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I'm planning to format a server to resintall the operating system. However i'd like to save an image of current HD installation (Vista Business 32bit, raid 0).

What software do you recommend to do this? I'm looking for something that is easy to restore back if something goes wrong with the new installation. Is there any free (or paid) tool for this?


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up vote 1 down vote accepted

I have had great sucess with Symantec Backup Exec System Recovery. There is a 60 day trial. I have used version 8.5 but I undersatnd they just released a new version.

It can also restore to different hardware. Tried it a number of times to do that and it worked great.

Demo has the bootable CD image and even after the demo period, you can use the Boot CD and the image you created to restore the image.

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We use g4l to take and deploy images of machines.

A slightly shiner version of Linux live CD and dd over ssh.

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Acronis TrueImage is a good one: Acronis home page

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There's always the "boot from a Linux live CD and dd over ssh to another system" approach...

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Grab a demo copy of ShadowProtect Server edition, its free for 30 days and is by far and beyond the best imaging tool I've used. You can do a hardware independent restore as well. Sign up for the full trial and get the bootable recovery CD too, thats a good thing to have.

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If you're running a Windows Server 2008 somewhere, Windows Deployment Services is free and easy to setup and use if you have the infrastructure in place.

Simply boot off the automatically configured PXE host on your target machine and you can deploy or capture vim images.

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Windows Backup itself can generate a pretty decent image. I have used this several times with very good results. If you insist on paying, I would recommend Acronis TrueImage, it's really quite good, but Windows Backup has big advantages:

  • Restore is available by booting your Windows installation DVD
  • You can restore to any volume that you can get Windows Setup to recognize (load drivers when prompted)

Acronis on the other hand will:

  • Perform encryption if so directed
  • Compression can actually make things go faster if you're backing up to a 2.5" USB drive

Acronis can be a crapshoot though, if their linux-based recovery disc does not have the drivers for your hardware you're boned when it comes to bare-metal restore.

To use Windows Backup, just click Start, type "Backup", select "Backup and Restore Center", then click "Back up computer".

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