Re: Back up "Whole" Vista laptop?
You could run GParted live CD or I guess any live CD with GParted on it, create a partition on your external hard drive, then copy your windows partition there. Then, you could shrink the partition to the used size (i.e. 32GB out of 100GB used, shrink to 35GB).
I messed around with Norton Ghost, Clonezilla, and some other things, but this worked fine for me. Actually I did this for someone else's laptop. Used Norton Ghost to completely clone the C: drive, then when the laptop crashed and burned I booted up GParted Live-formatted their computer-and copied the cloned version of the partition over to the laptop. The laptop booted up like a freshly installed version of XP, but with all the settings/files there
There's probably a more efficient way, but that was the easiest way for me.
Desktop: AMD Phenom II X3 720 (3.2GHz), GSkill 4GB DDR2 1066 RAM, Sapphire Radeon HD 5870, OCZ Vertex 2 SSD (60GB), 750GB + 640GB WD Caviar Black; Windows 7 Pro / Ubuntu 9.04