This fall, PowerQuest released a new
version of their hard disk imaging software - Drive Image
4.0 (DI4). I recently wrote a review of Drive Image 3.0 (DI3),
which was published in the September issue of Ottawa
PC News. You can also read the review on the OPCUG
web site at http://opcug.ca/public/reviews/drivcop3.htm.
The new version has a few handy new
features but should be considered an evolutionary change,
rather than a revolutionary one. As with most PowerQuest
releases, if you already own the n-1 release of the
product (in this case DI3), look closely at the new
features. If you don't need the new features, the cost of
upgrading may not be worth it. In most cases, I find that
n-2 is more appropriate for a general recommendation to
As the review of DI3 points out, Drive
Image provides an easy way of copying one drive or
partition to another. Its real strength, in my opinion,
is making compressed images of your working partitions as
a means of disaster recovery. When - not if - Windows
goes south on you, recovering a fresh, clean, and stable
configuration is fast and easy. All you need to convince
you of the value of imaging software is to once go
through the painful process of reinstalling Windows and
all your applications. Figure out what your time is worth
per hour and I bet you will find Drive Image to be an
inexpensive insurance policy.
The interface and procedures for creating
image files is pretty much unchanged in this release. It
is easy to navigate and you are led, wizard-like, through
the process. DI4 continues with the DI3 tradition of
saying low compression delivers 40% compression and high
compression delivers 50% compression. I continue to find
that, for my files, I get closer to 28% and 35%
respectively. Speed seems to have improved slightly -
between 5% and 15%.
DI4 introduces the ability to image
directly to a CD-R or CD-RW drive. You can have image
files span multiple disks automatically. With DI3, unless
you had DOS drivers that allowed you to access your CD-R
or CD-RW drive, you had to image to a hard disk and then
you could copy the image files to the CD-R or CD-RW media.
You can now create images directly to
hidden partitions. While not a critical feature, this can
be handy. Depending on your configuration, you may want
to leave the partition you use to store images as hidden
to avoid the problem of drive letters changing on you.
With DI3, you could have the program hide the partition
after you created your image file. Now you don't need to
remember to set this option.
Windows Me is now supported. Windows 2000
users still need to boot the computer from a DOS boot
disk, even if the partition you want to image does not
have any open files. This is a minor annoyance, but one
wonders why it is necessary.
Drive Image includes an Image Editor that
allows you to perform operations such as splitting/joining,
compressing/decompressing and password protecting image
files, as well as restoring files or partitions. DI4 has
a new, revamped Image Editor that is much easier to use
than the version included with DI3. The new interface
looks similar to Windows Explorer. The left-hand tree
pane makes it much simpler to restore files and folders
from an image.
When you register DI4, you are given the
opportunity to download a copy of Data-Keeper from the
PowerQuest site. Don't bother. What you get will be
DataKeeper 3.0. On the DI4 CD-ROM there is a copy of
Minimum system requirements are Intel 386SX,
16MB RAM (32MB for FAT32 or NTFS), 8MB disk space, Win95/98/Me,
NT 3.51 or 4.0 Workstation, Win2K Professional, DOS 5.0,
or OS/2. Note that Server versions of WinNT/2K are not
As always, PowerQuest has a special price
available for user group members. While the list price is
US$69, you can order it on-line at http://www.ugr.com/order
for US$30. You will need to use the order code UGEVAL00.
Given that they tack on a US$10 shipping charge, you may
be able to find it cheaper around town.
Proprietary Software (US$30.00 group price)
from PowerQuest Corporation
Web site: http://www.powerquest.com
Originally published: December, 2000