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As you may already know, Windows Vista SP2 and up (includes Windows 7) block raw disk write access. Is there a way, short of patching the kernel, to override that block? So in cygwin I can do e.g. cat ./myfile>/dev/sdc3

Is there a Windows freeware program that you recommend which writes raw images to disk?

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

You shouldn't be making raw sector-for-sector images of NTFS. The ImageX utility from the Windows Automated Installation Kit (AIK) will do what you're looking for, albeit to image a machine while it's running you'll need to use Volume Shadow Copy to make a snapshot and image the snapshot (somebody has written a crafty little script to do this but I've never tried it, personally).

Edit:

If you're imaging from Linux consider using the ntfsclone tool from the ntfsprogs suite. I've used it for years with great success.

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this won't help me image windows from a Linux disc, then copy it back over, however. –  unixman83 Nov 23 '11 at 19:46
    
I'll drop on an edit. –  Evan Anderson Nov 23 '11 at 20:13
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dd for windows? If you're trying to backup/restore a partition, I'd suggest something like Clonezilla instead. It's going to be a lot more reliable if you can boot the system to another OS before trying to image it. Taking a raw image of a running system may or may not work correctly.

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Also, dd for Windows mentions Windows XP but makes no mention of working on Windows Vista and later (which usually requires a kernel driver) –  unixman83 Nov 22 '11 at 0:01
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