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Drive Image 4.0

by Chris Taylor

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

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 upgrade.

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.

Drive Image 4 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 DataKeeper 4.0.

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 supported.

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 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.

Bottom Line:

Drive Image
Proprietary Software (US$30.00 group price)
from PowerQuest Corporation
Web site:

Originally published: December, 2000

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