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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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...

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