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Backup your Entire Hard Drive (including Programs) with Reflect
By James Wise
posted May 18, 2009
TECH TIPS – Would you be prepared if the
hard drive in your computer failed? Do you have extra time on your
hands to spend installing Windows and all your programs? If not, you
might want to consider creating an image of your hard drive. Today,
we’ll talk about a free program to do this called Reflect.
Previously, we’ve talked about how important backups are and some
options for data backups (more options will be mentioned in future
columns). Data backups are critical and today’s program doesn’t replace
the need for frequent data backups. However, an image of your hard
drive can help you recover your operating system and programs more
An image is most effective for things like replacing your hard drive.
It can also help if something happens to your system. For example, if
you install a new program that causes problems and you can’t recover
from this or if you get a virus that causes problems, you can restore a
good image (and your most recent data backup) to restore your system.
An image backup isn’t really useful if you are changing PCs. In cases
where the hardware (other than just the disk drive) is different, it’s
really best to re-install from scratch.
There are a number of “drive imaging” programs available. Some must be
purchased like R-Drive and Ghost. There are free programs
available as well including DriveImage XML which is one of the built-in
programs that the previously discussed AppSnap program can install.
Lately, I’ve been using the free version of Macrium Reflect. Like
DriveImage, Reflect allows you to create an image while your system is
running. Reflect is easy to use for creating an image and restoring it.
It can make a recovery CD to make the recovery process simple. You can
also explore an image to make it show up like another disk drive. This
makes file restoration easy in case you need to recover a file from an
image without recovering the entire image.
1) Visit this website to read
about Reflect and
2) Run the downloaded file
3) Click Next
4) Click Next
5) Select I Agree and click Next
6) Choose where you want to install the program
(normally the default is okay) and click Next
7) Click Next
8) After the installation completes, click Close
Creating a backup image
1) Click on start, all programs, Macrium, Reflect,
2) The first time you run the program, it will have
to “register” which requires an Internet Connection (and nothing more).
Click OK twice and then click OK once more after the license is
3) Click on the disk you want to image
4) Click on the Create an Image of the selected
partition or disk button
5) Choose where you want to place the image. This is
just where the image file will be saved (you won’t be overwriting the
a. For another hard drive (such as an external usb
drive), use Local Hard Disk and browse to the desired location. This is
the option I normally use.
b. If you want to create the image on a network
location, use Network and browse to the desired location.
c. If you want to burn the image to a CD or DVD, use
CD/DVD Burner and select your CD/DVD drive letter. Using this option,
the program will break the backup into pieces so that it fits on one or
6) Click Finish
7) On the next box, I normally use the default
settings. If you want to create different image backups, you could use
a different name so that future backups will be easier. For example, if
you are backing up disk 1 to the E drive you could name this job “Disk
1 to D Drive”. Then you might have other backups as well like a job
named “Disk 1 to Server” which would be your backup job to create the
image on a network location.
8) Click OK
9) After the image is created, click OK
10) Click Close
If you want to run this backup again later, just go to the XML
Definition Files tab and double click the name you gave the backup
(from step 7). You can then step through the screens which will be
filled in by default with the settings used when you saved that backup
If you would like a document with detailed instructions (and
screenshots) or a video showing this, just email me.
It’s possible to schedule image backups as well. However, I generally
just make a new image on an occasional basis (especially after
installing new software). For any problems in between image backups, I
can restore my most recent image and then recover my most recent data
backup (which I run each day, once a week, and once a month).
While there might still be some times when you want to install from
scratch again (like performance problems), an image backup can be quite
Next time, we’ll talk about how to recover a Reflect image and how to
explore an image in case you want to recover one or more files without
recovering the entire image.
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