I once again made a mistake messing with drive partitions. I accidentally formatted my D: partition which held my Windows backup and wiped it out. Is there a way I can get that back? My computer only has one hard drive so it is kind of absurd but, I mess up so often it would be good to have a disk image to restore from. Is there any software that works well I could use?
Recovering Drive Partitions
Fortunately, it is possible to recover a partition off of your hard drive using data recovery software. This isn't a free solution, but it's not overly expensive either, especially if the data on the partition is valuable to you. We recommend ParetoLogic's Data Recovery program for recovering everything from individual files to complete partitions. The standard version of the product costs less than $50 and should be able to recover most of the D drive provided the formatting was fairly recent. The good news is that you can download a free scanner from ParetoLogic which will show you whether or not the partition is recoverable. If it is, then you can decide to purchase the fully functional product. In this case, the standard edition of Data Recovery is all you need. If you need to recover emails, then we'd recommend the Pro version.
Data Backups - Disk Image Software
Since you mentioned that you'd like the ability to make a disc image for restorations, we can also recommend different products for backing up your system and data. Whether you choose a disk image software product or a different type of backup system is up to you and your preferences. Norton Ghost and similar disk image programs are designed to backup and recover entire systems including the operating system, drivers, and data files. You'll need a way to store the disc image such as burning it to DVD or Blu-ray disc or storing the disc image on a partition.
Online Backup Systems
If you don't need to back up the entire system and are more concerned with protecting your data, consider an online backup system. Filetonic's Online Backup Category contains a number of posts about backing up data online as well as several reviews of popular online backup systems. Online backup systems come in many different packages ranging from 2 GB of free online backup and storage to monthly subscriptions offering unlimited storage. For example, iDrive offers 2 GB free. Once setup, the software automatically backs up your data and securely stores it online according to a schedule you create. You can also turn on "continuous data protection." When enabled, any time you create a new file or modify an existing one, the iDrive software makes an immediate backup of it!