Best Disk Imaging Software

Discussion in 'backup, imaging & disk mgmt' started by arsenaloyal, Aug 4, 2012.

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  1. arsenaloyal

    arsenaloyal Registered Member

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    Hi
    I am looking for disk imaging software for my PC and 2 Laptops
    any recommendations would be of great help.
     
  2. LenC

    LenC Registered Member

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    I'll vote for Shadow Protect - it has never failed me. Tech support is responsive and helpful on the rare occasions I've had a question for them. No bloated features here (like in Acronis True Image) - just software that always works.

    It is also expensive - but I'm willing to pay the price given the importance of the software for me.
     
  3. Page42

    Page42 Registered Member

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    Here's a recent/ongoing poll on the topic.
    What backup/imaging software do you use?
     
  4. Jim1cor13

    Jim1cor13 Registered Member

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    Hi arsenaloyal :)

    I use 2 products, 1 free and 1 paid. Macrium reflect free. The paid product is one of the best I have used, in my opinion although it takes some getting used to and learn all the features. It is Terabyte Unlimited Image for Windows, although I bought the whole suite, I mainly use Image for Linux boot cd to do offline image backup and restoration plus it has a lot of built in features for working outside windows, etc.

    For me, it has been basically flawless once I learned it, other than mistakes I myself made LOL.

    Macrium is also very reliable and free, or they have a Pro version with more features than just a restore boot cd.

    Neither of the above solutions are "bloat", in fact Image for Windows is around 11MB installer and includes Image for DOS. In my opinion, although there are many users of Acronis for instance, the sheer size of it does not mean it is any more capable or reliable than those mentioned. Just my opinion.

    I have heard of Shadow Protect, but never used it personally, but it too is excellent at least from what has been mentioned from users.

    Hope that helps in some way! :)
    Jim
     
  5. SourMilk

    SourMilk Registered Member

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    Any Terabytes Unlimited imaging tools are terrific. Image for Windows; Image for Dos; Image for Linux; Bare Metal Boot It. Great support and reliability.

    SourMilk out
     
  6. sukarof

    sukarof Registered Member

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    I recommend Shadow Protect too - if you can live with their licensing policy. Other just as reliable, if not as fast, imaging software are Image for Windows and Macrium Reflect in my experience. I have a very simple way of determine if an imaging software meets my standards: It should never fail a restore. Period. If they fail even once I drop them immidiately. These three I have used for literally hundreds of restores without any problems.
    Personally I dropped Shadow Protect for their licensing policy as only reason. The software itself was top notch! FYI i must admit that I have not used it since 2010 when I dropped it so I cannot vouch for its reliability today, but I am sure that it is still reliable :)
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2012
  7. Jim1cor13

    Jim1cor13 Registered Member

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    They sure are Sourmilk :) I bought the whole suite back in Feb., and amazing to me is how well written their programs are and they cover pretty much everything one needs.

    Have a good day sir.
    Jim
     
  8. The Shadow

    The Shadow Registered Member

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    I couldn't agree more, especially if the image successfully verified at time of backup!

    I am also an enthusiastic user of the 'Terabyte Trio' (IFW, IFD, IFL). Imho no other disk-imaging product is as versatile or more reliable. :thumb:

    TS
     
  9. Jim1cor13

    Jim1cor13 Registered Member

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    Well said TS :thumb:
     
  10. TheKid7

    TheKid7 Registered Member

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    Terabyte's Image for Windows, Image for DOS and Image for Linux. :thumb: :thumb:
     
  11. sukarof

    sukarof Registered Member

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    Just for information, I have never verified the image in any imaging software, well maybe in the beginning when I started to check out imaging software... Maybe thats just stupid but I think that there should never be any problems :cool:. All the three imaging software I mentioned locks the windows session and the imaging works in the background while you keep working in windows. Have you ever had any problems when verifying the backup image in IFW? If so what kind?
     
  12. arsenaloyal

    arsenaloyal Registered Member

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    Yup reading that poll, LOL did not know there were so many imaging softwares!!

    seems to me shadow protect and terabyte unlimited are the ones to check out from the suggestions so will try both the softwares.

    What about norton ghost ?
    My Office uses Norton ghost .
     
  13. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    sukarof,

    The prime function of "Validate" is to test the ability of your hardware to restore the image. It's not simply a test of file integrity. The main cause of Validate failure is bad RAM.....

    http://www.terabyteunlimited.com/kb/article.php?id=151

    http://www.terabyteunlimited.com/kb/article.php?id=350

    That's why it is always a good idea to Validate the image before you start a restore. If the Validate fails you should not start the restore. If you start the restore and the restore fails then you have an unbootable system. We've had several threads where this has happened and swapping out the RAM enabled a successful restore of the same image.

    Validate failure can be the first sign of your hardware becoming "faulty". Everything seems to work OK but your images fail to Validate.
     
  14. wtsinnc

    wtsinnc Registered Member

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    Hello arsenaloyal.

    I use Paragon (any free version having bare-metal restore) and Macrium free.

    If your needs are, like mine, basic I feel either will serve you well.
    What I do require is the ability to create as well as restore outside of Windows.
    Paragon offers the feature in a number of their free versions and Macrium free run from a Hiren's Boot CD is also capable of that.
    I can't speak to creation/restoration of incremental or differential images as my only interest is in full disc or partition backup.

    Over six years and only one failed restore (Macrium) and given it's otherwise flawless performance, I believe it must have been caused by (my) user error of some kind.
    To date, Paragon has never failed.

    Good luck in your search.
     
  15. sukarof

    sukarof Registered Member

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    Thanks Brian K for your explanation. Of course you are right, one should take precautions if one can. I guess I am just lucky with my hardware :) I have had a faulty ram throughout the years, but it never gave other symptoms than BSODs, it never did not affect the imaging process (wich doesnt mean it couldn't).
     
  16. zapjb

    zapjb Registered Member

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    EaseUS ToDo Backup Free ftw. Easy, easy, easy!
     
  17. mrfargoreed

    mrfargoreed Registered Member

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    For me, personally, Keriver 1-click has been the ONLY imaging software that has never failed taking or restoring an image. It's rock-solid, free and easy to use. I've tried most of them over the years, as have many members here, but in terms of stability, Keriver has been totally reliable. The taking of the image is often slow, but restoring is very quick. It's okay to have imaging software that is fast or has many features, but if it's not reliable, then it's pretty useless in my opinion.
     
  18. beethoven

    beethoven Registered Member

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    I tried Macrium Free today and while installation, image taking and creation of a BartPE recovery disk was straightforward, the restore failed. Now I have no idea what the problem is, as having tried several times to restore from the validated image, the reboot still fails.

    What I find disheartening is the lack of a proper manual on their website so that I could read up and possibly find out what went wrong. They do have a few videos that are helpful though possibly dated given that the screens for me where slightly different. Also the fact that their support forum is only open to paid customers is a strong turnoff for me. I can understand that "regular" support from staff is limited to paying customers but not offering a forum to help potential customers trying their software is a bit strange. I guess I will stick with Shadowprotect and Image for Windows.
     
  19. sukarof

    sukarof Registered Member

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    All I can say is: move on and try another imaging software. That is what I´d do if even one restore fails - reason is irrellevant imo (unless you know your windows installation is messed up), and I will do the same the minute Macrium fails me once. I am just too lazy to try to find out why. Macrium has not failed me in the 30+ restores I have done so far tho. Sometimes software just dont play with every configuration. It is impossible to create software that plays with every possible combination of software and hardware in combination with the Windows OS. Sooner or later you find something that plays with your rig :)
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2012
  20. Jim1cor13

    Jim1cor13 Registered Member

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    Hi sukarof :)

    Some good points, especially about all the various configs. I would add to that, there are some imaging apps that do better than others it appears when it comes to "hot" imaging within the OS. My experience with Macrium when i used it which is only with version 4 which I still have installed, before i bought Terabyte IFW-IFD-IFL, was that it imaged fine within Win7. The only issue I ever saw that meant nothing and happens to most imaging apps in this manner, is when I would restore an image created by Macrium, when I checked the event viewer, it would always show an error under the "Critical" listing, and stating something about 'kernel power' issue, i.e., it showed an improper shutdown, which makes sense being that it was a restored image that was created "hot", within windows.

    I use TBU IFL, and do "cold" imaging outside windows, and I never see that event message now, but that does not mean there was a problem with Macrium restore, it was windows thinking it had an improper shutdown. Hot imaging will do that as far as I am aware every time. Cold imaging does not because it is outside the OS environment.

    @ beethoven- As far as what happened in your case, sometimes it takes some trial and error before learning to navigate a new imaging app, but I agree with sukarof comment...when it fails, try another. Just keep in mind, sometimes, at least in my experience, the failure was something I either did or did not do that caused it, but I do not remember Macrium ever failing to restore and i never really had any issues with it that I recall, just the typical learning curve that sometimes occurs.

    There are certainly more to choose from that are free, but they will always have some limits, but for the most part, they can handle the needs of most users. Keriver mentioned above, 1-click free is solid, although feature limited in of course, but it does the job and you can backup and restore outside of window using the boot version recovery cd which to me, is a great feature compared to something like Macrium that the free version can only restore via the recovery cd. So in this case, Keriver 1-click free has an advantage over other free imagers. Also, Clonezilla is a worthy offering, again, takes some time, at least for me to get used to when I used it back about a year ago, but when I came across TBU products, I never looked back, and to me it was worth the purchase, but there are many very good and reliable free alternatives, you just have to find one that suits your need. 1-Click free from Keriver I think is the easiest in terms of image creation and restoration.

    Speaking of Keriver, has the author been around lately? Is Keriver still supported? I came close to buying the full Keriver Image program last year, but decided against it, only because it appeared he was busy with other pursuits, but I may be mistaken.

    Have a good day!
     
  21. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    beethoven,

    Can you describe in detail what happens after the reboot. We might be able to pinpoint what is happening.

    Are you restoring the image to the same or to a new HD? Which OS?
     
  22. ratchet

    ratchet Registered Member

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    Paragon! Their free versions work great and somehow I ended up with a commercial version too. One time on a Vista laptop I used an uninstall application to uninstall Comodo Time Machine, instead of its own uninstaller, for my monthly defrag and imaging. It wiped out the MBR. I booted from a CD and Paragon restored it perfectly. Bye the way, that was the only time CTM failed and I used the same routine on both an XP desktop and the laptop monthly for several years. CTM conveniently saved me from bad software, including MS patch Tuesday, installs numerous times. Just sayin! I recently built a PC with W7 and almost purchased Rollback for $25 on 7/4 but still MBR gun shy with a brand new machine. Wish CTM worked on 64 bit W7, at least I'd have a free option to consider!
     
  23. wat0114

    wat0114 Registered Member

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    My experience and opinion as well on ShadowProtect. Terabyte IFW has been excellent for me as well, but only after I bumped up my RAM from 2 GB to 4 GB. There have been times, however, when IFW failed to restore because of an error of some sort (can't remember what it was) but then successful after re-booting back into the its environment. Overall, SP has afforded me the most pleasant and trouble free experience imaging and restoring.

    For routine, real-time backups of directories/drives, I do prefer IFW, because it doesn't run resource hogging services or processes like SP. I use Task Scheduler for these backups, using arguments to determine the source and destination drives, email confirmation, and I can backup the changes only, as well. Just a partial excerpt of the .XML file for one of the tasks:

    Code:
    <Exec>
          <Command>"C:\Program Files (x86)\TeraByte Unlimited\Image for Windows\V2\imagew.exe"</Command>
          <Arguments>/b /uy /um /email:smtp.telus.net*john.doe@telus.net*john.doe@telus.net /logmax:1000000 /base:"K:\Storage_Backups\Backup_Storage01" /f:"K:\Storage_Backups\Backup_Storage01-changes02" /v /desc:"Storage01 drive backup changes only."</Arguments>
        </Exec>
     
  24. arsenaloyal

    arsenaloyal Registered Member

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    OK thanks for all your suggestions, Trying out Terabyte Image for Windows ATM.

    Lets see how it goes
     
  25. beethoven

    beethoven Registered Member

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    I am restoring one image to the same HD, running XP. I basically followed the default options and did not change any source or destinations. There is only one image available on an external harddrive.

    I originally had a second harddrive in my computer with an attached raid card but was ignoring this completely. So when I did the first restore and was asked at the end of the process something about searching for missing raid drivers, I declined as the OS did not have raid.

    Originally it seemed to boot up for a microsecond before some blue screen with writing appeared for a nanosecond, I was unable to read anything before going back to preboot menu.

    I then removed the second internal harddrive and raidcard and after having gone through the restore process a few more times, using the same image, I now can only boot up with the recovery disk into macrium, otherwise I am getting "reboot & select proper boot device or insert boot media".
     
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