Continual backup of drive as virtual machine

Please pardon my ignorance.  I can use create and use virtual machines, but that is the extent of my knowledge.  I've only run across hints of the functionalty I describe below.  I wonder if it is possible, and if so then how.

I would like to have any external hard drive that maintains a virtual machine backup of my working laptop's hard drive.  Should my laptop fail, I could just plug the external hard drive into anyone's PC and run my 'laptop' as a virtual machine until the laptop is fixed.  The synchronization between the laptop and VM would be bidirectional and real-time or near real-time.

I'm running WinXP-Pro on one machine and Win7Home on another.

Does such functionality exist with the VMware tools?  If so, can someone provide me some guidance on the matter?

Thank you in advance,


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Neither VMware Player itself or VMware Tools provide the functionality you're looking for.

The only OS that I've used at the Consumer Level that even starts to come close to what you want is available on a Mac with OS X and Time Machine and even then you should exclude Virtual Machines from Time Machine and back them up manually or script a controlled shutdown and then have the Virtual Machines backup up.

My take on things is to maintain Ghost, or other type, Recovery Images of my Hosts, keep a know good working copies of my Virtual Machines and keep User Data backed up separate and apart and on an ongoing regular basis so worst case scenario I can use any computer to access the User Data and get what I need and do what I have to while rectifying the situation.  However I personally have a couple dozen computers so I'm not to worried about one going down for the count.

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