Free alternative to Acronis True Image?

Discussion in 'backup, imaging & disk mgmt' started by Durad, Apr 5, 2009.

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  1. Durad

    Durad Registered Member

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    Is there any free alternative to Acronis True Image.
    I just need simple software that can create separate partition and store image of fresh installed Windows with ability to recover if Windows does not start..

    o_O
     
  2. n8chavez

    n8chavez Registered Member

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    First off....open your wallet. You'll find that quality software costs. The old adage is true; you get what you pay for. That being said, if you insist on going the freeware route, try Macrium Reflect .
     
  3. the Tester

    the Tester Registered Member

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    Keep your money and check out Macrium Reflect.
     
  4. Baldrick

    Baldrick Registered Member

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    Have you considered Paragon Hard Disk Manager v8.5 Special Edition?

    Is available from here:

    http://www.vnunet.com/vnunet/downloads/2229498/paragon-hard-disk-manager-se

    and just requires registration with Paragon. It can do all that you are looking for and much more.

    Give it a whirl along side the other proposed and compare, then chose the one that works best for you/that you are most comfortable with or using. ;)
     
  5. RAD

    RAD Registered Member

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    Paragon Drive Backup Express is free. You just can't store on a CD/DVD.

    You mean an alternative to Acronis that actually works don't you ?
     
  6. prius04

    prius04 Registered Member

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    Hey, you're the one who posted the following link in another thread, right?:

    http://www.paragon-software.com/downloads/free_downloads.html

    Awfully nice of these folks to offer all that stuff free of charge. I mean, that's a *lot* of free software with, seemingly, a lot of utility. I realize they're going to try to get people to upgrade but it's still one heck of a nice gesture on Paragon's part, IMHO.
     
  7. zarzenz

    zarzenz Registered Member

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    Amazing that I should see this thread today because just recently I've been thinking maybe I should start to have some sort of image backup software installed just in case my hard drive packs up. I do make regular backups of my most important documents to a multisession CD using Nero and this works well, but I would not wish to have to do a full rebuild of my system if the drive failed.

    So... as I know nothing of these softwares... this thread has got me very interested, so thanks to Durad for starting it.

    Reading the replies I decided to install the free version of Macrium Reflect as it has some good reviews and seems to be able to do all that I require.

    On opening the program it is asking me to make a Rescue CD but then it gives a choice of Linux or BartPE. I know nothing of these but doing some research it would appear that BartPE is very useful. However this requires building from the Bart site, which seems easy to do on visiting the info there.

    But then it also seems that using the built in Linux method may be all that is needed to restore a system with this software.

    Maybe making one of each method on separate CD's and then experimenting with a rebuild using either would be a good way to go.

    So... any ideas about this would be welcome and also any reports of how reliable the image once made of my system would be at getting up and running again with say a replacement hard drive if ever required.
     
  8. prius04

    prius04 Registered Member

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    Installed Macrium on an old (very old) PC. Although the image to an external USB HDD completed without any issues, I was not able to boot from the Rescue CD (Linux) - it just hung at "please wait"......for an eternity.

    Uninstalled Macrium and installed Paragon's Drive Backup Express. The s/w felt more responsive and the imaging process appeared to be a bit faster. More importantly, though, I was able to boot and see all drives with the recovery CD.

    Have yet to get around to testing restore functionality but that's next. Of course, since I can't seem to get past "please wait" using the Macrium (Linux) Rescue CD, I'm just going to do a restore using DBE and see how that goes.

    IMHO, Macrium is nice s/w and, at 40 bucks, a bargain considering you get WinPE. However, from a quick glance at their forum, I wasn't alone in not being able to boot from their (Linux-based) Rescue CD. The "stock answer" to that issue was typically, 'you get WinPE, which is guaranteed to work, if you buy the product'. Perfectly understandable but then I didn't have any issues with the Paragon recovery environment and I didn't have to pay for it either.
     
  9. RAD

    RAD Registered Member

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    Yeah. I own Paragon Drive Backup Personal 8.51 and 9.0, so I am on their mailing list. I am sure they offer it free so you can see that it really works, then you want the extra features of the higher level additions.

    I am still using Partition Manager Express though. :D

    I think I have mentioned that I am not expert enough to claim it is "the best", but it has worked for me and saved my systems numerous times on my two computers. Never a hiccup.
     
  10. zarzenz

    zarzenz Registered Member

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    Interesting that you found this prius04, and makes me wonder why Macrium would therefore bother with the Linux method if it is unreliable when the BartPE is guaranteed to work. This is when I start to want to try things out for myself to see just what results I get.

    Something I have also now done is to download both the other softwares mentioned above... Paragon Hard Disk Manager... thanks Baldrick and Paragon Drive Backup Express... thanks RAD.

    I haven't installed these yet but will probably do so later.

    What I did notice was that the Hard Disk Manager download came in at 26.2 MB and Macrium Reflect a little higher at 27.1 MB but Drive Backup Express was a huge 72.0 MB. I can't help wondering why this would be so much higher and what it includes, but it must surely have more features for this size.

    Anyway... I do have an older PC here that I could do some testing on with all three programs and also try both boot methods with the Macrium.

    BTW... what method does both the Paragon softwares use... as I haven't installed these yet I have no idea about how they create a Rescue CD.

    Well... looks like I may have my next software project underway here.
     
  11. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    The BartPE plugin was included in my free download.
     
  12. tonyseeking

    tonyseeking Former Poster

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    Does the free version allow you to boot a CD and backup an image and restore?
     
  13. Baldrick

    Baldrick Registered Member

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    At the risk of being accused of flogging a dead horse I repeat:

    Have you considered Paragon Hard Disk Manager v8.5 Special Edition?

    Is available from here:

    http://www.vnunet.com/vnunet/downloa...isk-manager-se

    and just requires registration with Paragon. It can do all that the free version can do and much more...as it was originally the full version before v9.

    A cool piece of kit in my opinion. :thumb:
     
  14. prius04

    prius04 Registered Member

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    Actually, it's WinPE that is "guaranteed to work". The BartPE plugin, as Brian K mentioned, is included in the free download.

    I believe an ISO (Boot CD) file is included and gets installed - the size of that thing is ~47MB.

    For imaging? They have their own hot processing method but I believe one can also choose VSS (not sure if such an option exists in the free version).
     
  15. prius04

    prius04 Registered Member

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    No and neither does the paid version. Cold imaging is a feature Macrium is planning to add in the future.
     
  16. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    Like many of these plugins, Macrium doesn't need to be on the CD to run. If you have a VistaPE CD, boot from the CD, insert a USB flash drive containing the plugin and double click ReflectPE.exe. Done.


    Edit.... You can do the same thing with an old BartPE CD. With BartPE, the USB flash drive must be inserted prior to starting the CD boot.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2009
  17. zarzenz

    zarzenz Registered Member

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    Thanks prius04 for clearing up those points there.

    I did get confused with the terms WinPE and BartPE, so now I get it... the much acclaimed WinPE is actually included in the full Macrium version but only the BartPE plugin is available with the free version.

    But from what I have read about all this it would appear that BartPE seems to be very useful and simply is a clever way of creating what is virtually the WinPE system using the required files available in the XP system to avoid the licence requirements. So if this is the case then I would assume that BartPE is just as reliable in the free as WinPE is in the full. Thanks for the info regarding file sizes etc.

    Now... I have just installed both the Paragon programs mentioned above.

    Got to be honest... not sure I like either at the moment. The Hard Disk Manager, whilst looking very good, seems to be more of a partition manager with backup included, which is not really what I'm looking for.

    The Drive Backup Express seems to be not so user friendly with the way it opens... many people may prefer that style but I always like the type of Macrium/Hard Drive Manager interface that I'm more used to using.

    Anyway... now it is clear DBE also has this built in Linux boot recovery disk system... I am thinking HDM probably uses this also but doesn't seem to refer to it directly as far as I have found.

    Which now makes me think that for my very basic requirement of getting my system on an image DVD and a simple boot from disk option... seems Macrium may well be all I need. So my next step will be to start doing some actual testing of these programs. I may even decide that one of the Paragons will be better... time and testing will tell.

    Just as I was about to post this, I saw your info Brian K... that is also interesting regarding the boot options. This is all very good info as this is something I have never felt the need to do much about in the past, but with all these free softwares available to do these recovery images then it seems to make sense do make use of them now.
     
  18. bman412

    bman412 Registered Member

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    Paragon HDM has a recovery media builder. Run the program then click on Tools > Recovery Media Builder. And if you would want your backups to be on a disk, then you can count out Express since it doesn't allow you to burn the image onto a disk as far as I know.

    Macrium on the otherhand has better speed compared to the old Paragon freebies and is continually being developed.
     
  19. zarzenz

    zarzenz Registered Member

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    Thanks bman412,

    More good info there.
     
  20. prius04

    prius04 Registered Member

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    Well, what I did was re-installed Macrium and built a BartPE CD using an OEM copy of XP Pro. Anyway, the whole deal works great now and I'm back to preferring Macrium over DBE, at least for that one old PC.

    Have no idea what the issue was but Macrium's (Linux-based) recovery environment didn't seem to be on par with the one provided with DBE. Like zarzenz, I prefer Macrium's interface (feels more like ShadowProtect) and the boot issue disappears when using a BartPE CD.
     
  21. tonyseeking

    tonyseeking Former Poster

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    Paragon is horrible. It takes hours to backup and restore an image, and you need to buy the retail version to get quick drivers.
     
  22. Kapiti

    Kapiti Registered Member

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    Try making the Macrium Reflect boot disk again, but this time click on the advance button then tick the compatibility mode...works for most people.
     
  23. tonyseeking

    tonyseeking Former Poster

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    Their website contadicts you:

    http://www.macrium.com/reflectfree.asp

    NOTE: Linux based Rescue CD with Network access and full GUI. Only 6.5MB in size!
     
  24. tonyseeking

    tonyseeking Former Poster

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    What's wrong with the boot CD that Macrium creates?
     
  25. prius04

    prius04 Registered Member

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    Can't see how. Unless they've released a new build in the last couple of weeks or so, you can't do a cold image with Macrium (free or paid).

    Direct quote from a post by Nick with Macrium Support: "We are adding 'cold' imaging soon..."
     
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