Paragon Backup & Recovery Free Advanced Edition
Try and say "Paragon Backup & Recovery 2010 Free Advanced Edition" five times quickly. I dare you. On second thought, I dare you to remember it for five seconds. Okay, I'm kidding... mostly. Despite the long-winded moniker, BR2010FAE (pronounced by yours truly as Bur-Two-Ten-Fay, or Bur-Fay for short since I already know what year it is) is a very competent imaging/backup program with a number of useful features not commonly found in freebies. In fact, it's a bit hard to believe that they give this thing away.
BR2010FAE will create a full image of your operating system partition, but also lets you set filters to skip backing up music and movies or other non-essential files (assuming you're not a musician or videographer) to save space in your images. Handy if you want to back up to an 8GB thumb drive or the like.
And, as is all the rage these days, BR2010FAE can create backups as virtual hard drives for Microsoft's Virtual PC (a free download), as well as VMWare Workstation and Fusion. It's the same technology found in the company's Go Virtual. Transferring via FTP is not something most users are used to anymore, though it's a common way to transfer Web sites, but BRFAE will back up and restore via FTP. It will also back up to CD or DVD and across the network.
There's also a handy feature called Backup Capsule, which is a small, hidden partition that contains an image backup. You may restore from it using the recovery media BR2010FAE lets you create (flash drive or CD).
In a nutshell, Paragon Backup & Recovery 2010 Free Advanced Edition is a great freebie. Between it and the free version of Partition Manager I'm not sure how Paragon plans to make any money. Windows 7 users can accomplish much the same thing with the built-in Windows Backup, albeit without a couple bells and whistles, but XP users should grab BR2010FAE for sure. Maybe now, before they forget the name.
Note: You must get a product key and serial number from Paragon's site to install the program. This file is free for non-commercial use only.
--Jon L. Jacobi