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Windows 7: Free Backup Image Software

30 Oct 2017   #1

Windows 7 Professional
Free Backup Image Software

I know many posts have been made about the following topic, but I am looking for some answers about backup image software. My plan was to stick with the built in one that comes with Windows 7 because I thought that I had outsmarted it, and....
I was wrong what a waste of time!!!

Here are some things I am looking for....
1.) Want to just backup C:\ OS drive with any files and programs I have installed

2.) I have a USB flash drive that I have setup to install Windows 7 from, that I created using a program called YUMI, I would like to be able to use this program again and be able to add the image program boot to my YUMI boot menu, which currently just shows Windows 7 on it.

3.) Just thinking about it, not sure if possible (I think I read Clonezilla can do this) but would be nice to not have to install this software onto the OS drive you are backing up, maybe be able to run it off of a drive partition or USB flash drive, so that the image creating software does not have to be a part of the backup image created.

4.) Would like to be able to restore the image created with this free backup image software to a hard drive or SSD of any size, but I can accept if it will only work with equal to or greater drive sizes.

5.) I would like the freeware program to be a full standalone download, not an online installer, and not a program that requires an internet connection to use the software.

6.) No email, signup, registration, etc. required to use / download the software

7.) Fully free, no expiration dates, no malware, adds, etc.

8.) Small lightweight download / installation

9.) Quick Image creation / restoring (my Windows 7 Built in tests only took 2-4 minutes to create and same to restore!)

10.) Relatively simple interface

Can't think of anything else at the moment.
Anything else I should be looking for?

Products I have been looking into (Not sure if any of these cover my desires above)....

Macrium Reflect Free Version
(So far this seems to be the most recommended free product, but can this program be downloaded as a standalone download like I stated in number 5 above? I tried download a once in the past and another time recently and I am not sure.
Does this program expire?)
Aomei Backupper Free
Easeus ToDo Backup Free

If anyone can recommend any products or share some information, experiences, reasons why you choose one product over another, etc. that would be great.
Thank you to anyone who reads this and has anything to share.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Oct 2017   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64

I don't know anything that does all of the above, some you have listed do many of the above, but not all.

Aomei Backupper is excellent, though the free version does need to be installed.
You could let it create winpe media, then uninstall the program, then just boot the winpe media off your flash drive to create/restore images.
You could also look at partition guru, the free (unregistered ) version doesn't require installation and creates/restores images on demand. It isn't the quickest imager,if that matters to you.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Nov 2017   #3

Windows 7 Professional

Thank you for your response.
The not being installed isn't the most important item on the list, but it is rather important if available.
I think I came across something about creating what you referred to as "winpe media" which is one of the reasons why I added the Aomei software to my list. That sounds great, would be perfect if I could add that to my flash drive containing Windows 7 boot, so that I can choose either option from a list upon booting to USB.

I have never heard of "Partition Guru" thank you for recommending this one, I will have to give it a look.
My backup image probably will not be a huge image so if the speed isn't great it may not be as noticeable.

If you have a little time, would you be able to tell me what on my list that Aomei cannot do?

Also, do you by any chance know if my assumptions about Macrium Reflect are correct (about the installer, registration, expiration, etc)

Thank You again for your recommendations.
If anyone has anything else to share please do so.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

01 Nov 2017   #4

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64

You can d/l my boot media. It includes Aomei backupper, Aomei partition assistant and partition guru free versions.

You can boot that up and run the programs from there.

You should be able to add it to your Yumi usb.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Nov 2017   #5

Windows 7 Professional

That is extremely kind of you to do this, thank you very much.
I have one of the slowest internet connections on the planet, so I will have to plan a time to download this :)
Thank you again for your responses.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Nov 2017   #6

Windows 7 Professional

@SIW and anyone else that may be interested.
Just a little update I kind of got sidetracked a bit.
I have not downloaded your boot disk yet, I figured I would start with just AOMEI first and see how it performs. If I go the partition guru path I will download you bootdisk.
I have been having different Windows 7 issues so I am still working on my image.

I figured I would share a couple of things in case I don't make it back here in the future.
I installed AOMEI Backupper and have to admit I really like the interface very simple and clean.
When I first created the bootable media it gives you two options one simple Linux option and also a Windows PE option.

Linux Option
I don't know why but I choose the Linux option. This options creates about a 40MB iso file but only gives you two options to choose from "restore" and "clone".
This method boots up faster than the Windows PE version by quite a bit on my machine.

Windows PE Option
If you want to be able to create an image from boot you have to go with the Window PE method which produces an iso that is about 220MB. This method I believe supplies you with all the options that are available in the actual installation within Windows 7. The boot time is increased quite a bit with this method because it has to load up Windows PE like when you are installing Windows 7 which takes some time.

If you don't need to create an image from boot than I would say go with the Linux option, but if you want all the functionally that Aomei offers go Window PE method.

As mentioned I am still working on a couple of things so I have not tried it out yet, so I can't comment about how it performs yet.

Anyways hopefully someone may find this information useful in the future.
Thank You again for your help and for recommending this product.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Nov 2017   #7

Windows 7 Professional

I decided to just run a test on creating an image with AOMEI Backupper Free Edition, turns out I praised this software a little too early. When I tried in the past to view the limitations of the free version on their website, most of the screen is taken up by these huge labels of what version they are and I can only scroll through the limitations on the bottom of the screen a line or two at a time, instead of being able to see a nice clear list, may just be my browser?
I found out the hard way that although this program does slightly improve upon the built in Windows 7 Backup Image Creator, it contains one of the main things I was trying to get away from.
This limitation is that when it creates an image it keeps the information regarding the partition size.
So if you plan on restoring this image to a larger partition than it says that this is a pro feature that needs to be paid for.
So you can load the image but it will have to create the exact same size partition as the drive it was created from.

I get that the company needs to make money, but this is kind of a big feature that I was expecting to be in the free version.
In reading about this program, I for some reason have not seen anybody mentioned this, which this was one of the biggest complaints about the Windows 7 stock one.

Anyways just thought I would let people know.
I could be totally wrong and maybe I missed something, but if not that is unfortunate.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Nov 2017   #8

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64

The easiest thing in the world. Restore the image at original partition size, then extend the partition after you have booted into it.

Takes a couple of seconds with disk management.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Nov 2017   #9

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit

"...f you plan on restoring this image to a larger partition than it says that this is a pro feature that needs to be paid for..." I'll have to research if Macrium Reflect free does that also -- point to its pay-for version.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Nov 2017   #10

Windows 7 Professional

Thank you for your response, you are totally right.
I won't overly explain my situation, but in another post of mine I mentioned I was having issues with some of my Windows tools (services, gpedit, etc.) and not being able to view them properly. The disk manager happened to be one of them. So this in combination with the drive I was testing my image on already had some partitions before applying the image was a bad combination to test with.
I was so focused on these issues, I completely overlooked something that I have been using quite often.
Even worse I went on a downloading binge of 3rd party image programs with my slow internet, which was now a waste of time.
Good thing I saw your response before I went blindly testing these downloaded programs
Thank You again for all your help.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

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