[SOLVED] Best backup and imaging software for a Computer Repair Technician.

Rodion15

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I'm a computer repair technician and would like to buy some good imaging and backing up program.

I was thinking of getting Macrium Reflect, but I was shocked to see the Technician version for $580!.

Do I need to pay that to backup and restore my customer's PCs?

Would the free or some cheaper version allow me to do my job?

Any opinions much appreciated.
 

USAFRet

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Like if you are a plumber and have to buy a truck to carry your tools
Or an arborist, and have to buy a GOOD quality chainsaw
Or a solar panel installer, and have to buy a GOOD quality hammer drill


Business level tools cost.
Or, you can half ass it, to the detriment of your 'customers' systems.

Have you looked into what the Technicians license gives you?
 
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USAFRet

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Like if you are a plumber and have to buy a truck to carry your tools
Or an arborist, and have to buy a GOOD quality chainsaw
Or a solar panel installer, and have to buy a GOOD quality hammer drill


Business level tools cost.
Or, you can half ass it, to the detriment of your 'customers' systems.

Have you looked into what the Technicians license gives you?
 
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USAFRet

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In my home realm, I use Macrium exclusively.

If I were doing that as a business, I might consider buying the Technicians license.
At the very least, download and eval the 14 day trial, before discounting it completely.
 

Rodion15

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In my home realm, I use Macrium exclusively.

If I were doing that as a business, I might consider buying the Technicians license.
At the very least, download and eval the 14 day trial, before discounting it completely.
I'll definitely try Acronis. I'll try Windows FFU and WIM tools too. Thank you.
 
Do I need to pay that to backup and restore my customer's PCs?
The short answer is NO. There are software out there that is free of charge, so why spend money on something you can get for 0$ ?

I have used Clonezilla for many years now, and quite happy. It probably have less features than some of the commercial software out there.

The program itself run as a Live-CD so that you're not dependent on the locally installed operating system.

Some of the key pros for Clonezilla in my opinion:
  • It save many other things (in the directory where image files are located), amongst:
    • Full hardware list.
    • S.M.A.R.T. data for all connected hard drives and SSD that are connected
    • Check sum files for the image file.
    • Content of BIOS (can restore bios setting as well - in theory, I haven't tested myself)
  • Can check if the image are restorable (assume all programs does this anyway)
  • Since it's underlaying OS is Linux (a Debian and a Ubuntu variant are both available)
    • Support mostly file systems, both those used in natively for Linux and also NTFS and ExFAT.
    • And therefore you can also make full backup if your customer runs Linux too.
 
Does it still have the limitation of drive or partition sizes?
I know it used to clone only to the same size or larger.
Last time I had that issue, I used Gparted to shrink the partitions first because I didn't realize it could work in Clonezilla out of the box.

But, according to this article <link> it should be possible to shrink partitions to fit a smaller storage device. I haven't tested it, and I assume there should be plenty of space left on all partitions involved in order to be safe for the partition resizing to not fail.

In hindsight it's kind of stupid I didn't tested it because I know for sure it works the other way - resizing up for a bigger hdd.



[edit]
Forget most of what I wrote (unless use of Gparted, that part are correct) - in the conclusion under the same link, it actually state that Clonezilla cannot clone a larger disk to a smaller one.
 

USAFRet

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[edit]
Forget most of what I wrote (unless use of Gparted, that part are correct) - in the conclusion under the same link, it actually state that Clonezilla cannot clone a larger disk to a smaller one.
Right, thats why I stopped using it. Was just wondering if they had updated things in the last few years.

The other tools Like Macrium or Acronis only relate to the actual consumed space, not the total drive or partition size.

1TB source drive, 300GB consumed space.
500GB target drive.

Macrium does this easily, even the free version.



But to the OPs question - There is not necessarily a need to buy the 'expensive' Technician version. But if its functionality is something you need...then it is what you need...;)
Thats why they have a 14 day free trial.


In the right conditions, CloneZilla does great. Macrium brings other capabilities as well.
 
I've figured the most secure way of doing a disk clone to a smaller unit, using Clonezilla/Gparted is the following:
  • Make Disk --> File (directory) clone using Clonezilla (need an extra external hdd for this). This is because I have a reliable image to revert to if the next step goes wrong.
  • Use Gparted and resize the partitions so that the total size get lower than target disk. The only real positive about this is that the user can decide itself how much space to decrease for each partition. E.g having one OS partition and another for data (that you've probably already removed most files to get ready for shrinking) you probably do not want to shrink the Windows system partition (that may do if the clone software does shrink each partition the same percentage **1 ).
  • After that, use Clonezilla to clone from HDD to HDD (or SSD).
**1 Those of you that often use this tools can probably say something about how the shrinking of multiple partitions are made.
 
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