I’m working on a friends computer and one thing I always do first is to backup their data and do an image of their disk. In this case, Windows 7 Backup wouldn’t work. (This has happened on more than one Win 7 computer.) I used Sync Toy to backup their data and then had to figure out how to backup the computer.
I tried an number of free solutions and here’s what I found.
Acronis True Image WD Edition – FREE – My favorite when it works. You can only install this on a computer with a Western Digital disk attached. This is what I ended up using. They allows you to make a restore disk or restore thumb drive. You don’t even have to use the attached WD drive. You can save to a separate partition. If you want to Restore – again you have to attach a WD drive. – As of Release Date: 11/24/2015 – this does not work with Windows 10.
Paragon Backup and Recovery 2012 – I like this program, but you will have to register it and get a serial number. Sometimes the registration number doesn’t work – aggravating! You can save the file to a folder and it also creates a recovery disk.
Clonezilla – Seems to work on just about anything. You just need to create a CD. It’s not pretty to look at and you need to pay attention – but it works.
Below is a program that Steve Gibson recommends and uses on a daily basis.