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IcemanND

Disk Imaging Software

101 posts in this topic

I've been tasked with testing other disk imaging solutions to see if we stay with what we are using, Ghost, or move to something with more better features less expensive, you know the drill. So far I have found the following products, some freeware, some commercial. Are there any I have missed?

I am only concerned with utilities to create disk images for windows based machines, disk to disk cloning is not a requirement but it is a benefit, image creation is a requiement. If they do others that is fine. And if we want to make this the find them all repository I will gladly add more to the list that serve other functionality and break the lists up.

When my project is finished I'll post the resulting functionality comparison here for all to enjoy.

Disk Imaging Products:

Disk Cloning Products:

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what about Imagex that is in the WAIK and on the Vista DVD?

It would have been nicer if they hadnt forget to flush the console buffers (you cant read the console output until it exits). But so far you get it for free from MS and the save/restore times are not that bad.

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Had it and forgot to put it on the list. Thanks.

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I don't know if this is the area you are going to be working in,

but Kroll Ontrack has a dos (6.2) based disk image tool.

It is typically shipped as "software" when you buy a retail HD.

Maxtor has MaxBlast (by Ontrack),

WD has DataLifeGuard (by Ontrack),

Seagate has ?? (by Ontrack).

I understand that the DOS versions included on the CDs are all just versions of Kroll Ontrack's dos-based image copier and restorer. They just do a sector by sector copy (sector 0x0123456... source HD gets copied to sector 0x123456... target HD), so source HD and target HD need to be healthy, and target HD needs to be larger than source HD. It is reported to be fast because it uses only BIOS.

If I may make a request along this line -- I'd love to figure out eventually how to add a kiosk feature to my w98se. On shutdown, reboot to dos 6.2, run an image program, and shutdown. On next bootup, I would be back to c:\ (OS and programs), and it would be at the pristine image condition. All email, personal files, etc. would be on D: to whatever. But C-drive would remain virus free. Do any of the above image programs have a image restore, kiosk capability?

Edited by Molecule
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@Molecule - I don't know of any feature like this in imaging utilities, but there are products like deepfreeze by faronics, and I don't know if it is around anymore HDSherrif (may not have the name quite right). That freeze either partitions or whole hard drives and after any changes are made a reboot returns them to their pristine state.

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OT:

@Molecule

The idea of imaging forth and back the system is not, in my view, the best way for "kiosk mode".

It would be better if you used one of the various ways to boot Win9x from a RAMDISK.

Alternatively, and maybe even easier, you can experiment with the grub4dos features of the --mem command.

Of course the machine needs to have enough RAM for it.

@IcemanND

Sorry didn't intend to hijack the thread. :)

jaclaz

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Here is the list of items I will be using to compare products, any others I missing?

Cost

Features

  • Supported Hardware
  • Bootable Media
  • Image Explorer
  • Drive Wipe
  • Change SID
  • Partition Drive
  • Format Drive
  • CD/DVD Burning
  • Verify during/after burn
  • Backup to local partition
  • Partition Resize during restore
  • Multicasting
  • Scriptable
  • Editable Images
  • Mountable Images

Backup/Restore

  • Virtual Disk
  • Individual file/folder restoration
  • Self extracting
  • Date/Time stamp preserved

Backup Options

  • Live Backup
  • File skip
  • Compression
  • Splitable images

Drive Cloning

  • forensic copy
  • Encryption
  • Password protected
  • Label Backup

Scheduling

  • Windows Task Scheduler
  • Application included Scheduler
  • Task Editor
  • Set date/time

Boot Disk Types

  • Network
  • SCSI
  • USB
  • Firewire
  • CD
  • DVD
  • Floppy

File System support

  • Fat 16/32
  • NTFS
  • EXT 2/3 FS
  • ReiserFS
  • Linux

Support/Docs

  • User Guides
  • eMail Support
  • FAQ
  • Phone Contact
  • Download Updates
  • Help Documentation
  • Knowledge Base

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You mention drive cloning encryption. I presume that you are talking about commercial disk encryption software

vs. MSoft disk encryption whereby the whole disk is encrypted and a password is needed on bootup before

Windows even starts to boot. I also assume you'll be evaluating the disk imaging of these encrypted disks too.

This wouldn't be the case whereby the file or the directory would be encrypted with the rest of the files/directories

remaining unencrypted since this is a trivial case.

Edited by mikesw
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Actually I was referring to the ability to encrypt the image itself.

Imaging encrypted disks though possible is not recommended by the vendors I have dealt with, or you have to do it without compression so a 40gb drive results ina 40gb image and you can't resize it to a larger drive. I know this is the cse with Utimaco's SafeGuard Easy.

I'm not sure what would happen with EFS, if the drive was fully cloned it would not likely be a problem, creating an image may pose issues.

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Here is the list of items I will be using to compare products, any others I missing?

Does the image include, and will the image restore, all date information on subdirs when they are "restored?" -- obviously same for files too? (Possibly called "forensics" -- but forensics might include much more than just preserving/restoring file/subdir dates.)

In some cases I have so many subdirs under a dir I need to sort them by date of origination to locate a file (I can remember "about when" better than I can "a specific name").

----

Seagate and Maxtor also have Diskwizard, a free cut down version of Acronis Trueimage 10

I was thinking of the 1.44 FD DOS versions. (I can't imagine how a restore could be considered secure when MS Windows is running.)

Edited by Molecule
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Does the image include, and will the image restore, all date information on subdirs when they are "restored?" -- obviously same for files too? (Possibly called "forensics" -- but forensics might include much more than just preserving/restoring file/subdir dates.)

In some cases I have so many subdirs under a dir I need to sort them by date of origination to locate a file (I can remember "about when" better than I can "a specific name").

Forensic imaging takes an image of the entire drive including blank space, normally only used to image to another drive rather than to an image since it is a exact 1:1 copy of the drive.

So we'll call what you are after date/time stamp preservation.

Anyone have a good way to score ease of use? This is something that can be very subjective.

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Wow, I'm surprised by the number of products out there when you start looking. Which I am now going to stop doing, if anyone else knows of a product not listed post it and I will add it to the list up until the end of the day on Monday. Anything after that will not likely be reviewed but I will add to the list so we can have a single repository of imaging solutions.

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Thanks for the list something i need as i have an Asus P5K Deluxe P35 chipset board and Acronis Trumeimage 10 doesn't work with ICH9R controller. Asked Acronis and they said I'd have to wait until Trueimage 11 is released for P35 chipset support!

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A very small DOS one:

http://johnson.tmfc.net/dos/todisk.html

TOdisk is a command line utility which perform TRUE sector clone, so it can handle different file system such as FAT, FAT32, NTFS, Ext2 ... etc.

TOdisk embedded the mature and famous ZLIB compression library, user can adjust compression size and speed according to their needs.

The command line parameters can be simple (simply clone the whole hard disk), but also can be very powerful, for example, it can do batch jobs, just clone a certain number of sectors, multiple image with password ... etc.

Still ALPHA, but after all, that's was testing is about ;)

I guess that it could be very useful for a USB device (or even floppy)

DISKMAN

http://www.diskman.co.uk/

Diskman 4 is the most powerful, stable and refined release yet available:

Full script language and support for batch file operation to simplify system roll out tasks

Clearer command structure Many new commands

Backup and restore VFAT (Windows 9x/NT/2000) Long File Names (LFN)

Archive compatible with DOSLFNBK, the leading LFN backup utility

Delete, create and manipulate disk partitions

Quickly format FAT volumes as FAT12, FAT16 or FAT32

Support for hard disks/partitions up to 2TB

Support for disk image files up to 2GB (4GB coming soon)

Support for spanned image files up to 2TB

Securely erase either volumes or entire drives

Mount and manipulate disk images (such as those created for Rawrite)

Export volumes or entire physical drives for later restore.

Quickly copy every file into image files for easy backup and later restore.

Browse FAT volumes quickly and easily

Directly edit disks at the sector level

Support for all BIOS supported disks, DOS supported drives and Image files

Help repair disks after a virus attack or rescue critical data

Backup and restore CMOS memory images, including latest 256 byte chipsets.

Embryonic support for NTFS

Free for noncommercial use.

Format32 is the first Diskman derivative to support MS-Windows NT/2000/XP:

>Native Windows support (Diskman4 supports Windows with DMHOST.DLL)

>Ultrafast formatting of FAT volumes

Exceeds the 32GB limit imposed by Microsoft on FAT32 volumes

is a great app, but until version 5 comes out, NTFS is not or poorly supported....:(

jaclaz

Edited by jaclaz
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i notice you've split them into two categories, many of the ones in the imaging section also have a disk cloning option too :)

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@beldd - Yes that is true but the ones in the disk cloning category only do cloning, and for my initial specs did not qualify, but since they were brought up I added them to the list. While it is not likely a complete list it is the longest list of this type of software I know of. And more than I could find using your typical search engine.

When the comparison is done the imaging software that does cloning will be noted in the final report. Hoping to compare 3-4 a day should be done sometime next week.

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Here is the list of items I will be using to compare products, any others I missing?

Support for dynamic disks, if you have not yet started the project?

And maybe platforms, for those that have both windows and linux versions.

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DeployCenter component from Symantec Ghost Solution Suite - former PowerQuest DriveImage Pro.

There is also a universal solution - Symantec Backup Exec System Recovery (build on PQ DriveImage basis) ;)

Both are not Ghost but separate programs :)

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PING 2.01 by Natan from this board is missing in the list. Something to compare is what extra functionality a product offers, such as resetting forgotten passwords. Another thing to compare is the speed of making an image, the size of the image, et cetera. Also the size of the software itself, if an installation is required, et cetera. Once making a comparisson, divide the list in paid software and freeware. Both catagories need to be compared together as well of course, but this will give a good overview in the end of the better paid software and a separate overview of the better freeware available.

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@Arie - do you have links? Any different from PING from ping.windowsdream.com?

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