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Disk IMAGING software (other than GHOST)?

Hi all!!

Am looking for some way of creating/restoring images of Hard Drives that let me restore them and "just run" when the PC is powered on.

I know of (and heavily use) Ghost 2003; we've also tried PowerQuest DriveImage, but both products don't fit what we need.

A little background: My company (Secuware) makes a security product that, among other things, encrypts the hard disk at the sector level. So the partitions "look" like "garbage" to any disk cloning software that tries to "read" the partitions.

I need some software that would read the bits-on-the-disk and then write-them-back as they are. Also, grabbing the MBR is important, as the boot loader that loads the de-encryption routines and allow power on is tied to that.

Any ideas/suggestio/pointers

Javier Jarava
Monday, February 9, 2004

> A little background: My company (Secuware) makes a security product that, among other things, encrypts the hard disk at the sector level. So the partitions "look" like "garbage" to any disk cloning software that tries to "read" the partitions.

If you guys do it on the file level (ofcourse, also encrypting file meta data), there might be some suggestions, Linux folks has had raw disk reading tools for sometimes now.

But if your company messes up the entire fs, then what you need is a raw disk driver (especially if you intend to do online encryption decroption) that filters existing disk accesses.

Li-fan Chen
Monday, February 9, 2004

MM.. I can't say for sure that I know how "low" we get; I know that on Windows we do filter _all_ access to the HD (the encryption/decription is done on the fly; once the partition is encrypted, the process is 100% transparent to the user, etc).

And I know that, when "outside" windows (from ERD Commander, NTFS Pro, etc) the partition is "unrecognizable", as it's just a jumble of random data (so, for example, ERD Commander treats is as unformated and aks if you want to format it).

The product includes tools to mount the partition onto ERD Commander and such to be able to recover the data, but now we'd like to find a tool that lets us "clone" disks for internal uses, mostly to cut down testing time. I know that Ghost is supposed to do a "bit by bit" copy of the partitions it doesn't understand, but the fact is that after restoring the disk image, it won't boot properly.

So I am asking about _other_ tools that are supposed to be able to do so, to evaluate them. I remember I heard about a Linux-based "Backup CD" that was able to save (to CDs or similar media) full images of the HD... But I can't remember the name.

Any ideas/ pointers/etc more than wellcome. Even if they are just of the "I've heard about this, but never tried it" type. Will report back any findings :)

Thanks a lot.

Javier Jarava
Monday, February 9, 2004

Try Acronis TrueImage ( This one creates a bootable CD which can be used to recreate a blank system from scratch. It reads disk images from all external media you can imagine (CD, DVD, USB hard disks, etc.).

Another tool might be Partition Magic which is now from Symantec after they bought PowerQuest.

Another possibility might be to use Knoppix (a Linux which boots from CD and does not need any hard disk) and then try one of the UNIX tools like dd or cpio to clone the disk. You can get Knoppix at

Monday, February 9, 2004

If I'm reading you right, I'd suggest Linux's dd.  Command line would be something like dd if=/dev/hda of=/home/username/diskimage.  But read the man page. :)

Monday, February 9, 2004

Two tools that may do what you want are, System Rescue and g4u

Monday, February 9, 2004

Give G4U a try:

Essentially a FreeBSD bootbale CD, it copies the bits on your drive up to a FTP share.

Hope this helps - John

John Murray
Monday, February 9, 2004

If you just want to clone disks for internal use, I can recommend the Solo products from

It's basically a little hard disk copier (I assume you want to copy whole disks). It cares not a whit for partition tables, etc it just copies the whole disk.

We've found it to be quite a bit quicker than using dd.

The only bad thing about it is that the cables are a little oddly laid out (the key is backwards on one) and so when you have to replace them, it's a bit of a pain. Other than that, it's done pretty well for us.

Michael Kohne
Monday, February 9, 2004

Not sure if this would work or not

Monday, February 9, 2004

Portlock Storage Manager has very good raw disk commands for imaging, sector copying, etc.

Thursday, April 1, 2004

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