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Author Topic: Recommend disk imaging software?  (Read 12934 times)
rjbull
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« on: June 07, 2010, 03:49:02 PM »

I'm looking for disk imaging software for use on Vista Home Premium.  The laptop came with Samsung Recovery Solution III, which I used to make the original image before putting anything much on the machine, but I don't know how good it is for regular use.  I've glanced at a few other DC threads and am currently inclined to Macrium, though they don't seem to have a free version any more.

Any thoughts, please?
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Jibz
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« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2010, 03:52:24 PM »

I've glanced at a few other DC threads and am currently inclined to Macrium, though they don't seem to have a free version any more.

I have no experience with Macrium, but I think the free version is still available:

http://www.macrium.com/reflectfree.asp
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« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2010, 03:56:55 PM »

i was very impressed with Macrium.. they seem to hide the free version a bit, probably to encourage purchase of full one.
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40hz
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« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2010, 04:05:55 PM »

+1 on Macrium Reflect. Kiss

Works as advertised and it's easy to use. They still have a very capable "free for personal use" version available for download. Free or paid - it's an excellent choice.  

There's also Clonezilla if you're feeling adventurous or want to go the multi-platform route.

Most Windows users will be a lot happier with Macrium.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2010, 06:24:45 PM by 40hz » Logged

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f0dder
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« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2010, 05:39:23 PM »

I've been pretty happy with Paragon Virtualization Manager 2010, since it doesn't just do disk imaging but also p2v and v2p imaging.
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« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2010, 06:21:54 PM »

u might want to look at this too http://www.paragon-software.com/home/db-express/
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« Reply #6 on: June 07, 2010, 07:40:03 PM »

The most important thing is if the boot CD sees your disk controller. Before counting on it I would burn the boot CD and boot it.  Go through the motions as if you are going to do a restore from an image.  If you can't seem to find your HD then you probably need to look for another software.

I have 2 HP Pavilion desktops.  I was using Paragon Drive Backup on one for awhile so I just assumed the free 64 bit version would be fine for my new 64 bit quad core.  Turned out the new machine had some flaky software Raid controller that could only be seen in compatibility mode.  I managed to do a restore when I needed to, but I had to run it for 9 hours overnight instead of the usual 45 minutes to an hour.  After that I got the Macrium Trial version and did a backup and full restore.  It worked as expected so I bought it.  Since then the free version(4.2) has incorporated the same boot CD. Unless you need the WinPE to load a Windows driver you should be ok with the free version.  But try it before you need it.
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Jibz
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« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2010, 12:20:32 AM »

The most important thing is if the boot CD sees your disk controller. Before counting on it I would burn the boot CD and boot it.  Go through the motions as if you are going to do a restore from an image.  If you can't seem to find your HD then you probably need to look for another software.

That is very good advice. I had a similar situation at one point where my USB backup drive wasn't recognized properly by Acronis. Make sure the boot CD works with the hardware you are likely to use it on Thmbsup.
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« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2010, 10:00:37 AM »

Seems to be a love/hate among users but Acronis TI imaging component has saved my butt more than once.  Can's speak for data backup function.  Tech support is spotty but the program's apparently written well so hopefully, you won't have to contact them much as I haven't.  Watch for it on sale, though; usual price is always too high.
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« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2010, 10:40:53 AM »

after trying Acronis, Macrium and Paragon through several versions i've found myself sticking with Paragon.

Acronis seems incapable of remembering the settings after reboot. Macrium doesn't even attempt to do anything at all after reboot...

...Paragon works perfectly as expected.

obviously, these are rare problems otherwise no one would use Acronis or Macrium. but, to me, it just tells me that Paragon is doing something a little more sophisticated than the other two.
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sajman99
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« Reply #10 on: June 11, 2010, 04:06:46 PM »

What type of HD do you have? Both Seagate and Western Digital have free (stripped down) versions of Acronis which allow full image backups.

Those manufacturer versions may not have all the bells and whistles of the latest Acronis version, but they provide a free solution which works well enough for me. I use Seagate DiskWizard and have restored a full image backup several times without issue.

If I weren't using a Seagate or WD version of Acronis, I would go with Macrium Reflect.
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Muffin Maclay
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« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2010, 10:31:21 PM »

Is anyone using Casper? I have played with most of the programs mentioned to date & found them not to be "user-friendly". I have used the free "try before you buy" Casper & it was simple as. Anyone want to put in their 2 cents before i buy?
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zenzai
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« Reply #12 on: June 12, 2010, 12:15:47 AM »


Image for DOS/Windows:

http://terabyteunlimited.com

Also includes a version for Linux.

I've made and restored hundreds of images, never had a problem with it (I generally always use the DOS version). Works with everything - USB, firewire, eSATA drives.
Very advanced scripting features.

I especially like that you can verify data byte for byte both when you make an image and when you restore it - that means 100% data safety. Haven't seen this in other image programs.

The bundle is a great deal, it includes BootIt which is a great partition manager and disk tool.


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brahman
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« Reply #13 on: June 12, 2010, 01:29:37 PM »

I have a good deal of experience with recovery situations.

For those situations I have found Macrium not to be reliable, because it does not handle bad sectors very well. This is important: You want to have your imaging software also available for minor problems and make a quick image on a slightly faulty or even dying HD (especially as a private person with no data recovery budget). Macrium would not handle these situations.

In my tests Acronis and Drive Snapshot came through very nicely.

I have found Drive Snapshot to be one of the secret software gems on the web. It has a GUI as well as command line - DOS and Windows use - and the entire program is under 300k! Just have a look at this page (begin reading at section "Mount a disk Image as virtual drive") to find out some of its more hidden capabilities.

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Regards, Brahman
rjbull
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« Reply #14 on: June 15, 2010, 04:48:31 PM »

Still don't feel certain yet.  It's a difficult category to test, too.

I also looked on Gizmo's site.  In the Best Free Drive Imaging Program review, they recommend Paragon as a whisker ahead of Macrium Reflect.  But, on another part of the site, an article on Reliable Drive Imaging Software comes down in favour of the TeraByte one.  Noting brahman's comment, my hard disk is relatively young and has its hardest thrashing by Windows updates, so bad sectors should not be a problem yet, but it's as well to be prepared.

Interesting difference in the sizes of the programs - Macrium is about 30Mb, Paragon about 100Mb, TeraByte only 6Mb, Drive Snapshot tiny.
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Jibz
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« Reply #15 on: June 16, 2010, 03:53:28 AM »

But, on another part of the site, an article on Reliable Drive Imaging Software comes down in favour of the TeraByte one.

That review strikes me as perhaps not the most in-depth ever. For starters, he admits he hasn't actually tried restoring an image using it. Also he is using the Linux version to backup instead of doing it inside Windows.

Apparently you need to run some add-on tool to be able to backup reliably while windows is running, something that is built into pretty much all other tools. Also, as far as I can tell from the feature list it does not support differential images, which would mean you are going to be doing full backups every time. Edit: I was wrong embarassed

Now I am not in any way saying it's a bad tool, I have no experience with it -- I am just noting that the review you linked could perhaps have been more thorough and have highlighted some of the features present and absent compared to other tools Thmbsup.

That being said, I'll take a 100% reliable clunky solution without the bells and whistles over a fancy GUI that ends up failing miserably the one time you need it.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2010, 03:56:03 AM by Jibz » Logged

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« Reply #16 on: June 16, 2010, 08:18:36 AM »

I've used BootitNG (Terabyte) for 5+ years for imaging, partition work, and boot management.  It's been absolutely reliable.  The only possible downside is that it doesn't hold your hand as much as some programs - the interface is "geekier" and there are more options available than most of us will be able to take advantage of.

There are nice video turorials on the website and great support via email and newsgroup.
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steeladept
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« Reply #17 on: June 16, 2010, 08:20:40 AM »

The only 100% reliable solution I have come across - at least as much as there is one - is Symantec Ghost v. 8 (haven't tried newer ones).  It is, unfortunately for many, an offline solution - meaning you must run it from a different computer on the one you want to image - but I haven't seen any others as reliable. I have used True Image, which works reasonably well, but doesn't always restore gracefully, Drive Image - way back during the heyday of Ghost, and a few others that just didn't work.

That said, I never tried Macrium or Paragon's solutions, as I didn't have a need for them.  Now that I am trialing Windows 7, however, I can either try to find an offline imager or start working with these as my version of True Image doesn't work with 7.  Drive Snapshot looks good too, though.  I think I will start with that one - thanks brahman...
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rjbull
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« Reply #18 on: June 16, 2010, 02:37:58 PM »

I am just noting that the review you linked could perhaps have been more thorough
[...]
I'll take a 100% reliable clunky solution without the bells and whistles over a fancy GUI that ends up failing miserably the one time you need it.
That's two good points  smiley

I hadn't expected on-the-fly imaging, though, and was surprised to see it.  I'd expected "offline" only, which I take to mean, the PC basically isn't doing anything else while the image is made.  I'd be happy to settle for that for home use.
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brahman
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« Reply #19 on: June 17, 2010, 08:09:21 AM »

I alternate images between Acronis (make sure you don't upgrade Acronis right away when a new version comes out -- wait a good bit until the bugs are worked out) and Drive Snapshot and I always image with verify backup enabled.

I must say both have never let me down! But especially with Acronis I stay away from the "fancy" features like recovery zone or time capsule (whatever they name it) and just do the basic imaging. I wish they would have an Acronis light product with emphasis on the essentials because those 100MB installation packages take a lot of disk space.

Terabyte has always made excellent software. I trialed their imaging product but wished it would be faster and make smaller files. That may have changed by now, though.
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Regards, Brahman
Curt
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« Reply #20 on: June 17, 2010, 08:33:56 AM »

given the title of the thread, a link to http://www.giveawayofthed...aemon-tools-pro-standard/ should be most relevant today (17/June/2010)
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steeladept
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« Reply #21 on: June 17, 2010, 09:26:47 AM »

I must say both have never let me down! But especially with Acronis I stay away from the "fancy" features like recovery zone or time capsule (whatever they name it) and just do the basic imaging. I wish they would have an Acronis light product with emphasis on the essentials because those 100MB installation packages take a lot of disk space.
I would say I *occasionally* have issues with corrupted .tib files, and that is the only issue I have had with Acronis.  That is why I ALWAYS do a restore to a spare drive to verify (I have something like 8 of them laying around, so it isn't much of an issue other than the pain of disconnecting the original).

As for an Acronis Light - well, in sajman99's own words -

What type of HD do you have? Both Seagate and Western Digital have free (stripped down) versions of Acronis which allow full image backups.

Those manufacturer versions may not have all the bells and whistles of the latest Acronis version, but they provide a free solution which works well enough for me.
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Lutz_
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« Reply #22 on: June 17, 2010, 04:12:42 PM »

I had problems with restoring an Acronis "TrueImage"  a few years ago - and it installs all kinds of background services programs that will be running on every startup.  I tried the Terabyte solution but it was way too geeky for me.  I have not the slightest clue what most of the options are about.  Paragon Hard Disk Manager seems to be right for me; dumbed down just enough for me to be able to use it; it has been reliable so far and has a wonderful rescue CD that offers exactly the same user interface and tools as the full install of the program.
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phillfri
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« Reply #23 on: June 24, 2010, 12:08:57 PM »

I second Image for DOS/Windows. Technically superior in every respect. I automatically run my OS image backups invisibly in the background while I continue working. You don't even know its running. GUI is easy to use also. A lot of nice software tools on the site, if one is so inclined.  Frequently updated. I paid $20.00 for this program a few years back. Have never had to pay for an update. Never had any problems with this software, albeit you need to read the manual to fully understand how to take advantage of capabilities beyond using the GUI.
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ha14
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« Reply #24 on: June 24, 2010, 03:28:01 PM »

Well there is also ShadowProtect Desktop Edition, there is also a video tutorial to have an insigt, it looks promising
http://www.storagecraft.c...hadow_protect_desktop.php

ShadowProtect Desktop provides the following benefits:

 

ยท         Rapid recovery from bare metal, to dissimilar hardware or to and from virtual environments.

ยท         Integrated backup administration from a management console.

ยท         ShadowProtect ImageManager to automatically consolidate backup image files.

ยท         Verification and re-verification of backup images.

ยท         VirtualBoot technology for quick failover to a virtual server.

ยท         Converter tool to convert to .VHD or .VMDK.

ยท         Automatic backup of your entire system.

ยท         Granular recovery of individual files and folders in moments.

ยท         Simplified migration to new Windows desktops or laptops.

ยท         Scheduler for automatic full and incremental backups.

 


didnt tried it myself since I use Acronis True Image
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