Hardware failure, malware, human error or software bugs: your files are at constant risk from a whole host of potential calamities. So it’s really a very good idea to create regular backup images of your system.
Of course with the wrong backup software that can be a constant hassle, but install O&O DiskImage 5.6 Professional and the program will create complete images of individual partitions or complete hard drives in just a click or two. And while it would normally cost you $29, Downloadcrew’s Giveaway site is giving away the entire package, no charge at all, for this New Year’s Eve only (or more specifically, from 23:59 Central European Time on December 30 2011, to 23:59 on December 31).
If you sometimes find backup software can take a little while to configure, then DiskImage 5 will be a very refreshing change. When we chose “One-click imaging” on its launch menu, for instance, the program figured out that we’d most likely want to create a complete backup of our system drive, understood that this contained two partitions (C:\ and J:\), and chose a default folder for our drive image. All we had to do was click “Start”, and the backup started immediately.
Should you need more control, though, switching to the advanced DiskImage interface reveals a host of useful options. So you can improve performance by choosing to back up only files and folders which have changed since the last backup, for instance. There’s support for excluding particular file types from your backup image. Compression options further reduce the archive size, optional AES encryption keeps your data safe, and the archive can even be converted to a virtual hard disk in Microsoft’s VHD format.
Basic file restoration is also very easy. You’re able to mount images as virtual drives, so they can be browsed just like any other, and recovery is as simple as dragging and dropping whatever files or folders you need to their chosen destination.
And DiskImage 5 Professional Edition can of course restore individual drives (including the system drive) or an entire computer; O&O’s Machine Independent Restoration means you can even back up your data on one system, and restore it to another, even if when it has different hardware installed.
DiskImage will need to manually build the image for your bootable start CD or flash drive, though, using the bundled BuildPE tool, and this can take a while as the program must download Microsoft’s Windows Automated Installation Kit and install it first. Of course you only need to do this once, though, and a straightforward wizard makes the process very easy (essentially you just keep clicking “Next”).
If all this isn’t quite enough then you can always upgrade to O&O DiskImage 6 Professional, which extends the program with file-based backups, support for mounting and browsing ISO images, and features a revamped interface, making it even easier to use. Normally $29, you can get a bulky 50% discount just by upgrading from the Downloadcrew store.
You should start by trying out O&O DiskImage 5 Professional, though – and that’s very simple. Just point your browser at the Downloadcrew Giveaway site, log in (or create a free account if you don’t have one already), then download a copy of the program and get your free serial code. Be quick, though – the offer is for December 31st only, and expires at 23:59 Central European Time.