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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).


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

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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