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Windows 7: Free Imaging Software vs. Paid Versions

21 Feb 2011   #1

Win7
 
 
Free Imaging Software vs. Paid Versions

I am looking at Acronis True Image 2011 & Paragon Backup and Recovery Free edition. Basically I'd just like to be able to image my laptop once I have it set up with all the software I want and don't want As far as I can tell, they can both do the same thing with a few more features for the paid versions. What am I missing with the free edition? I used Macrium in the past and upon a restore I hosed my MBR so it could be operator error or that was a limitation of the free version. Any input would be appreciated.

Thanks!

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21 Feb 2011   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 SP1, Home Premium, 64-bit
 
 

The Macrium problem was likely operator error, although imaging is never foolproof.

You can get a perfectly usable version of Acronis at no charge if you have either a Seagate or Western Digital hard drive--go to the Seagate or WD web site.

All you get by paying is more features that you likely would not need.
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21 Feb 2011   #3
whs

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

The free versions usually suffice. There is no need to pay money unless you have very special needs for the additional functions.

Your unfortunate Macrium incident I do not understand. I recovered with Macrium at least 30 times and never had that happen. Next time use the bootable CD of this program to fix the MBR.

My list of favorites is Macrium first, then Paragon followed by Acronis. I also used Ghost for a couple of years on Vista, but that is rather complicated and costs money.
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21 Feb 2011   #4
mjf

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1
 
 

Like the comment of whs, I don't believe there is a problem with Macrium (free) and the management of the MBR. According to Macrium it always stores a copy of the MBR for the disk the partition image set was taken from. It gives you the option to replace it. If your MBR had been damaged and you chose not to replace it then you would have problems with a reimage
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21 Feb 2011   #5

Win7
 
 

Thanks for the great posts. It was over 6 months ago so I don't remember the exact details. It may have been that I restored only one of the two partitions since one is the factory recovery partition. Either way, I'll look at it again. Not to get too off topic, but how is the built in Windows 7 create image option compared to the above mentioned?

Thanks!
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21 Feb 2011   #6
whs

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

The built-in Windows7 option is a real dog in my book. Nothing but headaches. But I am sure, mjf will tell you a different story. In any case, it is VERY retarded.
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21 Feb 2011   #7

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 SP1, Home Premium, 64-bit
 
 

It "works" if you want to take the trouble to learn its idiosyncrasies. But the interface isn't particularly intuitive and it isn't particularly flexible.

For instance, it has been known to frown if you rename your image file or move it around.
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21 Feb 2011   #8
mjf

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by whs View Post
The built-in Windows7 option is a real dog in my book. Nothing but headaches. But I am sure, mjf will tell you a different story. In any case, it is VERY retarded.
I use Windows 7 imaging as my primary imaging tool. I have used it extensively and it hasn't let me down yet. I used it to make the HDD I'm currently using.
I also use Macrium as a second safeguard, and it is at times a more flexible tool. Macrium has also never let me down.
As soon as one proves it's unreliable for me I will get rid of it and look for it's replacement.

Windows 7 imaging isn't perfect and some people have had difficulties with it. Maybe there are Macrium war stories.
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21 Feb 2011   #9

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64
 
 

All the third party free versions do the job.

They look different, have a few different options - try and see which suits you.

You may find one of the freebies is all you need.


The latest Paragon freebie is the only one to align correctly according to nt6 partitioning rules.

The others won't want Paragon to have such an advantage and will doubtless follow.
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22 Feb 2011   #10

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

I'm an Acronis True Image 2010 user myself. Waited for a sale at NewEgg for $23.99 and picked it up. It has a feature called Try & Decide that I like. If I want to play with something, I turn on Try and Decide and it grabs a snapshot. I can then install that new app, play around with it and when I decide it's not for me, I can simply discard my changes and it puts me right back to where I was with my snapshot. It's like an image restore, just faster and doesn't take up space. For me, that was worth $23.99.

I've used Macrium quite a bit at work for quick fixes and backups of machines and haven't had an MBR problem myself that wasn't caused by user error on my own accord. I've had a few machines not boot after a restore, but firing up Macrium and correctly restoring the MBR has fixed these anomolies.
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 Free Imaging Software vs. Paid Versions





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