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need suggestions for system imaging software


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25 replies to this topic

#1 FayB

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 04:03 PM

I have an older computer running win xp and have lost the disks that came with it. I have had 2 hard drive crashes on it and both times took it to a computer shop to have a drive installed. It still has the sticker on the case with the Windows key number so they used their disk to install, then they also installed drivers etc. I had a backup of my data, restored it and re-installed and re-configured the other software - what a pain. I would like to create a disk image so that if it happens again I can just restore everything to a new disk with the disk image.

Not sure exactly how it works but from what I have understand, I should not have to re-install anything that was on the computer at the time I created the disk image. Is that correct?.

I also have a win 7 computer and have used the build in tool to create an image, but haven't tried the restore so don't know if it works.
I don't think XP has a built in imaging tool, just the backups. I can do the backups but really would like to be able to create an image file. Can anyone suggest a good imaging program for XP that is either free or at least not too expensive - definitely less than $50.00. less if possible. I don't want to pay too much. It is an older computer and if it is going to cost too much, I'll just trash the computer if the hard drive crashes again. I would like something that is simple to use. Don't need a lot of options, just create an image of the whole drive. I did some google searches and tried to research the software but got confused. Would appreciated it if you have suggestions. Maybe I am asking too much to find what I want - simple too use and cheap or free.

Edited by hamluis, 18 February 2011 - 04:12 PM.
Moved from XP forum to All Other Applications.


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#2 Allan

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 04:09 PM

The best of breed is Acronis True Image, but it is not free. The best free disk imaging software is Macrium Reflect. You can look at their respective features on their websites.
BTW - I've been a True Image user for a long time.

#3 ThunderZ

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 04:10 PM

There are free options out there that I have read work very well. The names escape me at the moment. And I do`t want you chasing your tail looking for a wrong program.

I use and love Image for DOS by TeraByte.

Not free but well with in your budget. Have not made a bad image yet.
Have a look at their other options as well as waiting for others to chime in with alternatives.

#4 thrillhouse

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 04:19 PM

I have never had problems with Norton Ghost and Acronis True Image. Ghost is for cloning the drive, Acronis is more for making backups of selected information (as apposed to cloning everything). Both cost money but I have very old versions and they work fine. Both can run from bootable cd's which make them portable, this is very handy.

#5 Allan

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 04:24 PM

I have never had problems with Norton Ghost and Acronis True Image. Ghost is for cloning the drive, Acronis is more for making backups of selected information (as apposed to cloning everything). Both cost money but I have very old versions and they work fine. Both can run from bootable cd's which make them portable, this is very handy.

Sorry, but that's not true. Both Ghost and Acronis do exactly the same thing. Most users seem to prefer True Image's interface.

#6 thrillhouse

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 04:36 PM

poor choice of words on my part. I should have said more people seem to use ghost for cloning and acronis for backup, as Allan says, because of the interface. I don't have the new Ghost but this is what the version I have looks like:

Ghost 8.0 Corporate
Posted Image

This is what the version of Acronis I have looks like:
Posted Image

The old versions are cheap on ebay.

#7 FayB

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 08:51 PM

Thanks for all you suggestions. I have done a little looking at these but need to do some more. I don't use ebay - so will have to order from someplace like Amazon. I found both Norton Ghost and Acronis there. The reviews for both seemed to have a lot of pluses and a lot of minuses. I did not find Terabyte image for dos on amazon..

Have anone hhere had any expereince with Macrium Reflect?

Thanks agani for your suggestions.

#8 Allan

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Posted 19 February 2011 - 08:37 AM

Macrium Reflect is free and True Image has a free trial period. Why not just download and test them yourself and see if either suits your needs?

#9 FayB

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Posted 19 February 2011 - 12:19 PM

ok, I downloded macrium reflect free. When I ran, it told me I needed to create the resuce disk. I chose the bart pe version. I really don't know what I am doing on this. But I did not have the pe builder, so I wnet to the link provided and downloaded that. When I tried to run the pe builder - it searched for windows installation files and said it could not find any. I have a valid copy of win xp pro installed and it is woring fine. I do not have the CD's any longer. So, I guess that means I can not sue the bart pe option - is that true? I havn't tired the linux version yet.

Urghh, this is getting much more complicated than I hope it would be. I knew better :(
Whatever I use, if I ever get an image created at all, I will not know if the restore will work. I don't have the nerve to try that untill it is necessary

#10 ThunderZ

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Posted 20 February 2011 - 09:53 PM

A quick word about Image for DOS.

Do not let the name DOS in the title scare you off. It actually runs from a CD. Loads to memory. No install is needed. If you only have one optical drive installed then once I.f.D. is installed you can actually remove the CD.

The on screen instructions are very good and no special commands need to be typed\entered. Just choose the operation you desire from the on screen options.
One of the options for creating the Image is to burn it directly to CD\DVD. If it requires more then one it will instruct you when to insert the next and the next and the next as needed.

If you have created your images to a second\external hard drive it can do back-ups of only the changed data since the last image.

Really the only down side is that this must be done manually as it does not install anything to your system. It can not be scheduled to do\run back-ups.

#11 thrillhouse

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Posted 20 February 2011 - 10:20 PM

Sounds like what they are trying to do with BartPE but in one program already made. Image for DOS sounds way easier to me. Even if you get all the windows files for bart pe builder you still need files called plugins that are hard to find for it to work well. I would avoid this entirely and go with Image for DOS, bartpe is a pain. :ranting:

#12 FayB

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Posted 20 February 2011 - 10:21 PM

Thanks for your reply. The DOS think doesn't scare me, but I think I have decided I would like to stick with a free version. The XP computer is my old computer that I decided to keep for backup and I don't want to spend too much on it..

When I started messing wthy my WIN 7 computer and found the built it tool to create a system image, I thought it would be a good idea to create an image for the XP computer also, just in case of another disk crash so that I could keep it running also. I don't want to have to pay to take it to a shop like i did for the 2 disk crashes it has already had. But, tying to get the OS installed and more than that all the drivers etc re-instllaed would be a pain, so I thought the image sounded like a good idea.

I have downloaded free version of both Macrium Reflect and Driveimage XML but - I can not create the bartpe boot disk since I don't have a winxp installation disk. Seems like it is pretty normatl not to have one so I don't know what most people do. Macrium Reflect gave an option to creatiea linus boot disk. I did that and it created ok. Looks like is just for use with Macrium Reflect and boots direclty to that. I created a image and booted up with the disk but haven't tried the restore yet.

If I can get the nerve and can find a good price on a disk drive, I may get one and see if I can restore to that. I am really not sure about the hardware part - swapping out the drives. I found and printed the instructions for removing/installging a drive that goes with my computer, but I am still not sure about doing it. I could end up "killing" my computer either while tryng to swap the drive or while doing the restore. If it is just the restore part I mess up on, hopfully I could just put back in the orgiingal dirve and forget it.

If I do decide to go with a paid version I might check out the Image for DOS. DO you have to have the winxp install disk to create a boot disk for that? I am pretty much locked out of anything that will require me to have the WIN XP install disk. I did happen to find the recover disk that came with the comptuer, not sure if I ever had the full win xp install disk. BARTPE would not work with the recover disk..

Thanks for your suggestion.
Fay

Edited by FayB, 20 February 2011 - 10:23 PM.


#13 ThunderZ

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Posted 20 February 2011 - 10:28 PM

You do not need an XP disk to make or use Image for DOS.

Everything needed to use it and create the program disk is included in the purchased program. It will work on XP and beyond. Unsure about earlier Windows versions.

#14 thrillhouse

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Posted 20 February 2011 - 10:30 PM

I have never used Image For Dos but it does not appear that it uses BartPE.

If you are uncomfortable adding a hard drive to your computer, why not get an external? They are getting very reasonable in price and space these days. That's what I do with my backups and it works fine. The cheapo ebay rescue cd's for acronis and ghost that I have work the same way as ThunderZ was describing Image for DOS. Usually you get an iso file and it burns a cd that is bootable and runs the program from memory, once loaded off the cd.

#15 FayB

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Posted 20 February 2011 - 10:35 PM

thrillhouse,

Sorry I wasn't clear. I have an external drive I can use to created the image on. What I as talking about was getting another internal dirve to swap out with the current one, putting the current one aise so tht I can put it back in if I can not get the restore to work. I guess either way - if I do this, I'll put one of the drives back for future use. I have a gift certificate from walMart I have been holding onto for quite a while, so using it I might could get one pretty cheap.

Have to work on getting my nerve up. Since the XP machine is basically a backup machine - I guess if I kill it - I I kill it. If I do this it will basicalloy be a learning exprience.

Thanks,
Fay




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