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[Review] Keriver Image

{rw_text}Giveaway of the day for September 22, 2009 is:

Keriver Image [1]

Version reviewed:

v4.1 Build 2694403030

System Requirements:

Windows 2000/XP/2003/Vista/Win7

Software description as per GOTD:

Make an exact backup of your hard disk for restoration in the event of a system failure.As a backup program for disaster recovery, Keriver Image is simple and efficient. If your disk or partition is no longer accessible due to corruption of the disk’s file system or operating system, and you previously created a disk image or partition image file, you can use that image file to restore the entire disk or partition. If the disk is physically damaged, you can use the image file to restore the entire disk.

As a backup program for file recovery, Keriver Image is quick and to the point. If you lose a file which does not have a backup, your previously created disk or partition image can be used with Keriver Image Explorer to extract just the file you need from within the image file.

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{for=”Ease of Use” value=”9″}Fairly easy to use. The only reason I give this a 9 instead of a 10 is because restoring an image can be initially confusing considering you can’t do it from within the program – it must be from a recovery CD/USB.
{for=”Performance” value=”6″}While compression is good, Keriver Image uses up a lot of CPU while creating backups and creates backups pretty slowly considering how much CPU it uses.
{for=”Usefulness” value=”10″}Everyone needs to backup. Everyone should backup.
{for=”Arbitrary Equalizer” value=”7″}This category reflects an arbitrary number that does not specifically stand for anything. Rather this number is used to reflect my overall rating/verdict of the program in which I considered all the features and free alternatives.
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Keriver Image is an image backup software. If you don’t know the difference between image backup software and file backup software I suggest you read my post “Why are there so many backup programs out there? Don’t they all do the same thing? No!” [2].

In terms of features, Keriver Image backup falls below most rival commercial image backup software but just slightly above free image backup software; Keriver Image provides the basics: full, incremental, and differential backups, creation of bootable/recovery disks and USB, backup scheduler, selective restore of files by mounting and exploring images, and error-checking for backup image integrity. The most notable feature of Keriver Image is the native support to create bootable/recovery USB; other than that everything is pretty below par for a commercial solution.

That being said, the developer of Keriver Image has a handful of downloadable tutorial videos describing how to use Keriver Image. I uploaded them onto YouTube to make it easy for dotTechies to view:

Create Image

Explore Image (for selective file restore)

Restore Backup Image (Partition)

Restore Backup Image (Hard Drive)

Create Boot Disk

NOTE: Although the video does not show it, you can also create a bootable/recovery USB/flash drive in addition the the bootable/recovery disks and ISOs. You can access the recovery builder by going to Start Menu -> Keriver -> Recovery Media Builder.

Use Boot Disk

The only two main features the videos don’t address is the backup image file integrity check (checks to make sure the image backup has not been corrupted) and the scheduler (scheduler allows you to schedule backing up tasks) all both which are straightforward anyway.

Three other things I would like to point out:

  1. How to restore an image backup is a little confusing. You cannot restore image backups from within Keriver Image itself. You must use the bootable/recovery disk or USB/flash drive to restore an image backup. I was thinking about labeling this a “con” considering you shouldn’t need to boot out of Windows to restore a side partition (of course for your main partition you would need to boot out of Windows for any program) but decided restoring backups from outside of Windows is best anyway so what the heck. Following that same train of thought please do not worry about “Keriver Image is a commercial backup software so if my computer crashes or I uninstall Keriver Image I won’t be able to restore my backup”. You will be able to restore your backup as long as you keep your bootable/recovery disk or USB/flash drive safe. You can also always download the 15 day free and fully functional trial to recreated the bootable/recovery disk or USB/flash drive if need be.
  2. Not only does Keriver Image allow you to create bootable/recovery CD/DVD but it also has native support to create a bootable/recovery USB. This is really nice, and a feature that all image backup software should have, considering netbooks are continually gaining popularity and many netbooks don’t have a CD drive (i.e. so they need to use a USB). Of course with other image backup software, many of them allow you to create ISOs of their bootable/recovery disk and you can google how to turn that ISO into a bootable/recovery USB, so it is not like Keriver Image is the only software you can create a bootable/recovery USB for. However having native support for it is great.
  3. Although the developer does not specifically state this, reading the description of the software on the developers website (“If the disk is physically damaged, you can use the image file to restore the entire disk or any backed-up partition to a working hard disk.“) I believe Keriver Image can restore backups to hard drives which the backup was not originally created for.

That being said, since the videos pretty much cover my usual run down of the software and I discussed what I thought the video missed, I will go onto to discuss performance and give my comments.

The performance of Keriver Image is a mixed bag. It took me 3 minutes and 58 seconds to backup a 4.88 GB (4.74 GB used) partition; I set it to maximum compression. The end image file was 4.20 GB in size. Keriver Image used 95%+ CPU and ~192 MB of RAM while it was performing the backup. Now using 95%+ CPU itself is a con considering EASEUS Todo Backup and Macrium Reflect Free did the same backups using around 10-20% CPU; what makes it worse is even with that high CPU usage it still takes almost 4 minutes to create the backup (EASEUS Todo Backup and Macrium Reflect Free took 4 minutes 9 seconds and 5 minutes 2 seconds respectively). In my opinion, since it IS a backup software, it was doing good compression, and it is best if you don’t use your computer while creating a backup (although not necessary), the high CPU usage is forgivable. However if Keriver Image is going to use that much CPU, it should at least work faster; 3 minutes 58 seconds is too long for a program that locks up my computer by using up all the CPU.

On the bright side, the Keriver Image has fairly good compression (so all that CPU usage is not a complete waste). The partition I backed up included lots of text and image files, so a backup image file which is .54 GB less than the partition it backed up is pretty nice. To make it even better the compression was better than EASEUS Todo Backup (4.74 GB) and Macrium Reflect Free (4.34 GB) both (I set EASEUS Todo Backup and Macrium Reflect Free both to maximum compression also).

Furthermore, as I already mentioned, Keriver Image is very simplistic in terms of features when compared to other rival commercial image backup software. Compare Keriver Image (normal price of $29.90) to Acronis True Image Home Edition 2009 ($29.99 from Newegg) and you will know what I mean. Granted others are more expensive, but compare it to others to get a better idea of what I mean, such as Acronis True Image Home Edition 2010 ($49.99) or Paragon Hard Drive Backup Personal ($39.95) or [insert other software here].

Overall, however, I think Keriver Image deserves a thumbs up. Considering it is a commercial image backup software, the developer should really look at some of the things I mentioned but in general it does what it claims so I give it a thumbs up.

This review was conducted on a laptop running Windows 7 Professional 32-bit. The specs of the laptop are as follows: 3GB of RAM, a Radeon HD 2600 512MB graphics card, and an Intel T8300 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo processor.


EASEUS Todo Backup [3]

Macrium Reflect Free [4]

Seagate DiscWizard [4]

Acronis True Image WD Edition [4]

DriveImage XML [4]

Clonezilla [4]

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{rw_verdict2}Keriver Image is good for what it does so I give it a thumbs up. However it has definite concerns the developer needs to address mainly in the area of features and CPU usage considering it is a commercial application. That being said my recommendation for today is as follows. If you own a Seagate or Western Digital hard drive, consider getting Seagate DiscWizard or Acronis True Image WD Edition. When deciding if you should get them or not keep in mind they are the only free alternatives mentioned above which are easy to use and offer full, incremental, and differential backup but at the same time they are only meant for the specific brand of hard drives so you may or may not be able to restore the images to other branded hard drive if your hard drive crashes (I never tested it so I don’t know). For everyone else, and those Seagate and WD users who don’t want to get the Acronis apps, my recommendation is Macrium Reflect Free or EASEUS Todo Backup – both are excellent programs and very easy to use. In a head to head, I recommend Macirum Reflect Free over EASEUS Todo Backup because it is a more mature program (EASEUS Todo Backup is fairly new) but as of right now Macrium Reflect Free does not have the ability to restore images to other hard drives (hard drives the images were not created for) while EASEUS Todo Backup does. So weigh your options, think about if you need that extra feature of restoring to other hard drives right now or if you can wait, then make your pick. I personally use Macrium Reflect Free (even though I can get Seagate DiscWizard I feel Macrium Reflect Free is superior bar the lack of incremental and differential backups) and am waiting for the restoring to other hard drives feature to come (it comes in v5).
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