Paragon Backup & Restore Free vs Macrium Reflect Free vs EASEUS Todo Backup vs DriveImage XML vs Acronis True Image Home: Which one should you use?

As mentioned in my recent article on Paragon Backup & Restore Free, I have written about many free image backup software – 10 to be exact. Out of all my articles, three were my top picks: Paragon Backup & Restore Free, Macrium Reflect Free, and EASEUS Todo Backup. I decided it is now time to do a clear and comprehensive comparison of all three to see which one is “best”. Although I am not a big fan of it, I decided to include DriveImage XML in this comparison also because many people have requested me to review it (even though I already did include it in my other article) and I am afraid they may stab me in my sleep if I don’t write about it now. Furthermore, even though Acronis True Image Home is a commercial image backup software while the other four are free image backup software, I have been asked to include Acronis in this comparison and considering how popular it is, I am more than obliged. However keep in mind because Acronis is a commercial program, it will have many goodies that free image backup software don’t have so it really wouldn’t be a fair fight in terms of features.

When comparing image backup software, the two things to compare are features and performance (user friendliness is also important, but most image backup software are point and click anyway). So lets get to it.

Features

Image_Backup_Program_Comparisons2

As you can see, for the most part the main features are present in all five software. Here are the feature differences I would like to highlight:

  • Interestingly enough, DriveImage XML is the only one that is able to create a backup image of a USB/flash drive. Even Acronis did not detect my USB/flash drive and give me the option to create an image backup of it (unless of course, I missed it but I highly doubt that).
  • Amongst the free image backup software, Paragon is the only one that can do differential backups; all others can only do full backups.
  • Amongst the free image backup software, Paragon is the only one that can create a bootable USB/flash drive.
  • EASEUS Todo Backup is the only one that is free for everyone – commercial and non-commercial use.
  • DriveImage XML is the only one with a portable version (as far as I know).
  • DriveImage XML is a less than 2 MB download while the other software are much, much larger.

Performance

All image backup software were tested under the similar conditions on the same computer: a laptop running Windows 7 Professional 32-bit with 3GB of RAM, a Radeon HD 2600 512MB graphics card, and an Intel T8300 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo processor.

Each image backup software was made to do a full image backup of a 10.4 GB (4.77 GB filled) partition. Each program was set to the highest compression setting available for the program. This is how they all performed:

Image_Backup_Program_Comparisons4

Not surprisingly, Acronis has the best figures in speed and compression. However it is worth noting Acronis is also the more heavy on computer resources. Both EASEUS And DriveImage performed well in terms of compression but both are really slow. Macrium was the least resource intensive, and yet it was the second fastest; however compression can be improved for Macrium seeing as it is beat out by EASEUS, DriveImage, and Acronis in that category.

One weird thing worth mentioning is after I ran EASEUS the first time, from which I got the above results, I went back to test EASEUS again to make sure my results were accurate and consistent. However EASEUS kept locking up my computer about 15 seconds into the image backup and I would have to hard reset. This happened three times. Not sure what is up.

Conclusion

Personally speaking, if I had the money to purchase Acronis True Image, I would because the two things I like most for image backup software are speed and compression. However, for those that don’t want to purchase Acronis don’t fret; as you can see by my results posted about, Paragon Backup & Recovery Free, Macrium Reflect Free, EASEUS Todo Backup, and DriveImage XML are all great, and well performing, free image backup software. It is hard to go wrong with either of them (except maybe EASEUS Todo Backup; users may want to wait until the developer updates it a little bit more and fixes the bugs). Which one you will use depends on your needs. If you want a free  image backup software that is small in size and has the best compression, go with DriveImage XML (however before you go with DriveImage XML, be sure to Google and learn how to create the bootable CD/DVD – see the How-To-Geek forum link which is the fourth one down – because creating a bootable disk is quite difficult with DriveImage XML). If you want a fast and light on computer resources software, go with Macrium Reflect Free. If you are on a netbook and don’t have a CD/DVD drive, grab Paragon Backup & Recovery Free so you can make use of the bootable USB/flash drive. Personally, my favorite is still Macrium Reflect Free because it is fast but still light on computer resources.

Whichever one you decide to go with, you can grab them from the following links:

Paragon Backup & Restore Free

Version reviewed: v10 Build 8927 (30.09.09 ) Free Edition

Supported OS: Windows 2000, XP, Vista, Win7

License limitation: Non-commercial use only

dotTech full review on Paragon Backup & Restore Free

Paragon Backup & Restore Free Edition homepage

[Direct download – 32-bit version]

[Direct download – 64-bit version]

Macrium Reflect Free

Version reviewed: v4.2 build 2082

Supported OS: Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7

License limitation: For personal use

dotTech article on Macrium Reflect Free

Macrium Reflect Free homepage

[Download link]

EASEUS Todo Backup

Version reviewed: v1.0

Supported OS: Windows 2000/2003/XP/Vista/2008

License limitation: No limitation – free for everyone

dotTech article on EASEUS Todo Backup

EASEUS Todo Backup homepage

[Direct download]

DriveImage XML

Version reviewed: v2.12

Supported OS: Windows XP, 2003, Vista, or Windows 7

License limitation: For private use

DriveImage XML homepage

[Direct download]

[Portable version download]

Acronis True Image Home

Version reviewed: 2010 build 5,055

Supported OS: Windows XP, Vista, Win7

Price: $49.99

Acronis True Image Home homepage

[Direct buy link]

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108 comments

  1. Ralph

    I too did some of my own testing with free backup software. All did a decent job but the stand out was Macrium Reflect because it was the easiest and fastest to use. But one problem I found with all of them was AFTER upgrading drivers they wouldn’t do a backup anymore. Never could figure out why.

  2. Backup

    [@John A.]

    I also heard that the old versions of acronis, like true image 9.0 are more stable and reliable, but the thing is that you won’t be able to download the latest builds for these versions in case of hardware incompatibility or lack of drivers… as to the latest versions 2012 and 2013 they seem to add only synchronization feature and improve the overall software stability, here is comparison review of these two http://www.acroniscoupon.info/acronis-true-image-2013-vs-2012.html

  3. Merel

    @Vincent:

    That’s just guessing for some reason :
    Are you sure that for each separate test you have been using a ‘booting media’ which was made with the latest version of each software ? Maybe some older bootable CD’s are not ‘compatible’ any more with the latest backup software versions you are using at the moment ?

    (Somehow like Microsoft programs which sometimes cannot open “Microsoft-made” user’s data files anymore.)

    Your post makes me think that it is time to test the ability to ‘restore’ using the programs now installed: Acronis TIH (2 different versions) and Macrium Reflect (Free). The last one allows FULL backup ONLY.

  4. Vincent

    Jeeze… Now I Am More Confused Than Ever Before…. Here’s Why…
    I have used Macrium, and Paragon, and DriveImage…..
    All Legit, all FREE, made the backup cd/dvd/usb flash….
    And GUESS what?
    None and I do repeat NONE… can recover my drive?
    Just comes up with ERROR cannot REcover??????
    Can you do a new 2012 Review… Cause nothing works for me!
    Many Thanks
    Vincent

  5. Larry Brown

    EaseUS is “a little buggy” when it won’t run at all and locks up your computer? And “you’re not sure what’s up with that?” I’ll tell you exactly “what’s up with that:” EaseUS is crap. I can’t see a program not running at all and locking up your computer repeatedly and you decide “it’s a little buggy.” That compromises your integrity.

    “Backup” software should really be called “restore” software, because that’s really all that matters. You can “Backup” your system with every software on earth but if you can’t “restore” it when needed all you’ve done is worse than just waste your time. I notice that your handy review does not rate “restoring.” That makes your review totally useless.

    Acronis was formerly a good product, but as of v2012 it’s garbage. EaseUS “Todo Backup” also was formerly a good product, but it no longer works for me, the EaseUS people admit that it’s not good for restoring from images saved on DVDs, and I could not get it to recognized backups that were spanned across multiple DVDs and you aren’t going to get any OS partition backed up to a single DVD anymore. If EaseUS is related to Acronis, as someone above stated, that would explain it.

    Your review helps us decide which softwares “backup” well. We don’t need a review to tell us that. Every backup software in the world is pretty good a backing up. However, almost all fall short when it comes time to restore and that’s what really matters.

    The reviewer, as well as a few commenters above, are apparently in the habit of making backups without testing them and proving that they can be restore when needed. I’ve got news for you: 99+% chance that all of those untested backups are useless.

  6. software free 24

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  7. ghosttrack

    Hi everyone! I just want to confirm that Acronis can restore images on different hard disks. I’ve tried few times and all goes well at first, always.
    Paragon seems interesting to me but I wonder if it has, and the other programs in your review too, a boot restoring procedure, like Acronis, very useful in critical issues.
    Is it possible to compare even the restore speed? I mean, Acronis can restore my OS disk in few minutes, while backup takes almost thirty minutes ( yes my pc is obsolete, I know ), and I think this, like backup speed, is a very interesting parameter, right?
    Tnx, bye.

  8. Merel

    Interesting review, which was based on situation in 2009.
    The situation might be different now (June 2012)

    It’s time to evaluate the present situation.
    I suggest to update this review.

  9. SeptimusFry

    Not being a computer geek, I have only used PowerQuest’s DriveImage (which is presumably different to the other of the same name), Acronis TIH (up to version 2010) and the native W7 backup.

    I have had occasion to build and rebuild my computer and those of family and friends from time to time and found that every one of those above, whatever their quirkiness, has functioned perfectly. Acronis particularly is my favourite. I can only assume that people who have problems are too clever and exercise the software far beyond my simple backup and restore requirements.

    The original review mentioned that Acronis cannot backup USB flash drives – that was an error, as it can and does. I have done this a number of times.

    In Post #89, this was said… “SATA hard drive than the speed limitations of the USB 2.0 ‘speed limit’ “… which I do not understand. Whatever this was meant to say, I am using eSATA on my external (backup devices) drives and they run at approx 90MB/s. The only USB 3.0 drivces which I have been able to try gets nowhere near this speed for some reason, possibly because my external devices consist of two drives working in Raid 0, whereas the USB 3 are single drives and their i/o drops off a cliff as the head moves towards the hub, they manage only about 40MB/s.

    Which is my more useful comment, I hope: that the hardware that your BU&R software is running on, may be more limiting than the software. I backup approx 600G in about 2 hours (even when the BU target is getting full). I have a friend who backs up about 100G overnight on USB 2, taking up to 4 hrs when the BU device is getting full.

  10. Merel

    This review has been followed for quite some time ! That’s because the subject of COMPARING the most popular backup software programs is so interesting.

    I think that I’m speaking for everyone by suggesting the need of an UPDATE .
    The versions are different now compared to what they were at the time when this review was made.
    WE WOULD WELCOME A NEW COMPARISON.

    The only programs which I want to write about, are Acronis products.

    – They are not free and you don’t get value for money.
    – Each version is as buggy as previous one or even worse. – There is no Support Service. Already only 30 days.
    – User Interface is problematic.
    – Connection probblems to network drives.
    – Countless installation problems
    – Online storage way too slow

    Ifyou don’t agree … just read user complaints , and the many angry reactions on the forum.

  11. cpusrvc

    I use Macrium Reflect and I like it a lot. I’ve done about 15 restores some full, some files only, all successful. I’ve also used DriveImage XML and it was fine but too slow, and back then it’s file size was twice Reflect’s.

    I always specify to VERIFY the files when both backing up and restoring. Backing up is too important to skip that step.

    I can see having a problem restoring an unbootable computer across a network, and perhaps Reflect’s software doesn’t handle that. Another solution might be using a Bart-PE Windows bootup CD or bootable USB (which I believe Reflect can be co-installed) so that you have access to the network. Even with Reflect not installed, keeping a copy of Reflect on the network with the backups might work also. You might have work at the network computer and restore to the CD/USB booted disk. Just a suggestion.

  12. cpusrvc

    @Max – The IT Pro: You could use one of the cloud backup / sync programs such as Dropbox (2.5 gig free) or 4shared Desktop (10 gig free + 5 gig free after verifying email address). Additional space can be purchased. These programs load on startup, and automatically keep files in sync to the provider’s web site and then across multiple computers and even makes the files available on smartphones if you load their app (they don’t move the actual file onto the phone for space reasons, just provide a link to download the file to your phone. These programs don’t work by the partition, but by using folders. For example, in Dropbox, you’d have to create the Dropbox folder in the root of the partition, and then move all the other folders and files in the partition into the Dropbox folder. Syncing then takes place within a few seconds to minutes depending on file size. Nice about Dropbox, they keep old versions of deleted / overwritten files on their site so you can restore an older version of a file.

  13. jimbo

    Beware of Macrium. True story. Did a laptop image backup. Actually did a full image restore from it successfully twice. Hard drive went bad, and I sent it in for warranty replacement. Get laptop back and attempt to do the Macrium image restore, but now Macrium doesn’t recognize the image files. The files are on my desktop HD, run Macrium there and still it doesn’t recognize the image files at all. I also do a Macrium image backup of my desktop drive and Macrium sees that image just fine on both the desktop and laptop. So, only conclusion I can draw is Macrium is unreliable. Really caused me huge grief.

  14. TacoMagic

    And be prepared to re-format your hard drive at least THREE TIMES before you reload Vista or 7 – as the experts told me it pokes it’s nose through as many as two formats making your ‘fresh system’ run very queerly.

    That seems rather unlikely and is probably hyperbole from your expert, especially given that you’re talking about registry keys here and not a rootkit written into the HPA.

    While it is foreseeable that a poor format could leave errant registry keys behind that the OS would adopt, it’s about as unlikely a thing as one could imagine. However, I find that it’s a good practice to always do a full 1 pass wipe (zeroes or random, doesn’t really matter which) with error checking before formatting a drive. That more thoroughly removes anything that might be on the drive to muck up your shiny new data.

    I also agree with EaseUS ToDo being a very useful tool. I’ve used it for a while and have been happy with its performance both saving and restoring.

  15. Mr John

    Hi ! I had problems with Acronis backup,got image corruption after a while (version 2011,2012),that took lots of time and work for me :(
    That was confirmed also by normofthenorth in these comments.
    I used many times Norton Ghost for DOS (v11),that was excellent software,images worked after years and years,NO corruption found,but it is not updated for new SATA drivers.Someone recommended DriveSnapshot,I’ll test that too.

  16. Dr. Peter Venkmann

    @normofthenorth: Macrium Free is a bad joke – infact most of the free ones are – except EASEUS , Clonezilla and Active Disc Image. And the public would know that IF YOU REVIEWERS ever did full-cycle tests that include the Restore Phase. But no, it takes too much time and you may find out somethings really rotten that I have over 5 years of USING FULL CYCLE each and every Imager I could buy or get for free. As to speed, in the Save Phase? No big deal if the software takes 1 hour or 2. Try it in reverse (Recovery Phase) to really find out who is fast and dependable! EASUS Saves my jammed 500 gigs in 2 hours and 27 minutes. Slow? A little bit, BUT it Recover it in 1 hour and 52 minutes. Macrium flashes through the Save Phase in 1 hour and 38 minutes, BUT in the Recovery Phase it took over 5 HOURS! Keep in mind that the data can flow no quicker to an external SATA hard drive than the speed limitations of the USB 2.0 ‘speed limit’ when you think about those times! EASUS was swinging between 2500 and 1000 per second. Macrium swung from a mind-boggling 200 to a roaring 800 for a few minutes. The winner? CLONEZILLA! Ugly and Brutally DOS-looking as it is, added to the fact it can’t even save from a desktop – it Saves and Restores from a CD – simply blows the others off the road, tearing through my jammed 500gigs in BOTH Save and Recover between 2300 and as high as 3100 per second (near the speed limit of USB 2.0 performance limit, I think) going both ways in 1 hour and 18 minutes.
    THE LOSER? ACRONIS TRUE IMAGE! Pretty, fast and deadly – like some women I’ve known. It can Save and Restore to your Desktop BUT…after doing an incremental or differential save more than three times on the initial full image CORRUPTS VISTA’S FEEBLE MBR (Master Boot Record), something you will only find out at Restore Time…Black Screen Of Death. This experiment was carried out 4 times with the same result. When it became Acronis’ time to be uninstalled, it went along willingly – on the surface – but I took a walk through my Registry ( as I always do after an uninstall) and FOUND 42 LOCKED, IMMOVABLE, UN-DELETABLE KEYS! The code-monkeys at Acronis are so malicious that not even Registry Assassin could shift them. Better yet, those blocked/locked keys stopped the installation of ANY OTHER IMAGING SOFTWARE I tried to install. I had to have them Forensically removed by a world-famous data recovery company. They said it was some of the most purposely designed, malicious code, they had ever dealt with – including stuff from ‘the bad guys’. So good luck with Acronis, you folks that installed and Save with it. Just hope you never have to Recover with it after several incrementals on the original image. And be prepared to re-format your hard drive at least THREE TIMES before you reload Vista or 7 – as the experts told me it pokes it’s nose through as many as two formats making your ‘fresh system’ run very queerly.

  17. KHamm

    @Ashraf

    It WOULD be nice to see an update. Also, it would be nice to see what format these programs use for the backup compression. Scenario: My C: drive crashes and burns. My backup program won’t do a restore for some reason. I need the data (if not the programs, which I can reload if I have to). If I can acces the data on the backup drive in an easy to open format (ie: ZIP), then at least I don’t lose the data. If it’s something propriatary, and I can’t get the backup program to run, I am sincerely screwed. Better yet, I want to be able to boot from my backup drive so I can at least run the programs I have while installing a new main drive. Any info on this stuff in an article would be handy…!

  18. Tobias Schneider

    Well I was Acronis fan for years but as it is already said here lately all new versions are buggy in a way and can drive you crazy. Though TrueImage by Acronis still works if used and evoked by the LiveCd.

    I got Paragon too but I used it only for a P2V conversion.

    ATM I am with Symantec Ghost 15.1 ! and I really hope it is able to recover my PC if sometime it is needed. It is running flawlessly under Windows 7 and I like its features.

    Besides:
    I have for all three LiveCDs and I start them by Grub4Dos :) I have them all on a DVD, a USB Flshdrive, and my boot drive…. You never know.

    I LIKE SYMANTEC GHOST

  19. Marshall Savage

    Giveaway of the Day – EASEUS Todo Backup Professional – Free Today May 4, 2011

    http://www.giveawayoftheday.com/easeus-todo-backup-professional/
    This must be downloaded & installed before midnight today USA Pacific Daylight time.
    This is version 2.5. This backup is very slow with maximum compression of the archive. The speed is reasonable with “normal compression”. And it does not remember the options that you set.

    I have used all of the programs listed here, generally in several versions, except DriveImage XML. Acronis is by far the fastest, it uses multiple CPU cores. None of these other programs do that. The program that I use most is a non-free version of Paragon Backup. It is rather complicated but powerful. I have various of the free versions of Paragon Backup & they work well, but don’t have quite all of the features of a non-free version. I have 2 complaints about Paragon Backup. 1) For general use this does not have any way to auto-delete old backups. This is not a problem for me. 2) It can have problems doing differential backups from previous complete backups. This is particularly true if you have been moving your partitions around on your hard disks – I have been doing this recently. Fortunately, the restore is more permissive than the backup.

    My current favorite, but it is too expensive, is Macrium Reflect Full. It is powerful but easy to use. Macrium Reflect Free is my current general use free recommendation. And Macrium does update the free program – unlike GFI Backup 2009 Home Edition.

  20. FIBER0PTIC

    ‘Doesn’t anyone know how to write efficient code anymore?’ – Still a classic.

    Will you grant me permission 2 use that in my Meta Tags? Only a few Bots & Webmasters that steal my Original Video/Image/Content will notice…

    Back in the day of 300/1200/2400 baud, Handy-Term/Hmodem created for the c64 by Dave Sharpless/Shamus is absolute wicked code, even the Sinus in the intro is sheer quality (YouTube has a clip or Google it).

    Note to Dave: Completed all Jumpman Lives or Jumpman Jr Levels, it’s been 26 years when are you going to update? Vice c64 Emulator works flawless and the full c64 Warez/Demo collection can be leeched via Torrent or from the scene FTP Server free of charge.

    The Atari 2600 collection will kill a few hours. ‘NitroRoms’ has a serious collection for download.

    Amiga Demo Scene in Europe had some good code but in the USA it sucked overall… Americans were lazy once drive space was not a factor(Quality Code=out the Window), blend that with lemming type company owners that pay programmers by the # of lines vs the quality of the code.

    “My program is 12,000 lines long & took over 6 months to create” vs. “My code is 500 lines and was final ready in less than 2 Weeks”. -Astral Warrior/FBR(Jason- Any earthquakes this week?) or Ronski/FBR(I seen your Recollection Article in Issue #2_Not Bad, I know you were censored from all our activities until all our files are closed), maybe it was Tristan/Napalm(Quality code from Canada? Sorry 2 hear you did 2 years Federal, TBB/FBR Did some time also for crimes he did not commit), Secret Service was just nailing Teachers/anyone with a voice, a popular BBS, Boxes, or those that posted in the top message boards(Dump Sysops keep logs=Bad) that said it. Google Bait never hurts pages like this… Above article is good and is in line with other reviews.

    Now I just need to convert this into a “me to” message and start the war dialer up. If your looking for more UNCENSORED retro/history or the 0day action goto the #pre or #warez channel on the server listed above.

    Remember – only 10 types of people in this world, those that know Binary and those that don’t…

    FIBER0PTIC HELL BBS/BUBBS v2.o1o will be started after I finish the USB_MonsterB00T/Multi-Loader, My weekend project(2-3days projected) is going on 4 months… Quality matters when everything on the net is archived with no mulligans (Tks TxTFiles.com, c64 Leets/Groups like Humble Guys, Fairlight, Razar1911 that holds the title to longest active group, TehParadox (some history) Mr. Peabody & The Wayback (Internet Archive) Machine).

    Be Safe -R

  21. Ritchie

    paragon crashed on 2 computers. Bluescreen when the the laser touches the BU-file or when i click on it. to delete the files without a mouseclick under xp (= bluescreen) i booted Linux – live. The folder of DI-XML, once installed anywhere, can be used like a portable.

  22. FIBER0PTIC

    @Mike Landis:

    Doesn’t anyone know how to write efficient code anymore? — Agree on this point 100%, if you want good code go find someone out of the Commodore 64 Warez Scene, when dealing with 1200/2400 baud and 664 blocks per disk we were forced to crunch crunch crunch…

    programmers must be getting paid per line – bloatware

    FIBER0PTIC HELL/Napalm & FBR World HQrs

  23. FredySmith

    I noticed in the features list that Easus and DriveImage have ‘Restore Backup Images to Different Hard Drive’. Maybe I’m wrong but I would think that is an essential feature. If my hard drive fails I want to be able to restore its image to a new replacement drive.

    As this article is almost a year and a half old I’m wondering if some of the other programs now have this crucial feature?

    As is is such a vitally important part of computing i.e., ability to restore an image of the hard drive, it would be nice if someone with the technical know-how could update this article.

  24. Ade_Passau

    anyone can mention how long time spend to restore one partition for each program above. i used macrium reflect since 2 years ago, is fast to create image but slow to restore that….

  25. wenddle

    I feel really appreciated for the such wonderful article and comments. But if the writer can update the information, it would be perfect. Since all of the softwares are upgraded and serveral of them are added. For example, easeus todo backup is the one of them. Now easeus todo backup 2.0 was released not long before and has more great features. It also has free edition, so anyone who is interested in it can go and download it for trying.
    http://download.cnet.com/EASEUS-Todo-Backup-Home/3000-2242_4-10964460.html?tag=mncol;1

  26. User

    @Kevin (#71): I feel exactly the same. I don’t trust Volume Shadow Copy to create an image of a working system, I prefer to boot up from an usb and create a clean image. I know Acronis can do that, but Macrium, no matter how good people speak of it, can’t.

  27. IndoMK

    Hmm… maybe I missed it someplace, but would any of these work for keeping an exact duplicate of a harddrive? I don’t want an image that has to be restored, or compressed archive/backup, but an exact working/bootable copy that can be put into the computer if something happens to the one currently in. It seems all the programs I look at involve making an image and then restoring that image onto a drive, but I don’t want that. I need to just be able to swap and go…

    Thanks for any ideas/help. :)

  28. Max - The IT Pro

    Wow, very kool commenting plug-in!! Is this WordPress??
    Well, I downloaded Reflect but I think I’ll go for Paragon instead since it has the features I need.
    QUESTION: Does any1 know of a program (sync/backup) that can keep a data partition on, say, 3 computers in (ahem) sync?? I have a user down here in Nairobi who has a desktop system at home & the office plus a powerful laptop she uses between both locations. Assuming I have a large data partition (say D:) on all 3 machines and an external USB hard drive, HOW can I keep the data partitions in sync — regardless of if she changes a file on the either system???
    We’re using Windows 7.

  29. Kevin

    I’ve used Acronis reliably versions 11 2009, 2010 and I just got my copy of 2011. I tried to use Paragon but you couldn’t back up to network location (i.e. \\192.168.*.*). Macrium I just found out about and I’m a little confused. Everyone is saying it is so good however I am unable to find one key feature; the ability to create an image from a bootable disc or usb drive. I created a rescue disc and that is what it is only good for, recovering an already existing image. I don’t want to have to install Macrium on every computer to create a back up of it and I don’t want it installed on every computer I restore. I simply want to get a machine like I want it, pop in a  bootable disc or usb drive, make an image to a network location and have the image saved for the next machine I need to use it on. Is this function being overlooked or is it just not present?

  30. Fred

    There are two other features that should be included in the feature comparison.  1.  Does the program verify that it copied the data correctly.  2.  Can the program adapt the restored OS to different hardware?   Acronis can do No 1.  A “plus” version of it can do No. 2.  But it is buggy.   I was finally able to get Acronis to work by restricting myself to sector-by-sector copying, and not trying to resize the target partition.   Feature No 1. is very important to me.   I don’t know if any of the other mentioned programs do it.    I believe No. 2 can be done by some versions of Paragon.

  31. Keith

    Just tried Easeus todo backup and it’s one of the slowest I’ve ever tried. Watching my resources I noted an odd time lag and a frequent connection to the internet. The computer isn’t using the resources it could be to make the program run faster, not really a fraction when set to high priority and letting it run without anything else going. Has anyone else noticed this?! Free is great IF it’s not compromising the security of my financial and personal information! I’ve used many sector copy and disk cloning programs over the years and I’ve never seen this. Anyone have an idea what’s going on?! I’d stay away from easeus for now.

  32. Mr.Dave

    Good review of the freebies, thanks!  This is my experience with the PAID version of one of them.
    Disclaimer: I was unhappy with Macrium Reflect at first, now I highly recommend them, and no, I do not work for them!
    I’ve been using the PAID version of Macrium Reflect for over half a year now.  Started using the GAOTD version but backups won’t restore in Vista without Macrium’s WinPE boot disk, at least on my system (Dell XPS 420, Vista Home Premium sp2 32-bit). So when disaster hit, I had no choice but pay the $40 for full version with WinPE.
    Anyway, it was money WELL SPENT.  I was able to completely recover my system partition (250 GB about 80% full), and since then had to recover another partition, it worked great.  Recovery time is SLOW (over 8 hours for 250 GB) but I don’t know how that compares to other programs.  I use a full backup for each partition about once a month, and DIFFERENTIAL backups in between.  These backup only what’s changed since the full backups.  When the differential backups get too big I run another full backup. and delete the differentials.  I can do this per partition, so it’s very flexible.  Macrium Reflect also allows encryption, and you can “mount” encrypted (or not) backups and copy files from them just like another disk.  Very handy.  Differential backups usually take about 60 to 90 minutes (I would estimate about 50 GB being backed up) while a set of full backups might take 6-8 hours (two 500 GB drives).
    Macrium Reflect lets you create script files to control the backup process.  I modified two of their examples into a single program with one prompt.  I can enter a string like: “cgHLm#” to do differential backups on partitions C:, G:, M: and full backups on H: and L:, then shut down the PC when done (the “#” symbol), or I can enter “@” to open the program interface and check log files, etc..  If anyone wants this vbscript file, let me know in a reply here. It requires setting up the options for each partition for Full and Differential backups but that’s a one-time deal.  It’s very simple now!  I can easily pick & choose which partitions to back up and Full or Differential, so I can monitor disk usage and do what I have time or space to do.  I really like doing backups at the partition level because of the added flexibility.  They don’t all change all the time!
    An added benefit is the great customer support, they’ve always been very helpful and quick to respond (typically next day since they’re in England and I’m in the US).  Again, this is for the PAID version, but it’s been well worth the cost and one of the few programs I’ve bought in the past year.
    Sadly, Macrium Reflect fails on my wife’s Dell laptop because they put a single oddly-sized sector on the drive that Reflect doesn’t understand.  Paragon’s free backup handles that one nicely :-)
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

  33. Howard Hoyt

    I have used TI and Macrium Reflect for some time.
    Your review is good but skips the deciding factor for me:
    As a heavy Linux user, I’ve switched to Paragon because of their EXT4 support (yes, I use UPS).
    Kudos to Paragon for filling this hole. Many linux ‘solutions’ but I really prefer writing an image that supports individual file exploration plus differential file support.
    My impression that TI/Macrium are slightly more efficient but the ext4 support gave me a total solution.
    Howard

  34. normofthenorth

    I don’t think anybody’s mentioned “my fave” biggest problem with Acronis — corruption of files on restore!
    In Comment #26, I mentioned my association with Acronis and Macrium. Since then, I’ve used them both to make regular backups of my home computers. Macrium sometimes failed and froze when starting to back up, but I recently fixed that problem by searching online for solutions. Found it on the Macrium forum, IIRC, and it seems fine now.
    But I trusted Acronis so much that I used it once to “roll back” my main computer (Thinkpad T40) to an earlier state when I’d messed it up with a bad software install, I forget the details now. I’d very recently made a full image, and I restored it all to my HDD, using the ATI boot CD I’d made. I treated it as the simplest and easiest and most reliable way to roll back to the state I’d backed up. (Wrong!)
    Everything seemed to work perfectly and quickly. But soon afterwards, I noticed that my computer was running CHEKDSK (spelling?) every time it started up, unless I interrupted it. It never found or fixed anything, but it wouldn’t stop running on startup.
    I eventually found the source of the problem: I had a bunch of (maybe 300?) corrupt files! Most of them came in pairs on my HDD: There’s be a corrupt file with a normal filename and extension — say Autoexec.bat — and a readable file with the same filename but a weird lengthened extension with a tilde (~) in it — like Autoexec.bat~12349876#$% or some such. (I’m not looking at that HDD right now, just having upgraded to a used Thinkpad X60.)
    Microsoft and others have some online discussions of the “can’t stop CHKDSK from trying to run on startup” problem. Unfortunately, they don’t have any good SOLUTIONS that I could find, other than reformatting and starting from scratch (and losing all your GAOTD freebies!).
    The corrupt file problem is reportedly caused by a minor mis-match between the two versions of the filename in the two FATs, specifically a mis-match in CASE. E.g. one says the filename is Autoexec.bat, and the other says it’s autoexec.bat, or AUtoexec.bat or Autoexec.Bat or some such. Windows XP spots the problem, makes the file unreadable (and un-delete-able), so it triggers CHEKDSK — but CHKDSK can’t fix it!
    MS says the best way to fix it is to make a complete backup of your HDD, but just before making it, go through the file list and delete all the corrupt files from the list of files to be backed up! I’ve got maybe 300, and it’s much easier to find the GOOD copies (with the ~ in their extensions) than to find all the BAD files!
    I’ve tried using several extra-strong file deleters and unlockers to get rid of the bad files, no joy.
    I have discovered that xPUD (and probably lots of other Linux distros) can access the files that Windows XP can’t access, and can delete them. But deleting 300 files manually and renaming another 300 at the same time is more drudgery than I ever want to do for my computer.
    I’ve seen several online reports indicating that this problem is a long-standing bug in many versions of ATI. If so, I think it’s a deal-breaker, even for a free program — and ATI isn’t free.
    I’ve never actually restored a HDD from a Macrium FR image, or any other image-backup software, so I’m still ASSUMING that Macrium (& the others) would do the job right. I’m betting on it, because I’m continuing to make Macrium backups!

  35. Neil

    I’ve just given up on Acronis after 3-4 years of using it.  I don’t trust it.  Running a backup, then incremental backup automatically, when I go to browse a previous backup, it’s never clear which of the many files to point to, and even if I point to the one that’s in the log, it often doesn’t load.
    Moreover, it seems to be married to the drive letter, and even the disk number, which is simply based on the order they are loaded when you boot.  So sometimes, it complains it can’t find the backup on “Disk 8″ to continue with the incremental, but actually, that disk is there, but is Disk 7 this time.  And the cancel doesn’t work–it just keeps prompting for the backup on Disk 8.  So you have to kill the process.
    I’ll leave it installed for a while, for some other features, but I just disabled the automatic backups it was doing, and will go with Macrium Reflect (full version) instead.  It’s fast, and in the trial, seemed more reliable.

  36. Johan

    Hi Ashraf,
    I downloaded Easus Todo Backup, but apparently is is a 32 bit program. Does it support a 64 bit system (Win 7)? (I could not find the needed information on their site.)
    Thank you for a great site and excellent reviews.

  37. Yelpir

    I recently replaced my main hard drive with one of a different make and size. After making a bigger C: partition than I had before, I used Macrium Reflect Free to restore an image of my previous C: partition on my previous hard drive to the new C: partition on the new hard drive. It made a few comments about this being a different drive but successfully completed the restore and it has been running successfully ever since. The review above does not credit Macrium Reflect Free with this ability.

  38. David B

    I have been using Macrium Reflect Free for quite some time.  Unfortunately, I’ve never been able to get it to “rebuild” a drive image once my computer crashed.  It would say the files were corrupt. 

    I’ve since (recently) switched to Paragon in hopes this won’t have the same problems.

  39. Mike Landis

    I wish you’d query the developers of the packages that include 20-100MB installers.  You could field a lot of functionality in that much space – way beyond image and incremental backup.  What else is in there – spyware, adware, …?  To my way of thinking, given the difference in the size of their installers, Paragon should offer 50 times the functionality that DriveImageXML provides, but it doesn’t look like Paragon provides even three times the functionality of DriveImageXML.  Compression, encryption, and differential/incremental backup add complexity, but DriveImageXML has compression built in and encryption/decryption isn’t that complex (RC6 requires very little code and Rijndael-256 is only about 4 or 5 times as complex as RC6).  There is no way that code to manage incremental backup/restore is responsible for the rest.  Doesn’t anyone know how to write efficient code anymore?

  40. Tony

    Useful reviews and also comments.

    I used to use EMC Retrospect for backups, which I found to be excellent, but I can’t justify the licence fees to buy a new copy.

    I am looking for something cheap/free but that will be fast and allow full as well as incremental backups. 

    I am using Karen’s Backup now, but it’s horribly slow for a 500gb drive, and with only 1 partiton an image is not the best way to backup I don’t think.  Karen’s does not do incremental backups either, so my data is at risk with only 1 copy.

  41. Marshall

    I have just run across this review.  I have used Acronis Home v8, 9, 11, 12, & 13 (2010) & have had paid licenses for v9, 11, 12, & 13.  The thing that has bugged me over the years is that every single version is very buggy.  Yes, I get the update versions from the Acronis web site & they are still very buggy.  About 1/2 of the backups don’t complete.  And of the backups that do complete, 1/2 of them won’t restore.  Yes, Acronis has many fancy features & does run faster than Paragon.  But Paragon always works to back up & restore.  When I was on Acronis Home v12 & the boot hard disk died, the backup refused to restore to the new hard drive.  It just gave an incomprehensible message, but it seemed to mean that there was something wrong with the brand new hard drive.  Fortunately, knowing that Acronis is unreliable in all it’s versions, I had also made a backup with Paragon before changing the hard drives around.  Paragon restored without a problem & saved the day.  So, for the last 2 years I have been gradually converting all of my backups to Paragon, I have logical data drives through ‘P’ + swap & drives with backups on them through ‘U’.  I am now running Win 7 x64.

  42. unicorn02

    @johnd: Macrium Free creates .xml files for the jobs you define. The Gui only allows to specify a password. But have a look at the created xml files and edit them. It should be possible to enable the encryption there. I have not tested if it actually works, but chances are high as they also deliver a “AES.dll” with the free version… :-)

  43. Dali

    @johnd: You are right about easeus compression it was the same in my tests but the time difference between Macrium and Easeus was like ten seconds but then if you add in all the times I tried to get easeus to run and it crashed and then finally getting it to run proper it sucks. But I say it again Easeus Todo is an Acronis program same backup same drivers, same software minus some features, and just as poor buggy and unstable as Acronis too

  44. johnd

    Chart states that Macrium Free allows Password or encryption but I have not figured out how to do this.  Is this incorrect?

    Also, in my tests, EASEUS (v1.1) in lowest compression produced smaller file and was faster than Macruim using it’s default compression & its maximum compression!  However, EASEUS with max compression was really slow. In future, might want to compare with both MAX & Defaults.

  45. Unicorn02

    Maybe also a feature that is missing in the comparison table is the ability to use the Microsoft VSS Snapshot provider. My Acronis True Image Home 10 for example can only backup with its own snapapi snapshot provider. On the contrast Paragon Backup and Restore lets you also select to use Microsoft VSS if available on the installed system. This is interesting for applications that are VSS aware (Oracle, Exchange, SQL Server), so you can do a “hot” backup and databases are still in a consistent state.

  46. Dali

    @Ron: Well there is a Win PE based and Linux base bootable CD and Bart PE is based on Win PE. Bart is great and it is straight forward to create the CD but unfortunately it is based on an older Win PE version and thus is not very compatible with Vista or 7. Now the Linux CD (being Linux based and not Windows) does not have support for as much hardware, or device drvers as Win PE and so while it will generally run on most every setup, it may not be stable or it may fail in the process of a restore. Some devs like Macrium have added debugging capabilities to the Linux CD to aid users in finding the problem and Macrium has also added a compatibility mode which will fix the problem for some computers. Also most of the Linux CD’s only allow for restoring images.
    In general I cannot tell you what specific hardware has trouble with the Linux CD’s because it is always different but most of the problems do show up more in newer hardware. To be honest, and if you do not want to spend money for one of these programs and want something simple and very reliable you should take a look at PING(PartImage Is Not Ghost). It is an offline program ran from a CD or USB and it is very quick, simple, and very reliable. It can create incrementals, and it has about all of the other capabilities of the programs above except it cannot mount and restore individual files.

  47. Ron

    Sorry, I have to make a correction from my previous reply.  Paragon’s website says that any device can by used for *backup*, but says nothing about for restore.  So, this is still an open issue for Paragon.  Can anyone confirm if Paragon can restore to “other’ disks?  This would be a deal breaker for me…
    Thanks

  48. Ron

    @Dali, Thanks for reply that does clarify the issue.  Apparently, both Macrium and Paragon (according to their web site, flagged as “new”) allow for any drive.
    General question: regarding bootable recovery CD’s, I see there are two variations on these, Linux or Bart.  Apparently, Bart is quite complicated to implement.  Most seem to use the Linux platform, and apparently some systems won’t recognize these.  How can I know ahead of time if my system is compatible?  Or, what kinds of systems do not recognize them?

  49. Dali

    Well yes some people only want disk imaging for that reason so that if there hard drove dies they can restore an image to a different new drive. The software companies call it Hardware Independent Restore Capabilities when they list it with other features of programs. What most people don’t understand is that a lot of these programs do not have this ability which is crucial because each different hard drive only knows about its own internal structure and a lot are structured different. A lot of programs when you restore an image you also restore a detailed list that gives the hard drive information on each sector that was backed up. So if the sector structures are different then you might have problems such as the drive not booting. Most programs now will detect a drive ID and know if the drive is different. I never clone drive to drive when installing a new hard drive, I always make a regular image of only those parts of the disk that are in use. I have restored to new drives in this way with programs that say they do not have the ability to do this. It is different with every software, Acronis recommends to to restore to a new disk with the resize partition option.
    Regards

  50. Ron

    I’m not sure what you mean by “Restore backup images to different hard drives”.  If you mean different than the original backed-up drive, isn’t the whole idea to restore to a different drive if your original one dies?  Or does that mean something else?
    Thanks

  51. Dali

    Well this is funny because I tested these same programs after reading this crock and my were my results different with the default options. Macrium was the second fastest but the compression was totally different than yours. Macrium was way better than all else in compression and it can also restore to different hard drives. But you do have a good review here so great job. Acronis is the most unstable program I have ever used in my life, it is so buggy it is almost useless and you pointed this out. You said that Easeus is very buggy, well it is pretty much Acronis slimmed down in a different GUI. Just look at the options and you will see they are the same. Easeus is exactly the same as Seagate Disk Wizard which is an acronis product. Just thought you might be interested to know that. Great review

  52. Locutus

    I for one used Macrium to backup my old Vista install before installing 7. In fact, now I’m going through my C: drive and deleting everything from the root folder I don’t need. Did you know the Windows Phone 7 Series developer kit (I got it for the emulator!) spews things all over it?

  53. blue

    FWIW, the images for *both* Easus and Macrium failed on my Win 7 system. The Easus thing was a *b8g-time* problem because I hadn’t tested it first and needed it later…surprise! By the time I tested Macrium, I’d learned, fortunately.

    Don’t know why both Macrium & Easus failed but Paragon and Acronis (and Ghost) have worked flawlessly.

    I still keep periodic backups but now I mainly use Comodo Time Machine & Shadow Defender (when testing something new). Haven’t had to restore an Acronis image in months.

  54. Ted

    Did I miss it or did this review not include the single most important factor about backup software – how well it restores the backup image?

    I’ve had experience with all of the free programs listed, and ONLY Paragon worked for me – over and over and flawlessly.

    In fact, Paragon was the first I used (aside from Driveimage which is pretty much worthless), and so I expected Macrium and Easeus to perform pretty much the same way… boy was I surprised

    Easeus took nine hours to back up 200 gigabytes, and took a lot more space to do it. I never tried to restore the resulting image since I’m not going to be doing nine-hour backups. It may work fine, or it may do what Macrium did…

    Macrium took about an hour and a half to do an image backup, about the same as Paragon. But when I tried to restore the partition from the boot CD, it was so slow that I calculated it would take four days!

    I’m not exaggerating. Now you may think what I thought – that the restore would pick up speed at some point – and it might. But I let it run for nine hours and it showed 9% restored, so I wasn’t willing to wait longer to find out. I popped in the Paragon rescue CD, restored that in an hour and a half, and I was back as if nothing had happened.

    I subsequently contacted Macrium and was told that there must be a quirk in my system, (a controller or something that I feel I shouldn’t have to be concerned with) that caused the Linux CD to perform poorly, and I was referred to their paid version which the gentleman claimed had better version of Linux for the restore CD.

    He may be right. It may work flawlessly. But I wasn’t willing to pay to find out considering that the free version wasn’t exactly great advertisement, and considering that Paragon had already proven itself over and over.

    However… All that I’ve related above pertained to a Vista HP operating system. I haven’t had to use any restore since I’ve upgraded, and I hope I never will. But ironically, I’m not resting easy until I have trouble and I find that Paragon does the same job it did on Vista.

    And the reason I was interested in looking beyond Paragon since it worked so well? It’s because Parqagon has a slow and clunky way of accessing backed up files if you only want to copy one you accidentally deleted… all the others were much better at that.

  55. Ray

    Currently I’m testing paragon and macrium free. Paragon does seem a bit slower, even more so on the restoring an image side than creating.

    Macrium site does have a tutorial for creating incementals and scheduling them to auto run.

    Macrium also includes the bartpe and how to create it, seems paragon does not, unless you purchase paid version. Same with winpe both say you can get it with paid versions.

    BartPE is a nice addition for macrium, I don’t know if it works with vista or win7, maybe a 64 bit thing. But it does work on xp 32 bit great.

    My ultimate goal is to test these out on my xp computers. When I find the one I like best trying it on my win7 computer. I just don’t want to mess it up. Hence the backup software, but it’s so new I’m afraid to put new software on it. Should be a fun project overall! Thanks for the reviews.

  56. Sunny

    Excellent job Ashraf. An article that will be helpful to many people. Trouble with your site is that it’s way too attractive and interesting and I’ve been known to still be meandering through it at 2 am. It’s got a particularly good and friendly relaxed atmosphere which draws some of us back again and again.

    BTW you’re not the only one who sits and stares at the computer screen. I usually become quite comatosed after a while :) It’s kind of mesmerising.

  57. Mark

    Thanks Ashraf, an excellent article and a great introduction to dottech. I shall be exploring further. I wanted to comment because, following your article, I’ve installed and started using Macrium Reflect. One feature your table suggests is missing is restoring to a different hard disk. I’ve not done it but the option appears to be there in the GUI as you work through the restore wizard, so far I’ve stopped short of doing one.

    So as Sam says above I think it’s there.

    Cheers,
    Mark

  58. Nick

    Thanks for a great comparison!

    I’m using Paragon’s backup software and so far having no problems with it. I’ve downloaded it because it has the most attractive features set among other freebies.

  59. VistaUser

    Hello guys, I just want to share my experience with Paragon Backup and Restore. The backup of my laptop took 80 minutes (vs 1 hour with ghost 14). The restore, however, took forever. It said “0 minutes left”, but it’s been 7 hours already and it is still not finished. I was very happy with Paragon Backup and Restore at first because its restore CD was one of the very few (along with Ghost 14) that were able to detect the SATA controller in my laptop (even Acronis failed there). However, given the ridiculously slow (and somewhat simple) restore process, I would not recommend it.

  60. Jack

    To update downloaded it it gave me all my numbers in the email they sent me but I can’t install it. as it keeps saying invalid ser.# sent support an email no reply so i’m going to try “macrium”

  61. Jack

    Good article.I went ahead and downloaded Paragon I’m going to give a try-out this afternoon.As it may come in handy I been thinking of doing a reformat on this drive to clean things up. so If i can save a ton of stuff that I use all the time all will be grand.

  62. Sam

    To answer my own question :) I actually e-mailed Macrium and got the following reply:

    ————–
    Hi

    Thanks for contacting us.

    You can restore an image to any disk as long as it is the same size or larger than the original.

    Kind Regards

    Nick Sills – Macrium Support
    support (_at_) macrium.com
    ————–

  63. mohsen

    hi,thanks for your article,
    i have the same problem in todo,it failed to backup my partition after the first successful backup.
    also the size of archive you wrote is a little wired, in my system size of acronis archive is almost half of the used space in drive C with XPsp3.
    also paragon obviously does more compression than you mentioned above

  64. Sam

    Hi Ashraf,

    Nice review! Are you sure Macrium Reflect Free won’t restore to a different HDD? I can’t see anything on their site which states this limitation and the full version certainly says that it does!

  65. normofthenorth

    Thanks, Ashraf!
    I bought a copy of ATIH 11.0 maybe 2 years ago during a silly promotion, maybe US$10. I’ve been pretty happy with it, though some of my restores have been super-slo-mo, maybe because it uses my (IBM TP40’s) USB2.0 port as a USB1.0?
    A few months ago, I set up my sister’s two laptop computers for quick-and-easy “user-friendly” backup routines to her external HDD.

    Mostly on your say-so, I set her up with Macrium Reflect Free. (They probably wouldn’t mind the cost, but I was also in a rush.)

    My main disappointment was that the Linux-based boot CDs wouldn’t work on either of her (different) laptops.

    Eventually, I got them both set up with the BartPE boot CDs. It wasn’t very simple, and I was up WAY too late making it work. But now, all they have to do to make a new backup is to hook up the Ext. HDD and click on an icon, and off it goes! (I figure that I’ll be visiting again long before the 500GB HDD starts filling up!)

    FWIW, I don’t think Acronis would let me set up a single click-and-go icon the way Macrium did!

  66. computersexplore

    Even though you didn’t say so in your summary, your chart shows that Paragon (free) is almost as feature-rich as Acronis (paid). Since I happen to want some of those features not found on the other free image backuppers (sic), I like Paragon best for having those features and still being free. Up till now I had been a fan of Acronis, but it looks like I’ve just been won over (not run over) by Paragon.

  67. Keyur

    Hi Ashraf, Nice article. I always had a trouble with Paragon image backup and restore. The most important part is how successful the software is in restoring the backup image. I had no success with Paragon (may be my fault). I had 100 % success rate with Macrium reflect on my windows vista 64 bit laptop. I also had 100 % success rate with Acronis true image on my windows xp 32 bit laptop. I will go with Macrium because it really works when it comes to restoring backup image.

  68. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    @Boohoo: I originally only planned on comparing free image backup software. I only added in Acronis because I was requested. No one asked me to include Norton Ghost and I did not remember Norton Ghost myself. I will be sure to include it in an “update”.

    @DancEasy: You are very welcome.

    @Iouri: I will include Norton Ghost soon.

    @Samuel: Thanks for the offer but I think I will see if I can get a trial version of Norton Ghost as I did with Acronis.

  69. Iouri

    Hello Ashraf,
    Thanks a lot for doing a very good job. It helps a lot of people. Could you please write down your opinion about Norton Ghost 14.0 vs all the above softwares you mentioned. I’d appreciate it.
    All the best to you.

  70. DancEasy

    @Ashraf. The best about GAOTD is, that it led me to dotTech[.org], a highly recommendable site – fully loaded with useful and interesting information. You are doing a great job. Many thanks.

  71. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    @Farrukh: Wasalaam. You are welcome =).

    @Ozzie: You are welcome =). It took me most of yesterday to do it; stayed up late at night to finish it so now I need Starbucks or else I will fall asleep behind the wheel LOL.

    @Shi: Great to know I helped.

    @Harry: I updated the post to include a quick word or two why I like Macrium.

    @Fred Smith: Acronis is great no doubt. I was truly surprised to see it doesn’t backup USB/flash drives.

    @FostWare: Seagate owners can also get something similar. See my post at http://dottech.org/featured/6194. However keep in mind the Seagate/WD versions are stripped down versions of old Acronis. Last time I used them, they were extremely slow.

    @Ozzie and @FostWare: Some people say they have gotten the Seagate version working on non-Seagate drives.

    @FostWare: You are very welcome.

    @captcha: I apologize. I should have been clear. Macrium Free actually has BartPE. I updated my post to clarify this point.

    @Ron: Cool =).

    @Jofre: Thanks I updated the link. Also, you are correct about BartPE/WinPE. I updated my post to clarify this point, thanks.

    @youngatheart1946: You are welcome.

  72. youngatheart1946

    G’day Ashraf and fellow techies. Once again Ashraf you have enlightened us all with your excellent reviews of imaging software, thanks MATE!
    I have tried all the above EXCEPT DriveImage XML and found the two that stand out as the MOST RELIABLE are Paragon and Acronis. I am currently using ATI Home(purchased) on my XP desktop AND my XP Lenovo Laptop and so far (and I don’t expect things to change) I am very VERY pleased indeed. All the bells and whistles in a backup program are not worth a thing IF THAT SOFTWARE IS UNRELIABLE.
    I always look forward to reading your reviews no matter what the subject….keep it up Mate!
    Sincerely
    youngatheart1946

  73. Jofre

    Hi Ashraf, two little things:

    1.- The link to Macrium website is wrong, it has two http:\\

    2.- Maybe when you refer to winpe you are talking about bartpe because macrium free only has plugin for bartpe cd and macrium full has plugins for both: bartpe and winpe.

    Excellent article, thank you for your time and great effort.

    Bye

  74. Ron

    Nice work, Ashraf! I’ve used Acronis on all my machines since v.7; nothing would convince me to abandon the software, afaict. That said, I was intrigued by the article about Paragon the other day. I tried the program on a laptop running XP Pro with 2Gb RAM and was impressed. I may install Paragon B&R Free on a couple of non-critical boxes, thanks to you.

  75. FostWare

    @Ozzie: The ATIH:WD edition checks for the existence of a Western Digital Caviar(tm) SATA hard drive in your computer, before the program will start.

    It is free for those users because it’s tied to the hard drive manufacturer. It’s ideal for anyone that owns a Western Digital, whether they are a ‘techie’ or not.

  76. Fred Smith

    I have used all the free programs listed here but when I saw Acronis True Image Home 2009 on special for $30 I bought it. I have found it easy to use and very reliable. It recognizes my two 500Gb external USB drives and I can backup:> HDD to USB, USB to USB or USB to HDD. It does not however recognise my 2Gb USB Flash drive. Very happy with it so far.

  77. Harry

    I was hoping you would say Macrium Reflect – although you don’t say exactly why. I’ve not tried them all but Macrium just has such a good ‘feel’ to it – maybe it’s harder to define these things which make using software more enjoyable!

  78. Shi

    Hi
    Interesting article. Found it useful as have been wondering which would be better to use on my system. The only one i have not tried is Macrium Reflect Free. I have not heard of it before this review. Since you give it high praise I will give it a whirl. I also find Todo has issues with locking system up.
    Cheers

  79. Ozzie

    Brilliant! Thanks for taking the time to do this comparison Ashraf! A very big help indeed! You are a wonder, there is no doubt!

    Again, how you manage to do all this is completely and utterly beyond me – but I’m sincerely grateful that you are able to do it (and I know I’m not alone in that sentiment)!