I've read the usual forum posts and narrowed down a shortlist and what I need it to do. As backup is so important I thought I'd post my shortlist and criteria and see what people reckon Scenario: Home use, Win7 x64 Primarily for (1) manual partition create/restore compressed image on local drive or LAN file share, (2) partition cloning between local hard drives. Functionality: Reliable and widely compatible - no weird driver compatibility issues or sudden "refuse to work" problems; doesn't try to take over Windows; compressed images using Shadow Copy are reliably self-consistent; bugs ironed out/mature; when a restore's needed if the image is valid restore will "just happen" Decent support forum if there's issues, good responses to concerns Partition clone, create/restore compressed image between local disk partitions (resizing capability important) Windows 7 64, Windows 7 32, and windows 7 PE (linux optional but bonus) GUI based with decent ui/options/config Imaging running system or active data drive in Win 7 (not always convenient to shut down system or dismount DB for partition backup) Image/clone auto-verified at creation/restore, re-verify on demand for stored compressed images Explore compressed image and extract files/folders. (Read-only is fine) Some kind of note or comment capability as part of compressed image (so years later one can be sure of "things to remember about this image") Will mainly be run on demand/manually, ie without requiring a schedule. So should not require a resource-hungry service to be running and when scheduled won't bring the system to a halt Restore to different partition size (probably implies some basic partition manager) GPT handling (mostly using MBR now but likely to change) Speed not such an issue if not stupidly slow (ie not in the bottom 20%) Cost not such an issue though obviously preferred low/free Compressed images preferably created as one (or a few) large files for ease of management and hash verification. "Bonus features" (optional but not essential): Differential backups, "sector-by-sector" and exclude hibernate/pagefile options, hardware independent restore (may not be needed as Win 7 is mostly able to handle that or use repair install?), linux version, fully mountable compressed images. It can take a while to find out about packages so I am hoping users will chime in to say what packages have the features I'm after or suggest compromises. My current shortlist is: Paragon (but which one?), Macrium, Storagecraft ShadowProtect, and Image for Windows (edit: = Terabyte). All seem to be perceived as mature, reliable and well featured. Skipping Acronis (not planning to reconsider this) due to questionable reliability, and also possible bloat or resource overuse - other packages exist with fewer questions on these. Probably skipping Drive Image XML as the above 4 should have at least one that's better for me and usability issues raised here and there. All suggestions appreciated!