Quote: Originally Posted by kado897
The only real way to backup installed software is an image of the disk it resides on. You can do this with Windows backup or with a third party solution such as Macrium Reflect (link in signature). There are some good tutorials on the site. You may want to start with this one. Backup Complete Computer - Create an Image Backup
I completely agree. Reinstalling software is a long, torturous task. ShadowProtect Desktop is the best drive imaging software I've used. It does cost. I recently tried EASEUS ToDoBackup, free for home use, and have been impressed with it, but have not tried to do a restore with it.
Data backup is different. You want a program that saves a native copy of the files. Yes, you lose the benefits of compression. But drive space is cheap, and if a compressed file gets an error you've lost everything. I've found SyncBack Pro a good choice for this.
Whatever software you choose, the important thing to realize is that your OS volume and your data files have very different backup needs both in type and frequency of backup and in number of copies required for sufficient safety. We could add in terms of off-site storage as well.