Drive Image 2002 installs easily. During installation, it also prompts you to create bootable rescue disks that will let you run the program even after a system disaster.
Not just for DOS anymore
Earlier versions of Drive Image offered a Windows-based shell but required you to restart your system to run the Drive Image engine in DOS mode. In other words, Drive Image would render your system completely unusable during any imaging process. Drive Image 2002, on the other hand, performs most of its functions within Windows.
Follow the wizards
After installation, Drive Image's wizards guide you through the process of creating an image of an entire disk or portions of a drive. If your hard disk lacks a suitable destination for your copy, Drive Image creates a new partition without reformatting the hard drive or destroying any data. Drive Image also backs up your drives straight onto removable media, such as a CD-R drive. Unlike Acronis True Image, however, Drive Image 2000 does not yet support recordable DVD drives. Thankfully, Drive Image schedules backups at specified times so that you can walk away and let Drive Image work while you're doing other things. The software also includes a straight disk-copy mode for copying the contents of one drive to another without creating a stored image.
Once you're ready to restore the files you've copied, Drive Image lends a hand. Simply select the image file and the destination partition; Drive Image then creates an exact replica of the original drive, down to the smallest detail. For instance, if your original partition had a highly fragmented file system, the re-created partition will have the same fragmentation. The Image Explorer utility, which looks like Windows Explorer, then lets you browse the contents of the image and restore individual files without re-creating the entire disk.
Technical support isn't cheap
Drive Image comes with an easy-to-follow, 26-page, printed Quick Start guide; additional troubleshooting documentation on the installation disc; and detailed online help, including free e-mail tech support. But for a complex utility such as this, we'd prefer a more detailed printed guide, such as the one that accompanied previous versions. And sadly, Drive Image's phone support isn't free; you must pay $30 per incident or $2.95 per minute during regular business hours (8 a.m. to 5 p.m. MT, Monday through Friday) or $95 per incident during off-hours.
The desktop edition of Drive Image 2002 sells for $69.95. It is perfect for those who want to create an exact image of a hard drive in Windows without falling into the boot-to-DOS trap of Norton Ghost. Unfortunately, you won't be able to create an image on DVD media. For that capability, hold out for Acronis True Image, which allows you to do all of the above.