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Unread 25-12-2013, 06:37 AM   #1
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Windows XP

Freeware for personal use - Disk Imaging

Over the years, I have tried several back up/disk imaging programs. I have tried freeware and shareware trial programs. For one reason or another, I have not found one I liked and would recommend. I have used MS backup utility way long ago in the win 95 days and got burned pretty badly. Three days to restore because the backup utility did not back up registry files, though it indicated it was a FULL back up. So I have been extremely gun shy about trying it again.

I have heard that the MS create system image is much better then in days gone by, but I will not rely on it. I am only beginning to test it out now. I have a a couple of friends/customers that rely on me to fix their computer when they get a nasty virus. The most recent repair/restore I have had to do was eliminate the Homeland Security Money Pak virus. If I could simply boot off a CD to get access to their drive, I can hide a partition that has the Image and restore it back to original specs would be nice. But I am not that trust worthy yet of MS back utilities.

Recently, I was introduced to a product called Macrium Reflect. They have a free version that creates a full image. This utility will back up your entire drive into 1 file and can be accessed by opening that file. You are able to see your folders/files and copy/paste them to a drive for a restore. This is very good for data type files. Data type, in this context means, PDF, Word, spreadsheet, movies, music, etc. All of your program files are there too, but I doubt you can restore a single program. You would need to restore the entire image.

They also have a commercial version for personal use that will allow you to do Full, Differential and Incremental back ups. I have not gotten the commercial version yet, but expect to place my order before year end.

I do not know speeds very well, but the free version took about 2-3 hours to backup my OS drive of about 20 GB. The image file is 15 GB, so the compression is not that great it seems. The long time (to me) for the backup, might be related to my XP machine not operating at its best. I have other issues with this machine.

I have not done a DR (disaster recovery) test yet, but expect to soon. If you are interested in trying it and providing feedback, you can go to your favorite freeware/shareware download site and get it.

Let us know what you think.


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