Best Free Drive Cloning Software


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What I consider to be two of the most important factors when choosing drive imaging software is Ease of Use and Reliable Image Creation and Restoration. Quite simply the software has to be able to do its intended task without fail every time as if it can not then it defeats the whole objective of creating an image backup in the first place and believe it or not there is software out there that is great at performing the actual backup images and providing the ability to mount and explore them without problems, but lacking in any easy way to actually perform a recovery with said images. If the software is capable of reliably performing those tasks in a timely manor then all the better, if not then personally I have no problems with waiting a while longer and knowing for a fact that the backup or recovery process is going to be a success.

Drive / Disk imaging has now become a must have tool for the majority of users both novice and advanced alike mainly because of it's ease of use in most circumstances and the convenience it provides. For example a user can safely recover their computer from a system crash or a bad virus infection without having to worry about reformatting and reinstalling the operating system. With drive imaging there is almost no reason at all to have to reinstall Windows because it offers you the ability to restore an image to your hard drive in a fraction of the time it takes to reinstall your operating system along with all your programs and settings.

There are two different types of disk imaging programs, Online and Offline. Most imaging software nowadays are online programs, meaning that they can run and create images inside of Windows while the operating system is running. The offline type are the programs that run in alternative environments such as MSDOS, WinPE or Linux, to create and restore backup images while Windows is not running. Although most Windows users' love the normal GUI driven programs, there are advantages to using either type of this software.

Most applications offer different options for creating images. You have the option to back up only the used sectors on the disk, which will create an image of only those sectors on the hard disk that are in use by the file system. This option will make the backup much smaller than if you were to create a clone of the drive. A clone is exactly what it sounds like, an exact sector by sector mirror copy of the entire drive including the unused sectors. These images can be saved to an external hard drive, a USB flash drive, a separate partition on your internal hard drive, burned to a CD/DVD for safe keeping, or saved to a network share. Some applications can use image backups as a file backup and mount images to a drive in explorer so individual files can be restored. There are several other options that can be found within the different free programs available, but for most users the default options provided with any of the applications below should suffice.

Windows 7 now provides us a new enhanced Windows Backup and Restore application which now has the ability to create disk images, the program will create an image of any partition on the hard drive if it is formatted to use the NTFS file system but it always includes the system partition and does not let you opt out. The drive that you are saving the backup on must also be formatted to use the NTFS file system. However one interesting quirk is if your unable to boot into Windows normally and having to use the recovery CD / DVD and the start up repair process fails to find an existing Windows installation then you will not be able to restore your created backup image ! at times in this scenario even rebuilding the MBR / BCD etc from the command prompt can fail miserably all depending on how badly messed up your drive is you may or may not be able to recover it using the Windows Restore.

ToolTip: My advice pertaining to the above is if your not into experimenting with multi boot systems or doing things that could potentially mess up your system drive then the new Windows Image Backup is a good solid solution... Now if your like me and love to experiment with such things until its totally broken then you need to be looking to use one of the programs reviewed here along with adding either of these two essential tools to your arsenal. First is EasyBCD (free for non-commercial use), a GUI editor for the BCD store, the file that controls the overall booting process in Windows Vista and 7 (note this is not compatible with XP), but it can do so much more. For example, boot CD image files, the '.iso' files, stored on your HD, floppy images, '.img' raw format, it gives a GRUB/GRUB2 choice for multibooters, it can fix many boot errors/problems that plague so many while imaging/partitioning, and on and on - the website has extensive documentation to help get you going.

The second tool is Super GRUB2 Disk {SGD}, and though it sounds of interest to only Linux types, that isn't the case. If you do run into booting problems, and YOU WILL, booting into this CD/floppy/USB (yes all in one image file!), brings up a choice, the first is 'Detect any OS', which can often save you from even serious MBR/boot issues, and this does work for XP!!. The third menu item is to detect any bootable iso files in the folder 'boot-isos', where you can store your EasyBCD boot files, too. Booting isos is iffy, so it's good to have two methods to work with. But with EasyBCD you can have an image of the SGD, along with full access to a number of full LiveCD Linux distros, giving you the ability to boot a wide range of rescue and other boot environments without needing the CD.


Most of these programs now include both WinPE and Linux recovery environments the difference being in WinPE you usually have a GUI that looks the same and has all the same features and options you would see whilst running the program from within Windows itself. The Linix environment is somewhat limited whilst it looks the same generally you only have the backup and restore options available and in most cases in the event of HDD failure that is all you need.

AOMEI Backupper

Is ideal for both the novice and advanced user alike, with a very clean user friendly GUI. The primary backup options are Disk Backup, Partition Backup, System Backup and File and Folder Backup. We are also presented with some good options for all the backup modes, like the ability to create comments about the backup, select levels of compression, whether or not to encrypt, the ability to split large backups, whether or not to optimize sectors during backup and the option for Shadow Copying aka VSS,  support for UEFI boot and GPT disks, along with Incremental and Differential backup modes. 

The type of compression or encryption which uses AES is not optional but in my opinion that is not an important factor, unless your extremely short on drive space or work for some Government Agency.

Many of the essential functions that are missing in the free versions of other programs are included in AOMEI Backupper free edition without any "nag" screens to upgrade to pro either. Within a few clicks of the mouse you can have your system backup in progress, it is intuitive and detected my 100MB System Reserved partition no problem and offered to include it into the system backup, now that makes a refreshing change unlike some of the others that take it for granted you know what your doing.

Image Creation and Recovery

Both the backup and recovery process are very fast taking only about 9mins for my 8GB system partition ! the options are there also for where you want to recover the image to, NAS (network storage) is also supported, however there are no options pertaining to reinstating the MBR that could cause some major problems in a multi boot environment but this can be overcome by selecting not to do a system restore and just restore the actual partition that contains Windows itself, obviously I am thinking in terms of the more advanced user here. In my opinion AOMEI does not need those options as it handles them perfectly well by itself without user interaction in normal situations.

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Macrium Reflect Free Edition

After installation you will be presented with a registration pop up box that contains a serial key specific to your machine upon clicking "ok" an internet connection is required to authorize the serial before you can start using the program, also the WinPE recovery disk will not function correctly if the software is not registered... Now those are two major negative factors for me that can present problems if you come to do an emergency recovery and the software is not pre-installed.

Macrium also installs an Image Mounting Service set to Automatic run upon Windows start-up (like most others do) this can be safely set to "Manual" as the program itself will start this service if your intending to mount and explore an existing image you have created, there is no reason this should run on start up.

Image Creation

Creating a backup is pretty straightforward, Select the partition and click the icon with the folder and drive above it, you will then be presented with a pop up window where you can select backup location, now this can be another hard drive (or even the same hard drive but different partition other than the one you intend to back up for obvious reasons) across a Network or straight onto a CD/DVD burner. If you click on the advanced button you will then have the option to set compression level, Intelligent sector copy (This uses the Windows VSS) or an exact copy (clone) and also split file size.
Lastly there are check boxes to run the backup now and also create an XML file for scheduled or on-demand backups... On a 15GB partition with 8GB used for Windows 7 the backup process took 12mins to complete.

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Paragon Backup and Recovery (Advanced) Free

In this latest release 2014 they have gone for the "Metro" Windows 8 look for the GUI and you are presented with a series of little boxes that link straight to a wizard for the task you would like to perform along with thankfully a link to load up a more traditional GUI showing your hard drives.

It seems that they have now removed what little partitioning support there was in the previous free versions in favor of including what looks to be a full partitioning suite, though all these buttons are greyed out in the free version with a button stating "Unlock disabled features" and there is a lot of disabled features!, However the important items are still there such as Back Up, Restore, Differential Backup, and Check Archive Integrity. Interestingly there is options to back up to a Virtual Disk, Restore from a VD and also Incremental Backup to a VD, I can see that this would have it's uses in some corporate environments but for the average user if you use Virtual Disks at all then most of those programs have their own "System Snapshot" tools already.

Backup Image Creation

Another feature is the "Backup Capsule" this creates a reserved partition solely for the storage of backups managed by Paragon, now in the previous version this feature worked well but I found that if you removed an old backup you could not remove its entry in the backup capsule and eventually this could get messy if your working with lots of backups coupled with the fact it was difficult to figure out exactly what backup was the most recent one especially if you were working with differential one's rather then full. I was not able to test this aspect again in the new version due to the fact the program refused to install on my own virtual system. So any informative comments concerning the backup capsule in this new version would be welcomed, until such time I have the resources to test it again for myself.

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Drive Image XML

First impressions the GUI reminds me of some of the old MSDOS interfaces having said that don't be fooled this can be a very powerful program though it is very slow 34 mins to backup my test system of 8GB used space.

Image Creation

You have two options for creating a backup image Drive to Drive as they call it (raw sector by sector clone in other words) or the standard backup that then gives you the option to either use "Volume Locking" or the "Volume Shadow Service" since it is the system drive I'm backing up from within Windows the default selection Volume Locking is not a good idea in this case, as it does what it say's "locks the volume" aka drive.

The process creates two files an XML that contains the drive info and a DAT file containing the actual binary data. After that you do have the ability to load the XML file and browse the backed up data much the same as the other programs offer, however in theory this XML file can be manipulated using other software, some of the Linux based imaging programs for example and in extreme cases that could very well have its uses.

Image Recovery

Now actually doing a system restore is the tricky part as it can not be performed within Windows (other drives and partitions can just not the system one) and the program does not offer to boot into a recovery environment for you to perform this task, what you need to do is create a BartPE boot CD and install the plugins for Drive Image XML and then boot from that, the only help for doing this can be found on the BartPE website, obviously this is quite a hurdle for the novice user and anyone else looking for an all in one recovery / backup solution for that matter.

There is support to run backups as scheduled tasks but you have to set this up yourself also using Windows task scheduler and command line parameters, they do provide you with an example though and a list of the valid command line parameters that can be used... then again if your not familiar with all this then it may as well be written in Chinese.


Despite those two.... "inconveniences" the program is very solid and in personal experience not so long ago it was the only program that was able to create an image of a failing 500GB HDD that had many bad sectors coupled with read/write arms that were "sticking", Windows refused to copy any data from it, the end result was 90% of the data contained in the image was usable after Drive Image XML completed its task... I won't tell you how long that took I will leave that to your imagination, but like I say it was the only program out of many that could work with that drive... So if you have a situation like that this is the software you need.

There are a few different options for users that are looking for a good free drive imaging solution and some of the most reliable options are offline programs. The choice that stands out above the rest for me is PING (PartImage Is Not Ghost).

Most offline solutions can be kind of intimidating and hard to figure out at first but PING is almost too easy as it leads you through the steps needed to create an image one by one and offers a short explanation of some of the options available.

The program can create incremental backup images and will save you significant time in doing so. It can also backup and restore the BIOS and it can create a bootable restoration disk to make restoring your backups that much easier. The software was developed to offer a free alternative to the very popular Norton Ghost and over the years it has gained a better set of features than Ghost making it a great choice for anybody.

Clonezilla is the other free offline software that stands out to me. Although it can be complicated upon first use it is a very good program and probably the most popular offline free drive imaging application.

It contains a beginners mode with all of the advanced options selected for you and all you have to choose is the partition or disk to backup and the location to save it which can be a USB drive, CD/DVD, or network share. The expert mode can be really confusing if you are not sure of what you are doing and generally the beginners mode should suffice for most users. The program can perform a disk to disk copy or just the regular disk or partition image backup but it is slow in doing this taking almost thirty minutes to create an image of an 8 GB partition.

However, Clonezilla does come in different packages, you can get it with the G-Parted boot CD or with UBCD (Ultimate Boot CD) which contains several other programs on one CD making the possibilities even greater.

Some hard drive manufacturers offer free software utilities to owners of their products to aid them in such tasks as diagnostics, disk management, and installing new hard drives. Of those tools made available a couple of manufacturers are offering free disk imaging software for users of their drives to use as long as they own the drive.

Owners of Seagate hard drives are eligible to download and use the Seagate Disk Wizard tools. Disk Wizard is essentially a slimmed down version of Acronis True Image that is available for free.

Owners of Western Digital hard drives also have a great option for disk imaging. Western Digital offers the Acronis True Image WD Edition which is much the same as what Seagate offers to its users.

Related Products and Links
Quick Selection Guide


Gizmo's Freeware award as the best product in its class!

Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Lots of features, supports GPT, System Restore, Incremental and Differential backup, AES Encryption
No user editable options for reinstating the MBR or not.
32 and 64 bit versions available
Unrestricted freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.

v3.1 Released 4th August 2015 View change log here

Macrium Reflect Free

Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Very easy to use and fast. can restore individual files, works with linux files systems, ability to clone hard drives including the working system partition, schedule backups easily, very stable and reliable, great compression of backup images, can convert to vhd virtual format, includes WindowsPE recovery.
No incremental or differential backups, recovery options can be confusing for the novice user.
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Feature limited freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.

v6.0.545 released 31st March 2015 View release notes here

Windows XP/Vista /7 /8

Backup & Recovery 2014 Free

Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Differential backups, can restore individual files, cyclic backup, good compression options, can clone hard drives. Recovery media is full-featured, can do most of what the installed application can. Works with Windows 8 including Storage Spaces.
Some compatibility problems with Linux recovery media, program requires registration for download, many features disabled in the free version making it feel bloated.
32 and 64 bit versions available
Feature limited freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
v2014 released 17 February, 2014 View the changelog here
Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7/8

Drive Image XML

Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Drive to Drive image copy, restore individual files from images, ability to restore images to different drives. Provisions for incorporation into WinPE environments via plug-ins. Simple, basic, reliable.
No incremental or differential backup, backup process is very slow compared to others, not many options for creating backups, almost no default compression, has no recovery media included and users have to create their own XP-only based disk, users also have to schedule tasks manually with Windows Task Manager.
1.78 MB
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Feature limited freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Windows XP/2003/Vista/7


Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Supports a huge array of file systems, very reliable and stable, available on several different boot CD packages with many extra tools, and as a standalone liveCD, a very popular program
Offline only, can be difficult to use or complicated on first use, no incremental or differential backups, can not explore or restore files from images, not very fast
133.2 MB
32 and 64 bit versions available
Unrestricted freeware
v2.3.2-22 released 17th Feb 2015 View release notes here
All Windows and Linux, Intel based Mac OS

PING (PartImage Is Not Ghost)

Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Can create incremental backups, possibility to blank local admin password, can backup and restore the BIOS, can create bootable restoration CD, some basic partition editing available. Many rescue utilities included
Is an offline program, not many options for creating images, rescue utilities not nearly as extensive as PartedMagic.
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Unrestricted freeware
All Windows and Linux

This software review is maintained by volunteer editor AndyR. Registered members can contact the editor with any comments or questions they might have by clicking here.


drive imaging, disk imaging, cloning, clone hard drives, copy hard drive, differential imaging, incremental imaging, hard drive imaging, image backups, drive backup.

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Average: 4.2 (291 votes)


I realize that Gizmo's website is Windows-heavy, but I still think you've given Clonezilla an insufficient rating. Clonezilla has only one disadvantage, that being that it does do not do partition editing on-the-fly, so you can't duplicate a source disk/partition to a smaller disk/partition. The other "con" that Czilla often gets from GUI addicts is that it's complicated and unintuitive. If you're a novice Windows user who needs to press one or two buttons to automagically clone your drive, I can see that perspective. IMO, however, that person should never, ever be involved in drive cloning activity. The primary measure for any drive clone app is that it reliably and consistently duplicates drives/partitions accurately. Clonezilla meets that requirement with flying colors. The secondary measure is that the application provides adequate tools/settings to prevent and resolve unexpected issues with the cloning operation. Again, CloneZilla meets that criteria in spades. A pretty gui and automagical scripting should be the last thing you consider.

Reliability like you say is crucial, however the other one's are also reliable and offer so much more along with ease of use that is just as important if your a novice... Drive imaging should not not just be limited to the experts as it is an ideal way to make a backup of your system and every user should have easy to use tools in order to do just that. I do agree though that advanced operations should be left alone until a user gains a better understanding of the process and what it actually involves.

So in short taking all that into consideration I feel the rating is appropriate.

When I use one of the mentioned backup programs to backup to an external harddrive does this program need tp be installed on both harddisks.
Just in case te internal harddrive crashes and I have to install in a new internall drive to restore the backup?
Thanks for any replay and sorry for my English.

No you only need to install the software on one hard drive, it is highly advised though to make either a bootable Windows PE disk or a bootable Linux one the software provides instruction on how to do that so in the event of a drive failure you can boot from the disk you created and restore your image to the new hard drive.

There are people out there that merrily run their backup (imaging) programs from within Windows (whilst Windows is running) AGH!
I would not do that if you paid me.
What you should do (and all of those people I mentioned), is use a program that allows you to create a bootable CD.
(EG Seagate DiskWizard, IF you use Seagate drives - If your external drives are Seagate, that is all that is required, to get the program free)
So you install the Seagate program, and the first thing you do is tell that program to create a bootable CD for you.
When you wish to create an image, you turn off the PC, then start it up with the CD booting (INSTEAD of Windows).
Create an image into your external drive, and then immediately verify/validate that image.
You could then open up the computer, and throw your internal hard drive out of the window, and place a new drive into the PC.
When you start the PC, you boot into the CD, and use the CD to Restore your image.

I can think of good reasons why users could happily "run their backup (imaging) programs from within Windows (whilst Windows is running)"?

In this post you don't give a reason why you don't like it but I presume that you were building on your earlier post below: "Why would anyone want to do images whilst Windows is running ? Sure it might work, but there are more things that could go wrong."

It is true that before Windows XP it was a lot riskier because Windows did not provide the necessary features to support copying active system files. But since Windows XP imaging Windows drives is far less fraught.

While there are more things that could go wrong, many users have had no problems imaging an active Windows system. That's also my experience. For about  a decade I've used a range of applications to backup and restore complete Windows systems. I used to do it a lot for testing. Often I would do it the way you recommend and boot using a removable disk. When I didn't do it that way, I don't remember ever having a problem that could be attributed to having Windows running while I imaged the drive. If the developers said they supported it then it has worked for me.

That's not to say that the problems you are concerned about won't ever occur but I've found that it is more common to strike the sort of problem that is unrelated to copying open files. I had lots of those including bugs in the imaging software, feature limitations (e.g. when restoring to different physical drives, when the free software only supports complete image restores, etc.), and most frustratingly, because it is too late to find out when you're doing a restore, bugs in the restore programs.

The final decision about how to image a drive mainly depends upon the purpose of creating the image and some depends upon the operating characteristics of the drive. So here's some reasons why it is reasonable to image a drive while Windows is running

  • The drive is not the Windows system drive.
  • The drive is not being accessed by any other process.
  • The drive is in use but because it is NTFS snapshots are supported.
  • The Volume Shadow Copy Service has all the providers and writers it needs for the running software.
  • The image is not primarily intended for a Windows system restore. Often it is easier to image an entire drive than specify the backup of specific files.
  • Windows has to keep running for some reason.

P.S. AndyR responded much better and more succinctly while I wrote my tome. :-)

Well usually I use a Windows PE boot disk that has various tools on it for imaging and editing tasks, But I have found no difference in the reliability of the images if they are done from within Windows itself or from a boot disk the VSS (volume shaddow service) running from within Windows gets used by the imaging software (in most cases) and is just as effective... Even the built in Windows imaging software does not require you to boot into a different enviroment so if MS thinks that is ok it is their operating system so I would think that they should know?

I guess if your a system admin with a lot of computers and servers to look after then yes you could not afford to take the chance and would use a bootable disk, but for home purposes I don't see the need when all the software works fine whatever way you do it.

AOMEI Backupper was updated to version 3.1.0 on 2015.08.04; as George.J noted, the changelog can be found at .

AOMEI Backupper 3.0 has been released. Release notes here.

Thanks for the heads up on that George.

I've been a fan of Aomei for quite a while, but the restoration process keeps disappointing me. Restored systems are never bootable (and yes, I know what I'm doing, it's not like I forgot to backup my bootloader partition or anything) and it even for some reason feels the need to change the flags on all my partitions after restoring. Before, there were several flags on several partitions, like ESP, boot and hidden, but after, all the partitions, even the ones it hadn't touched, were changed to "msftdata". No wonder stuff wouldn't boot anymore (though changing the flags alone didn't fix that).

I can honestly say I have never had this specific problem before, are you running a duel boot system by any chance with an older version of Linux or GRUB ? far as I recall the older versions used to use a filesystem that were very much the same as msftdata ones this is the only reason offhand I can think of as for why you're having problems and the partitions are getting incorrectly flagged...

I would like to see the new contender Veeam Endpoint Backup to be tested. It is some of the view that works with DiskCryptor encrypted disks (from within Windows, like Acronis). It has one of the more easy menus (it is straight forward I would say).

Sadly Macrium Reflect Free v6 still is not able to backup DiskCryptor encrypted drives from within Windows.

Why would anyone want to do images whilst Windows is running ?
Sure it might work, but there are more things that could go wrong.
I have a lot of old PCs (and no new ones), so I do a lot of images.
The vast majority of them were done with Seagate DiskWizard (using bootable CD)
I have not had a 'failure to restore' for the last few years.
If you offered me $500 to do all my future images from within Windows, I would decline the offer.

A few months ago the SDW would not recognize my Seagate External 2TB USB3 drives
I Googled and noticed others having the same problem, even with the paid version.
However their forum had a long thread on that, and they got their support staff to tweak the paid program for those interested.
I purchased a copy and used that for a while. It worked.
Their support with me was very good.
I have gone back to the free Seagate DiskWizard, which now recognizes my external drives.

Someone said that you cannot mount images.
That is not true with the current DiskWizrd version 1605861
I have it installed on one of my PCs (solely to allow me to create the bootable CD)
I have that PC running now and opened up the Seagate application
On the bottom right corner there are 'buttons' for mounting and unmounting images.

This one does look quite promising and a potential contender after reading the features etc.. I shall download a copy and use it for a while then see about writing a review.

EDIT: It appears you have to create an account first before you can download a copy, having to do things like that always puts me off right away.

I got it from the German Chip Magazine website. They are hosting it themselves. Though I don't think registering for them to download the product is not that bad.

Though for my QuadCore (about 450GB of Data) it takes way longer than Acronis / Seagate DiscWizard to backup. It has been running for an hour now and only backupped like 62GB. With Acronis the whole backup takes about 2 hours (+- some Minutes). I am using old HDDs though. On a laptop with an SSD both Seagate Disc Wizard and Veeam are on paar (Veeam takes about 1 or 2 Minutes longer to back the data up).

I could only provide a link here that was to the original source not a 3rd party so to speak... having to register in order to try a product you don't know if your going to like or even use will deter people, if it was a much needed driver for your system then that is a different matter because it would be something you would need and be left without an option hypothetically.

Thank you for the comparison on the imaging times, time is always a factor for consideration however in my opinion if you know for a fact the software you are using is 100% reliable even if it takes 6x longer than anything else it would be worth the extra time just for peace of mind. Veeam does seem to be very slow though in comparison to the others and also when you consider you can do a 3 pass low level format on a 500gb HDD in around 4 hours.

Yes, you are right. Though Acronis (Seagate Disc Wizard) is also reliable (alteast it never failed me) and only takes 2 hours, while Veeam took a little-bit over 4 hours. But restoring files from Veeam Endpoint Backup were also working fine for me. Good is, you can just mount the image and restore individual files. I was not able to do that with Seagate Disc Wizward (nor with Acronis WD Edition on another laptop). So that is a plus.

Many years ago I used to use the Seagate Disk Wizard also the WD one and found them to be very good, there was one version back then that used to work on any HDD but the brand specific features were disabled for obvious reasons, at times it was the only tool that would fix a corrupt HDD and that used to happen to me on a regular basis after my "experiments". Then there was the DOS only Ghost V3 through to V8 or 6? as far as I recall before they built the megalithic Windows GUI installer in later versions that almost required a dedicated PC in order to run it hehe... but that never has been freeware to my knowledge so can't really discuss it here but it did in my opinion set the standard for the freeware alternatives that started to spring up at the time.

I don't think any of them are 100% flawless in every given situation mainly because there is infinite number of different scenarios that developers cannot possibly recreate everyone of them, hence the need to rely on feedback from the end user. A problem with a lot of software these days is it tries to do too much rather than just focusing on its original intended usage but the race to keep up with competitors is ongoing along with adding more and more features to the list.. in my opinion with some of them I would like to see a few features removed and replaced instead with the "optional" usage of more advanced control over the creation and restoration process that in some cases is necessary especially if you are running a multi boot system without the need to use a Windows start up disk in order to fix boot issues after a restore at times, especially when you consider in most situations Windows start up repair is not able to fix such problems correctly even after running it the recommended 3 times, thus you have to drop to the command prompt and do it manually, therefore having some advanced options available to begin with would be a more useful feature to add.

I am all in favour of simplicity and ease of use but at times you need to do something that the software is not able to accurately predict what your intentions are. Of course though there would have to be a warning / disclaimer stating if you enable advanced options then you do so at your own risk. I am aware that some of the software does have such options already but in most cases the way it is implemented can be rather confusing at times.

Anyway just sharing my thoughts...

After a long wait, Macrium Reflect free has finally been awaited to version 6.

Yes, and some very important features have been added, among which are:

- The ability to make Differential Backups.

- Option to add an entry to the Boot Menu which will allow you to restore a System image without using external Rescue Media.


Aomei provides a free Win PE CD/DVD that has backerupper, partitioning ETC, ETC.
(Lots of goodies, including the program reviewed above)
I have tried a couple of times to burn it, and boot into it
(Burned on Win 7 64bit, and then tried booting into it on that PC and also into an XP Pro PC 32bit)
Both PCs halt during the boot up
I get the black screen with white progress bar saying 'Windows is loading files'
Then I get a black screen saying - Starting Windows with the waving 4 colors flag.
Then I get a blue screen saying -
STOPc0000145: {Application Error}
The application was unable to start correctly (0x000000d). Click ok to close the applicaion.

Anyone solved this ?

The error code relates to there being some corrupt system files that obviously are failing to load. Within AOMEI Backupper itself if you select the option to "Create Bootable Media" and choose either a Win PE or Linux disk then either of those seem to work just fine.

I have never downloaded and tried their all in one Win PE disk before so I can only assume that maybe your download got corrupted somehow or during the burning process... are you using a good quality brand of recordable media ?

Hi Andy,
I replied a while ago, but it got rejected as spam.
I submitted it for investigation/approval, but got no reply.
Perhaps it was rejected because I included a link to a thread on the forum on their site.
Some others have the same problem.
I managed to dig out a W7 32bit pc, and that fixed the problem (Don't create the bootable PE, on a 64bit W7)

Yes generally posting links to other forums is spam related... however not in your case but its very difficult for the board to know the difference.

So their 64bit version does not work but the 32bit does, interesting like I say I have not had that problem before. However it is probably better to create 32bit recovery media anyway since it will work with both. I get handed quite a lot of laptop computers to repair and always use 32bit media regardless because I have found at times the 64bit versions do not work on all systems other than the one it was created on, I think in some cases though this is intentional both with 32 & 64bit. Macrium being one such example where it prompted me for a serial number upon booting with the recovery media when the actual software was not installed on the target system, essentially rendering it useless unless you happen to have the serial number written down in front of you (highly unlikely) I did eventually get round the problem but the solution was less than ideal and took far longer than anticipated.

Just a note: Version 6 of Macrium is the paid version. Version 6 as free version will be released "soon" (whenever that is). The latest free version is 5.3.7299.

AOMEI released version 2.5 of their software and it now supports restoring on different hardware (like Acronis universal restore):

Yes I am waiting for the next laptop to get handed to me for repair so I can test that new feature and therefore update the review.

It appears that Macrium 32 bit no longer works on 64 bit machines. However, there is a 64 bit version available.

Umm. I use Macrium Reflect Free - downloaded directly from the Macrium website - on a Windows 7 64-bit machine just fine.

That being said - I always do the following for each PC:

1. Download and install Macrium Reflect Free - including the PE data - and reboot.

2. Make a Windows PE bootable USB on the PC I am going to image. This is important because you will need to pick the right PE version for your machine. Additionally, you will need to check whether or not you need to enable UEFI support, etc.

3. Once you have made this USB - boot the PC off the USB.

4. Now - in the windows PE environment - use this to make an image of your drive.

I, personally, prefer this method as it means the drive I am making an image of is not in use at the time.