Best Free Drive Cloning Software

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Introduction

Notwithstanding claims of others, I cannot pretend to be entirely unbiased in my reviews; indeed, an “unbiased human” is an oxymoron. There are two points that I would like to mention: bells and whistles and the availability of reliable customer service.

Whatever else developers claim their programs are capable of, those programs must be able to accomplish their end; the importance of how they get there is most often a matter of personal preference. My bias dictates that, within the parameters chosen by the user, a disk imaging program ought to be able to faithfully create and restore the image. To me, factors like resources consumed, GUI, speed of operations, and others are a matter of personal choice or are influenced by the users’ hardware and operating system. Can we agree that, regardless of its features, if a program cannot consistently create and restore accurate images, it is useless? Simplicity and the conjunction of my and others’ experiences vis-à-vis reliability will greatly influence my reviews; comments are welcome.

Disk imaging has rapidly become a must have tool for most users because of its convenience, speed, and altogether ease of use. With disk imaging software 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 that time and accomplish the same thing while keeping all of your programs and important data. For many users this has made Windows backup and other file backup solutions redundant.

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 an alternative operating system such as MSDOS 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.

With the release of Windows 7 in October 2009, Microsoft provided us with some new and improved features. One of the more talked about features is the new enhanced Windows Backup and Restore application which now has the ability to create disk images. I myself do not use the built in backup because it does not have all of the features and extras that I require, but I have tested it thoroughly and have gotten to know how it handles for this review. I have to say that it is a very solid backup solution that is reliable and is able to create and restore backups in a reasonable time and faster than some of the other free options around. 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. The new Window 7 backup is much improved and while it does not include some of the bells and whistles that other programs may have, it is a solid and simple solution to drive imaging, although not quite as comprehensive as some other choices.

ToolTip: For any of you devoted disk imagers, there are two tools that you must have, and yes, I will be checking up on you! I can't devote the space I would like to here to discuss them, so if you have questions, please comment below, or go to the forums for more involved issues. 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 (sorry XPers, this only works with the newer OS), 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.

 
Discussion

 

Because Macrium has incrementally been improving their newest 5.0 release since it came out, ironing out a few bugs, making their recovery media adequately install drivers, I have gone back to them for the top spot, especially after finding out you can clone a working, running system with it, I think that is very new, and don’t recall anyone else doing that.

 


 

Macrium Reflect Free Edition is a very solid application that is great at what it does. The free version lacks some key features others have, notably differential/incremental and file/network file support.  

With Macrium you can create an XML definition file and save it to your desktop so that all you have to do anytime you want to create a backup is double click the file and the operation will start without anymore user input. You can also start a backup through the context menu when you right click on a partition in Windows Explorer. The application offers a convenient and easy way to schedule backups with the XML definitions files via the GUI.  

The program now has the capability, possibly unique feature amoung free imagers, of cloning your working and running system; very, very handy, and it's already made my life easier. Macrium didn’t include the file backup option in the free version, but the software can mount any backup image that you have created so you can explore and restore any individual files if the need arises.

Now in the new version 5.0, Macrium includes a PE recovery, eliminating  a major objection. The new PE recovery is quite nice, offering the same functionality as the installed version, most of their driver problems in creating the recovery media appear fixed. These improvements have lead me to place it just ahead of Paragon, by a small but not insignificant margin.

 

It was very hard to choose a top pick for this category. Any of the top three here should satisfy most,  the new Paragon Backup and Recovery (Advanced) Free edition now falls a bit behind Macrium.

This is a program that is very much improved over some of their older Drive Backup editions. Backup and Recovery 11 has some notable extras over some other free programs such as the ability to carry out some very basic partition editing, as well as full support for ext2, 3, and 4 Linux file systems. It was very fast in creating an image of an 8 GB partition, taking just over nine minutes and creating an image that was just over half the size of the partition with the default option for compression.

It is the only program that I reviewed with the option to create differential backups which will save a lot of time and space by backing up only the changes that have occurred since a full image was created. It restores seamlessly to smaller partitions, a very welcome, and sometimes desperately needed, ability few other free packages offer. 

The application also has a Linux based bootable CD that you can build in case something happens and your computer will not boot. It can schedule predefined backups to run automatically and the program also gives you the option to password protect your backup archives. Of note, is the ability to virtualize systems disks to facilitate migration to such an environment, though this only worked with Windows systems, and with Paragon offering the best support for Linux file systems, this oversight perplexes. 

An untested but interesting feature is its 'Backup Capsule' concept, where the backup is a hidden full system mirror that can take over should the original become damaged. 

Overall, Paragon Backup and Recovery Free is a reliable program with some great features that is well suited to handle the needs of most users.

Drive Image XML is another great free utility for drive imaging. I had only used this software one time before and it was a few years ago and other than the very long 28:30 minutes that it took to create an image of that same 8 GB partition, I thought the program was very solid.

I still do not like the GUI very much, but the program is easy enough to use. Runtime didn’t give very many options for creating an image mostly just the essentials, you can create a raw sector by sector image (clone), and you have two options for compression and neither are any good by default, but you can tweak them to be better via preferences.

The program also has a feature called ‘Drive to Drive’ which will create an image and restore it directly to a second drive without saving the image first. You can also explore backup archives and restore files from the archives in a similar fashion as is available with Macrium Reflect. You can also schedule backups but you have to manually set that up with task scheduler, just the same the program has support for Bart PE/Win PE and has plug-ins available on the website. But building the bootable media and installing the plug-in is left entirely up to the user even if they do include a short tutorial on the site about creating the Bart PE boot CD.

Drive Image XML feels is a little different than the other software in this category but it is certainly a reliable imaging program that has a very good feature set capable of covering the needs of most users.

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.

(New editors note:  With all due deference to my very able predecessor, the choices offered as you step through the procedure may easily confuse with nomenclature and concepts not used in typical Windows systems and environments.)  

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

Macrium Reflect Free
5
 
Gizmo's Freeware award as the best product in its class!

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. Best of category in frequency of updates.
No incremental or differential backups, no file/network support-only in non-free edition.
5.2.6433
2.2 MB
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Feature limited freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Windows XP/Vista /7 /8

v5.2.6427 released 22 October, 2013
View release notes here

Backup & Recovery 2013 Free
4
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Fast backup and restore, differential backups, basic partitioning capabilities, 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, no PE environment recovery, program requires registration for download.
10.1.19.16240
102MB
32 and 64 bit versions available
Feature limited freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7/8

v10.1.19.16240 released 18 March, 2013
View the changelog here

Drive Image XML
3
 
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.
2.5
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
Clonezilla
3
 
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
http://clonezilla.org/
2.2.0-29
133.2 MB
32 and 64 bit versions available
Unrestricted freeware
All Windows and Linux, Intel based Mac OS

v2.2.0-16 released 29/10/2013

PING (PartImage Is Not Ghost)
2.5
 
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.
http://ping.windowsdream.com/
3.02
33.8MB
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Unrestricted freeware
All Windows and Linux

 
Editor

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.

 
Tags

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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Comments

by crank on 23. June 2012 - 19:49  (95286)

Thank you for your comments and suggestions, I will definitely put ReDo on the todo list, but ToDo does not get on the redo list, I hope a lot of people have copies of Easeus' previous, less crippled versions, it is as fine program when not overly hobbled. Thank you again for your suggestions, they are all appreciated.

by jojojones (not verified) on 24. June 2012 - 0:59  (95290)

Lol, you made me laugh with that one. I use Macrium and Paragon sometimes too. They both work very well - I have actually restored from them and they can be trusted, which is important. They are a bit cumbersome and don't work as well as ReDo though for USB sticks. In fact, I am not sure, but I don't think Macrium backs up USB sticks at all.

I am not affiliated with ReDo at all, but there is nothing else that compares in the Linux world for ease of use and speed. It can repair boot problems as well as formating with the excellent Disk Utility, the best program to use to write your MBR to your USB stick, so it will boot when the time comes. Always restores perfectly. You can even burn ReDo onto a USB stick itself and boot from that for extra speed. I tried this though and could not get it to work, but many say it works fine.

I have not used ReDo to image windows, but it is just perfect for my Linux distros on both USB and SD Card.

Cheers.

by Xavier Cugat (not verified) on 22. June 2012 - 15:34  (95231)

I recently used Acronis TI WD version to clone and replace a chattering drive; as a precaution, I also imaged it first. Now I'm wondering if the image I made was pointless. My question is, are images from apps like TI and DIXML hardware specific? Will they reload onto, say, a non-identical replacement drive? (Note: I'm talking about Imaging, not Cloning)

I've been reading Gizmo since it was "46 Best" and want to thank him, and you guys, for many hours of interesting and educational reading. This used to be the first place I came for freeware - now, it's for the reviews and forum too.

by crank on 23. June 2012 - 16:16  (95273)

Eek, my page has run amonk!! HMonk, thanks for helping out with a very thorough response. I would add that for Cugat and most others most of the time, if you are swapping a regular drive for another, even an SSD, windows seldom has a problem getting everyone to make nice and play well together, I've had no problems like the Acronis-PR sounding quote in the response. RAID, new >2 or >4TB drives, etc, more atypical drives can be a problem, but if you have the driver handy, windows will graciously vouchsafe you a working system. I wouldn't worry about it, dance La Cucaracha while your image is restored to the new drive and everything will be fine [as I doubt you have any RAID, that would just be wrong!!!].

by HMonk on 23. June 2012 - 16:08  (95272)

I posted a detailed response yesterday - which has been deleted for reasons unknown. Let's try the short answer.

Due to differences in the HAL, the answer is no. If using Acronis, e.g., you have to utilize their "Universal Restore" enabled programs to restore image backups to dissimilar machines.

Monk

by Anupam on 23. June 2012 - 16:25  (95275)

The comment was unpublished, because first, it's our site rule to post the link from where the text was picked up. That was not done, there was no link.
Also, the comment became quite long because of that. Whereas, just posting the link to the text would have sufficed.
Thirdly, the whole text was for Acronis, which although mentioned in the review for the benefit of Seagate and WD users, is not technically free. Therefore, we can't have a whole long comment just for it.

I hope you understand why we had to unpublish the comment. Being a former team member, you will know how this site runs :).
Thanks for contributing.

by crank on 23. June 2012 - 17:38  (95278)

Hi Anupam, thanks for stepping in to explain, now is there anyway to get the replies in their proper chronological order? It's a minor issue, but could confuse some visitors. Just thought I'd inquire.

by Anupam on 23. June 2012 - 18:36  (95280)

Nope, can't be done. The comments stay as they are, because the style is threaded here, which is different from the forum.

by SymantecKilledGhost (not verified) on 12. June 2012 - 23:22  (94764)

Does anyone have a suggestion for which product would be best to Image a Dell Server running Windows 2003 SBS and Restore it to a VM on new Hardware running XenServer? I assume because of SBS's AD, it would be best to do with the server powered off? Any suggestions would be appreciated. I haven't worked with this stuff in a while.
Thanks!

by Daniel Law (not verified) on 3. July 2012 - 7:57  (95672)

If you use Citrix xen server which is free, you can download their boot cd, load it into your sbs at boot and point it at your new xen server and it will convert the server into a vm and load it into your xen server environment for you, it really is that easy. :)

I would highly recommend paragon products from a it professional pov, you can expand server os partitions with their boot tools which is essential when working on physical servers.

by crank on 13. June 2012 - 18:28  (94804)

Hi SymantecKilledGhost, thanks for your question, now I have to find a translator. I am sorry, I understand somewhere between zero and none of your question[insert red-faced smiley here]. While that is a bit exaggerated, it is the case that I have no expertise [or knowledge period] of serious server issues, about how these packages will operate under those conditions, etc. The off-line offerings, clonezilla, PING, or gparted/partedMagic can image/copy anything if the file system is supported, maybe that is a direction for you to look into. Since they operate on disks outside of the OS, they don't care who put the bits down, they'll copy them. I am sorry to be of such little help, we have many very knowledgeable frequent visitors, plus some other of the editors know far more about many/most/all? things than me, hopefully one of these will see this and step in to help out. Again, thanks for stopping by and I wish I could be of more service.

by Simms (not verified) on 10. June 2012 - 2:47  (94623)

Any opinions on Keriver 1 Click Restore and Karen's Replicator?

by crank on 10. June 2012 - 10:15  (94632)

Well Simms, your question simms to ring a bell, anni didn't have to look very far:
http://www.techsupportalert.com/best-free-drive-imaging-program.htm?page...

And I'm still trying to put together a bit of a reboot to the page, if the gremlins and etc will give me some breathing room.

by DLC50 on 8. June 2012 - 6:04  (94555)

Just read the all exclusive headline about no Easeus TODO Free and had to comment. I used to be the author of this topic and a die hard Macrium Reflect user. Until 5.0. Anyways I was converted to a Easeus fan by the new author and have been using the free version for a while now. I read this and went to their website to make sure but they do still offer a free version and it is a great piece of software. They do not offer downloads from there site for the free version but link to the download page on CNET. I could find no news of its being cancelled or loss of support. At least I hope that I am right, I don't like to have to switch Drive Imaging programs. Anyway on their website all that they offer as evidence of the free version still being around is a comparison between it and the professional versions. It is on this page ( http://www.todo-backup.com/products/home/free-backup-software.htm ) and you can find the link to the download at CNET at the bottom of the comparison under the free side column. Here is that link to CNET. http://download.cnet.com/Easeus-Todo-Backup-Free/9241-2242_4-12550964.ht...

Thanks

by crank on 9. June 2012 - 16:36  (94611)

Thank you for your concern and info, the decision to eliminate ToDo wasn't easy, and there continue to be objections from viewers, but 3 things make me rather adament about this, first is how they eliminated any mention from their site about availability of a free version, then that they had started crippling the free version, e.g., taking back the free winPE recovery disk, and third, and possibly most galling, was blocking non-paid users from using their forums. So I doubt you will see Easeus here in the Drive Imaging page again, possibly if we see some serious grovelling from them.

We really appreciate you taking this time to give us your thoughts, we're always open to our visitors ideas, opinions, news, etc. Have a good day.

by puterfx (not verified) on 11. July 2012 - 3:24  (96024)

I just downloaded Macrium Free and tried to image a dual boot hdd ... no joy. When I went to their forum, I could not post there for help either because I had not purchased the program. Just an FYI. Looks like Paragon and Clonezilla for me and thank you for your reviews. Good stuff!

by crank on 11. July 2012 - 7:18  (96029)

Thanks for taking the time to comment on your recent experience, I am sorry Macrium didn't work out for you, it really should have had no problem with a dual-boot, the handling of the MBR after a restore is another matter, one that can get confusing very quickly. Can you tell me what configuration you had, e.g., how many physical disks, how many partitions on what disks, how the boot-loader{s} was set up and which boot-loader(s) was being used?

I really don't like that they won't let non-buyers use the forums, it only cheapens their reputation, it's almost punitive, and is most likely counterproductive. The costs involved in letting in more folk (non-buyers) are minimal and how many more will be turned off by this than will decide to buy the product just to get the help form the forum? I for one would be far more inclined to not buy their premium product knowing this. It's also really bad because the free version really is very nice.

by herbie72 (not verified) on 23. July 2012 - 23:38  (96562)

Sadly, it also appears as if Macrium is no longer offering differential/incremental backups as part of the free version. You now have to purchase the standard version to get that feature, at least according to their feature chart.

This was the one feature which drew me to this program, plus it's speed. Looks like I'll need to go with Paragon. While differential backups are larger than incremental, at least the former appears to still be available in their free version.

Can't tell you how much I appreciate this site and all the good info here. Thanks for everything.

by MidnightCowboy on 10. June 2012 - 5:31  (94624)

There have also been more concerted efforts to spam Easeus in both our main site comments and forum posts than any other product. This we don't need and are happy to do without. :)

by steveo (not verified) on 9. June 2012 - 6:14  (94591)

Just had to comment on the situation with Easeus TODO Backup free. Version 4.0.0.2 is the last free version to be free for both personal AND BUSINESS use. To install version 4.0.0.5 You even have to specify that it's being installed for home use.
This may put a crimp in the use of it by those who have been using it for small businesses.

by ManyThx (not verified) on 26. June 2012 - 0:17  (95377)

THANK YOU! I thought I was losing my mind as I remembered this product being free for both home and business use, but when I revisited the site the licensing statement had changed. A Google search for the specific version you mention will yield viable links to a download for the older, unrestricted version 4.0.0.2 that is free for commercial use (hint: not CNET). Many thanks.

by innn on 6. June 2012 - 7:34  (94478)

hi all, i just tried DriveXML imaging my c:\ drive with a size 126GB from which 29GB only used, it took 11 minutes
i'm pretty satisfied but I have still to try a restore
I will come back with a success or failure verdict when I get to that

by crank on 6. June 2012 - 14:51  (94501)

Maybe I am psychic, but I feel you are nto n, nteresting. N case you are still reading this, thanks for the nput, yes, please do tell us how it went, DriveImage isn't the speediest of the lot, but it's a solid performer, I've not had ny problems. Yes ndeed, I am annnoying to the nth degree.

by Anupam on 5. June 2012 - 6:42  (94420)

ODIN : Open source disk imager in development. Still in beta.

http://odin-win.sourceforge.net/

by crank on 5. June 2012 - 19:05  (94452)

Thanks for the info, Anupam, it looks very promising, and it's open source, a big positive to my way of thinking. I'll get to it before too long and see what I think, have a good one.

by Anupam on 5. June 2012 - 19:11  (94455)

My pleasure :). I hope they develop it into a good program. Open source is indeed a positive.

by EVM (not verified) on 16. May 2012 - 22:50  (93568)

Easeus Disk Copy Home Edition 2.3.1 is FREE. Did you check the "CLONABILITY" of it?

by crank on 25. May 2012 - 18:22  (93954)

This page is more for Imaging software as opposed to basic disk copying, most imaging software will also clone, as will the partition managers on that page. As cloning is copying, this package doesn't really fit here, but thank you for your suggestions.

by greg101 (not verified) on 8. May 2012 - 6:15  (93198)

Where to start?

Grrrlgeek suggested Easeus 2.5.1 as it had 'universal restore' included. Could not find this version, but did find (and d/l) version 2.5.

Ran it and copied (imaged) my external xp drive to a partition on my ntfs laptop. Not sure what I got, as I have the shortcut for it, but no file; AND my original xp drive is now in raw data state.

Easeus know about this, as this is what is on their "Troubleshooting" page
5. Why does the NTFS partition displayed as RAW after clone, and I cannot access it?
We think your original NTFS partition is written protected, please remove this attribute and then try again.

To compound their ignorance, how can the drive be "write-protected" if it managed to RE-WRITE the ID, or mbr, or or partition table?

I don't know how old this (useless info)is, so I don't know if they have become enlightened or not.

I have had testdisk suggested, but from what you said in another thread, it looks dicey, if I don't know what I am doing.

As for some feedback/questions about some of the other products

With Macrium Reflect, I cannot see how to image my external disk to a partition I created on my active drive. It ONLY wants to "clone" it to the 1st partition, where the system files are - and I had this confirmed by Macrium. In the "clone" option, it asks me if "I want to select another source" - such as the external drive, but in the "image" option, it does not give me that choice. Have I missed something?

I have a trial of Acronis, but the "image" option is disabled.
Do you know if this is also the case with the Paragon free edition.

Will PartedMagic be able to what i want; and can it be mounted in a VM, or should I go the Paragon route with their P2V?

Thanks

by crank on 9. May 2012 - 6:07  (93243)

greg, if only all the questions were so short and uncomplicated. That is sure a long list of glitches, do you have a cat working on your PCs while you aren't looking-LOLz. Easeus is on version 4.5, I can't begin to help with such an old version, and on XP, which isn't a system I've had for my main PC. If it trashed the disk it was working on, that is not at all good.

First off, you say 'copied (imaged)' but these are not the same, a copy is the same as a clone, but an image is something different.

You can try MiniTools free partition recovery software here:
http://www.minitool-partitionrecovery.com/recoverymore.html
It works very well and it sounds like you only trashed the partition table, which should be easy to fix. Test disk will do very well, it only gets confusing if you have extended partitions and maybe repartitioned the disk recently, leaving some bits around triggering a false partition detection.

Now, about Macrium, this really confuses me, I never have problems such as you describe. Macrium won't clone to a smaller partition (clone with resize), and I don't think it will restore to a smaller available space either. Paragon can do this however. But for imaging, as long as there is space for the image, Macrium shouldn't have a problem with that. You mention the 'active disk', do you mean you are attempting to clone to the system drive? No product can do that, it's your working system. And the free version of Acronis images, that is it's main purpose, free or not, so I can't imagine what is happening there either. Are you somehow mixing up 'cloning' and 'imaging' in all of this?

I am sorry I can't give you more and better advice, but your system seems possessed by by multiple weirdnesses, maybe if you can give me more details, such as disk/partition/file system types/sizes which partition on which disk you are trying to do what with, and your blood type, then I may be able to give better advice [I don't really need your blood type, just testing if you were still awake] Good luck, and I'll try to help more if I can get more info.

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