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PCNet File Catch - Cheap (okay, inexpensive) backup (Disk Image) Program for Windows XP and Windows Server - Image for Windows

If I haven't tried every disk image/backup program available it's only because I haven't found it. I am a firm believer that hard drives are going to fail and I'm never going to be caught without a reliable backup.

In addition to backing up Windows XP I want a good backup of the PCNet web server. Very few backup programs that work with XP also work for Windows Server 2003. Oh, they may have a server version....for twice the price (if not more).

On the surface my requirements don't seem unreasonable. Fast, easy to use (so backups get done) and, most importantly, that it actually work. And wow, have I tried some dogs. One actually trashed a machine just doing a backup.

For the longest time I've been using Image for Windows. It did all of the above but lacked one small feature that kept my using True Image on a couple of boxes, Image for Windows didn't do incremental backups. It was worth it to use it anyway on my main machines, it was much faster, it was reliable as all get out and it worked on Windows Server 2003. Nor was it expensive at $39.

Recently version 2.0 of Image for Windows was released and I couldn't be more pleased, it's now the only program I'll ever use.

The install is as easy as can be, just run the setup program and opt to create a boot CD and you're good to go.

The first change is to the primary screen. Image for Windows has never been a flash and colorful graphics program nor is the new look but it's clean and functional.

Pretty straight forward. Pick your operation, the source and the target and you're off. You can back up to any drive including CD or DVD.

Backup performance is outstanding. The 40Gb of data on my XP boot drive backed up to another hard drive in 11 minutes. Backing up to a USB attached drive took 16 minutes.

Recovery was a piece of cake, just insert the recovery CD, boot, pick the source (it found both the standard hard drive and the USB drive with no problem) and the destination and sit back and wait. If you only want to restore selected files there's a separate program that allows you to pick and choose individual files.

Operation in Windows Server 2003 was just as easy but another heads up; Image for Windows supports hardware/firmware RAID, however the proprietary Dynamic Drives are not supported. That includes software RAID as that requires the drives be set up as Dynamic Drives. Image for Windows will work great on your basic drives in Windows Server 2003  you're set up with software RAID don't use it on those drives (it will warn you not to do that).

That warning is indicative of the craftsmanship of Image For Windows. The skill that went into creating it is simply obvious everywhere in the program. I asked the author what language it was written in because of it's small executable size (1.1Gb executable vs 9.4Gb for an older version of True Image) and he said C/C++ but he couldn't explain why other programs were larger. I can hazard a guess; he knows how to code. Parenthetically this is the same guy who wrote BootIt which allows multi-boot but is also an excellent non-destructive partition manager (change a partition size without destroying the data).

What more can I say? It's simply the best out there and you won't be disappointed. Give the trial a try, it's a small download and well worth your time checking it out.

Oh, and previous uses who purchased after 1/1/2006 received version 2.0 for free. That's two freaking years! Think you'd get that from one of the other software vendors that have their hand out every quarter?

See what I mean.

Download the demo here. If you don't have a backup program this is for you. If you use something else this is for you.


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