Yes, use disk imaging software to make an image of the entire hard drive.  In fact, if you have a reasonably-sized external hard drive, you can (and should) make periodic images of the disk as backups.

One schema would be to make an image immediately after the system was setup the way you want it.  Then make a series of periodic backup images, with the frequency of backup images depending on how often you make significant changes and the number of backup images (before discarding old ones) depending on the size of your external hard drive.

Here are a few representative programs.  Most create either images or clones, but some may be only cloning applications.  Some are free, others are not.  Clone vs image

If you have a Western Digital drive, you can get a version of Acronis True Image free from WD (http://support.wdc.com/product/downloaddetail.asp?swid=119) or you can obtain cloning software separately (this is not a comprehensive list and is no particular order; some are free, others not):

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