Image Backup Apps Become Vista Compatible

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At a Glance

Paragon Software and Symantec have each released Vista-compatible drive imaging and backup programs. Both Paragon's Drive Backup 8.5 Personal Edition and Symantec's Norton Save & Restore 2.0 are simple to use, though I preferred Drive Backup 8.5. It's so well designed that it poses serious competition to higher-end imaging applications such as Symantec Ghost and Acronis True Image.

Norton Save & Restore is a consumer-friendly program that uses Symantec Ghost's engine. Version 2.0 is a relatively minor upgrade, save for the Vista compatibility and a redesigned step-by-step interface that is easier to use than that of its predecessor. Symantec says that version 2.0 has been optimized for better performance as well, although it seemed no faster to me.

I liked that Save & Restore will create a drive image on some of the less-capable computers that I often use. It demands, however, that the PC have at least 512MB of memory to restore an image--an onerous requirement for many older systems.

Both Drive Backup and Save & Restore can create full and incremental backup images, and both utilities can back up from within Windows too. Drive Backup also gives you the option of creating a small hidden partition (a "backup capsule") that you can back up to and restore from; all the app is missing is the ability to back up individual files and folders, a feature that Save & Restore and other pro-level programs possess.

I especially liked Drive Backup's tabbed main interface, which provides same-window access to tasks, volumes, created images, and help. And while the program doesn't offer the walk-through of Save & Restore, it does give you a way to schedule backups using the Windows Scheduler. Its interface is more suited for intermediate to advanced users who like to see all of their options.

Drive Backup creates a CD that you can boot from to create and restore images outside the Windows environment (Save & Restore's boot CD is restore only). The $100 Professional Edition adds support for Windows dynamic disks (hard-to-back-up partitions that span multiple disks) and advanced network features.

I would recommend Save & Restore for less-experienced users, though there's no reason for owners of the first version to upgrade until they need Vista compatibility.

Paragon Sortware Drive Backup 8.5 Personal Edition

This full-featured imaging utility lacks only file and folder backup.
List: $50
Current prices (if available)

Symantec Norton Save & Restore 2.0

This minor upgrade offers wizard-based, set-it-and-forget-it drive imaging and file backup.
List: $50
Current prices (if available)
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At a Glance
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