macrium Reflect. I have my HD partitioned into about 120 Gig for Windows and other programmes (C:/), and the balance for my data in a D partition with a master folder (My Documents) with all the usual sub folders - including my Outlook e Mails.On a USB HD I use either Acronis or, on another PC , Macrium, to make images of the C drive. I use Freefilesynch to make frequent copies of the data drive (very quick after the first copy as you can set it only to add / delete files from "left" to "right"). Occasionally on yet another USB HD I make a clone of the whole drive. I would have thought, in your case, a recovery CD (created with ATI or Macrium ) plus a USB HD would be the way to go, as in a month it is surprising how many updates come through the various windows and other programmes. Don't forget to do a malware and virus scan prior to imaging .
Thank you ever so much for suggesting Macrium software. I have got myself sorted with a Recovery CD, saved on Image to another Hard Drive, done a test restore and it all now works and has boosted confidence immeasurably.