How to backup the whole hard disk?


I’m looking for a tool to make a backup of the whole hard disk on DVDs.

What program should I use?
(It would be nice if it was freeware, but it’s not a must)

Acronis True Image 10 will backup your HDD to DVD media AFAIK. It’s not free, though.


Ditto :iagree:

Acronis true image can make backups of entire partitions and also of full HDDs.

Just clone it onto another hard disk - much more practical.

Again, Acronis True Image is the ticket there too. I bought version 9.0 on sale a month or two ago and it’s a fantastic piece of software. Backing the entire drive to DVD is alot of work (disks), but if you do a good clean install of your OS, do all the updates, load all your apps and update them all, then you can back just THAT up and probably only use one or two disks. Makes for easy system restores if you run into trouble.

Like I was saying though, this is a great piece of software for cloning drives, or just backing up files too. Works with USB and Firewire drives even if you boot right from the True Image CD. Or you can simply install a second drive in the box if you have room for it. You can do all that stuff with TI.

My strongest recomendation is to get all your data files off the drive and onto DVD, or preferably, another HDD in say, a USB case fior example, then clean up the drive as best you can and do a backup THEN. Make sure you REALLY clean the drive out as much as you can. There’s no reason, for example, to back up several gigs of temporary internet and windows files. :disagree:

Without getting data files (IE Music files, Movie files, pictures ect) off the machine, how much do you have on the drive you want to back up?


Again, Acronis True Image is the ticket there too. I bought version 9.0 on sale a month or two ago and it’s a fantastic piece of software.
Wait until you try to access the backups; I have had many problems with this software, I am completely disgusted with it.

If you do a search on google for “Acronos true image error”, you will come up with many hits. I can’t believe I paid good $$$ for this piece of junk software - it’s even worse than Windows 95! (as far as reliability) lol

Many folks swear by it; (Acronis) I am one that swears at it. Wish I could get my $$$ back for it…too late now…live & learn.

regards, katzz


Have been using Acronis True Image for years without a problem (except for the ones that I caused myself - usually from not reading the instructions)-

I have recommended it many times - and will continue to do so - until a superior backup program is produced-eh!

As a harddrive imaging app, then i would recommend the latest build of Acronis True Image Home v9 i.e. v9.0.3677. I wouldn’t recommend v10 of the app, since i tried the latest build out some days ago(v10.0.4871), and i could only backup with it, but not restore, since everytime i tried it, then it would just hang. Also, when selecting the menu-option for going to the rescue-disc wizzard, then nothing would happen. I reinstalled(cleanly) twice, and did run registry cleaning in-between(CCleaner), but the same issues remanied. After that, then i did go back to v9.0.3677, and all was fine again.

Also when going to the official forum for Acronis True Image, then there are many error and bug reports about the new version. Also many users on that forum that had used the app in the last many version e.g. from v6 and onwards, said that it was normal for Acronis to release new versions before they had been propperly tested, and that if one wanted a stable version, then one had to always wait untill many builds had gone bye of a new release.

I changed from Norton Ghost 2003 and over to Acronis True Image Home v9.0.3677 some month ago, after reading alot of recommendations of it, and i must say that i also think that it’s a very good imaging app. The only thing that annoys me about it, is that it is wizard based. There is an option for scheduling tasks, so that after one has configured the various parameters of the task wanted, then the task can be started with just a single click, and thereby avoid those time stalling newbie wizzards, but sadly one can only schedule backup tasks, and not restore tasks, so every time i wan’t to restore my system partition, then i need to go through all those annoying wizzards again.

Yo Martin H-

My experiences with Acronis are the same that I have experienced with Nero (Ahead) - [I]never[/I] jump on their latest product release - give them at least a year to work out the bugs - then you will have reliable software-eh!

I use Norton Ghost 2003 for DOS. I boot to a boot floppy or cd, do a LOCAL > PARTITION > TO IMAGE, image drive C: to a folder on drive D:, then exit back into Windows and burn those ghost image files (which under FAT32 segment into 2 gig chunks) to DVD blanks. Two of the ghost image segments fit nice and tidy on a single sided 4.3 gig DVD, and next thing you know, I’m good to go.

Since it is imaged outside of XP, every single file is included. No locked open files to worry about, no open temp files to worry about, it’s just one good clean image. It is also incredibly easy to restore.

Since the image files are still on my D: drive, I can use Ghost Explorer to recall individual files should I wish, or image one configuration and recall another for testing in one easy sequence of steps.

Since it does run in DOS, it does not have to worry about sharing processing time or other resources with other apps, so imaging and restoring is very fast.

Norton Ghost 2003 for DOS is just a fantastic little app.

Yeah, that sounds like good advice to follow :iagree:

Cheers mate :slight_smile:

TI is a bloated PIG! It can also be very buggy. I suggest Bootit NG. This program combines an imaging tool, partitioning tool, and boot loader in on small application that will fit on a floppy. The software is fully function for 30 days. The cost is $35.

Bootit NG huh? That’s not bad lookin’.

Don’t know… 30 GB perhaps. I think it should be manageable.

Btw: What happens when I make a HD image on, say, 8 DVDs and one of the DVDs shows a data error later?

Would I be able to retrieve the rest of the files, or would the whole backup be lost?

Unless you can use a data recovery program like “CD DVD Data Recovery” to read through the disk errors, then, as they say in Australia, "you’re stuffed."
So, the moral of the story is; Use quality media for backups, always. Also store them in safe containers and in safe places where they won’t get scratched, overly hot or cold or dusty.
BTW, I use Norton’s Ghost and/or Acronis…they have saved my A#se a few times.

That is one of the advantages to GHOSTING to a hard drive first, then backing them up to DVD. Ghost will compress the image and do CRC checking and all when it backs up to the hard drive and then you can make a copy or two of those files to DVD’s and do a verify and then do a quality scan of the DVD’s if your optical drive supports it.

I have found that even if part of my ghost image is corrupted, I can usually use Ghost Explorer to extract individual selections of files that are not affected by the specific area of corruption. On FAT32, since it auto-breaks into 2 gig chunks, the chunks that are uncorrupted seem to be able to be extracted one at a time using the Ghost Explorer.

I should have specified TI version [B][U]9[/U][/B] Sorry. Yeah, as was suggested, multiple backup sets, and on quality media for sure. Should definately be pretty manageable, but it’d still be best to back up any data files you can seperately (IE Music files, pictures, AVI’s ect.)

With only about 30 gigs to back up you can get a really cheap used 3.5" drive at least 40 GB and throw it in a cheapie USB case for about $20, then just do regular drive clones and have everything ready to go. Should your main drive fail, you just pull it, install the drive from the USB case into the machine, and you’ll boot up with everything exactly as it was when you did your last clone.

You really don’t need a high quality USB case if you’re just using it to clone then shutting it off. Heat shouldn’t really be an issue at all.

I was planning to do all my backups to DVD-RW’s when they came out, but, you know, hard drives get bigger, and we have to fill them! Not to mention that I am not super impressed with the quality scans of any of the RW media I have. (Verbatim MKM stuff, which is supposed to be pretty good.) Further, the RW stuff burns so much slower, and you can’t start a backup and just wlk away, you have to babysit it and change disks over and over again. So I’ve moved to doing all my backups on external hard drives even though I also run a RAID 1 array (Mirroring) Having mirror images doesn’t do any good if you find you’ve gotten a virus you cannot be rid of. :disagree:

So there you have, my own personal kinda flow chart at how I arrived at using the system I now use to back up my data. Hard disk cloning. Easy peesey lemon squeezie.


I upgraded to TI ver 10 at the same time I was upgrading my system hardware, New Motherboard, video, etc… Anyway, I also did a clean install of XP and then did the normal updates to the OS and install my printers, scanner, and that stuff then did my first backup with acronis. Once I finished the install of the remainder of my software I once again did a backup.

Since following this thread with interest I decided to restore to both of the backups and see what happens; the program worked perfectly while restoring to the initial backup, then to the second backup and finally to the backup I created for this little test.

Either I am just one of the lucky ones or the latest version of TI prefers a fresh system to start with. ???

. You can get rid of a LOT of junk (at least with WinXP) by opening the WINDOWS folder, showing hidden files and deleting the $hf_mig$ folder (migration files), and all those ?Ntuninstall* folders (assuming your system is stable; these are the “go back” files for updates/&c.

Sorry to bump an oldish thread, but this is something I’m just about to start looking into (and keep putting off, which is a bad, bad idea)

I have a bundled pc which has the OEM software license i.e. you don’t get discs with the OS or apps, and have a D:/ recovery partition that allows recovery only onto the same HD with all the original software (i.e. crap) installed.

I’ve cleaned down the system to have only apps that I want… but will ghost image etc work for this? There is clearly no way I am ever going to be able to do a really clean install with this system (unless I fork out $$$ for the full OS again under a personal license)
Also - the OEM license does not allow re-install after changing hard drives - does anyone know whether this would impact full HD backup to a second or external HD? (that might be a dumb question, but I don’t know much about this :wink: )