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  1. #1
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    Imaging software recommendations?

    I’ve bought an external hard drive, but choosing the imaging software is proving difficult. A search in WS comes up with plenty of results, in no apparent order, but everything on the first two pages is 5–10 years old – prehistoric in technological terms. To read the other 364 pages would take months.

    There must be an easier way to find the pros and cons of the various products available, if only someone could direct me to it.

  2. #2
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    Imaging Backup Programs

    Suggest you give a look at Acronis True Image Home ($). Free backup programs include: Easeus ToDo Backup and Macrium Reflect. All three of these programs have been mentioned many times in this forum.

    https://www.google.com/search?q=revi...ient=firefox-a
    Last edited by rmonroe36; 2012-01-08 at 19:21. Reason: Google links

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  4. #3
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    Whatever software you decide on, make certain that you will be able to create a bootable restore disk and that it will recognize your external drive.
    The chioce of application need not be anymore complicated than what your needs are.

    Some of the top software imaging applications:
    Acronis TI
    Macrium Reflect
    Norton Ghost
    Paragon
    TeraByte Unlimited: Image for Windows


    Disk Imaging Software Review:
    2012 Best Disk Imaging Software Comparisons and Reviews

  5. #4
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    I would have to second the list supplied by Clint. I presently use Acronis True Image Home 2010 and 2011 on our 2 laptops.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


    Sony Vaio Laptop, 2.53 GHz Duo Core Intel CPU, 8 GB RAM, 320 GB HD
    Win 8 Pro (64 Bit), IE 10 (64 Bit)


    Complete PC Specs: By Speccy

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    Lounger Super Sarge's Avatar
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    I use Acronis Version 5.0 EaseUs version 4.0 and of course I also use the one that comes with W7 pro

  7. #6
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    Many thanks! That is just what I was looking for. I didn't really consider Google, not knowing how to express the query without being swamped by results relating to photography.

    I can see this needs a lot of serious reading - on the initial perusal it looked as though the choice would be Macrium Reflect, until seeing comment 58 on the review of Paragon and the others, where the writer had used Macrium for years, but it had never managed to restore his PC after a crash. Not much use really!

    George

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    Quote Originally Posted by CLiNT View Post
    Whatever software you decide on, make certain that you will be able to create a bootable restore disk and that it will recognize your external drive.
    The choice of application need not be anymore complicated than what your needs are.
    Thanks. Is there any way of determining before installation whether the software will recognize the WD My Book Essential drive?

    My needs are fairly basic;
    a) it must restore my system when required,

    b) it must work with XP, that being the oldest machine, therefore most likely to fail, and also the one with the most applications and data. If it can also handle Vista that would be a bonus, although my wife doesn't really keep much on her PC except for hundreds of old emails.

    George

  9. #8
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    I really couldn't disagree more with the choices of imaging software. My one true backup program has been drive snapshot for years. It's a little known program, sadly - but it works a charm for me.

    It's:

    Cheap.
    (Free to try.)
    Tiny.
    Portable
    Works like a charm.
    Works on every version of windows I've tried from XP to 2008 server. (Website says windows NT 4.0 SP3 or later, and it understands some linux partitions, so can back them up from windows as well)

    Also, it's a snapshot image - so you run it, and then carry on working as normal, while it creates an image of your disk at the instant you pressed the start button.

    About the only downside is that it needs an OS - probably windows running to do a restore - which isn't so awful. You can, I understand, run a restore from DOS, if you had to, or run a windows PE disk, or even a quick and dirty no-license-key install and then get the executable to over-the-top overwrite that install with your drive image.

    Oh, and you can mount old backups to a drive letter and dip into them to your heart's content, or do faster incremental changes-since-last backup backups as well.

    It does everything I've ever wanted in a backup imaging product, including split output to file sizes and on the fly data compression.

    Not bad for a 280Kb executable. Awesome for leaving a copy on a usb stick.

    Completely worth every penny.


    http://www.drivesnapshot.de/en/

    [Edited to add website. That might be handy :P ]
    Last edited by britlion; 2012-01-09 at 11:41.

  10. #9
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    Ted. You use Acronis, which many rate the best, but there seem to be just as many who say it is buggy and unreliable. In posting #6 I refer to being inclined to Macrium Reflect until coming across someone who claims it never works when needed. This seems to be the major problem with this type of software – one can’t rely on it working when necessary.

    It’s often said that one should test an image after producing it, but how is this possible without wiping the existing hard drive and seeing if it can be restored? Rather an extreme measure if it doesn’t work – and all one’s data is lost if not backed up separately.

    Does Super Sarge have the answer – triple images using three different sets of software?

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    Quote Originally Posted by georgelee View Post
    It’s often said that one should test an image after producing it, but how is this possible without wiping the existing hard drive and seeing if it can be restored? Rather an extreme measure if it doesn’t work – and all one’s data is lost if not backed up separately.
    George,
    Hello... In this Post Some of the "in's and out's" are discussed about Macrium Reflect... I use both Macrium Free and Acronis 2010 V7046... on XP Pro, Vista and "7" with a mix of 32 and 64 bit OS's...I would guess that at some point you will be "testing for real" whatever Imaging program you choose. Best to do it before you have to...I suggest one method that isn't so scary....

    1. Purchase a duplicate HD (same size and brand ) as the one you have now....Format it exactly as your main one is now (partition wise etc.)

    2. "Image" your OS, and store it somewhere off you PC (like a flash drive...DVD's etc.) shut down.

    3. Remove your original HD and replace it with the new one...Boot from the "Recovery disk and recover the OS to the new...Using the Image on the Flash Drive \ DVD's , 2nd internal HD.. etc..

    4.You could also "Clone" the original, but it wouldn't test the Imaging function.

    5. As far as Acronis...Have a read through their forum ....My 2cents is i would stick with 2010 @V 7046...The rest are horror stories Regards Fred
    Last edited by Just Plain Fred; 2012-01-09 at 12:13.
    PlainFred

    None are so hopelessly enslaved as those who falsely believe they are free (J. W. Von Goethe)

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  13. #11
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    George,

    Having been burned once by Acronis, I'm now using EaseUS Todo Backup v.4.0. free. It's got everything you want, and can be run under a schedule, in case you forget to make a periodic backup.

    Zig

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    George:
    We all have different hardware/software configurations. Unlike whoever posted and said Macrium didn't work for them, I had the opposite experience (detailed on this forum.) I had been using Acronis (paid) on my older, single disk system.
    I added a 2nd, newer disk to my desktop. I tested my Acronis restore disk (always a good idea, before you REALLY need it), and Acronis wouldn't work (where it had restored perfectly on my one-disk system.) I spent weeks working up the chain of Acronis support people, and never got the problem resolved.
    While working with Acronis support to try to fix the problem, and at the suggestion of a helpful poster here who suggested I try Macrium Free, I installed Macrium, created a Resue CD, and it worked right out of the box.

    Because I wanted the additional capabilities, I paid for the $ version of Macrium, and have been happy with it since.

    Everybody's mileage varies.
    best,
    Dick

  15. #13
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    I'll second the use of Macrium Reflect Free edition. It works well enough.
    Ensure that you make the (Linux) rescue disk and do a full image, then use the (Linux) rescue disk to restore the image you just created.

    After you are done creating the image close Macrium and create a text file to place on the desktop.
    Then boot with the rescue disk and run the restore, after completion the text file should be gone.

    The rational for testing is as follows:
    1 To ensure you have BIOS setup so that you can boot to CD/DVD ROM
    2 To verify that you are able to access the stored image on your external drive.
    -If you are not, then you will need to tweak your BIOS to ensure that you can. On my system I would have to reset the BIOS anytime
    I wanted to restore an image this way because my BIOS had been set for optimal/fast booting.
    3 To verify that the image restore proceeds smoothly by being present during the operation.

    Give it a runthrough and we'll be happy to answer any questions after that.
    CLiNT


    Avoid any and all such imaging applications that do not alow the user to create some sort of bootable disk. This should be very rare.
    Last edited by CLiNT; 2012-01-09 at 18:44.

  16. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by britlion View Post
    .......My one true backup program has been drive snapshot for years. It's a little known program, sadly - but it works a charm for me.
    I too used Drive Snapshot some years ago - to get me out of a hole on a robot machine that ran NT4 SP3. It did exactly what it said on the tin, but if I recall correctly (it's a while ago now), I had to enable some OS extras to configure a schedule.

    Nonetheless, an excellent little program that may be worthwhile looking at again.

  17. #15
    Lounger Super Sarge's Avatar
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    The person that had a problem with Macrium may have had other problems his crash may have been from a bad HD or such
    I have used Macrium many times to restore an image with no problems

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