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We are running two physical servers both Windows 2003, not virtualized. What is the best free (if any) windows software to take a full image backup of the entire drives? If possible, while the image is taking place, it should not bring the hosts to their knees with excess CPU or I/O usage.

The servers have RAID mirroring, but after hearing a few horror stories about hacked systems, we need to have weekly full image backups, so we can simply revert to a pre-hacked image.

Anybody ever used:


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closed as off-topic by Jacob, Ward, MichelZ, Cristian Ciupitu, Rex Jul 18 '14 at 18:43

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

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A full image backup while the server is running? – TheLQ Jan 4 '11 at 1:12
What services are running, do all your running services worth with VSS? Is upgrading to Windows 2008 an option at this time? It probably should be something you are looking at anyway. – Zoredache Jan 4 '11 at 1:21
Upgrading to Windows 2008 is not possible unfortunately. – Justin Jan 4 '11 at 2:36
You don't need to take an image to do a full backup. Perhaps you should be asking about other options as well. Also, if the systems are important perhaps you should be prepared to spend a little on them, rather than expecting it all to be free. – John Gardeniers Jan 4 '11 at 3:18
Did you find an answer to your question? If one of the posts below was helpful, you can upvote it to show your approval. If one was a direct answer, you can accept it so that all future readers know the answer and also to reward the person who gave it. If none of the below posts are an answer, you can contribute an answer of your own and accept it to help future readers. – Wesley Jan 7 '11 at 18:25

Asking for software like that for free is a rather tall order.

There's software called DriveImageXML that can do what your asking, however it's only free for personal use. If you want to use it in a commercial setting, the cheapest license is $100USD which is very reasonable, if you ask me.

Alternatively, you can search around for a free utility called IRestorer. I've heard of this software title from a number of sources, however I can't find exactly who makes it or where it can be located. Honestly, it sounds a little flaky. However, if you're feeling a little dangerous, go ahead and hunt around for it.

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imagex works great for me, it's part of the Windows AIK.

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With imagex, can you run the backup / image, while the windows 2003 server is online and working? Seems like it needs to be run from a boot cd. – Justin Jan 4 '11 at 2:41
Being able to image a running system was a requirement in your question. Yes, barring certain configurations, it can image a running system. Note that this will lead to a dirty image, and again depending on your specific configuration, might not be ideal. It does not employ VSS to ensure file consistency. For simple setups, it should work fine though. – Chris S Jan 4 '11 at 3:02

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