Advice on Free Disc Imaging Software

Hello, I’m looking for software that will allow me to make a full backup of my PC, I’m talking about the OS, the registry, and all files, and store it on an external drive.

Does anyone know of any free software that can do this?

Also, it would be nice if it would be possible to schedule it to either do this incrementally or, if it needs to replace the entire image, then do it every other month or something. Of course incremental updates would be preferred.

What I need is a software that will allow me to quickly get a computer back to working order even if the worst happens and the computer is unbootable. I assume that if the computer was unbootable I would have to use a rescue disk to access the image, but I could use more information if this is the case.

Thanks. I really appreciate you advice.
(See, now you have to respond or you’re just being rude. ;D)

I know that in the future version Comodo BU will have all of these features you want. for know you can try paragon free for the time being Free Data Recovery software | Paragon Backup & Recovery Community Edition or macrium free Macrium Software | Macrium Reflect Free Trial

Macrium could be an alternative.
For unbootable systems, maybe full partition backup will be better and safer. You can use Easeus Partition Manager (without a bootable CD in free version though) or Partition Wizard (with a CD).

Everyone always forgets in this category Clonezilla, said to be very good:
Or xxclone, but the free version is not “incremental able”:
Seagate disk users could also use Diskwizard, and Acronis regularly offers free older versions.

Nevertheless, i don’t advocate for full imaging software, because it takes a lot of space and time (and is in these conditions very long to operate and update on a day per day basis) and most often saves in a proprietary format (i.e., if the main disk is totally formatted or crashed and the image making software does not work anymore, you are stucked).

An alternative is to save only what you cannot replace (data and custom software settings), assuming of course that you have a cd for the os, and a dedicated partition for downloaded software.
Syncback is a good software for that.

But too complicated in my opinion…

Macrium allows the access with a CD, it’s not that bad.
Anyway, I agree with you that image software could let you in the middle of the road on a non-bootable computer…

The method I use, and I concede it may not be suitable or economically viable for everyone, is to use a separate disk for O/S and apps with a separate mirrored 2 disk array for data. Images of the O/S boot disk are stored on the mirrored array.

This is done to separate user generated data from everything else. This way, my data has one integrity method (mirroring), my O/S and apps can be easily restored from the image stored on the data disks.

My thinking is that the O/S and apps can be (relatively) easily reinstalled, but user generated data cannot be readily recreated. It all comes down to the value you place on your user generated data.

Imaging tools aren’t everybody’s cup of tea and are not the be-all and end-all, but they can be a valuable tool, depending upon your circumstances and environment.

Just my $0.02 worth. :wink:
Ewen :slight_smile:

DriveImage XML is a pretty good one. It is free for private use and the corporate one is basically the free one but with a license to be used in that setting.

It has lots of features and they even do a Part PE plugin if you want to make a boot disc. :slight_smile: I use GetDataBack made by them and that is the best software for data recovery so their Drive Imaging software should be up to the same par, even though I haven’t used it yet.


Using a second physical hard disk as a backup device is a very good security behavior.
It only needs relatively small hard disks (as we are mainly concerned with data), and these hard disks are not so expensive anymore.
Moreover, the cost mainly concerns novice users; experimented ones often have a disk from a previous wrecked computer.
But array/raid mirroring procedures, yes, remain very expensive and are not advisable for the home user.

We should also never forget that such a hardware device should be plain IDE, or SATA if not available (still needs drivers…): if using usb or other connected devices with proprietary drivers, you are still “out of the road” in the event of a severe crash (happened to me several years ago, the backups were on cd-rw, and the system crashed to a floppy ms dos prompt: no drivers, no restore).

Boot disc is Bart PE (and not “Part PE”).
Its plugins have the only advantage of integrating the software in the Bart PE installation disk.
But altough Bart PE menu is somewhat unfriendly, one can install eveything he wants on a Bart PE rescue device after installation, as long as it does not require reboot or writings to the desktop/start menu (and still, you can install e.g. Easeus Partition Manager despite these limitations).
But you can, from single copy/paste, install dos mode ghost to your Bart Pe device.
Added to backups and/or images, one should always have under hand some external booting device:
why not a Bart PE CD/USB, it is very powerful with proper tools (refer if you want to what i wrote on the subject: but also live CD like Freedos or some linux version (Puppy…).