DriveClone Pro 3.5 Review (compared with True Image)

Discussion in 'backup, imaging & disk mgmt' started by MatiasNino, Oct 26, 2007.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. MatiasNino

    MatiasNino Registered Member

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2007
    Posts:
    4
    Here is some feedback on my trials with DriveClone Pro 3.5.

    I came to using this program after some recent disappointments with True Image.

    First off, some history: I used to be a Ghost fan, then a Drive Image fan, then finally I was enlightened by the amazing Acronis True Image and have been using it since 2003. Unfortunately, the latest True Image 11 completely let me down with its lack of Raid support, so I resorted to True Image Workstation 9.(the latest build). TI Workstation is solid for scheduled backups and restorations, but the latest build (which supports Vista) does not come with a working Universal Restore(WTF??). I am particularly interested in Universal Restore because I get a new laptop every 6-12 months or so and I would LOVE to just restore my laptop image onto the new laptop without going through the hell of reinstalling everything (not to mention I am now on Vista). True Image Workstation was a complete let down in this sense. The Recovery Boot continually froze up on my new laptop, and a prior version of Universal Restore didn't work. It seems that Acronis has really gone down hill and it's truly sad to see such a once-golden piece of software go sour.

    So I did some research into alternatives and I narrowed down my options to DriveClone and ShadowProtect. ShadowProtect seems like the holy grail and is REALLY promising, but it came off as complicated and expensive. I was more interested in DriveClone's claim of both Universal Restore AND Vista support. It seemed too good to be true so I decided to give DriveClone pro 3.5 a shot.

    First off, DriveClone installed fine. I decided to just test basic backup/restore and not experiment with the snapshot function (which requires you to declare reserved drive space, btw). The interface is much simpler and straightforward than True Image. The Backup/Restore procedure provides some nice stats while running such as: Current Speed, Average Speed, Amount processed, Total Amount, Estimated Time, Elapsed time; much more informative than True Image. The speed seems about on par with True Image, maybe a little faster. Another cool thing is that at some point it gives you a ballpark figure for how much space you will need for your final compressed image.

    At first, I backed up 2 vista system images (30 Gig Partitions) to a network share on a USB drive plugged into my network server (gigabit). Apparently DriveClone has to split up the image files into chucks no larger than 2GB (WTF?), so I didn't get a clean 30GB image file like I normally do with True Image. It also asks if you want to make the images with or without Universal Restore Support)

    Restoring seems pretty straightforward (although not as flexible and feature-rich as true image) pick your image, pick your destination, opt for universal restore (or not) and go! At first I planned to restore straight from the network share. The local machine rebooted and went into DriveClone's "pre-OS" boot mode which had no problems detecting both the hardware and the network share. But when it tried to restore from the network, it FROZE before it could start. DOH! (note: I later read that the manual says you can't restore images over 2GB in size directly from the network; Boooo!).

    The images were on a removable drive so I just took the drive and plugged it into the local machine and tried restoring that way. The USB drive was detected fine and restoration began processing (at about 1-2GB's per minute!). Unfortunately BOTH images failed restoration due to some bizarre error codes that I could not look up ANYWHERE (DriveClone has no support forums!).

    Not wanting to waste time with a support ticket to Farstone, I ran an integrity check on the images I created and BOTH images failed integrity checks. My usb drive is solid and I always make sure to park it before unplugging so my guess is backing up over the network was problematic (even though I never have any integrity problems transferring tons of gigs around on the network).

    So then I decide to re-create the images directly onto a local USB drive (and ran integrity checks after creation). The backup speed was about .5 gigs per minute. The integrity checks ran at 2GB per minute and came out fine.

    Finally, I decided to take the Vista system image I had created from my old laptop (Dell D620) and tried restoring it onto a new laptop (Dell M4300) (via Universal Restore). To be safe, I completely blew away all partitions on the destination disk with Disk Doctor so that I could restore onto a clean disk. Then I booted with the burnable "startup disk" (aka the recovery CD) which loads up the same "pre-OS" environment, which also had no problems detecting the local USB drive and network.

    So I ran the universal restore without much hope. To my surprise, it completed successfully, so I rebooted (with Vista Disk in hand anticipating having to run a 'repair').

    Amazingly IT WORKED. Vista booted up fine onto the new laptop and it began installing all the new drivers. I was amazed that it worked! My entire Vista Ultimate configuration went from an old laptop to a brand new one with 100% function retained!

    You read it here first, folks: DriveClone 3.5 Pro Universal Restore can successfully move a Vista system from one computer to another. True Image eat your heart out!

    Other than that, I didn't do much else with DriveClone. Here are things I didn't test that would still be interested to know about:
    -Incremental Image size (I heard True Image wastes a lot of space with this)
    -Image Preview (I like how True Image Home lets you browse directly into images from explorer) but I doubt this is as convenient.
    -Snapshot functionality (seems like there are a lot of restictions that come with this feature but it seems like a more powerful replacement of the lame Windows Restore.)
    -RAID testing

    Pros:
    -Very simple and straightforward. Interface is better than True Image
    -Run by a single windows service. Not like True Image, which utilizes 3 different executables that run on startup.
    -Hardware detection support looks good. I didn't test Raid, but a USB drive + new laptop network card + USB mouse + CD/DVD drive were all recognized with no problems both in Pre-OS mode and with the recovery CD.

    Cons:
    -Reliability is iffy. Two images backed up over the network failed integrity checks. The bad-image failed restores hosed my destination partitions to the point where I had to blow away all partitions on the destination drive. It really left me with little confidence in the backup/restoration process.
    -Restoring from a network location not practical
    -Force-splitting images up into < 2GB files is lame.
    -Not as full-featured as True Image

    All in All:

    I definitely recommend this for the average home user who is just interested in simple backup/restore of a single computer onto a USB drive and then periodically moving his system to a new machine with universal restore. The ability to restore Vista onto a new system without wasting days of reinstallation makes it worth it for me.

    However, when it comes to automated network backups of partitions, Acronis Workstation is still my go-to (for now).
     
  2. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2003
    Posts:
    17,055
    Hi MatiasNino

    First welcome to Wilders. Excellent 1st post. Good detail and explanation of what you did.

    As a self confessed ShadowProtect user, I was curious about this product. Not sure I want to give it a try. Reliablity is the most paramount thing to me. I want to be sure I can restore.

    Do keep us posted about what and how your doing. As I said excellent post.

    Pete
     
  3. Blackcat

    Blackcat Registered Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2002
    Posts:
    4,010
    Location:
    Christchurch, UK
    Nice post, MatiasNino

    Some good observations. Any ideas why your restore from the network failed?

    Tempted to give it a try now.
     
  4. MatiasNino

    MatiasNino Registered Member

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2007
    Posts:
    4
    UPDATE:

    Well, after testing out the universally restored system on my new laptop, I discovered some issues that convinced me to just reinstall from scratch:

    1) Adobe's CS3 software needed to be reinstalled and reactivated (my guess is the Adobe's activation is tied to the hardware.
    2) Microsoft Jet Database service. This is wierd. I run IIS and any app that utilized an Access database would no longer run with a "Microsoft Jet 4.0 not registered on this computer" error.
    3) Misc strange vista errors (screen won't come on, sidebar wont' load at startup) These could just be the new laptop's crappy dell drivers though.

    Error #2 convinced me to just reinstall from scratch. Who knows what kindof deep-seeded dll's and components have hardware-bound registrations that are now broken but that I'll only find out about at the worst possible moment.

    Anyhow, this led me to the realization that "Universal Restore" is not the holy grail it appears to be. Yes, it will restore a system onto different hardware and it will work. However, there will always be some software or dll registration that has dependencies on the hardware that will no longer work on the new system.

    My recommendation is that Universal Restore should only be used when a fresh re-install is not feasible.
     
  5. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2003
    Posts:
    17,055
    Absolutely good point. Not familiar with drive clone, but tested Shadowprotect's HIR extensively and it works amazingly well. BUT BUT..... you have to understand it's objective is to get it on a new system and have the system boot up to windows. Period

    If the systems are really very close hardware wise, you might be all set to go. But if the system aren't close it's not worth the effort.

    Also when I did try it, Windows itself detected the different hardware and wanted re activation. I didn't test office and some other programs but would be surprised if they also did.

    Pete
     
  6. markymoo

    markymoo Registered Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2007
    Posts:
    1,212
    Location:
    England
    Usually a good practice for making a universal image is just to put the bare minimum on it like drivers and few apps and nothing hefty. Having it actually work on all pcs is the main accomplishment and anything else is a bonus.

    This was the only commercial program that makes universal images work. The inventors of ghost before norton messed it up.
    http://binaryresearch.net/products/the_universal_imaging_utility
     
  7. appster

    appster Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2007
    Posts:
    530
    Location:
    Paradise (Hawaii)
    I (for one) would be very interested in hearing about DriveClone 3.5's 'Instant Snapshots'. How convenient and how fast can they be created & restored? Also, how much disk-space do they consume (relative to the space being backed up)?, etc., etc.
     
  8. mhf

    mhf Registered Member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2006
    Posts:
    52
    Location:
    Europe
    Some more observations about DriveClone Pro.

    Thanks MatiasNino for that very good analysis.

    I am using DC Pro 3 (not 3.5) on this setup : desktop PC Windows XP with a 80gb internal HD and a 240gb external USB HD for backups. I suppose you could say this is the typical setup for anyone that wants to back up their data.

    I have used the system snapshots with no problems at all, they do take up more room than say Rollback Rx snapshots, also you cannot delete them individually, or rather the only way is to either reinstall DC or change the size of the "Secure area" in which case all the snapshots are deleted. However you can control the amount of disk space they take by deciding yourself on the size of the storage area. Also you can easily browse the contents of a snapshot and extract files if necessary. The snapshots are quick to create and restore and can of course be scheduled.
    The only thing I haven't attempted is to extract a snapshot from the secure area and put it on a CD - but would that be of any use anyway?

    I backup the data on the internal HD (about 23gb) to the external HD and run daily incremental backups, these take about 2 minutes or so, a complete backup takes around 15 minutes if I remember rightly. It is true that DC chops up the image into chunks - is that a big deal? Other imaging applications do too.

    The file backup works perfectly too as do the incremental file backups which are very quick.

    The Rescue CD/DVD works fine BUT don't forget to have your licence number or code written down somewhere because it will be asked for - if you have only noted it in a file on your PC you're done for (see below).

    The only down-sider : when I tried to upgrade from DC 3 to DC 3.5.
    The installer recognizes an existing installation and asks you if you wish to add modules (e.g. the new functions of 3.5 : Universal Restore and USB Hotdrive) or uninstall DC 3. I took my courage in my two hands and went for the first option, woe is me...
    The installation failed, the computer went into an endless reboot and I had to run the Windows xp install disk to repair - guess why? Because I didn't have my licence code written down so the Rescue CD wouldn't work. Anyway the Windows repair worked, I uninstalled DC 3.5 and reinstalled DC 3.

    So all in all even though I haven't tested it as thoroughly as MatiasNino, DC Pro works for me in my setup and I'm really quite happy with it, it does what I need it to do and does it well enough for me.
     
  9. Acadia

    Acadia Registered Member

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2002
    Posts:
    4,048
    Location:
    SouthCentral PA
    I, too, would be interesting in knowing more about the Instant Recovery feature.

    Acadia
     
  10. MatiasNino

    MatiasNino Registered Member

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2007
    Posts:
    4
    Another Update:

    I did created another backup over the network. This time I checked "check data integrity when finished" and the check came out clean this time.

    I haven't tried to restore the image yet, but I will post here if it works.
     
  11. markymoo

    markymoo Registered Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2007
    Posts:
    1,212
    Location:
    England
    I have a Asus P5B Deluxe motherboard which is a popular motherboard which uses the ICH8R chipset. I am running raid 0. I installed Driveclone Pro 3.5 and it says incompatibility with the bios on bootup. It took a snapshot ok but failed to enter into the menu of driveclone, an access error. I believe this could be down to the ICH8R chipset. I am asking if you be able to fix this and update your product? So i was forced to uninstall it.


    Reply:

    Our supported RAID controllers are listed here:

    http://farstone.com/software/driveclone-raid.htm

    Our list is limited to controllers supported by Linux because we use a Linux kernel for our program. If Linux doesn’t have the support, we won’t be able to include it. So it really depends on if your RAID controller’s drivers are ever made for Linux.
     
Loading...
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.