FREE Image Backup Software for Windows 8

November 2, 2012

This week my posts have been focused exclusively on Windows 8; due in part I just installed Windows 8 and I am like a kid in a candy shop.

As I continue to learn more about Windows 8 and customize my computer the more I realized that I needed to create a backup of my system. Yes, I could take the risk and hope all goes well and simply reinstall Windows if all fails, but that (especially in my case) would be a very time consuming process. This is where a good disk imaging program comes into play. In this case, by circumstance, Paragon’s FREE Disk Imaging Software for Windows 8 fell onto my plate.

FREE Image Backup Software for Windows 8

When you see FREE for disk imaging software, I become skeptical; however, when I see FREE in conjunction with Paragon I know I am getting a good product. What this software does is walk you through the process of creating an exact image of your entire system. Like any imaging program and depending on the file content and disk size of your system, creating an image is not a fast process; BUT, it is definitely worth the wait. Also, you should use an external drive to make the backup to. Paragon will walk you through the entire process of selecting the volume you desire to backup, to rebooting your system to begin the backup, to rebooting your system back into your Windows environment.  To restore your system you must create a Paragon boot CD so that when your PC goes belly up you can insert the CD in the CD Drive and boot your computer into Paragon’s powerful Linux/DOS environment. From that environment you simply select the image you backed up to restore your computer back to the same level it was when you created the backup image.

Paragon’s Image Backup for Windows 8 is a disk-imaging tool for Windows 8 and Server 2012. It employs Microsoft VSS and Paragon’s patent-pending technologies for consistent point-in-time copies of the whole disk system or separate volumes. For recovery purposes it includes a powerful Linux/DOS environment. But its power is its support of the innovative ReFS.

Key Product Benefits

  • Support of the latest Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012
  • Support of the brand-new ReFS (Resilient File System)for backup, restore, and browsing under Windows and Linux
  • Live Windows backup. Create an image-based copy of the whole disk system, or separate volumes and place it locally, to CD/DVD/BD, or on the net. The use of the disk-imaging mechanism and Microsoft VSS (Volume Shadow Copy Service) tackles the problem of backing up running applications and system locked files
  • Flexible recovery. Restore the whole backup image, or only particular files under Windows or from the Linux/DOS recovery environment
  • Additional maintenance functions. The Linux/DOS recovery environment includes basic functions for initializing, partitioning and formatting hard disks

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FREE Disk Imaging, Backup and Recovery Software

May 9, 2010

Paragon, a software development leader for over 15 years has available for non-commercial use (at home) a powerful disk imaging (backup) and recovery package (for FREE) called Paragon Backup and Recovery.

“Smart people backup; Backup & Recovery is smart backup.”

With Paragon Backup and Recovery you can create a backup image of an entire hard disk (including GPT-discs!) or system partitions to guarantee the operating system’s working capability.

[ SCREENSHOT ]

The “cool factor” with this application is the ability to perform a differential backup that will only archive changes since the last full sector-based image, thus saving backup storage space. In other words once you have made a complete backup image of your PC (preferably to an external drive), you can perform (select) subsequent differential backups that will only backup the changes from the initial full backup; thus saving time and drive storage space.

As with most disk imaging applications, make sure you create a recovery disk that can be used to boot up your system in the event your computer is no longer booting into Windows. With Paragon Backup and Recovery, you will have the option to create a bootable  USB Flash drive, CD or DVD to recover your PC on demand.

As you continue to read, you will notice that Paragon Backup and Recovery is loaded with numerous features that you typically do not see in other FREE comparable disk imaging applications. If you currently do not have a backup or disaster recovery plan in place, Paragon Backup and Recovery is a great option. If you want to learn more, I encourage you to take a look at the User’s Manual [ HERE ] that provides indepth and detailed instructions on “how to” use this software.  These instructions are also a great starting to place to learn about disk imaging software.

  • New Cyclic Backup – complete infrastructure for establishing a self-acting data protection system, fully compliant with the set-and-forget backup policy
  • NewSupport for the latest hardware as well as hard disk partitioning schemes.
  • NewSupport of all present day techniques to store backup images
  • Disk backup to save not only all on-disk information but also the system service structures. It is ideal for making a backup image of an entire hard disk (including GPT-discs!) or system partitions to guarantee the operating system’s working capability
  • Differential backup  to a sector image to only archive changes since the last full sector-based image, thus considerably saving the backup storage space. To restore this kind of backup you will require a full image and one of its differentials
  • Restore an entire disk, separate partitions image
  • Restore with Shrink to restore a backup amount of actual data of the image
  • Create bootable USB Flash drive, CD or DVD to recover your PC on demand
  • Differential Partition Backup (Create a differential image of a partition)
  • Recovery Media Builder: builds a new “recovery media” to boot from in case of an unbootable system
  • Check Recovery Discs: checks the recovery media for integrity and boot ability
  • Graphical representation of the data to gain a better understanding
  • Comprehensive wizards to simplify even the most complex operations
  • A context sensitive hint system for all functions of the program
  • Previewing the resulting layout of hard disks before actually executing operations (so-called virtual operations)
  • Create Partition
  • Format Partition
  • Delete Partition
  • Assign/Remove Drive Letter
  • Hide/Unhide Partition
  • Mark Partition as Active/Inactive
  • Modify: change volume label,Test Surface
  • Check File System Integrity
  • Add an archive to the database
  • Delete the archive from the database
  • Restore from the selected archive
  • Restore File From Archive
  • Differential backup
  • Check Archive Integrity
  • Mount/Unmount the archive
  • Backup Features

    Restore Facilities

    Advanced Backup Tasks

    Supplementary Tools

    User Friendly Fault Minimizing Interface

    Partitioning tools

    Operations with Archives

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Make An Exact Copy of Your Hard Drive

May 2, 2010

One of the most frustrating moments for any computer user is when your computer has crashed, all else has failed to work, and you forgot to make the restoration CDs (or DVDs) that came with your PC. The restoration CD (or DVD) option is your last ditch solution to fixing your PC when all else has failed. The restoration CDs (or DVDs) typically restore your system back to the day that you purchased it. Some manufacturers’ PCs provide an option to perform (initiate) the restoration process by hitting a key during the computer’s startup that will initiate the restore process by using files stored in a hidden partition on the computer’s hard drive. The restoration process varies from PC manufacturer to manufacturer and if you have a home brewed system, the restoration is typically a reinstall of the operating system using the operating system discs that you purchased. The whole point to this is just that you make sure you have a plan in the event disaster strikes… AND, BELIEVE ME IT WILL !

The problem with the restoration processes provided is that you are in for some work. I’m talking about reinstalling your software, performing your Windows updates, virus/malware software updates, personal customization, bookmarks, emails, etc… Most of the time when you have resorted to a complete restoration or reinstall of the operating system you will lose your valuable data that you may have saved over the months and even years.

One option to avoid all of this, and reduce the workload, is to use disk imaging software and a good external hard drive. Disk Imaging Software is software that you install on your PC and use when your computer is in a healthy state. The disk imaging software is engineered to make a backup (disk image) of an exact representation of your hard drive (or partitions) at the time you perform the imaging process. Don’t be fooled into thinking that your everyday backup software can make an exact copy of your hard drive and partitions. It can’t… The Windows operating system is like a living organism that is constantly evolving and changing when you start it up. Your typical backup software apps are unable to capture those changes. As a matter of fact Windows will not allow you to make a copy of certain critical system files without special software. Your typical backup software is great for backing up your personal files (such as pictures, documents, etc.) and should be used on a daily basis in addition to the imaging software that can be used on a less frequent basis.

As you well know, the What’s On My PC blog specializes in locating FREE software options.  In this case of disk imaging software, the FREE app that I use and recommend is the FREE Edition of Macrium Reflect

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Using Macrium Reflect™ Free Edition you can create an exact image of partitions on your hard disk for easy hard disk upgrade or complete/partial system recovery

Key factors to using imaging software, such as Macrium Reflect, is that when you perform the backup of your system it is critical that your system is in a healthy state and that you have an external source (with sufficient space) to store the image file.  Even though Macrium Reflect offers other backup media options to CD or DVD media, I suggest you use an external drive. Besides, the external drive will serve you in performing your normal daily backups.

Another important factor to using Macrium Reflect is that the first thing you should do is create a Rescue CD. This option is available in the Macrium Reflect software under the “Other Options” menu selection. The rescue CD is used to boot your computer and restore your computer from the image file when disaster occurs.

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For FREE imaging software, Macrium Reflect is a great option for home-based users and is comparable in performance and appearance with that of its’ commercial counterparts. Macrium Reflect is also regularly updated to meet the needs of the ever changing Windows operating system.

Features of the FREE Edition of Macrium Reflect:

Absolutely free! No strings! The only free XP, Vista and Windows 7 compatible disk imaging software with BartPEand Linux based recovery options.

  • Create a disk image whilst running Windows using Microsoft Volume Shadow copy Service (VSS).
  • Image to Network, USB, FireWire drives and DVD.
  • Built in scheduler.
  • 32 bit and native 64 bit versions.
  • Industry leading compression levels and speed.
  • Linux based Rescue CD with Network access and full GUI. Only 6.5MB in size!
  • Built in CD/DVD packet writing engine. Supports packet writing to DVD DL media with Windows Vista.
  • HTML log files.

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Geek Squeaks’ of the Week (#36)

November 11, 2009

image Welcome to the weekly roundup of articles from the developers of the blogs that are members of the What’s On My PC blogroll community.  I encourage you to visit these blogs to learn more about information technology and computers.  To these authors, I say Thank You!

AKS – Feel The Change
Windows SteadyState- Powerful tool to Protect Shared Computers

Carol’s Vault
Introducing Mind & Brain: A Graphic Guide sample

411-Spyware.com
How to Remove SystemVeteran

Teck~Line Lounge
Free CodySafe Portable Start Menu By Codyssey

The Spyware Biz Blog
Were you tricked ot treated?

Plato On-Line
Deceptive Credit Card Practices

Geeked Up
Mini Notebook Computers

Bill Mullins’ Weblog – Tech Thoughts
Fix Your Computer with Free PC Fixer a 4.5 Star Utility

Right On Technology
Apple $30 a Month TV Service for iTunes

The PC Security
How to Crack, Open or Access
Outlook PST File without Password

Computer Too Slow
How to disable CD/DVD autoplay in Windows

Crazy World of G
Are You In Sync?

LifeHacker
Replace Library Icons
Customizes Windows 7 Library Icons [Downloads]

Rarst.net
Colorbrewer – excellent color schemes resource

Sugarloaf Tech
Just say no to toolbars

Tech-for Everyone
Is It Worth Upgrading? (Two quick reco’s)

AskBillFirst
Nokia Recalls 14 Million AC Adapters – Gearlog

Free PC Security
Facebook Virus – UPS Virus – Using SUPERantispyware

Tune Up Blog
TuneUp Utilities – Enjoy your PC

Technogran’s Tittle Tattle
Live Photo Gallery v Google Picasa round 3

Computer Maintenance
Delete Temporary Files/Cache and Speed Up Your Computer

Canadian Tech News Blog
8 Must Have Applications

Freeware Elite
Launchy: Great flashy launcher

Mrintech
Winners of Google Wave Invitations Giveaway!

Worthy Tips
How to detect what .Net version installed on your machine?

Technize
Microsoft Security Essentials A Free Anti-Virus From Microsoft

I Love Free Software
Fastest Free Disk Imaging Software: Macrium Reflect

Techolar
Domain names extensions in International scripts

TTC Shelbyville
Resize Photos Online

Tux in the Midwest
Flirting with Androids

Snakebytez
Client for Google Translate

Freeware Pharmacy
Hulu Desktop

What’s On My PC…
I Want That Video…

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Disk Imaging – Acronis True Image Home 2009

October 24, 2008

If you are not a computer tech there is a very good chance you do not know what a disk image is. The best description I could find was at Wikipedia: “A disk image is a single file containing the complete contents and structure representing a data storage medium or device, such as a hard drive, CD, or DVD. A disk image file is usually created by creating a sector-by-sector copy of the source media, ignoring its file system, and thereby perfectly replicating the structure and contents of a storage device. An ordinary backup program only backs up the files it can access; boot information and files locked by the operating system (such as those in use at the time of the backup) may not be saved. A full disk image contains all these, faithfully replicating all data. For this reason, it is commonly used for backing up disks with operating systems, or bootable CDs and DVDs.”

None of the above may have not made any sense to you and you’re probably wondering, why is this important. I mentioned in a previous post about new computers and performing a disk image after you have removed all of the pre-installed software. It is an opportune time to get a good clean image of your system, in the event you have to use the image to do a complete rebuild of your system. I actually prefer imaging over using the factory install methods which are available when you buy a new computer. You can perform a disk image anytime, but you want to be absolutely sure your system is clean. There are quite a few commercial and freeware options available to perform disk images. I try to normally stick with freeware and open source applications on the blog, but I’m going to make an exception this time. What’s on my PC? I currently favor the disk imaging software that is developed by a company named Acronis. I have used Acronis many times and it never has let me down. Acronis recently released their next generation imaging software for home users called “Acronis True Image Home 2009“. As with any software of this type, there is a learning curve; but, Acronis has tried to make it understandable for everyone.

How do I use Acronis? I currently have an image of my system in a state when I first purchased the computer and a 2nd image of my system in its current state. In the 2nd image the Acronis software has the ability to incrementally build upon the previous image so that I have an image of the computer in its current state. I try to perform the incremental image at least monthly. I store my images on external USB drives, which the Acronis software will recognize. I still perform my regular backups of my documents, photos, and multimedia files using my regular backup software. Once you learn to use imaging software, you will never go back to those factory install CDs/DVDs.


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