I just bought a new laptop computer that came pre-installed with Windows 7 Home Premium and I intend to upgrade it to Windows 7 Ultimate. I want to make an exact copy of my current system that I can use to bring back (including the pre-installed Windows 7 Home Premium) so that I do not have to use the key at the bottom of the laptop in case something goes wrong during or after the installation of the new OS (drivers not supported, drivers not found, etc). Can this be done, and if so, how?
You might wish to review the capabilities of Easeus 'Todo Backup" and "Partition Master" . Both of these have free versions. Using the partition software, create a partition large enough to contain the current contents of C: plus about 20%, then use Todo Backup to make an exact disk image in the new partition and the same software will then "recover" your original system exactly to C:. Please review this company's range of utilities and sequence of use carefully before using, as Easeus has multiple software that does similar tasks and you should confirm it will work on your laptop, and/or you may find one more suited to your use. I've had very good luck with the free version of the partition app on 5 computers including a 1999 Pentium III T700R! - very intuitive.
Coincidentally, I am visiting this forum as I'm looking for opinions of one of their utilities "Todo Backup Workstation" that can "recover to dissimilar hardware", so that I can copy the OS and multiple 2D graphics and 3D CAD applications from my Dell Optiplex 740 with dc AMD X2 CPU to a Dell Precision T5400 with a qc Xeon X5460. If this works, this would save me 10-15 hours or more and my usual frustration when rebulding an HD (plus, I can sell the bare Optiplex towards a new Quadro GPU for the T5400).