Backing up and restoring data files is important and should occur on a regular basis; but over the past few years, a new type of backup utility that backs up entire PC systems using system images has become quite popular. These types of backups protect against a hardware disaster: if your hard drive completely fails, for example, you can purchase a new drive and use the system image to restore the PC to its previous state.
System imaging utilities aren't actually all that new; corporations have been using them for years. But now that consumer-oriented system imaging utilities have gained in popularity, Microsoft has created its own version, which it includes with Windows 7.
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