Microsoft

Review: Paragon Drive Copy 12 Professional

When you need to clone a drive easily, get the job done with software that caters well to both neophytes and experts.

So you decided that enough was enough. Your old sluggish hard drive has nearly run its course and you really want to upgrade to something better. Now imagine that you have piles of data and an operating system that is set exactly a certain way. Surely you'd rather be able to safely and quickly transfer the entire contents over from your original drive to that shiny new SSD you ordered. Paragon Software has an answer to that conundrum with their Drive Copy 12 Professional software for Windows.

Product Information:

Drive Copy 12 Professional

For what it's worth, Paragon's tool is far more sophisticated than utilizing a basic XCOPY command from one disk to another. Drives have extra bits, such as the boot loader and extra system partitions that will never be caught in the net of a basic file copy operation. Heck, even something as seemingly benign as partition alignment can cause a vast array of issues if it's not dealt with properly. Drive Copy Pro has a simple, yet powerful interface for dealing with these extra areas on disks, thus allowing for a painless copy that, upon boot up, won't cause the original operating system to go into shock.

Don't forget, Drive Copy Pro can also handle copies going from drives with entirely different total sizes, by properly adjusting the partition table to scale appropriately without compromising integrity, especially with solid support for drives over 2TB and GPT partition mapping that naturally comes along with it. So if you are worried that data from your old 320GB set of platters won't move over to a 120GB SSD, as long as the total amount of data that is actually stored is smaller than the destination drive, Drive Copy Pro will make the adjustment on the fly.

Drive Copy Pro contains a series of wizards to make imaging a snap. Just ensure that your destination drive is attached either via USB, SATA, SCSI or any other appropriate connection before beginning. If the procedure is expected to be far more delicate, Paragon offers a recovery media creator that allows you to boot into a secure and simple environment outside of Windows to work on disks. This is particularly useful if the image you are trying to create involves the primary disk drive used on the system.

This is the advanced user interface, which allows for further customization

Finally, something that really caught my attention was the inclusion of a feature called the Create Virtual Disk wizard. You can take any physical drive in question and convert it to a virtual hard disk format that can be used in a virtual machine application such as VMware. I was able to take my entire sample system drive I had hooked up externally via eSATA and create an image that I could then boot within a virtual machine.

Bottom line

So would I recommend Paragon Drive Copy 12 Pro for your disk imaging needs? I would definitely say so. The price is right given the feature set that is available, and Paragon does a great job with providing product support and keeping software releases in lockstep with the latest versions of Windows for enhanced compatibility.

However, there is one important point to make in regards to the software. If the volume to be copied is encrypted, Drive Copy will not be able properly work with the data. If any BitLocker or Truecrypt encryption is enabled, please be sure to disable it before proceeding with a drive clone operation, and you will be good to go.

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About

An avid technology writer and an IT guru, Matthew is here to help bring the best in software, hardware and the web to the collective consciousness of TechRepublic's readership. In addition to writing for TechRepublic, Matthew currently works as a Cus...

27 comments
KeithAu001
KeithAu001

I do all the above but install the HDD into a new system, it says "adjust the OS to make it bootable again" normally the OS is set to the serials on the motherboards etc, and in the past i have always had to completely re-install the OS to get it to work, how does one Adjust the OS??? especially when it wont completely boot??

KeithAu001
KeithAu001

I am certainly not a professional in this field nor am I a complete neophyte however, If I use this product... I install a new HDD as a slave to begin with, Use the software to clone my existing Drive (C:) including the OS, now I close the system down, swap out the HDDs making the new one C: with the OS, will it boot as normal and will the programs run as normal without having to re-install, especially the OS???

rasilon
rasilon

I have to agree with the reviewer on this software. We used Paragon at the Hospice I support and it worked well. Saved my bacon twice with Citrix servers that decided to go off line. I've been using it on my personal machine for a few years and it "just plain works". My only criticism with the software is that the interface is a bit complex and might prevent the average user from efficiently using it. For "Techies" and Geeks" like us, it should definitely be on anyone's short list.

robjam
robjam

Can you use this utility to clone Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008 R2 drives ?

Joe_Wulf
Joe_Wulf

One of the typical problems tools like this fail to properly deal with is NOT changing the original environment. I have HARD requirements that prevent modifying the original environment... so a tool with all its bells like this that MUST be 'installed' is a non-starter. For all the good it does, it immediately becomes worthless.

joetron2030
joetron2030

I'd be curious to see how Drive Copy compares to Norton Ghost 15.

chris.manuel
chris.manuel

I recently tried cloning a 320GB SATA drive to a 120GB SSD drive and found that Clonezilla will not clone from a larger drive to a smaller drive, even if the data size is smaller than the destination. If you are cloning equal size HD's or to a larger destination, you are okay with Clonezilla.

ntrewartha_germany
ntrewartha_germany

I need new backup software. My current SW is now no longer available.. How do the two compare ? The price is certainly different, DC is cheaper.

efitchett
efitchett

We have over 3Tb of data images for laptops and we've used the free Clonezilla and never had an issue, very easy to use as long as you have a 32gb Thumb Drive. We use the 3.0 and it's fast and free and easy.

JCitizen
JCitizen

but as you say - dissimilar drive geometry can get in the way of most utilities like this. As soon as I'm able to I am going to copy the entire failing drive from an Acer laptop and "clone" it to a newer drive that is the same geometry. This won't be an acid test for Macrium, but many of these tools never worked for me in the past. Macrium has been a winner for me so far - I have always heard good things about Paragon, however. It might be worth it if I can do a 30 day trial.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

Have you tried Drive Copy? Have you tried a different hard drive cloning application? How to the two apps compare?

Dogcatcher
Dogcatcher

The boot process looks for a partition with a flag indicating it is "active" or "bootable". A full disk copy should carry over this information, but maybe it got lost. While you still have a working Windows system, go to Disk Management, highlight the partition on the new drive with the OS, then mark the partition as Active. Alternatively, from a USB stick, run a utility like Parted Magic, Partition Wizard, etc. to set the flag on the partition with the OS you want to boot. Most modern motherboards have a bootmanager function available. Check the manual for the key to press early in the boot cycle. Usually F8, F12, or Esc. When the menu appears, highlight the device to boot. This overrides the boot device priority list set in the BIOS and will allow you to test booting from the copied drive before removing the original.

gak
gak

... it offers you a link that you use to download and install the ADK kit from Microsoft. Use default settings. Next you start the product and create a bootable DVD or Flash Drive. Next you test this media. This is a two step process thanks to the Microsoft licensing. No neophyte should ever think about skipping it. Next you start the OS Migration Wizard and migrate your OS to another HDD. If that is done wrong, which is hard but possible for a true neophyte with bad luck to achieve, you boot your media and run the OS boot repair wizard. The required level of expertise is low. If you are willing to read the help file, it is very low. This means that nearly everybody can help you if you are stuck, provided you did not run the data elimination wizard intended for those who donate used HDDs...

Matt Nawrocki
Matt Nawrocki

Since Windows Server runs on NTFS, it's supported by Paragon's tool.

Matt Nawrocki
Matt Nawrocki

Like I mentioned in the article, you have the option to create a bootable version of DriveCopy to a blank DVD-R.

Dogcatcher
Dogcatcher

One of the advantages of Norton Ghost 2003 and Clonezilla is that they can run independently of the disk being cloned. I use a USB that boots to DOS for Ghost and Linux for Clonezilla. If there are other good choices, perhaps readers will add a further reply. As an aside, and a tip of the hat, the Parted Magic distribution is a wonderful toolbox that includes both GParted and Clonezilla. If you're not already using it for partitioning, check it out.

JCitizen
JCitizen

is that my version became obsolete very fast with the switch to NT5 and 6, and Symantec refused to update it. I'm not paying for something like that again. I still use it on old XP systems, but that's it. I might add that I've had trouble with it ruining drives and the geometry of that hardware, and I can I'll afford that either. Maybe the new version are better, but I got the yips on anything Ghost made by Symantec. Too bad Quest isn't still running the show.

Dogcatcher
Dogcatcher

While competent, Clonezilla's interface is ugly and years out of date. Sure, you can create configuration files to shortcut operation, but that's a task only geeks love. More importantly, Clonezilla makes it very difficult to restore a partition to a location different from where it was created. For example, when you need Data moved from P3 to P4. As a point of comparison, consider the DOS-based Norton Ghost 2003. It does more than Clonezilla does, and with an efficient, easy to use interface. The old Ghost's main limitation today is that it does not recognize GPT.

JohnMcGrew
JohnMcGrew

...as it relatively simple and boots into its own DOS-like environment. Subsequent versions got too complex and unreliable for my needs. Unfortunately, 2003 is not reliable on newer systems or discs larger than 1.5TB.

gak
gak

It runs from WinPE or Linux DVD or USB stick. It also creates a consistent copy of running Windows. File or sector archives, incremental archives, any partition management - lots of functions packed in brain dead super simple interface.

rickvh2001
rickvh2001

Both times I tried Ghost I totally screwed up both drives and had to reformat both for them to be useful. I avoid anything by Norton like the plague, whereas I used to swear by it now I swear at it.

JCitizen
JCitizen

When I, for example, do an image backup of a 500Gb drive that is no where near full, I can get it all on a smaller external drive, because Macrium Reflect compresses all the free space and other redundancies. When you look at the spaced used for the image on the external drive, it barely puts a dent in it. I can't vouch for cloning to a different drive, as I haven't tried that yet.

JohnMcGrew
JohnMcGrew

...when someone buys them up and then attempts to "improve" them. If it could deal with the newer multi-terrabyte drives, 2003 would remain my primary tool for cloning.

JCitizen
JCitizen

Every since Quest sold it to Symantec; I've not had any particular luck with it.

gak
gak

GPT - yes, including conversion from MBR to GPT. UEFI - I cannot tell, I think UEFI is unrelated to partitions.

Dogcatcher
Dogcatcher

Does Paragon Drive Copy support GPT and the UEFI partitions?

JCitizen
JCitizen

Never mind the new SATA standard. I never went back.

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