Sector-by-Sector Hard Drive Image Software

Discussion in 'backup, imaging & disk mgmt' started by GhostR1der, Jul 31, 2018.

  1. GhostR1der

    GhostR1der Registered Member

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    Hello Everyone,

    I am looking for a software that will do a sector-by-sector image of the hard drive like Symantec Ghost did. Unfortunately, older versions of ghost 11.5 will not recognize my SSD so I cannot use it. Is there a software out there that will do a sector by sector image of the hard drive?

    Thank you!
     
  2. TheRollbackFrog

    TheRollbackFrog Registered Member

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    @GhostR1der , almost all of the imaging software I've tried recently has a mode similar to what you are asking for. In the case of Macrium REFLECT, it's "Forensic" mode, with Terabyte Unlimited's "Image For Windows" it's "Backup unused sectors"... they all seem to have this option just under different option names.

    Take a look at some of the FREE ones (AOMEI?) and I'm sure you'll find what you need.
     
  3. TheRollbackFrog

    TheRollbackFrog Registered Member

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    AOMEI's BACKUPPER FREE does support "sector-by-sector" backup which is the ALL SECTOR mode... probably your best choice if you're looking for a no expense solution.
     
  4. TheRollbackFrog

    TheRollbackFrog Registered Member

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    ...and I believe Macrium REFLECT FREE also supports its "Forensic mode"... another excellent choice.
     
  5. GhostR1der

    GhostR1der Registered Member

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    Thank you for your quick response TheRollbackFrog! I'll try Macrium Reflect as it seems a lot of people use it here.
     
  6. reasonablePrivacy

    reasonablePrivacy Registered Member

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    Sector-by-sector is technically the easiest type of backup to do. You can just use Gnu/Linux livecd distribution on pendrive or dvd. Built-in dd command is enough for that.

    Paid backup software is worth money because it can do more efficient not-sector-by-sector backup and incremental or differential updates of that backup.
     
  7. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    GhostR1der,

    Can I ask why you need to do sector-by-sector imaging?
     
  8. MisterB

    MisterB Registered Member

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    This is the best sector by sector imaging program I know of:

    http://hddguru.com/software/HDD-Raw-Copy-Tool/

    It's succeeded where everything else has failed including Linux DD. My most recent example is when I recently migrated a multiboot Rasberry Pi 32gb SD card to a faster card. I had used Linux and DD to image the card but the Rasberry PI uses a slightly different disk structure than normal Linux. In theory that shouldn't have mattered but in practice the image would not transfer to the new SD card and DD was extremely slow. I tried Aomei sector by sector imaging and it wouldn't do the whole drive but it would do it partition by partition. That didn't fully work and was a long and tedious process. HDD Raw copy took just a few minutes to clone the card and it worked perfectly. It also compresses images nicely. DD plus gzip resulted in a much larger image which I found didn't restore properly. I found this program looking for something that would image the mini drive in a Palm Life Drive which uses a proprietary file system used nowhere else.

    What works on a normal hard drive doesn't always work with removable media but this little program has worked with everything I've tried it on. Most sector by sector imaging uses some form of compression and, I assume, the compression just looks for unused sectors and skips them. Apparently, what it assumes is unused isn't always unused, especially with SD cards and other removable media.
     
  9. reasonablePrivacy

    reasonablePrivacy Registered Member

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    I doubt that any backup/image software uses lossy compression algorithm. It must be omitting something in the earlier stages of creating backup.
     
  10. taotoo

    taotoo Registered Member

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    I thought the point of sector by sector was that it copies everything regardless of perceived necessity.
     
  11. TheRollbackFrog

    TheRollbackFrog Registered Member

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    It's supposed to... :)
     
  12. MisterB

    MisterB Registered Member

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    DD should have worked. It doesn't compress and does direct byte by byte imaging. The Raspberry Pi uses a different partitioning scheme and I can manipulate partitions with gparted with the Pi but if I take the SD card and put it in a regular PC running Linux, gparted and DD will create errors. A sector by sector copy should just copy every byte regardless. I was shocked to see DD fail, shouldn't happen. It means the OS itself isn't seeing the SD card structure correctly. HDD Raw Copy in Windows didn't have a problem. I think running DD from another Pi would have worked but the image would have been much larger and I was just trying to migrate the system, not find out why DD failed.
     
  13. GhostR1der

    GhostR1der Registered Member

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    By any chance do you know if this software will work from bootable CD/USB running WinPE? I really don't want to pull the drive(s) out each time I want to do a full sector by sector copy.

    Thank you!
     
  14. TheRollbackFrog

    TheRollbackFrog Registered Member

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    The StandAlone version appears to be built for a 32-bit architecture. Most WinPEs are built for a single architecture where LIVE Windows contains all the components for dual-architecture (32 & 64-bit) operation.

    It should run just fine if your WinPE is built specifically for 32-bit operation. I have no 32-bit WinPEs or I would have tested it quickly for you (it did not run under my 64-bit WinPE <Macrium Reflect build>).
     
  15. TheRollbackFrog

    TheRollbackFrog Registered Member

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    I just tested it using Gandalf's x86 WinPE v10 (RS3) and it worked just fine under their 32-bit WinPE...
     
  16. GhostR1der

    GhostR1der Registered Member

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    This is a great news! Thank you for checking TheRollbackFrog. I was messing with my system last night and remembered that when I used Ghost in the past, it only imaged used sectors. I am sure there was a switch to include unused/free space as well. When I tried Reflect, it captured an entire drive, which is good, but file size was enormous as my drive is 512GB. I really don't need to include unused sectors as all I'm trying to achieve is a sector by sector image of used sectors (partitions, boot record, etc..) only. Reflects Intelligent backup excludes pagefile, hibernate settings and I believe it uses VSS to capture the data. Also the weirdest part is when I used "Medium" compression with sector by sector backup, file shrunk from 512GB to 8GB. Even though data alone was about 40GB and it finished in just a little oven an hour and a half. Where as no compression took over 7 hours to finish. That just did not sound right to me... Basically here is my situation, I want to create 2 sector by sector images of my newly built Win 10 OS as it takes a long time to get it configured the way I like it and Microsoft likes to release patches that blow things up once in a while. :p One image will be a base OS image prior any updates and other will be my essential working config with all of the drivers and software installed, as well as Windows updated. I have an external 1TB USB 3.1 HDD where I would like to hold both images and as you can see if I use Reflect sector by sector image, they will not fit. So I wanted to try HDD Raw Copy as people reported that image is slightly smaller.

    Thank you everyone for your suggestions and recommendations. Just want to let you know that I appreciate your help!
     
  17. TheRollbackFrog

    TheRollbackFrog Registered Member

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    @GhostR1der - excluding PageFile and HiberFile from images is a very common approach to keeping usable images small. The PageFile is re-established whenever Windows is restarted (useless as a reference when restarting Windows) and a HiberFile image is basically useless when Windows is restarted. There's really no reason to have them in a disk image (there are placeholders in the image for those files when they are re-established).

    If you're imaging from a LIVE Windows System, the VSS FileLock is necessary to maintain consistency in files when they are restored. This is more important for DataBase files than any other. VSS does not pollute your image in any way, it only makes it more consistent for future use. When imaging from a WinPE version of Reflect (its Recovery Media), VSS is not used at all since the disk/partition you will be imaging will not be locked by the System and therefore not be changing in any way.

    I've used Reflect for years to establish BaseLine images as well as points-in-time prior to unpredictable Windows updates... there is no issue using Reflect's "Intelligent Sector Backup" feature unless you're trying to copy sectors which Windows really doesn't know about anyway (like hidden Malware/RansomeWare/virii). Reflect will image everything necessary to reproduce a BOOTable image at a later time.

    Most other imaging applications (my backup imaging System is Terabyte Unlimited's "TeraByte Drive Image Backup and Restore Suite") do the same when imaging only "used sectors."
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2018
  18. GhostR1der

    GhostR1der Registered Member

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  19. Mr.X

    Mr.X Registered Member

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  20. TheRollbackFrog

    TheRollbackFrog Registered Member

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    If you go to PAGE #2 of his listings (previous builds) and follow their individual LINKs, you will find DOWNLOAD links available. I think he has temporary issues with the site.
     
  21. TheRollbackFrog

    TheRollbackFrog Registered Member

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    Additional info... secondary LINKs are disappearing fast as well (they were all there yesterday). I think he may be moving his builds from GOOGLE Drive (where most of them were) to another location and in the meantime removing the links.

    Or... he may have some legal issue at hand... stay tuned.
     
  22. GhostR1der

    GhostR1der Registered Member

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    @TheRollbackFrog you wouldn't happen to have an ISO of Gandalf's x86 WinPE v10 (RS3) that you can throw on a google drive for a day and send me url via pm? :D:D:D
     
  23. ZMsiXone

    ZMsiXone Registered Member

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    hi

    few minutes ago i booted one of my machines with the ACRONIS TRUE IMAGE 2017 Rescue Disc to take a look at the backup options the software is offering (i was not sure if this option is avaiable in this version).
    This version is also offering this kind of disk image:

    "Backup Sector-By-Sector (requires more starage space)"

    You can check or uncheck this option before creating an image.


    greets from europe!
     
  24. TheRollbackFrog

    TheRollbackFrog Registered Member

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    @GhostR1der - I can do this but it will take a while as my uplink speed is VEEEEEEEEERY SLOW (probably an overnight kind of upload). I'll let you know by PM when the file will be available...
     
  25. GhostR1der

    GhostR1der Registered Member

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    @TheRollbackFrog Thank you very much Sir!:thumb:

    @ZMsiXone I appreciate your input. When I downloaded Acronis True Image, trial version did not allow me to test this feature, so I moved on to exploring other options.
     
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