See revised post 30-dec-2005 I've posted to this topic because the System Restore Alternatives? only covers System Restore. While trying to create a RAID1 volume I lost both my source and destination disk. My backup discipline got a bit sloppy, because I was only using 4GB DAT tapes and studying for my exams. Since the incident I've purchased an external harddisk and DVD writer and now I'm looking to automate backups. This setup might seem overkill to others, but I longer see I why shouldn't implement the same strategy at home that I advise to my company. Requirements: System volume disaster recovery. Preferably DVD boot disc. Open File backups for Outlook 2003. Snapshots. Automated backups. Use as little programs as possible. Wishes: Method to detect my external harddisk is full and automatically replace the oldest backup set. Windows offers Recycle Bin, System Restore, ASR, Volume Shadow Copy and NTbackup. Recycle Bin doesn't support document which are overwritten, System Restore doesn't cover everything, ASR is too difficult and also doesn't cover everything. VSS to me is very obscure. At home I'm not disciplined enough to work with document versions and don't want to enable document backups which I have to remove. Most of the time I overwrite the current version and sometimes need something that I overwrote. As Recycle Bin replacement I'm very satisfied with Diskeeper Undelete. Through the "System Restore Alternatives?" topic I found RollBack Rx Professional. This replaces both Recycle Bin and System Restore. Rollback Rx doesn't have the nice GUI Undelelete has, but the less software I'm using the better. The only problem with RollBack Rx is that I couldn't create a new partitition while it was active and I had to uninstall it to perform this action. Once I have my partitions correct this is no longer a problem. I also reported this problem, but I'm waiting for a reply. Disaster Recovery part I: The less programs the better. I'm looking at backup programs that provide disaster recovery, so I can skip imaging software like Ghost or True Image. Ntbackup doesn't provide Disaster Recovery, because you have to use ASR. Dant Retrospect, Novabackup and NTI Backup all provide some sort of disaster recovery. I want to use a disaster recovery that writes to and boots from dvd and restores the system partition. Disaster recovery part II: Acronis True Image. I don't want to reserve a part of my 60 GB disk for image snapshots and my external harddisk is reserved for data backups. If I want to write to DVD I have to install a packet writer. This requires yet another program. Incremental backup is of little use, because I have Diskeeper running all the time when my system is idle. The only solution I see with TI is to write a clean System image to DVD and use my external harddisk to create weekly system images that are automatically overwritten so I hold enough disk space for my data backups. Disaster recovery part III: Does anyone have good experiences with Live State Recovery Desktop. We're using it at on standalone server work as backup software to external harddisk, but have no idea how it works as disaster recovery tool writing directly to (bootable) DVD? Backup software: It would be nice if the disaster recovery program and backup program we're the same. Volume Shadow Copy provides open file backup. Some corporate backup programs provide their own Open File manager. Some open file backup methods use VSS and some use their own replacing VSS. On usenet I've read about some vague problems with backup programs using VSS. Genie Backup Manager uses it's own open file manager. But if I use this I probably have to disable VSS and test if this breaks other stuff. Dantz Retrospect not evaluated yet very expensive excellent manual disaster recovery requires reinstalling windows NovaBackup relatively expensive if you also purchase open file manager, but there's a christmas discount no manual and limited help file currently evaluating disaster recovery with old 4x CD-R discs bad reviews about stability, but I'll test it myself bad log files, I have to search through .txt file to see errors, warnings, etc. Genie Backup not evaluated doesn't provide disaster recovery uses plug-ins which you can use to backup program settings own open file manager automatically closes and opens outlook 2003 while backup up pst NTI Backup NOW! 4.0 not evaluated very little information available on website Update: NovaBackup Disaster recovery requires re-installing Windows End of evaluation NTI Backup NOW! 4 Deluxe Disaster recovery requires NTI DriveBackup! 4 End of evaluation NTI DriveBackup! 4 Features: Very large download (70 MB) Uses it's own skin Manual only for version 3 Supports image browser Test results: Used Live Update to update device drivers High CPU utilization Very slow on my CD-R discs at 24 speed. Required 9 discs and took 15 minutes per disc. The first recovery disc was bootable (most likely PE). This bootable disc can be used to create or restore images Stopped evaluating because of slow speed, but if I continue I will repeat using a 16X DVD disc. Paragon Exact Image Features: Christmas price € 20 I've good experiences using Paragon Partition Manager Small download (11 MB) Server O/S requires seperate Server license Burn a backup archive to CD/DVDs (or write them to ISO-image files for later burning) Hot Backup of locked partitions Process all sectors one by one or do not process unused sectors Adequate documentation Allows scheduling Good reviews Test results: Detect the Acronis TI image area as "backup capsule" Backup capsule is a seperate FAT32 partition to store images Create seperate recovery media Requires temporary drive for hot backup. Default is c: and fails when you try to create a hot backup from c: Burning to CD results in the following error message: "Can't open/create file, source: Hard Disk Manager" This is also posted on their forum, but no one replied. For € 20 I'll put some more effort in it and perform a clean Windows XP re-install before moving on Update Live State Recovery Desktop v6.0 Features: Desktop version doesn't support server O/S Image format supported by Platespin Bare Metal Restore Image format supported by VMware Workstation 5.5 Requires .NET Framework 1.1 Comes with a recovery CD, you can't create from the program. Can't test this with the evaluation version. Support local, removable and network storage Operation: Simple interface Very fast Restored system partition to unused disk space. Restoring took very long, because I had to swap all the discs in - what appeared - random order several times. Creating a recovery point interferes with disk defragmenting. This means I have test this with Diskeeper's Set & Forget schedule. Creating recovery point to DVD probably doesn't run unattended. The disc jockey restore took more time swapping discs than actually restoring data. I cancelled the operation, which means end of evaluation. Too bad, because LSR looked like an interesting product I could use to create recovery CD's and backup up data to my external harddisk. If it can hot backup an Exchange server it sure would have been sufficient backing up Windows XP with Outlook 2003 Guess I'm back where I started. I'll give NTI DriveBackup! 4 another try and otherwise I'll try TI9 with packet writing.