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Old November 3, 2011, 02:30 PM
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Edmonton
Posts: 265
Default Drive Imaging Questions

-I've never done it
-I have a RAID0 array that I want to image
-can I take a RAID0 image and put it on a 'standard' HD?
-I want to know what software you recommend. Freeware if possible, low cost OK, also best-of-the-best recommendation
-I don't know where to start, ie., how to make the image and then how to put the image on a fresh HD
-can I put the image on a fresh built system (assuming from DVD or?)
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Old November 4, 2011, 10:29 AM
francisw19's Avatar
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Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Alberta
Posts: 243

I run a pair of OCZ Vertex 2's in RAID0 and I regularly image them in case one/both fail. In general, when you image the disk or partition, you'll end up with an archive file - the extension will usually be proprietary to the software you used. To store these archive files, you should have another hard drive, preferably eSATA or USB 3.0 if you want to go external, but another internal drive will be fine too. It is possible to keep the archive on optical media (DVD or Blu-Ray), but for long-term storage and convenience, an external hard drive is my personal preference.

When you are ready to restore the image, usually you can restore non-system disks in the OS environment. However, if you want to restore the system disk, you'll have to use a boot CD (which is normally provided) as you obviously can't over-write the system disk while it's booted. Normally, the restore process is just a matter of selecting the backup archive you want to restore and then choosing the disk you want to restore it to.

Presently, I use Image for Windows (IFW) to image my disks. In my use with it, it's been very reliable - no crashes with the software or anything. I've done hundreds of backups/restores and have NEVER had a bad image thus far. It's very light-weight (no bloatware) and has worked very well for me. And I've had no issues with RAID disks, external disks, etc...

Also, the image can be captured while running Windows, so there is no need to tie up your PC - you can continue to use it while being backed up. Again, restoring the system disk can't be done while running Windows, so you must use Image For Linux as it runs from a boot CD and is included when you buy IFW.

You can check these out at: TeraByte Unlimited :: Boot Manager :: Partition Manager :: Drive Image :: Disk Copy :: Drive Wipe :: Hard Drive Utilities. IFW is not free, but is around $40 or so.

I've also run Acronis True Image, Paragon Backup and Shadow Protect Desktop. In my experience, Acronis True Image was somewhat unreliable and had some issues with the Boot CD picking up hardware. Getting help with customer support was very difficult. It's quite popular, however, so it's likely you'll come across information about it if you do some googling.

Paragon was so-so...it seemed to capture images well, but at the time there were some limitations on 64-bit Windows that put me off it. This was several years ago, so this may have changed in that time.

Lastly, Shadow Protect Desktop is very good...I'd go so far as to say this could be considered the "best of the best". VERY reliable software and very good management of disk images. The major down-side is that it's very expensive compared to similar software and it has a pain in the butt activation that you must deal with to install in Windows.

Regarding restoring your RAID0 disk to a single disk, I've never done such a thing. Off the top of my head, the biggest complication will be to make sure your new disk's capacity is larger than your RAID0 setup. Some software has to ability to restore to a smaller disk (provided the actual data on the disk can still fit) by simultaneously shrinking the partition during restore to fit.

I hope this answers a few questions. :)
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