I'm a software developer, and we have to test our application installation and functionality on many Windows operating system versions and languages (XP, Vista, Win7; English, Spanish, Portuguese, etc; 32-bit & b4-bit.)
While we can do much of this in virtual machines, we have noticed that VM's sometimes hide problems, or raise false bugs. So, we need to do "bare metal" OS installation for much of our testing.
I have been using Acronis True Image for the past year, and am not impressed. It often gives random errors which require a reboot, and is really slow. For example, when trying to restore an image, it goes through a "Locking partition" cycle about three times (once after you click OK on each step of the wizard), each of which can take 5 minutes to complete. This all happens BEFORE it actually starts the image copy, which is sometimes quick (3-5 minutes), sometimes long (hours). The size of all of our images are roughly the same, so that is not related.
So, anyway, I'm looking to switch to something else:
- I only need very basic functionality--just creating images of entire discs, and then restoring those images onto the exact same hard drive at a later date. That's it.
- I'm not opposed to paying for a good piece of software, but if there is something free out there that does the job well, that would be a preference.
- My OS on which the imaging software would run is Windows Vista, but a bootable media (into a Linux flavor) would be fine also, as long as its quick to use and reliable.
(Also, moderators, if this should be a CW, I'll be happy to mark it as such; unclear about the rules there.)