the PING (Partimage Is Not Ghost).
If you use a Windows operating system, I bet you know what a waste of time reinstalling your Windows is. So here's the sollution: make an ISO partition image of your windows' installation partition by using the PING.
1. an ISO containing the PING software from here.
2. Burn the ISO that you just downloaded to a CD or DVD .
3. Go to bios and set your computer to boot from CD/DVD.
4. Insert the the CD/DVD containing PING. If you don't have a second partition on which to make the backup on your HDD then connect an external HDD to a USB port. Restart system.
5. The computer boots from the CD/DVD and you wait until you're asked to type "enter" or "x". Type "enter" and then hit Enter.
6. From this point further the user interface will guide you.
You may also check the PING documentation. You'll find it on the page with the download link for the software.
The result: you'll have an ISO image of your actual backed-up partition. Whenever something goes terribly wrong, you'll be able to put in your PING CD/DVD, boot from it and restore the entire partition.
I have a Windows XP Professional and together with all the installed programs that I need it's 12GB. I recover all this in half an hour. Otherwise it would take more than one and a half days.