NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article
Drive Image 4.0 From PowerQuest
A Review by Thornton Jacobs, November 2000
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Drive Image is one of a family of hard drive utilities offered by the PowerQuest Corp. The most prominent of these is Partition Magic.

The primary use of Drive Image is to backup and restore not only entire partitions but also single or multiple files contained in those partitions. It does this very well. The program is easy to use and very straight forward. Using it with CDR and CDRW disks is almost as easy as working with a hard drive in your computer. Drive Image 4.0 will also copy partitions from one hard drive to another hard drive the same computer. In addition it will create, resize, delete, hide and unhide partitions. However, only creating and restoring images will be covered here. Details for using these features are covered in the manual.

Drive Image makes backing up your hard drives fast and easy. It does this by creating a snapshot or image of everything in a data partition. Since it is so painless it should be an incentive to make frequent backups.

Version 4.0 is an upgrade to Version 3.0 that was released earlier this year. The most prominent new features are support for Windows 2000, Windows ME and CD drives.

Version 4.0 supports Windows 95, 98, 98SE, ME, Windows 2000 Professional and Windows NT 4.0 Workstation. Some caveats. Drive Image 4.0 is not supported with Windows NT or Windows 2000 Servers.

If you use Windows 95a, you may have to run the program from the rescue disks. Also, it is recommended that you turn off all Windows programs, including virus protection in the BIOS when running Drive Image.

You are also advised to run Scandisk or other disk utility to check for file system errors before running Drive Image. You can also choose to have Drive Image do this. However it will run more slowly. Drive Image 4.0 can read image files produced by earlier versions. But earlier versions cannot read Version 4.0 image files. There are other cautions that deal primarily with networks. The instruction manual is clear, concise and easy to follow. There is also an excellent Quick Reference folder included that gives quick and easy to follow instructions for installing Drive Image and using using many of it's features. Documentation in PDF format is also provided on the CD.

The program installs from one CD. Upon starting the CD a menu will ask if you want to "Install, Create Rescue Diskettes, look at documentation, "Install Data Keeper" or "Choose a Language". (Data Keeper is part of the package but must be downloaded within seven days of registering version 4.0.) You can create the rescue diskettes later if you wish. It is very important that you do so. Be sure to test the diskettes to make certain that they work. Setup goes through the standard Windows setup screens. You will be required to enter the serial number, which is on the back of the folding board CD sleeve. There is no jewel case. You can set up to run removeable drives such as Zip, Jazz, magneto optical, and CD drives. I also had it set up SCSI since my CDRW is SCSI.

Anyone familiar with previous versions of Drive Image will be right at home with version 4.0. The program can be started from the icon in Windows or by booting from the rescue diskettes.

When the Drive Image icon is clicked, a message informs you that the program can only be run in DOS mode and asks if you want to reboot and continue.

When the Drive Image screen finally appears you are given three choices. "Create Image, Restore Image" or Copy Partition from one Hard Drive to another within the same computer. The program is fairly forgiving if you make an error. Most screens give you an option to get help, go back or cancel at any time.

To create an image, choose "Create Image". The next screen asks you to select a source drive. If you have more than one physical drive, you have a choice of `All Disks', "Disk 1' or `Disk 2'.

At the next screen you are asked to name the Image file and give it a path where to save the image. You cannot store an image of the partition that you are imaging on that same partition. For instance, you must store the image of C: on D: or other partition. This might be something like "D:\image_C:" without the quotes of course, if you are imaging Drive C:. If your hard drive only has a C: partition you would have to store the image on a removeable drive. If you plan to restore the image using the rescue diskettes, you must save the image to a Fat (includes Fat 32) partition. You must also give it a filename that is readable by DOS. This simply means that the filename can't be more than eight digits long and contain no periods or spaces. All Drive Image files are given a default `PQI' suffix. You can also use `Browse' to select the destination. If there is an existing image file with the same filename at that location you will be informed of that and asked if you want to overwrite the existing file. If you click "Yes", Drive Image will delete the existing image file and you can continue.

The next screen asks if you wish to compress the new image file and if so how much. You don't have to compress. But if you don't, the file will be the same size as the partition being imaged. On the other hand, the operation takes less time than using compression. At low compression file size will be about 40% of the original partition size. If space is critical, use high compression. It will only get about 50% and imaging will take somewhat longer than low compression. So there are diminishing returns. The screen shows you an estimated file size for each degree of compression.

The next screen shows you the choices that you have made and allows you to click the "Back" icon. This is your last chance to correct any errors in your image setup. You are also given an opportunity to set or change advanced options. These include checking for file system errors, verifying disk writes, verifying image contents and other things. Each of these features does something that is sometimes desirable but at the cost of extra imaging time. I would recommend that you run Scandisk or other disk utility before running Drive Image. If you have done that you can uncheck the "Check for file system errors" box which is apparently a default. The operation will require less time.

The next screen is the "Finish" screen and is the final screen in the sequence. Two horizontal progress bars appear. The top bar shows the "Entire Progress" of the operation, which in addition to the actual imaging includes any options that you may have selected from the "Advanced" screen. The lower bar exhibits the actual imaging progress on the partition that you selected. The screen also shows the transfer rate, estimated copying time, elapsed time and time remaining for the operation. It also displays the number of megabytes to copy and the total megabytes copied.

When finished, a message is displayed telling you that the image was successfully copied, (I have used earlier versions of Drive Image and have never had an unsuccessful operation), the elapsed time, the average processing rate in Mb/Min. and the total Mb copied. Clicking OK takes you back to the Drive Copy main screen where you can choose to continue or exit. If you choose to continue, you will go through the preceding procedure for another partition. If you choose to exit, Drive Image reboots back to the Drive Image folder in Windows.

To restore an entire partition you will have to boot into the DOS Drive Image screen as before and.

Choose "Restore". The next screen asks you to select the Image File Name to restore. This can be keyed or you can select from "Browse". The following screen asks you to select the destination drive. In the next screen you select whether you want to restore to a partition or unallocated space. If you choose to restore to a partition you are warned that Drive Image can only restore to unallocated space and that the partition will be destroyed and all data will be lost as part of the process. Drive Image will then create a new partition and restore the data. The final screen is the "Finish" screen. It displays two progress bars that show the progress of the restore process.

Finally, when the restore operation is complete, you are informed that the image was restored successfully and asks if you would like to view the results. After which, you reboot to Windows.

I had never performed this operation before and it worked very smoothly.

Sometimes you only need to restore one or two files. This is done in Windows using the Drive Image Editor. Just click the Drive Image Editor Icon. You are presented with a screen that looks similar to the

Windows Explorer screen. In the left pane, select the drive and folder where the file to be restored is located. All of the files and folders in the folder are displayed in the pane on the right. Select the file name and then click "Restore". You are then asked if you want to restore to the original location or key in a different location. After making this choice click "Restore". It is simplicity itself.

One of the major new features in Drive Image 4.0 is the ability to save an image directly to a CD. With previous versions, you were required to save the image to your hard drive and then copy it to the CD. Of course imaging to a CD will take considerably longer than saving the image to a hard drive because of the slow write speed of CD drives. This is especially true of CDRW operations. Creating an image directly to a CD is similar to the same operation for a hard drive. However, there are a few differences. The file "PQPACKET" must be run before CD operation. If you start Drive Image from the Windows icon the file will run automatically. Also, the file is on Drive Image 4.0 rescue diskette #1 (boot diskette).

However, if you boot to DOS with a regular boot diskette you will have to run "PQPACKET" manually before booting. The manual explains how.

If you are using a CDRW that has data on it, the data must be deleted because Drive Image will not overwrite the data. Also, the CD must not be formatted. In addition, only IDE and SCSI drives are supported while USB and Firewire are not.

To save a partition to a CD, start the program normally as described earlier and choose "Create Image".

The first thing that must be done differently appears when you are asked to type in a name for the image. It is preferable to use the browse button. This brings up a screen that asks you to key in the file name for the image. (Don't use a path or a drive letter). This should be something like "Image_C". Don't forget that the filename must be readable by DOS. Then select the CD drive from the drop down menu at the bottom of the screen. The CD drive name will be in the form "\\.\PQCDx\Name of Drive", where x is the number of the CD drive. The name of the drive will be Yamaha, HP or whatever your drive brand is.

At the next screen, choose the amount of compression desired as described earlier. The following screen shows your selections for creating the image. You can still to go back and make any necessary changes. When Drive Image detects that you are using a CD or other removeable media, it enables the media spanning feature that will split the image file over as many disks as necessary to write the entire image.

Don't forget to number your disks in order. If it becomes necessary to restore an image, you will need to know which is which. The final screen shows the two progress bars which track the imaging process described earlier. There is one small difference at the end of this operation. When the progress bar at the bottom that tracks the copying process reaches 100%, the bar at the top is at 98%. The program is busy writing information to the CD to complete the backup process and it takes a relatively long time. This is due to the fact that it is writing to a CD and not to a hard drive. Don't become impatient. When the operation is finished, a message is flashed on the screen informing you that the operation is completed.

Simultaneously, the CD tray opens allowing you to remove the disk. You can then return to the main menu screen and continue or exit.

Restoring the image of a partition from CD' is similar to restoring from an image saved on a hard drive, with some exceptions. Boot Drive Image into DOS and select Restore Image. Then browse for the image file to restore. Select the CD drive from the drop down list and insert disk #1. Then select the name of the image file to restore. After that follow the instructions on the screen and insert any disks that are requested.

When you get ready to finish, be sure that you have made the correct choices and click "Finish".

To restore single files, open Drive Image Editor. Then, select the CD Drive and insert the disk 1 in the drive. Follow the instructions on the screen. Insert any disks that are requested.

The manual contains various scenarios for creating and restoring image files using Zip, CD and secondary hard drives.

Drive Image 4.0 is a worthy successor to Drive 3.0. I shall use it often.

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