Which hard disk imaging software to use?

I have been playing about with three different applications – Norton ghost, Powerquest Drive Image 7.0 and AcRoNis True Image. Unfortunately, I was only able to create a successful backup on a DVD rewritable using Norton Ghost. The other two programs failed to backup a partition to a DVD rewritable. I would appreciate if people shared their experiences and success in doing hard disk backups on DVD media.

I am using Lite-on 811s burner and some good-quality rewritable + media.

You’ll have better luck by writing the image to hard drive and burning it later. Since DriveImage and Ghost are soon to become the same program, that only leaves TrueImage, which also gets goot reviews. I stick with programs that I can run in DOS, as that’s still the only reliable way to create and restore an image.
Been using DriveImage 2002 since it came out, and version 5 before that.

for trueimage from what i recall you need to have a packet writting program installed and in control of the rw.

myself i always backup to a remote network drive and then when i get around to it put it on optical media

Originally posted by rdgrimes
You’ll have better luck by writing the image to hard drive and burning it later.

As you say burning the images later is always a possibility. Unfortunately that will nearly double the time of the backup procedure which is something I would like to avoid. My frustration comes from the fact that both Partition Magic Drive Image and Acronis true image claim they can store imaging data on DVD media which doesn’t seem to be the case.

No program that runs in DOS will have very reliable burning to optical drives, mostly due to the drivers used. In Windows, they may work better, but you have to realize that they are not burning programs.
I set Drive Image to run a scheduled image in the night, then burn it at my convenience so it’s actually faster for me that way.

yeah…some of those programs claim to be able to make a bootable dvd/cd with an image file. I can’t find the option too.

Ghost does all that for me. Bootable discs, reliable direct backups, DOS drivers that work with my 811S, automation, etc.

There are interactive tutorials to walk you through the steps.

I keep one complete system backup on spanned DVD+RW, and critical data on a single disc that I backup weekly.

I agree about Ghost. Excellent program and it burns a backup just fine to +RW media when I tried it. The DVD’s were bootable afterwards as well.

could you please post a link to a tutorial about making a bottable dvd?

ty

You need Ghost 2003 or newer to do everything automatically.

Click here

You can use older versions with this method.
You would first have to create the image and then burn to DVD, you could then make a bootable floppy to load the image. Myself I use Ghost 2003 so I’ve never tried it this way.

[b]Ghost Boot Wizard
If you have Symantec Ghost 6.5, 7.0, or 7.5, or Norton Ghost 2001 or 2002, use the Ghost Boot Wizard to create the bootable floppy disk. Choose the option “CD-ROM Boot Disk.” Copy the DOS drivers for the DVD to the bootable floppy disk and edit the file Config.sys to load the DOS drivers.

Note that the CD-ROM Boot Disk is used to start the computer to restore Ghost images and not to create and save them. For more information on the CD-ROM Boot Disk, see the document Which boot disks to use when writing to CDR/RW drives.[/b]

Norton ghost 2003 works for me as well. I just do not like very much the fact that I need to run my computer in DOS mode. In addition to that I wouldn’t be surprised if Symantec drops out Norton ghost soon after having purchased Drive image.

just do not like very much the fact that I need to run my computer in DOS mode

How else will you restore an image if you have no operating system? I won’t use anything that doesn’t offer a DOS floppy to boot to. I’ve had to restore too many images to try it any other way. Safe and reliable.

I’ve been using Ghost for so long I totally forgot about PowerQuest Drive Image. Perhaps I’ll take a look at trying it next time I need to make a backup.

Although I’m perfectly comfortable working from a DOS like environment (Ghost’s interface in DOS is not command line, it is a GUI, although a primitive one).
I make allot of backups for people when I build them computers (system recovery discs) so it would be nice if they could restore from Windows if they wanted to.
Although like rd said, of course they would need a method from DOS as well incase of total system failure.

Originally posted by rdgrimes
How else will you restore an image if you have no operating system? I won’t use anything that doesn’t offer a DOS floppy to boot to. I’ve had to restore too many images to try it any other way. Safe and reliable.

My computer is a Shuttle barebone system which doesn’t have floppy drive, hence my reluctance to boot under DOS in case of a total failure. According to the user manual acronis true image allows you to enter recovery mode without a bootable diskette or CD-ROM only by pressing F11 during startup. This is something I liked very much although so far haven’t had the chance to test in practice.

In my view Norton ghost has had its days and it is time for newer non-DOS based recovery programmes to take over. Quite unfortunately the other two viable alternatives are unable to write to DVD discs to my great disappointment.

bootable floppy disk

i know the part about the bootable floppy disk, but i am sure they promised to make a bootable DVD/CD with out a floppy

Originally posted by RossT
[B]My computer is a Shuttle barebone system which doesn’t have floppy drive, hence my reluctance to boot under DOS in case of a total failure. According to the user manual acronis true image allows you to enter recovery mode without a bootable diskette or CD-ROM only by pressing F11 during startup. This is something I liked very much although so far haven’t had the chance to test in practice.

In my view Norton ghost has had its days and it is time for newer non-DOS based recovery programmes to take over. Quite unfortunately the other two viable alternatives are unable to write to DVD discs to my great disappointment. [/B]

PLEASE do yourself a favor and test out your method for restoring your image. :iagree: Sounds like Acronis is using a small boot partition that it creates on the HD. DriveImage does the same thing when it re-boots to DOS from Windows. This method only works for creating an image, and is useless for restoring one if your HD is dead or you are installing a new HD. There are also some issues that can occur if that small boot partition gets corrupted, like for instance you can lose the ability to boot to Windows. Trust me on this, been there and done that.

Boot CD/DVD can work, assuming the imaging program will actually run from a CD, DriveImage is sometimes known to fail when running from CD, can’t say if Ghost has the same trouble.

You can also create a boot CD with MS-DOS on it, and any programs you want to include. But again, some programs will not function unless they have write-access to the program directory, which a CD does not allow.
Bottom line is that it doesn’t matter how easy it is to create an image, you need to be able to restore one too, without doing a complete reinstall of your OS.

instructions:

  1. Creating bootable media
    In some cases, Acronis True Image can be run only from a special bootable diskette
    or CD. Such a case might be if your PC doesn’t boot up normally.
    If you’ve purchased the program on a CD, it will already be bootable. You can also
    create bootable media during or after the installation.
    For this, you will need a CD-R/RW blank, five formatted diskettes (or two for the
    safe variant), or any other media your PC can boot from, such as a Zip drive.

–snip–

After you create a boot disk, identify it and keep it in a safe place.

NOTE:
You can also split the image file into several volumes when storing it on a hard drive. Later
you’ll be able to easily transfer these files onto CD-R/RW, DVD-R/RW, DVD+R/RW disks.
Creating images directly on CD-R/RW, DVD-R/RW, DVD+R/RW might take considerably
longer time then it would on a hard disk.

If you need to create an image automatically on CD-R/RW, DVD-R/RW, DVD+R/RW
media, Acronis True Image will ask you to insert a new disk when the previous one
is full.

How can I burn Acronis True Image images to DVD disks?

Acronis True Image can burn images to DVD disks under Windows if you have DVD
UDF recording software installed. The DVD disk must be formatted. Currently, the
program supports at least the following DVD recording software:
• Roxio DirectCD — optional component of Roxio Easy CD Creator
• Ahead InCD — available on the Nero Web site freely for Ahead Nero Burning
Rom users (usually bundled with Nero)
• Veritas DLA and all its OEM versions (e.g. HP DLA)
• Pinnacle InstantCD/DVD
In general, the program also supports all other DVD UDF burst recording software,
but the aforementioned applications were tested by Acronis for compatibility with
Acronis True Image.
To enable image recording to DVD in Acronis True Image, you should do the
following:
• Install DVD UDF recording software.
• Format DVD disks. DVD+RW and DVD-RW disks can be formatted in any of the
aforementioned applications, while DVD-R and DVD+R formatting is currently
supported by Roxio DirectCD only.
• Run Acronis True Image, insert a formatted DVD disk into your DVD+RW or
DVD-RW drive and create an image. No other special actions are required.
Images stored on DVD disks can be restored under Windows and when Acronis
True Image is loaded from its boot disk.
There is another way to burn an image to a DVD disk. Using Acronis True Image,
you can create an image on your hard disk and burn it using the installed DVD
recording application to a DVD disk afterwards. You will be able to restore images
from such disks under Windows and when Acronis True Image is loaded from the
bootable media.

From what I remember even Nero has an option to make a bootable CD/DVD. I don’t have Nero atm so I can’t cofirm this.


Once again, Ghost 2003 and newer doesn’t require a bootable floppy. It places the boot files on the first CD/DVD in the image set. Pop it in and go. Loads straight to a GUI (again a slightly primitive one, but a GUI none-the-less) and you don’t have to fiddle with any command line stuff.
I’ve used Ghost 2003 on about 15 different systems so far and have never had any issues booting with the CD/DVD (I always boot with the CD/DVD after creating the image to make sure it works as well as run a image check to verify the image file is not corrupt).

a vote for Ghost from me. as rdgrimes has already explained, when the system doesn’t have a pre-existing OS, it would be impossible to run the imaging program required to restore an image without a basic OS like DOS installed from some type of boot disk/cd/dvd (i’d imagine DOS is the only OS fit for the task).

I use Power Quest Drive Image 7. I used to have Norton Ghost during the Win98 era but since I switched to NTFS, Drive Image is the way to go. Drive Image comes with a boot CD called the Recovery Environment. This CD is much more than a software to restore an image.

I cases where my WinXP became un-bootable, I can use the Recovery Environment to recovery files that I still need in the un-bootable hdd.

I don’t have the latest version of Ghost, but the version that I had cannot read NTFS.