It’s time, once again, for me to bug you about data backups. I’m being a little bit facetious, but it’s been more than two weeks since the last reminder – “Handy Backup – Complete, EXTENSIBLE Backup Solution”.
Now I’m not much of a betting man, but I’ll take this bet (I always bet a sure thing) – at some point your computer will suffer system, or hardware failure.
What are you going to do then – if you don’t have a current backup of your critical data, system/device drivers (something many of us forget), and user operating system settings?
How are you going to recover your irreplaceable data; documents, digital photos, email messages, personal and business related work and important private data?
There are loads of free applications out in the wild blue that, used properly and regularly, will speed to the rescue the day you lose your bet. One such free program, that I have no difficulty recommending, is DriveImage XML from Runtime Software.
DriveImage XML uses Microsoft’s Volume Shadow Services (VSS) to create images, allowing you to create safe “hot images”, even from drives currently in use. Images are then stored in XML files, which allows you to process those files with third party tools.
The real benefit of course in imaging your full drives and partitions is, you now have the ability to restore your complete operating system, as well as your installed applications, user settings, and the registry. Better yet, you can restore the image to a replacement drive.
An added feature of DriveImage XML is, the included image explorer that permits access to previously created backup images and the extraction of individual files.
Since this program is currently distributed as freeware, there is no technical support offered. Instead, refer to the program’s help file and documentation. If you need additional help, you can refer to the program’s frequently asked questions (FAQ).
Backup logical drives and partitions to image files
Browse these images, view and extract files
Restore these images to the same, or a different drive
Copy directly from drive to drive
Schedule automatic backups with Task Scheduler
Restore images to drives without rebooting
Free for home use only
Runs from a WinPE boot CD-ROM
Backup, image and restore on FAT 12, 16, 32 and NTFS drives
User comments – from CNET user reviews:
Pros: Easy to use; does a thorough job.
Cons: Nothing at all.
Summary: This utility is easy to use and does exactly what it claims. I imaged my Vista laptop, installed a new, larger HD and copied the imaged old drive to the new drive with absolutely no problems. No need to reinstall Vista.
Pros: Easy to use and very useful to save disk images and restore. Never had a problem in the past year.
Cons: None that I experienced.
Summary: Great for regular backups too.
System Requirements: Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista
Watch the DriveImage XML video tutorial at YouTube
Latest version: October 03, 2009 – DriveImage XML V2.12
Download at: Download.com
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