Saturday, September 06, 2008

Never use DriveImage XML for backup

DriveImage XML looks very nice - it's free, has a simple and easy-to-use menu, supports all the features that you would normally need to backup your system:

  • Can backup drive that it (and Windows) is running from
  • Available as Bart PE module and can be easily integrated into Bart PE bootable CD or USB flash drive
  • And more

It's a charming piece of software, until you actually have to use it to restore you backup. Then you suddenly discover that it is almost impossible to restore you backup!

First, it does not really support multiple CD/DVD media. This is especially frustrating, as during backup it creates multiple image chunks of 650MB size, which makes you think that it will be able to restore the drive from multiple CD media. Bummer! When you try to do so, you get “error reading from Compressed stream” message.

Second, it can restore to existing partition only, however during the restore process it destroys that partition and if the restore fails - you have to recreate this partition using some other software.

And, when and if you somehow manage to restore the image you discover that it's not bootable. But this is easy to fix with fdisk (just make the restore partition active), provided you have a bootable CD/USB with relevant utilities.

To summarize, if your backup does not fit into a single DVD media, you can only use DriveImage XML to restore from network drive (or physically connect you faulty drive to another PC).

OR better yet, use a different backup software.

Actually, this is an interesting marketing strategy - most people use backup software to backup only, restores are rare. So it pays off to invest in backup features and neglect almost entirely restore functionality.

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