Ottawa PC Users' Group, Inc.
 Product Review 


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 Backup). 

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.

Even before 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 .NET framework.

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.

Once the 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".

Drive Image 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 backup.

To backup a partition of 4.87GB with 1.58GB of data on it into a different partition took:

  •  3:16 minutes and generated a file of 808 MB using normal compression
  • 4:46 minutes and generated a file of 661MB using high compression

The same backup on CD took:

  • 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 for more)

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 verification.

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 them. 

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/.

Note:

  • PowerQuest was purchased by Symantec in December 2003.
  • Drive Image 7 can be updated to version 7.01 from their support web site.

Bottom Line:

Drive Image 7
$69.95 USD from PowerQuest
Web site:  http://www.powerquest.com/driveimage/


Copyright and Usage
Ottawa Personal Computer Users Group (OPCUG), Inc.
3 Thatcher Street, Ottawa, ON  K2G 1S6

The opinions expressed in these reviews may not necessarily
represent the views of the OPCUG or its members.