Drive Image 7
by Jocelyn Doire
One of the most famous
programs made by PowerQuest is Partition Magic, which can
resize a partition, something that was considered
impossible. Since that time they have done other
software, but most are related to the hard drive
including Drive Image 7.
The purpose of Drive
Image 7 is to save a complete image of a drive, which can
be restored in full or one file at a time. Drive Image 7
is not meant to copy a drive to another one (for that you
can look at PowerQuest's Drive Copy), nor to backup
individual files or directories (such as NTI
The software comes on two
CDs, one for Windows Me, 98, 95 and NT called "Drive
Image 2002", and a second CD for Windows XP and 2000
Professional called Drive Image 7, both in English,
French and Deutsch. The box also includes a slim manual
on how to get started.
I started the review, someone told me that the
installation of Drive Image 7 had messed his machine, and
a bit later I read that the software was huge, taking up
to 45MB plus 40MB for .NET Framework, which is in
contrast to Drive Image 5, which could fit on a single
floppy. At that point I seriously considered dropping the
review; the initial info I got was not reassuring, I did
not understand why it took so much space to make a simple
copy of a partition, and I was reluctant to install the
Drive Image 7... [takes] up to 45 MB plus 40 MB for
.NET Framework...in contrast to Drive Image 5,
which could fit on a single floppy
PowerQuest appears quite
cozy with Microsoft: they are a Microsoft Certified
Partner, they use the .NET technology, and their password
meets the Microsoft's Designed For Windows XP Gold
certification (which means that when the administrator
password changes, you MUST also update the password for
the V2i Protector service). If there is any support for
Linux, I have not been able to see any trace of it.
installation disk starts you are welcomed with a menu
giving you the choice to install Drive Image 7, view the
manual and installation guide, do a product tour, get a
tutorial and change the language. The tour is a
multi-media overview of the features and how to use the
program in about 10 minutes. The tutorial then goes
into much more detail on how to do various tasks, again
using a multi-media presentation, plus a web page linking
to many resources, info, etc.
The installation took me
about 15 minutes, including a reboot and registration.
The installation is fairly simple with its usual licence
agreement, directory selection, etc. It then asks you the
permission to install the .NET framework which takes a
few minutes to do, and then it asks you to reboot. When
starting the program for the first time, it will ask you
to enter the serial number, and offer you to register it
on their web site.
Before starting a backup,
it's probably a good idea to clean up your hard drive of
superfluous files you no longer need as well as temporary
files that Windows creates, by opening the file explorer,
right-clicking on the hard drive, selecting
"Properties", and finally clicking on the
"Disk Cleanup" button. Similarly, you can
delete temporary internet files by clicking on
"tools" from Internet Explorer, the Internet
Options and finally "Delete Files".
7 has two main interfaces, the "Basic View" and
the "Advanced View", but given that the Basic
View shows less and requires more clicking to do the same
things, I prefer the Advanced View" (shown below).
The process of backing up a drive is fairly simple. First
you click on "Back Up Drive", select the drive
to backup, select the destination (local file, network or
CD/DVD), change any of the options if desired
(compression, verify, description) and finally start the
To backup a partition of
4.87GB with 1.58GB of data on it into a different
- 3:16 minutes
and generated a file of 808 MB using normal
- 4:46 minutes and
generated a file of 661MB using high compression
The same backup on CD
- 15:47 minutes and
generated two files of 659MB and 256MB, using
high compression (Includes a few minutes because
of the "second CD" errors, see below
To backup a partition of
29.2GB with 4.63 GB of data on it into 4 CDs took me 46
minutes to complete, using high compression and
The software got into
trouble when came the time to load the second blank CD;
not only did it trigger my CD Software Roxio to start,
but it generated a series of error messages and prompts
to load the first and last CD. After a while, I found out
that I needed to insert the CD, wait until the CD
Drive's LED turned off, and
only then could I click on OK. The fact that you have to
toggle between the first and last CD's many times made
the delays even more annoying.
One of the more
surprising features of Drive Image 7 is that it can
backup the drive that you booted from, and keep working
without any interruption. I'm not sure how it gets around
the locked files, but as far as I can tell, everything
was backed up properly.
You can also schedule the
backups weekly or monthly. Drive Image 7 can also copy a
drive to another drive, something that can be useful if
you upgrade your hard drive to a bigger one without
having to go through the backup process.
Restoring a drive is also
quite simple. Select "Restore Drive", select
the backup file then the destination drive, change any of
the options if desired and finally restore it.
To restore individual files, strangely I had to go to the
basic view and select "Restore Files or
Folders", which lets you choose the backup image and
then opens a browser very much like the file manager.
Once the file or the directory is selected, right-click
on "restore" and choose the destination folder.
Should your hard drive
become unusable, you can boot from the installation CD in
about 5 minutes, provided that your BIOS supports that
feature. The boot CD has everything that is needed to
restore a system, including the utilities to format a
drive, partition it, connect to the network, select the
image, and finally restore all the files or just some of
For $69.95 USD, the
software is not the cheapest you can find, but it worked
very well for me. I really liked that it could backup
while I was still working, and for a corporation
environment, its support for network is also nice.
For more information you
can check the PowerQuest web site at http://www.powerquest.com/driveimage/.
- PowerQuest was
purchased by Symantec in December 2003.
- Drive Image 7 can be
updated to version 7.01 from their support web
Drive Image 7
Originally published: February, 2004
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The opinions expressed in these reviews
do not necessarily represent the views of the
Ottawa PC Users' Group or its members.