During the last few weeks here at Computer Repair Vancouver we have been talking about the process of imaging a computer as well as listing some of the best free imaging software packages. As a quick reminder, an image (sometimes referred to as a clone) is basically a copy of your hard drive’s information at a given point in time. Additionally, we say that you are reimaging a hard drive if you are taking an already existent image and placing it on this particular hard drive (most often overwriting what was previously on it). If you are having any problems with the terminology we recommend that you take a little time and go back (re-read the information from our previous two articles if need be).
Assuming that you understand the concept of imaging/cloning, today we will focus on how to actually create an image with one particular program: Paragon Backup and Recovery. Before we begin, it is very important to remind you, the reader, that imaging can be a potentially dangerous process (in regards to data loss). Consequently, it is always advisable to back up your most important files onto a USB key or a CD/DVD first. Furthermore, if you are ever uncertain about what is going on consult a knowledgeable technical friend or acquaintance.
One last important note: It is important to realize that we have done a fair amount of imaging in our time. Most of the time the images we have created have been deployed on other machines successfully. However, there have been times when the image created was corrupt or the machine we wished to deploy the image on would not take it (generally it gave a blue screen error upon receiving the image). Therefore, it is strongly recommended that you use images as one method of backing up your data (but not the sole method of backing up your data). Additionally, while we are going to cover Paragon Backup and Recovery today, we tend to make use of several imaging programs whenever possible. This way if one image doesn’t work, we can always use the other image.
Anyways, with those warning outs of the way, it is time to attack the meat of the matter.
Computer Repair Vancouver’s Guide to Creating an Image
- Head over to the Paragon Software website.
- Click on the Free Download link located on the left side of the page.
- Click on the Free Download button and then choose Download Now. Make sure to save the file to a location which is easily accessible (we always like the Desktop).
- Once the program has been downloaded, double click on the installer and install it.
- Run Paragon Backup and Recovery
- Click on the Wizards menu and choose Back Up Disk or Partition Members of Computer Repair Vancouver find the use of the wizard to be extremely helpful.
- Click the Next button
- Choose what you would like to create an image of (make a copy of). Paragon is capable of backing up any hard drive or partition (a specific portion of your hard drive) within your computer. We recommend that, in general, you perform a complete back up of your entire hard drive; this includes the hard drive information as well as special Windows information on your drive. Therefore, assuming you only have a single hard drive within your computer, we would place a checkmark next to Basic Hard Drive 0. If you happen to have several hard drives within your machine you will need to determine which hard drive you would like to make an image of. In order to determine this, take a look under each Basic Hard Drive. You should see C:, D:, and so on. If you are interested in creating an image of your C drive then click on the Basic Hard Disk it is attached to. Similarly, if you wish to create an image of your D drive then click on the Basic Hard Disk it is attached to.
Once you have made the appropriate selection take a look at the information panel located below all of the hard drive and partition information. It is here (next to Estimated archive size) that Paragon will tell you approximately how much disk space will be needed to create the image. Make sure that the numbers look correct. If is says something like 20 GB or 40 GB then you are good to go since hard drives these days are generally at least that large. Be suspicious of anything below 1 GB (say 100 MB or 10 MB).
Once you are done perusing all of this information click the Next button.
- Choose where you wish to save the image. We here at Computer Repair Vancouver generally recommend that you save your images to an external hard drive. Why? Because if you save your image to your normal hard drive then what happens when your normal hard drive dies? You lose both your normal hard drive’s data as well as your image! Remember, the whole point of an image is to be able to restore your computer after something bad happens to it.
-So, assuming that you are going to save your image to an external hard drive select Save data to local/network drives.
- Click on the Next button.
- Click on the external hard drive where you are going to save the image to (it will likely be I: or J: or something like that).
- Change the archive name to whatever you find appropriate
- Click on the Next button
- Make sure that you select Back up now then click on the Next button.
- Take a look at the backup summary then hit Next again.
- Click on the Finish button.
- At the top of the Paragon window click on the Apply button (the green checkmark) in order to actually create the image.
- Say that you wish to Apply the pending changes.
- Wait until the process has completed.
Technically you are done, however, we advise you to open up your external hard drive (or wherever you decided to save your image) and make sure that it is truly there. An image is useless if it was accidentally saved to the wrong place (like your default hard drive) or if it was never saved at all.
So there you have it, how to create an image with the free version of Paragon Backup and Recovery. Come back to Computer Repair Vancouver in the near future, however, because we will be taking a look at how to deploy the image we have just created (a process sometimes referred to as imaging a machine or reimaging a machine).