Windows

Download free hard disk imaging utilities for Windows XP

Windows Vista's hard disk imaging utility allows users you to create an image file that contains the complete contents and structure of a hard disk. If you want this capability in Windows XP, you don't have to pay for a third-party utility -- it's already on your hard drive.

Windows Vista's hard disk imaging utility, Complete PC Backup, allows users you to create an image file that contains the complete contents and structure of a hard disk. If you want this capability in Windows XP, you don't have to pay for a third-party utility, such as Acronis True Image.

If you have a Seagate or Maxtor hard drive, you can get a free copy of the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) version of Acronis True Image. Seagate provides this tool for migrating your files from an older Seagate or Maxtor hard disk to a new one. You can also use the tool as backup utilities simply by downloading either the Seagate DiscWizard or Maxtor MaxBlast software.

After you download and install either of these OEM version packages, you'll be able to quickly and easily create a complete image backup of your Windows XP hard disk just like you can in Windows Vista.

Note: This tip applies to both Windows XP Home and Professional.

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About

Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.

97 comments
JackOfAllTech
JackOfAllTech

I can name three freeware programs off the top of my head that do this but, since they're easy to find on the internet, I'm not going to list them again.

MWRMWR
MWRMWR

When comparing products, I would like to see some summaries regarding original and restored (and intermediate archive save/restore) media constraints on different tools esp wrt booting mechanism (e.g. source small PATA and restored to 750GB SATA and what if scsi disks are used ?) allowing for multiboot ~(vista/*ix/virtual OS ...) and server restoration(s) [ I'll let you off raid for now ;-) ]

rmazzeo
rmazzeo

Ok Greg, Where on earth did you get the information that Acronis has a free TrueImage edition for OEM hard drives? I have owned several Seagate drives & none of the accompanying CDs have ever come with any version of Acronis. How about providing a link or some other info? I've been all over Seagate's site, as well as the Acronis site, & have Googled the mentioned program -all to no avail. Any info would be greatlt appreciated... Robert

matti.pentti
matti.pentti

You can boot into a WinXP system with a bootable live CD ie. Knoppix and use the ntfstools (ntfsclone) to back up a NTFS partition. Sample command: ntfsclone --save-image /dev/hda1 --output /root/images/ntfs.img Or direct the (compressed)image to standard output and pipe it to gzip to compress on the fly: ntfsclone --save-image --output - /dev/hda1 | gzip -c /root/images/ntfs.img.gz or compress on the fly and send it to a backupserver ntfsclone --save-image --output - /dev/hda1 | ssh root@server_ip_address "dd of=/root/images/ntfs.img" before these commands, you could "zeroize" the free space with something like this: "dd if=/dev/zero/ of=/tmp/bigfile bs=100000 count=100000", it takes a while to write a bigfile with zeroes.. after this you can delete the file and the compressed image should be smaller in size. for more info, check Steven Mathes' article on Linux Journal, February 2007. Here is some info too: http://rogue-unit.blogspot.com/2007/08/imaging-windowsxp-hard-drive-using.html

Tedfrd
Tedfrd

Try CasperXP. It's easy and adapts to almost any environment

landry.jj
landry.jj

I am sticking with GHOST also and think that this portion of the program can only back up the computer but will not allow you to restore the image if you have to. It wil inform you that you have to purchase the true image acronis 9 or 10 tru image in order to get the full beneifts.

erlewis
erlewis

What about image software for Vista? I've got many copies of Maxtor and Seagate software as well as Ghost 9 and 10 to use with WinXP. Nevermind the image software built into Vista, it is only available in the Ultimate or high-end business versions, not the Vista versions most people get pre-installed.

krudert
krudert

We use a free product by Damien Guibouret. It is a DOS based program that will save a partition to image. Works like a charm, and it supports 95/98/2K/XP/Vista/2K Server/2003 server. The only downside, is that one has to write the image to a FAT 32 partition. See: http://www.partition-saving.com

shel-10
shel-10

Where is the download for the free WinXP back-up utility mentioned in the article?????????????????

bit_flores
bit_flores

Does anybody know of a good free program that just does a straight backup of files? I currently use an XCOPY batchfile, but would like to find something a little bit more robust and automated.

dagar
dagar

I know this is a little more advanced, but ... I am looking into virtualization of windows xp with either xen, vmware, or virtual box. I am wanting to have a "gold server" or "gold template" and then copy it to the other instances. I know vmware virtual center automates the sysprep and a lot more (at least that is what I hear). What else is out there to automate this process as I want to have all the copies of xp pro to be a member of the domain and make it easy to add programs to the gold template and then have it easily propagate to the others.

danr
danr

Can this partition the HD ala PartitionMagic(?) or is this just mirror imaging the HD contents?

riggy001
riggy001

I have a Seagate 160GB and a Seagate 300GB and the CDs that came with each, including the aforementioned DiscWizard and BounceBack Express. I was able to run a backup with BounceBack Express, but was never able to run a RESTORE, and thus had to do a reinstall and recopy my files from a stack of CD-RWs the old fashioned way. Now I have a second 300GB HDD onto which I keep an archive set of my files (Norton Ghost didn't work either). I will look into Arkonis. I remember the CPBackup from Central Point Software that shipped with IBM-DOS (a/k/a PC-DOS) 5.0 worked bery well. The only problem was that it took 53 1.44MB Diskettes to back up a 400MB HDD. I just want a bakup/restore program that will copy HDD0 to HDD1 automatically once a week while I am asleep. Akronis, you say? Because Ghost isn't it.

Marty the Borg
Marty the Borg

I have an ancient NT4 server with long unsupported software installed, that I have been tasked with resurrecting so that it???s data can be extracted and archived. I would like to do it by imaging the drive and hosting it in a Microsoft Virtual machine. Does anyone know of a free utility that I can use to create the image?

marc_devriendt
marc_devriendt

In my company we use the excellent free software DriveImage XML from Runtime software. It is installed as a plugin on a bootable CD built with the also excellent and free utility Bart PE Builder. The most current mass storage controller drivers and network drivers are installed on the CD to make it compatible with a large variety of hardware. We use it for fast installations of XP workstations and as a disaster recovery solution for our Windows 2003 servers.

jonhp
jonhp

Why bother to write even a run-on sentence if you aren't going to actually help out? New folks come along all the time. And the web is filled with millions of pages of information; all of which makes it increasingly difficult to find the exact useful tid-bit. This thread alone has 96+ entries. Who has time to read all of forums, articles, blogs, etc available? So next time, either help out or skip the not-so-veiled sarcasm.

capt'n Rick
capt'n Rick

the newer versions of True image works fine with RAID. ver 8 had problems. ver 10 handles sata just fine. MY big isue is running an image app on a server and NOT paying crazy money. non-profits are luck to HAVE a server at all, letalone money for an automated nightly image. (and no, the company has NO polcy for non profit pricing- in fact they never called us back)

Absolutely
Absolutely

Open either page, then select "Lean More About [MaxBlast | DiscWizard]". At the bottom of page 1 of both documents is the message "Powered by Acronis", which isn't exactly the verbiage Greg used but is clearly what he meant. I've only skimmed the first couple pages, but it's pretty clear that these apps are downgraded from the full version so that they're only able to use 1 brand of hard drive as the destination drive.

scott
scott

G4U? It is a great program...check it out....

kdxtech
kdxtech

SyncBack is a personal favorite of mine. It does straight backup of files. It syncs files/directories across networks. Can be automated. It can also backup to FTP. It does a lot for a FREE program. http://www.2brightsparks.com/syncback/ Hope this helps...

computechdan
computechdan

scroll up a few post, i replied to your first post

pjboyles
pjboyles

There are many tools to prepare images for deployment. Microsoft Sysprep, Ghost SID walker are two. Several now have "restore to any hardware" capabilities that often incorporate the Sysprep tool. (A past major issue was deploying to dissimilar hardware.) The big issuses will be applications that also incorporate their individual SIDs, link to the system's SIDs or link to the original system name. MS Office must be installed in an image compatible mode for instance. The best recommendation is to deploy applications on top of images if possible. Yes it takes longer, but it is safer. Otherwise, research the application carefully for potential issues with imaging and test, test, test.

scott
scott

Check out G4U... I love it!! I clone about 300 computers a month with that program, all over the network. It is very simple to use...once you have a 'image ready PC', you boot to G4U and 'take a picture' of the hard drive, you upload it to an ftp server on your network, and have an image ready to be put on an 'identical' machine. Hope this helps!!

bit_flores
bit_flores

Does anybody know of a good free program that just does a straight backup of files? I currently use an XCOPY batchfile, but would like to find something a little bit more robust and automated.

DaveIRL
DaveIRL

If you are just trying to do a nightly copy of your files from the 1st HDD to the 2nd HDD, then you could try using the Robocopy (Robust File Copy) tool from Microsoft. It is a command line tool included in the Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit tools (http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=9d467a69-57ff-4ae7-96ee-b18c4790cffd&DisplayLang=en). Although it is part of the Server 2003 tools it will run on XP. It has a lot of options including the ability to only copy files that have changed since the last copy. If you want to replicate the entire hard drive, then Ghost should do the job.

de.doughboy
de.doughboy

I've tried several tools that are used to read a virtual image created from Nero, but none get past the ISO copy protect file so all the data comes up with empty file sets. No I am not trying to duplicate software I am trying to restore a CD disk image I created.

de.doughboy
de.doughboy

I use daemon tool to quickly mount an ISO image in XP. It allows image to be mounted like Ghost Exployer or trueImage-Plug without the hassle of running an a third party-browser. I've not been able to boot from it but its nice tool for grabbing archive files off an old image. It's NOT intuitive to use. After installing just right click the icon and choose the number of drives you wish to mount. Then right click again mount image-> your ISO image or binary file. I've used it to extract data from Borland software...hope it helps.get it here: http://daemon-tools.cc

bruce.sharp
bruce.sharp

Hi Marty -- Take a look at VMWare Converter. It's a physical-to-virtual tool, and it seems much simpler (and less fussy about configurations) than Microsoft's virtual server P2V tool. I haven't tried it on an NT4 system, but I've used it to convert phsyical W2K and W2K3 servers to VMWare virtual machines. You can just point it to a physical host on your network, and it will create a virtually identical (haha!) virtual machine. Very, very cool. Regards, Bruce

dregeh
dregeh

Check out http://www.xxclone.com/iwhatis.htm. This tool has restored my faith in clone tools. It doesn't create a single "image" of the boot drive - instead it creates a bootable replication of the files on the boot drive.

rclark
rclark

Marty, I think that in Windows 2008 Server there is to be a P2V application. I don't have the particulars, but it may work on an NT box...might. Even that is not going to be free. Tough one. Why don't they just run everything on NT and hire people to write NT apps? Just a joke, but sounds like these guys are unbelievable Cheapskates! Review the data on the box, and recreate it on new software and hardware. Absolutely free...except for your time, which these guys probably think is free.

cshrake
cshrake

Let me clarify - you are correct in that it is free for Home Use, the usage you describe is invalid. Commercial use of this product is not free, and comes in several license packages (ranging from $100 to $500 for 5 - 100 licenses). Please check their website for confirmation: http://www.runtime.org/prices.htm

AstroCreep
AstroCreep

I tried BartPE with DriveImage XML to make 'images' before, but whenever I tried to load an image with it, it would never do the boot sectors/MBR properly. I would image it, then I would have to use the Windows recovery console & use 'fixboot' & 'fixmbr'. Maybe there's a newer version of the DIXML plug-in?

dagar
dagar

Here is the sticky part that I am looking to automate. If the image is part of the AD domain, then if I clone this image out to 50 other computers or virtual machines, how do I automate the domain membership and SID change? Where I want to go with this is to have my gold server or template, install program updates and new programs on it and test, THEN copy that image out to the other virtual machines. The problem is not in the image copy, it is in the domain membership and the SID changes that are not done automatically.

willda
willda

Cobian Backup is a very good backup solution. http://www.educ.umu.se/~cobian/index.htm I created bat files, that my users double click to run the backup, e-mail me a copy of the backup results & then shutdown their pc in one easy step. Cobain will do all the standards incremental, differential, etc. It will also zip the files & split them into 640mb or 700mb for burning to cd.

computechdan
computechdan

try this as an alternative to xcopy, been using it for years with very good results. www.xxcopy.com

petevoni
petevoni

I use robocopy at our print shop to sync customer files and backup my datastores. You can set it to mirror a file, folder or drive. Tons of options to choose from. And you can schedule it to run at anytime.

Marty the Borg
Marty the Borg

But a lack of space. I'm transitioning everything to blades/e series IBM machines, and the NT is on an enormous Compaq proliant. I just don't want to give up the rack space.

bheite
bheite

I just bought 2 copies of Acronis 9 for 9.99 at Purplus. Their prices will move like the price of oil. Gotta catch them on a good day and get a couple to put away for when you have to help someone out.

scott
scott

put a copy of a SID change utility in a folder on the root of the hard drive before imaging. When booting for the first time, isolate from the netwerk, run the tool, and presto... You will have to change the CN as well.

scott
scott

I completly agree. We use G4u at my foundation and it is great!! Very light weight, simple to use, etc.....