Drive Image 7 $69.95 ($39.95 upgrade) PowerQuest www.powerquest.com Rating: 2 CPUs
Shortly after Drive Image 7 landed on my desk, my PC's hard drive began making an unpleasant grinding noise. A diagnostic utility told me it was failing; the noise told me the end was near. I'd never been so motivated to review a product.
Drive Image, PowerQuest's latest backup and recovery software, creates an exact duplicate of your hard drive, even multiple partitions and file systems, so you can restore your system intact after a drive crash or other ailment. Previous versions required you to boot into DOS to perform the backup. Version 7 lets you make backups from within Windows.
You can make that duplicate on another hard drive--USB, FireWire, or network--or save it to CD-R, CD-RW, or DVD-RW (and span multiple discs). The program claims to work with "virtually any external drive," but my Teac CD-R burner wasn't supported. In addition, when backing up to removable media, the program doesn't indicate how many discs it will require.
A scheduling feature can back up your drive automatically, which is good for nighttime backups. Backing up to a network drive can be tricky; you must have the same username and password on the local and remote PCs. If you enter this information incorrectly when installing Drive Image, it won't start, and you'll have to uninstall and reinstall it to correct the problem. I couldn't get network backups to work, even after multiple attempts. If you have a problem, the meager manual is little help, and telephone technical support costs extra. Free support is available via email and the Web.
Drive Image 7 only works with WinXP and Win2000 Pro. The package contains Drive Image 2002, an older version that's compatible with Win9x/NT/Me, but lacks the network, DVD, USB, and FireWire backup options.
Drive Image did manage to back up my failing drive to another hard drive, but the most promising backup media (CD-R and a network drive) failed to work. When the grim reaper comes for my next hard drive, I'll look for a less fussy backup solution
Reprinted with permission from Computer Power User magazine.