The Automated System Recovery (ASR) is an automated backup and recovery procedure that's specifically designed to get your system partition up and running again in the event of a catastrophic failure (see Chapter 4, "Disk and File System Management," for details on the system partition). Alas, this too is only available on XP Professional machines.
How does it work? Easy. It saves the whole system drivebook, verse, and chapterto a backup media of your choice. Moreover, it saves information about the current location of system files, a list of hardware, and partition (or volume) information to a floppy disk. Then the ASR recovery process uses this information to rebuild your system partition.
If it's important to be able to restore your system quickly (such as a point of sale system or an inventory management computer), it's usually a good idea to update the ASR any time you significantly change the system. If one of these systems ever goes down, ASR is probably the fastest way to get it back again just the way it was before it crashed.
To create an ASR, click the Automated System Recovery Wizard option on the Welcome To The Backup Utility Advanced mode dialog box to start the Automated System Recovery Preparation Wizard. I won't walk you through each step of this wizard; it's much more important that you know the purpose of the ASR because the wizard makes the button pushing so easy. In short, you'll be asked for the storage location for the system partition backup (because most system partitions are large, you'll need a storage device to accommodate this). Next, you'll be prompted for a floppy disk to save the system recovery information. Keep this ASR floppy in a safe place when you are finished.
Your system doesn't have a floppy drive? Too bad. You need a floppy disk to run this particular kind of backup and recovery routine. You can't use another type of storage device, such as a USB "thumb" drive.
Another one of the drawbacks of the Automated System Recovery is that it only backs up (and restores) data that exists on the system volume. If you want to be able to restore other disks on your computer, run the Backup Wizard and choose the option to back up everything on the computer.