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Author Topic: Image for Windows  (Read 10934 times)

Scott

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Image for Windows
« on: April 17, 2005, 05:05:46 PM »
After reading Mouser's comments on Image for Windows in the backup guide, I wanted to give some quick comments on it.  I've been using Image for Windows for a long time now (along with all the other TeraByte Unlimited software), and it is the most-solid utility I've ever used.

TeraByte Unlimited was the first to include full byte-for-byte image validation to their products...  I'm not sure if the others have added that feature yet, but I personally consider it absolutely essential.  (I was burned long ago while using another product that didn't have it.)

I don't understand what is confusing about using Image for Windows.  To me, it's extremely straightforward.  The interface is absolutely no-nonsense.  I can see how a couple of the options need explanation, but the PDF manual is quite good, and TeraByte Unlimited support (not to mention other users) is always quick to offer advice.

I'm not here to slam other products, nor to say that Image for Windows is perfect (no software is).  But I've seen TeraByte Unlimited respond to user issues and suggestions, and it won me over.  Any and all substantiated problem reports are met with a positive response and solution, whether it's simply advice on product usage, or an actual update to the software.  Anyone who tests the software, and sends an email to support, will see what I mean.  I think that counts for a lot.
« Next Edit: Tomorrow at 12:13:47 AM by Scott »

JeffK

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Re: Image for Windows
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2005, 05:31:01 PM »
Thanks for that commentary, Scott.  I will check out Image for Windows again.

Jeff

mouser

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Re: Image for Windows
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2005, 07:30:35 PM »
hi scott-

i 100% agree with you that good support mean a LOT.
and for a program like a drive imager i have a feeling that providing support must be a nightmare - most of the people that contact you are probably insane in a panick from a crashed computer and fearing they have lost their data.

i am going to take another look at Image for Windows and the pdf documentation..

i guess i make judgements kind of rapidly when i start using a program - i had a very negative initial impression with Image when i saw that it wouldn't back up windows while running, unless i downloaded some plugins from the site..

if this was a plugin i had to pay for i would have understood it, but given that this is a free plugin, it just blew my mind that this wasn't included in the install.. it just didn't make any sense and i immediately started off annoyed.

but let me take a breath and go back and give it another look.

JeffK

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Re: Image for Windows
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2005, 08:30:51 PM »
I think your first impressions on the software you test are very important, mouser.  It's the same with me.  One has an idea in one's head about what a particular package should do and if it doesn't do it in a friendly and intuitive way then the demerit points start counting straightaway.  Better for us to have a "I didn't like it because..." then reconsider on more thorough testing then never publish our impressions because we haven't tested every detail.

To give a recent example, I received a promotion for a newly updated mind mapping program and downloaded the trial.  I liked the interface and began using it very quickly.  Nice look, very simple to add new topics and to format them.  Then I made a mistake and accidentally deleted something.  No problem I said to myself just do an "undo".  There was no undo functionalty.  No need for further testing ... Program closed and deleted off my computer.  It could be the best mindmapping program on the net, but it has no undo, to my mind a basic essential for such a program.

Jeff

mouser

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Re: Image for Windows
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2005, 08:52:51 PM »
yes,

i think those of us who love testing software and install new software all the time, get better and better at recognizing applications that meet our way of working, and we get better and better about making quick judgements.  And we build up expectations about what a good program should do and how, and we can more quickly identify key features that are missing from our own personal requirements.

however, one then runs the risk of making snap judgements and coming to conclusions too soon, which i have been guilty of.

JeffK

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Re: Image for Windows
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2005, 08:57:19 PM »
I find fun (and sometimes frustration) when the obvious software doesn't quite fit and one then can go scouting around the net for those hidden gems which can be relatively early in development but do what you want.  There is some good stuff coming out of Asia but I find  alot of the stuff I actually purchase is from Germany and Eastern Europe.

Jeff

Scott

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Re: Image for Windows
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2005, 09:07:26 PM »
I can understand being disappointed when a certain feature isn't within the click of a couple buttons, but that's where perspective needs to kick in...

From what I see in the TeraByte Unlimited newsgroups, a lot of Image for Windows users don't use PHYLock at all.  (PHYLock is the special driver that allows in-Windows backups of the boot partition under WinNT/2K/XP/2K3.)  PHYLock is a driver that runs in memory all the time, as is the case with any competing imaging software that offers the same feature.

So, I think (and this is just my guess!) that TeraByte Unlimited doesn't automatically install PHYLock because:

  • Installing PHYLock requires a reboot, whereas installing just Image for Windows does not.
  • If you aren't going to use a special function (i.e. imaging of the boot partition from within Windows), you don't want an unnecessary driver running all the time, even if it is totally problem-free (as PHYLock has been for me).
  • If you do want PHYLock, it's free, and incredibly simple to install.
  • If you ever decide that you don't want PHYLock anymore, you can easily remove it completely.
  • With PHYLock being separate, customers can update it independently if the need ever arises (i.e. without downloading and installing the whole Image for Windows package).

Just a thought.  :)
« Next Edit: Tomorrow at 12:13:47 AM by Scott »

mouser

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Re: Image for Windows
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2005, 09:24:00 PM »
i think you're right scott,
and i definitely respect the idea that this is a tool for power uses who may not want this driver installed if its not wanted.  i greatly respect that.  i would suggest thought that terabyte include the installer in the main download and put a button or link in the main program (or program group menu) to install it.

the manual is good - i'm going to update the review to be a little more positive about image as soon as i finish running some more tests on it and get my second opinion settled.

there's another issue that bears addressing
if you read the plugin guide for the PHYSLock addon that allows you to back up windows while it is running, you will find somet lengthy discussions about cautions/caveats of using it, and what to look out for.

i suspect that TeraByte deserves a lot of credit for this.  My strong impression is that all drive imaging tools use the same exact techniques and run the same exact risks/cautions, but to avoid scaring people they simply say "we can back up windows while it is running" and dont even bother to mention some of the difficulties and things to watch out for.

i have backed up my windows system while it is running dozens of times using TrueImage and restored it from backup many times and have never had a problem.  this great track record is one of the reasons i am so fond of Acronis Image.

BUT, that is not to say that there aren't issues to be concerned about  and TereaByte deserves credit for not shying away being up front and honest about the more delicate issues involved in backing up windows while it is running - and such an approach is going to be especially appealing to some people.

I will update the review to reflect these thoughts - and please do let me know if there is anything else you think I should mention.

mouser

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Re: Image for Windows
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2005, 09:46:23 PM »
Image for Windows section has been updated - let me know what you think Scott.

Scott

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Re: Image for Windows
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2005, 09:56:04 PM »
Thanks!  Looks fair to me.

Regarding the forthrightness of TeraByte Unlimited...  I agree.  One thing that has really kept me as a customer has been the fact that they don't hide things or mislead...  It's all on the table.  I don't see enough of that among software vendors.

The only thing I'd change is to correct the spelling of PHYLock (from "PHYSLock").  :)
« Next Edit: Tomorrow at 12:13:47 AM by Scott »

mouser

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Re: Image for Windows
« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2005, 10:21:49 PM »
fixed, thanks.

i agree with you 100% about companies that are honest about their software - especially with a program like partitional management tools when the temptation must be great to sugarcoat potential issues.

i've also come to realize that there is a real tradeoff when dealing with large companies - you get the benefit of the fact that they can often devote significant money and resources to polishing their program, but they often simply cannot be bothered to worry about individual users.  if there software messes up on you, so be it, they are just going to lose one customer and their reputation is already established and not likely to be afftected; where as smaller companies tend to be (though not always) more responsive and concerned about individual user issues.