Hard drive imaging software

By ImaPanda ยท 13 replies
May 2, 2010
  1. Hi all!

    I have recently installed a fresh copy of XP, with the relevant security updates, the programs I want and my personal settings.

    I'm looking to create a disc like the Windows XP operating disc, just with all of my programs and settings.

    Are there any free programs which will let me image my hard drive, then burn that image to a DVD?

    I have been googling around and I did come up with a website which recommended some > williamaford.com/CloningaHDD.php I just don't know (if any) would suit me.

    Thank you all
  2. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    Are you specifically looking for freeware? I'd suggest investing $50 in good backup software that can image a drive as well as provide file/folder type recovery, do full and incremental backups, etc.

    I use Acronis True Image (if your drive is a Western Digital drive there is a free version of Acronis as well)

    /* edit */
    EASUS disk copy is free for creating a full disk copy
  3. ImaPanda

    ImaPanda TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Yes, I am specifically looking for a program for free as I am a student and I'm only looking to do this once.

    Will I be able to create a bootable installation disc (like the windows operating system discs) and then install, if anything on my laptop goes wrong?

    Thank you for your help.
  4. ImaPanda

    ImaPanda TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Yes, I am specifically looking for something free, this will be a one time only operation and being a student doesn't help either.

    I detest the lengthy process I have to go through just to make my laptop usable. Install the operating system, then the patches, then the programs I want, then the settings I like. Wanting stuff to be perfect either doesn't particularly help...

    So I just want to create an disc like the disc I use to install my operating system, but with all of my programs and settings. Keep in mind that I have one physical drive and four partitions, one for the OS, one for programs, one for media, and the other for music.

    Does EASUS Disc copy fulfil my needs?

    Thank you very much for your help LookingAround, greatly appreciated.
  5. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    No, not exactly per all requirements you stated.
    > It will create a image file for you but it doesn't split it for you into DVD size files (nor allow you to subsequently merge the multiple files when you need it)
    > You could simply store the image on a backup drive.. but , of course, there's cost with buying a large enough drive

    Have you checked if you have a WD drive? remember a free acronis version is available for WD

    And one warning: Be careful and fully test any "free" solution you want to trust. fyi.. Someone posting in these forums for help was using freeware DriveImageXML to do something similar.. and everything was good until the time he needed to merge the backup files and reinstall. Then he found the re-merged files were corrupt

    so fyi.. note Acronis does support automatically splitting/merging to file sizes you tell it
  6. ImaPanda

    ImaPanda TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I do not have a WD drive, but a Samsung drive.

    If I were to buy Acronis, how many computers will it support?
  7. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    You'd need to check licensing etc. but can tell you

    1) You can get a free trial Acronis if you check their website
    2) You'll find dealers selling older Acronis versions for less then $50 bucks

    I can tell you
    > current version Acronis True Image 2010
    > as well as versions Acronis 2009 and Acronis v10 should all do the job for you
  8. ImaPanda

    ImaPanda TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks LookingAround, instead of worrying about imaging now, I'll come back do a fresh install and then image at a later date.

    From now until then I'll save.

    Thank you for your time and assistance!
  9. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    Do you a Microsoft XP disk or one from an OEM like Dell or HP? As, if it helps any help, there's something called "slipstreaming" that at least let's you build a new XP install CD with all current SP3 updates
  10. ImaPanda

    ImaPanda TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I have burned my own XP Pro with SP3 from the MSDNAA (I think), as I am an actively enrolled IT student.

    I was looking at the Acronis True Image, and there is a Free Trial, I wonder what it would be limited to though.
  11. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    I think it's a full version which is only limited by expiration date. (but you'd need double check that for yourself... been a while since i tried the free version)
  12. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    btw.. and while i know $50 ain't cheap (esp. for a student) i can tell you having a versatile backup tool like Acronis to do image backups (full and incrmental) and also providing you file / folder type access and more.. is invaluable if your data is really important to you... anyway, just IMHO
  13. ImaPanda

    ImaPanda TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Okie dokes. I'll try the free version later on today and see if I come across any brick walls.

    The data that is stored on my laptop isn't anything serious that could go missing. I mean I wouldn't care if it did.
    I just want to image the basic system, what I have now so it makes my life easier in the future. The laptop drive has already failed, and I got a new one.

    Though thank you LookinAround. I'll post back in here with my results of the free version, and if I need any assistance.
  14. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    OK... and a couple fyi's...

    a. Look under Acronis Backup Options for Archive Splitting where you can select a default size or enter the size you want

    b. Also do check you can burn the file size you select to DVD. One time (with an older version) i selected the default DVD size but for some reason my burner said it was too large. So i had to enter my own, slight smaller value, to make my burner happy.. tho this was awhile ago so not sure if still the case.

    in any case, post back if need be. Glad to help :)
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