OhMy! AOMEI!

Discussion in 'backup, imaging & disk mgmt' started by bellgamin, Jun 17, 2018.

  1. bellgamin

    bellgamin Very Frequent Poster

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    On my XP box I have used Keriver to image for several years. Always worked flawlessly.

    Got me a Win7 box. LOVE that OS now. Tried Keriver on it. It flubbed restore. Screwed up the whole system drive, MBR to boot -- er, NOT to boot. Smelly cyberfart. Had to get my tech to fix it. Sent Keriver up the river. Bah!

    Imaging is a key factor in enabling my minimalist security set-up. So I began a 2-week intensive search for replacement imager. Using Shadow Defender, I tried Acronis, Macrium, R-drive Image, AOMEI, Drive Snapshot (only app where support didn't answer my queries), & O&O. It was fun but tiring doing all these trials.

    The main factors I was seeking were:
    1- an imager that walks me through everything with crystal-clear wizards & check boxes. Hopefully NO blanks or boxes requiring me to fill them in. GOAL: I never have to read their instructions or help files. To wit: I was seeking an imager designed by Phd's for execution by 5th graders.
    2- an imager that does NOT offer a lot of tweaks, options, skins, eyecandy, & utilities not directly related to imaging.
    3- an imager whose support team replies quickly & clearly with minimal technical jargon & acronyms.

    The one that best met my goals in Shadow Defender mode was AOMEI. So I ran it live today (not in ShadowDefender's protected mode) -- used it to create booter, WinPE & AOMEI on my 2tb external hard drive. Used it to image disk 0 onto the external hard drive. Then booted to the external hard drive, said a prayer, & did a restore to drive 0 on my sweet Dell laptop. I hated to do that because that laptop is running sooo smooth & does everything I want it to do. But I HAD to know if AOMEI could be relied on, so I rolled the dice & did a restore.

    Shazam! It is perfectamente for my needs! Your mileage may differ.
     
  2. zapjb

    zapjb Registered Member

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    What version, paid or free?
     
  3. bellgamin

    bellgamin Very Frequent Poster

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    Right now I'm using Free. I will buy the Pro after Free proves itself a couple more weeks. The Pro's main added capability that I want is incremental updates. Free only does differentials.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2018
  4. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Aomei is a fine choice. I have the pro licences, and have tested both imaging and test restored. Only thing I didn't release at first is you need to do system images if you want them bootable. It's not one of my 3 main imaging programs only because it doesn't have fast incrementals. But it will make a reliable workhorse.

    And yes support is supurb. One of my licenses needed to be reset. I emailed them at 1130pm and had a reply in the morning that they reset the license by 7:00am Hard to beat.
     
  5. bellgamin

    bellgamin Very Frequent Poster

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    Great info, Peter. Many thanks!
     
  6. hstrent

    hstrent Registered Member

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    I have used Macrium Reflect free for sometime and really like it. Never let me down.
     
  7. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Hstrent, that is totally OFF TOPIC to this thread
     
  8. hstrent

    hstrent Registered Member

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    Huh? Admittedly, the original post is dealing with an AOEMI imaging product but it is also about imaging. How narrow do you have to be around here to not be "OFF TOPIC"? Obviously, I transgressed some forum etiquette that was not obvious to me.
     
  9. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    it wasn't about general imaging, but specifically about AOMEI. Therefore it doesn't include any other imaging.
     
  10. bellgamin

    bellgamin Very Frequent Poster

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    The thread topic line says AOMEI. Not hard to see or understand. Boring to turn it into an imaging software popularity contest. Macrium is more powerful & better known than AOMEI, granted. But I clearly stated I sought a plain vanilla imager, which is why this thread deals with AOMEI & not Macrium.
     
  11. act8192

    act8192 Registered Member

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    Please explain. What is a bootable image? You click on it and IT BOOTS?

    Perhaps you and bellgamin can advise me.
    I need something decent to use on Windows10. AOMEI caught my attention a while back, but I sat on the idea since.
    While quick reading AOMEI manual, for the first time, I'm not 100% sure of things like System backup. Definitions in every program mean different things :(

    I multiboot (grub loader) Windows 7, 10 and Linux Mint. On MBR drive in a laptop.
    I normally image System_Drv, Windows7, Windows10 into one image file.
    I don't image Linux nor a big data partition.
    To recover, say, Windows10, I'd select always a pair of partitions, in this instance System_Drv and Windows10.
    The list of images is taken from the currently connected disk contents and NOT from some log or setup files. I like that.
    Anyway, few questions regarding my wishes:
    - In AOMEI I'd be using Partition selection, correct?
    To do a differential, again, I'd be doing Partition and select based on what's now connected and not some log file, right?
    - How about viewing the contents of an image in Windows to see certain files in an image? What's involved? Can files be extracted to a different location than the original source?
    - I assume there is a bootable AOMEI so that images can be done using USB flash loader with no interference from any background chatter Windows does. Right?
    - Doing images on two external drives is OK, right?
    - I name drives so that drive letters, if different under non-Windows environment, will correctly identify what I'm working on, right?
    - I'm allergic to scheduling, backup plans, schemes and other such. Will AOMEI fight me?
    - Can images be validated immediately after making a backup?
     
  12. hstrent

    hstrent Registered Member

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    EXCUSE ME! I seem to have committed the unpardonable sin. I would have appreciated it more if you had just ignored my post if you thought it was irrelevant. As it was, it came across to me as snooty.
     
  13. bellgamin

    bellgamin Very Frequent Poster

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    @ hstrent - Be at peace. Sorry if I came across as snooty. I was just *trying* to explain the thrust of the thread. Evidently I bolloxed the effort. Sorry.

    @ act8192 - I am too much a novice to answer your questions in a technical way. As noted previously, AOMEI was so simple I could understand it without reading the manual. If I had read the manual it's likely I would never have installed it. So suffer me to tell you what I did, writing in my customary doofus lingo...

    I first used AOMEI inside Windows. AOMEI has:
    1) a click spot that says "Make bootable media on CD or USB" - so I clicked it. It made my 2tb USB HD bootable. So I booted it. It loaded AOMEI, but NOT Windows.
    I then used AOMEI outside of Windows
    ==> when my HD booted, it presented me with a full version of AOMEI. Ergo:
    2) I clicked a spot labelled "Backup". Doing that opened 3 options: System Backup, Disk Backup, Partition Backup. I chose Disk Backup.
    3) When AOMEI finished the image, I was still outside Windows. So I clicked on Restore. After I showed AOMEI which file to restore, it got it done. Then I disconnected my USB HD & prayerfully cold-booted to Windows. It came up juuust fine! Shazam!

    Tomorrow or the next day I will start a differential update using AOMEI from within Windows***. (I won't be able to try incremental until I buy PRO. But I want to trial the Freeby for a few more days before buying, just to be sure.)

    In short, all I've done so far is to read the labels on AOMEI's buttons & click them. That joyously simple process left me plenty of time to play my uke, & pursue my photography hobby, & enjoy my grandkids when they visited.

    I will leave it to Peter & others to answer your questions in a more satisfactory way.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    *** One could just as well use the bootable CD or USB (USB HD in my case) to update images as well as create them outside of Windows. I like doing it that way -- it's a lot "quieter" out there... no Windows thingees running in the background. However, if one likes to keep working on stuff while AOMEI does its thing, okay for them. AOMEI professes to do its thing well within Windows. In a few days, I shall see.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2018
  14. ichito

    ichito Registered Member

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    Hi Bellgamin
    Keriver 1-Click can create bootable media (CD/DVD or USB) and by this way "omit" boot queue - find in Keriver folder the file "Builder.exe" run and follow the creator. Than set in BIOS start first with e.g. USB disk...I have installed such solution what allows me manouver between Keriver recovery console and launching machine with XP and Linux.
     
  15. matra

    matra Registered Member

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  16. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Hi Act8192

    A lot of what you are doing is not stuff I do, as I don't multiboot, like you are doing. Instead I run a couple of virtual machines. But I can answer a couple of things.

    First the system vs drive. Both my systems are win 7 and have only 1 partition, the c: drive. Don't even have the 100mb partition. If I take a c: drive image and just restore it it's fine. But if I take just the drive image and then wipe the drive, then the restored image won't boot. In that scenario I have to take a system image, which is what I now do.

    Second thing is your drive naming. If what you are taking is actually making the drive letters what you want then you may get in trouble. The drive letters in recovery environments may or may not match. What you need to do is use labels for each drive that identifies them, and the in the RE you go by the label and not the drive letter.
     
  17. MisterB

    MisterB Registered Member

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    If a Windows 7 image is restored to an empty drive with Aomie and doesn't boot it is usually one of three things in an MBR disk:

    1: The BCD needs to be updated to reference the right disk or partition. This gives a Windows boot error message.

    2: The MBR is messed up or not there. This results in a blinking cursor on a blank screen. The MBR can be fixed easily with Aomei Partition Assistant's "Rebuild MBR" function.

    3: The active partition is not set. On systems with a System_DRV partition that is the one. If it is just a C: drive partition, that is the partition that needs to be set active. This also gives a blinking cursor and can be fixed with Aomei partition assistant or any other partitioning program.

    With Aomei, the regular backup and restore function will work with all versions of Windows except Xp and earlier. Xp requires a "sector by sector" backup and restore to save and restore the partition boot code correctly.

    With GPT EFI systems, the Fat 32 EFI partition needs to be backed up and restored either manually or with System Backup. If it is restored to a blank disk, the same BCD issues occur and the BCD usually needs to be updated to reference the correct disk and partition. This can be complicated because Windows tries to make EFI partitions inaccessible and it sometimes takes going into the command prompt and using partinfo to give the EFI partition a drive letter. BootICE is my tool of choice for BCD editing and fixes. It is included in Aomei PE Builder and boot disks created with it will have it in the utilities folder. GPT EFI booting doesn't use any absolute boot sector addressing or active partition. It is file system based and a UEFI BIOS can read a Fat32 file system and will automatically look for the necessary boot files on the first Fat32 partition it finds whether it is labled EFI or not. If it is there, and the BCD or Grub files are correct, the system will boot. If "Secure Boot" is enabled, it will do a signature verification on the boot files and refuse to boot an unverified system.

    Aomei will back up and restore Linux file systems and automatically use sector by sector backup and restore. It can't read the file system or do any resizing. That can be done in Linux with Gparted.

    Modern OSes are much better at setting the system drive letter correctly after a restore to a different disk. In Linux I recommend using GUIDs to reference partitions in fstab. Then you can clone the partition anywhere you want and the system will boot once Grub is updated. There's no need to do that manually, the root partition is almost always set up that way when Linux is installed and the Gnome disk utility("Disks") will do that for any other volumes on the disk.
     
  18. Acadia

    Acadia Registered Member

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    I researched Aomei for a time while searching for "extra" backup/recovery programs for my recently new pc. I found many articles, you can Google it yourself for those articles. And while Aomei is not one of my two "go to" recovery programs, two things that MANY articles mentioned impressed me about this program. One, EASY to use. Two, the free version has almost all the features of the paid for version, including Incrementals.
    Acadia
     
  19. Marcelo

    Marcelo Registered Member

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    What about backup speed how is it compared to other products?
     
  20. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Not as fast as others, but speed is only a valid consideration after reliability
     
  21. bellgamin

    bellgamin Very Frequent Poster

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    I usually start big backups at bedtime with AOMEI set to "shutdown" when it is finished. A few hours later, when *nature* jerks me awake, the backup job is done & the screen is a lovely shade of black. Speed? Who knows? I'm on Hawaiian time -- always 10 hours late to the dance (zulu minus 10).

    BCD = Boot Configuration Data? I hope I NEVER have to tinker with that geeky area of my computer's groin area. :eek:
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2018
  22. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    I use it all the time for Macrium. Works find.
     
  23. act8192

    act8192 Registered Member

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    @bellgamin,
    Have you done a restore yet? Differentials?

    @Peter2150,
    It turns out that when runs at boot from the USB flash with PE on it, it retains drive letters from Windows, and assigns a (temporary?) letter to the System_Drv, making it easy to later explore in Windows.

    @MisterB,
    Thanks for a nice writeup. My stuff is MBR/legacy. Like your details about UEFI though.
    AOMEI-step1.jpg
    AOMEI-finished.jpg
    @Marcelo,
    Like Peter2150 said, accuracy is key. Not speed. That said, seems identical to Acronis. maybe a tad faster. For my 2 windows partitiions it was 10min, vs 12 by Acronis to image total of about 85g. It was going at 125MB/sec over USB3.
    Imaging from within windows10 of a small partition I have was slower, 90MB/s. No wonder with all that Windows chatter and activities.

    I really like it. Other than non-resizeable windows.
    - It remembers location of selected images, but does not fight me when I change location. Just requests to find a path.
    - Just one service runs and no unnecessary junkware.
    - It runs completely in RAM, so it's ok to remove flash after it loads.
    - Exploring image from Windows is fabulous. Finally for me, since I've ditched ATI GUI client long ago since it's so hostile (ATI-home-11,ca 2008, was the last friendly GUI). I did some visual inspections to compare image to source directories, and it all looked ok. Proof is, of course, recovery.
    - It didn't force any schedules on me, and generally GUI, both in Windows and recovery flash, are simple to navigate through.

    BAD NEWS for me:
    I can't use it. Googled for multiboot recoveries and there's practically nothing. So I contacted AOMEI support. Within hours got an answer that I should not do recovery because they don't support system such as mine.
     
  24. bellgamin

    bellgamin Very Frequent Poster

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    @ act8192 - have done 2 restores, 1 to test AOMEI before purchase, another to twin my #2 laptop to my #1. I'm making incrementals for now. Have not yet tried differential. Sorry to hear AOMEI won't handle your system. May I ask why you have a multiboot set-up to 3 versions of Windows?
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2018
  25. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    act8192,

    I find that surprising as I'd expect it to work. They are just partitions containing data and there is no special MBR. I don't have a Microsoft multi-boot system to test but why don't you run a restore test?
     
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