Theres a feature on Lifehacker about a free piece of software called DriveImage XML, that provides backups and images of your Windows Based Hard Drive. The software has four different functions that you can use to backup/image your hard drive:
* Raw mode. In “raw mode,” DriveImage XML makes a sector by sector copy of your drive, including unused space. This means your image file will be the same exact size of the drive, and it can only be restored to a drive of that same exact size. For most home use situations, leave this box unchecked. (There’s no sense in backing up blank disk space.)
* Split large files. If you plan to burn your disk image to CDs or DVDs, select “Split large files,” which will break your image file down into smaller chunks. This way you can easily save them to smaller-sized disks later on. If “Split large files” is NOT checked, you’ll get one giant image file, either as large as the disk itself or as large as the used space on the disk (depending on whether “Raw mode” is enabled.)
* Compressed. If space on your destination drive is at a premium, select the “Compressed” option to make your image file up to 40% smaller than in normal mode. Compression will slow down the imaging process, but it will help save on disk space.
* Hot Imaging Strategy. The hot part of DriveImage XML is that it can image your drive while you workbut that means that files you’re using while it does its thing have to be locked to be copied correctly. DiX will try two strategies: locking the drive entirely (if you’re not using the computer and saving files), or using Windows’ built-in Volume Shadow Services to get the last saved state of the drive. Leaving this at the default”Try Volume Locking first”is fine for home use.
Their are also instructions on how to place DriveImage XML on BartPE. Definitely give this application a try, not only is it free but its functional.