Ottawa PC Users' Group, Inc.
 Software Reviews


 

Drive Copy 3.0 & Drive Image 3.02
by Chris Taylor

 

PowerQuest has brought out new versions of these programs to help you move information from one disk to another. Drive Copy is really targeted at someone who is upgrading to a new, larger hard disk. Drive Image is like Drive Copy on steroids, with many more features and capabilities.

Drive Copy The last time I looked at Drive Copy, it was at v1.0. Since then PowerQuest has overcome some of the restrictions in that release. You are no longer required to have the destination drive as master and the source drive as slave. There is no longer a problem with the larger hard disks you run into these days. It can now copy single partitions, rather than just the entire drive. Finally, while v1.0 forced the partitions on the destination drive to be resized proportionally, you can now control the resizing of partitions to suit your needs.

Drive Copy supports FAT16/16x/32/32x, HPFS, NTFS, and Linux partitions. If all you require is a program to move the contents of an entire partition or drive to another disk, Drive Copy is a product that can accomplish this. The manual is very clear and anyone should be successful in moving to a larger hard disk.

While the program is very slick and easy to use, you may not need to spend the money. If you're using Win9x, it's not terribly difficult to manually do what Drive Copy does. If you are contemplating this, let me know if you would like my recipe. However, if you are using another OS, such as NT or Windows 2000 (Win2K), things get more difficult and Drive Copy may well be worth the modest price.

Drive Image Drive Image can do everything Drive Copy can do, plus some powerful extras that make this a worthwhile addition to anyone's utility toolkit. It's these additional features that attracted me to Drive Image.

I recently replaced the 6GB disk in my Pentium II/266 with a 20GB disk. I wondered what to do with my old disk. I really didn't need the space (at least not right away). But when I saw what Drive Image could do, I knew the answer.

First, some background. I advocate periodically (after backing them up) wiping out your Windows and Program Files directories and installing fresh. It's amazing the performance benefit you can gain by wiping out all the crap left behind by un-installs (that don't remove all their files) and programs you no longer use (but take up tons of disk space), not to mention the added stability gained by removing mismatched DLLs, unnecessary drivers installed by some long-forgotten and unused piece of hardware, etc.

Deciding to take the plunge and start over is not for the faint-of-heart or folks who don't have a lot of time on their hands. It can mean a wasted weekend digging up all the original CD-ROMs, license keys, sitting watching installation procedures, etc. And then you go through a week or two of remembering, finding, and installing those obscure little programs you find useful periodically.

What if you could do a clean install, use the machine for a couple of weeks to get it close to what you really want, and then image the drive? The task of blowing away an increasingly slow and unstable installation and returning to this fresh, stable, properly configured installation turns into a single operation completed in half an hour, rather than a weeks-long ordeal.

I have a dual-boot machine. Currently, the C: partition is 3GB using FAT32 and has Windows Millennium Edition (WinMe) installed. The D: partition is 17GB using FAT32 and has Win2K Pro installed. I used Partition Magic to resize the D: partition down to 11GB, and formatted the remainder, to be used for data files, as E:. I then added my old disk into the machine. To prevent drive letters from switching around, I partitioned the entire drive as an extended partition and created a single logical drive, which ended up as F:.

Drive Image runs from DOS. For those without DOS (WinMe, WinNT, Win2K, OS/2, Linux), you can use the Rescue Disks created during installation. However, if you use FAT32 or NTFS, you can't boot from the Rescue Disks or Drive Image won't see the partitions. But you can boot from a Win98 or WinMe startup disk and then switch to the Drive Image rescue disks. If you use WinNT or Win2K exclusively, you'll have to get someone using Win98 or WinMe to make you a startup disk.

I moved data files from C: and D: over to E:. That reduced the volume of files considerably on my two operating system partitions. I had just finished getting rid of an old, bloated Win98 installation and replacing it with WinMe. As this installation was only a couple of weeks old, this was a great opportunity to image the partition. I had installed all the standard applications I normally use and had been using WinMe for a few weeks, so my working environment was pretty complete. At this point, the disk space used on C: was about 1.1 GB. I used Drive Image to make an image file of this partition and store it on my old 6GB hard disk F:.

Drive Image supports two levels of compression to allow you to balance time against disk space when creating an image file. The results were pretty impressive. With no compression, the image file was just over 1GB and took 6.5 minutes to produce at a rate of 150MB per minute. Low compression took 7.5 minute and created an image file of 800MB at a rate of 130MB per minute. With maximum compression, an image file of 680MB was created in just under 12 minutes or 84MB per minute.

I then turned to my D: drive, which contains my main working OS - Win2K Pro. It has 3.5GB in use. With maximum compression, the image file was just over 2GB. Since the old drive I am storing the images files on has a capacity of 6GB, I have plenty of room.

Since I've been using this installation of Win2K Pro since mid-January, what I really should do is wipe it and install from scratch. If I then install all my applications and use the system for a few weeks, it will be lean and mean yet contain everything I normally use, all configured properly. If bad things happen, it would very fast to blow it all away and return to this state, saving hours of aggravation. Another benefit would be that the image of this would be smaller, leaving more room for a second image.

Why do I want a second image? Well, even though I could return to the lean and mean initial image, sometimes I do something that has an immediate detrimental effect on my machine. I don't want to go all the way back to that initial image, since there are changes I have done that will require some work to recover. That's where a second image file would come in really handy. If I keep a second image that gets recreated every week or two, it may help me through such a situation.

 

"The task of blowing away an increasingly slow and unstable installation and returning to this fresh, stable, properly configured installation turns into a single operation completed in half an hour, rather than a weeks-long ordeal."

 

Although I'm using a second hard disk to store images, Drive Image also supports just about any removable media as long as DOS can assign it a drive letter. Included in the installation routine is support for Iomega, SyQuest and Magneto-Optical drives. It is also possible to use a writable CD to store images, if you have a driver to access it from DOS. Drive Image can span multiple disks when storing images on removable media.

Restoring complete partitions is not an acceptable solution for general backup and restore operations. But PowerQuest has included Image Editor, which runs from within Win9x/NT/2K. This program allows you to manipulate image files, editing comments, creating spanned images from a single image, combining spanned images, compressing or decompressing images, etc. It also provides the ability to restore files and directories from an image file.

By using Drive Image to back up or restore entire partitions and Image Editor to restore individual files, you might be able to use Drive Image as your only backup solution. Beyond the inability to backup individual files or directories, the other problem with using Drive Image is that it has to run from DOS. Normal backup solutions allow you to schedule unattended backups. This is not possible with Drive Image. To be fair, PowerQuest does not promote Drive Image as a backup solution.

The 117-page manual included with Drive Image is very clear and complete. It includes many different scenarios that can help walk you through just about anything you would want to do with the program. Thanks, PowerQuest, for continuing to provide good, written documentation.

You can purchase PowerQuest products at reduced prices at their User Group site http://www.ugr.com/order. You need to use code UGEVAL00 when ordering. Prices (in US$) are $20 for Drive Copy and $30 for Drive Image. However, they tack on $10 for shipping, which can bring the price close to shelf prices here in town, so it is worth shopping around. If you purchase a copy of Drive Image, be sure to register it on- line. This will automatically take you to a spot on PowerQuest's Web site where you can download a free copy of DataKeeper, valued at US$20.


Bottom Line:

Drive Copy Version 3.0
Drive Image Version 3.02
Proprietary Software (Drive Copy US $20, Drive Image US $30, plus US $10 shipping)
from PowerQuest Corporation
Web site: http://www.powerquest.com


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

The opinions expressed in these reviews may not necessarily
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Page created: 10-Sep-00