Best Macrium Reflect Free Alternatives

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    As of this latest update in 2024, Macrium are still no longer offering the Macrium Reflect Free edition of their leading disk imaging and disk cloning software for further download. It is important to note as well that as of 1st January 2024, Macrium are also no longer supporting those who might have downloaded the tool before it was discontinued, although it should still work for those that still have access to it (albeit with all of the inherent risks which come with using unsupported software to be careful of).

    the best free alternatives to macrium reflect - featured web

    The free edition of Macrium Reflect had for a long time been a “go to” application for anyone wanting to quickly perform a disk cloning or disk imaging related task. This included taking an image-based backup or cloning of a disk, partition, an entire PC or for anyone wanting to migrate an existing running system over to a new or otherwise different hardware as well.

    Whilst this free-to-use disk imaging software was undeniably very useful during its time available to all, being the free version of a premium backup solution (this is currently Macrium Reflect Home 8) means it is inevitably missing some very useful cloning and imaging features which can still be found else ware. With all of this this in mind, I will be using this guide to list 5 of my favourite Macrium Reflect Free alternatives as well as point out some of the best features of disk imaging software for which anyone seeking an alternative to Macrium Reflect should be looking out for – Vamos.

    Top 5 Macrium Reflect Free Alternatives:

    Below is a quick look at the top 5 Macrium Reflect Free alternatives mentioned in this guide, scroll down further for the full and detailed list of disk image-based backup solutions.

    Provider Solution Upgrades Website
    1 easeus best backup software logo ToDo Backup Free Home edition from $39.95
    2 aomei backup logo AOMEI Backupper (Standard) Professional from $39.95
    3 minitool review logo ShadowMaker Free From $3 / month or $79 one-off pricing
    4 paragon software review logo Backup & Recovery (Community) Hard Disk Manager @ $79.95
    5 veeam agent best backup software page logo Agent for Microsoft Windows Free Business editions available
    Check out our top Macrium Reflect alternative...
    easeus best backup software logo
    ToDo Backup (Free)

    Why Consider Alternatives to Macrium Reflect Free?

    Macrium Reflect Free was without any doubt one of the best free disk imaging, disk cloning and full system backup solutions available (before it was unfortunately discontinued back in 2023). Naturally, this begs the question as to why you might want to seek an alternative disk imaging solution, be it a free to use solution or otherwise?

    In the points below I have picked-out 5 top considerations to think about when looking for an alternative to the disk imaging and cloning functionality for which Macrium Reflect Free used to offer.

    1) Encryption of Backed-up Data

    Whilst the free edition of Macrium Reflect did offer first-class disk imaging, disk cloning and system backup capabilities, one feature which was notably missing from the free edition was the ability to apply strong encryption to any data backed-up using the product.

    NB – Whilst encryption of data will not be relevant in some circumstances, such as migrating an existing system directly from an old hard disk to a new one, it is strongly recommended to encrypt any data which is backed-up and then stored away for safe keeping!

    It might be the case that encryption is not important for your own individual use case regarding disk imaging software and, if so, then the remainder of this section is irrelevant. If, on the other hand, secure data encryption is important, then one of the first places to look at for obtaining this functionality is at Macrium’s own premium backup solution, Macrium Reflect 8 Home. This premium version of the software brings with it many additional and upgraded features including, amongst many others, provisions for applying strong AES 256-bit zero-knowledge encryption.

    NB – Encryption of backed-up disk image data is especially important when storing said data off-site or on unencrypted cloud storage services. In such cases strong encryption will help add an additional layer of protection to the potentially valuable data which is been protected.

    2) Scheduling Support

    Another potentially important feature which was notably missing from the free version of Macrium Reflect was that of automatic backup scheduling (again, something which is now available in the premium edition – Reflect Home 8).Whilst many users of Macrium Reflect Free will be seeking a simple and easy-to-use backup and cloning solution which can be used on an ad-hoc basis (as and when it is needed), the ability to create a backup set and then have it run on an automatic schedule can be a very useful feature for ensuring important data is always kept backed up.

    NB – Further down in this guide you will see my top alternative choices to Macrium Reflect Free including EaseUS ToDo Backup, AOMEI Backupper, MiniTool ShadowMaker, Paragon Backup & Recovery and Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows, all of which support the making of disk image backups on a fixed backup schedule.

    3) Cloud Backup Functionality

    Another important aspect in which Macrium Reflect Free is lacking is when it comes to providing built-in support for making disk image backups directly to a third-party cloud storage service.  This is something which is jointly applicable to both the free edition as well as the premium edition of the Macrium Reflect software line.

    It might be the case that built-in cloud storage support isn’t applicable to your own particular use-case for Macrium Reflect Free or, alternatively, it might be that case that many Reflect users don’t realise that alternatives such as Acronis Cyber Protect Home Office and EaseUS ToDo Backup already have cloud storage support built-in to them. Having access to built-in cloud storage support means that disk imaging software is not only useful for making disk image backups which are to be stored locally, but also for sending image-based backups directly to the cloud for further safe keeping.

    NB – As anyone reading this article will most likely already know, disk image backups tend to be much larger in size than their file-level counterparts. This increased file size means that cloud storage might not be suitable for everyone when making disk image backups, especially for those with slow or unreliable internet connections.

    4) Additional Features

    Whilst Macrium Reflect Free has always been a solid disk imaging solution (and one which was very capable of performing basic disk imaging related tasks such as migrating from old to new disks), it was lacking in a number of more advanced features which can now be found in various other alternative software products.

    One notable additional feature worthy of mention comes from Macrium themselves! This sees them adding the Image Guardian tool to the premium Home 8 version of Reflect, a specialist security feature which will help protect any existing disk image backups from ransomware attacks by restricting any unauthorised access to the file (meaning the saved data can’t be tampered with or maliciously encrypted easily).

    Other features which were missing in Macrium Reflect Free but can now be found else ware include support for using both differential and incremental backup methodologies, automatic folder synchronisation tools plus the use of advanced backup scheduling functionality plus dedicated disk cloning tools amongst many other related features.

    5) Backup Performance

    Full system or disk image-based backups will usually run considerably slower than file-level backups, even at the best of times and on higher specification devices. This means that any features which might be included within the backup software to help speed up the making of disk image-based backups are usually very welcome additions.

    Unfortunately, the free version of Macrium Reflect is only capable of making full disk, partition or system image backups, meaning everything on the relevant disk or partition will need to be included in the backup, regardless of whether any information has been changed or not. This is in contrast to the premium edition of Macrium Reflect (Reflect 8 Home) as well as various other comparable solutions which allow for both incremental and differential backup methodologies to also be used (will help to speed up the disk imaging process and reduce the total time required for backing-up).

    Finally, concerning the ability to make file-level backups, a much quicker type of backup which focuses only on backing-up individual files and folders, we see another feature missing in the free edition of Reflect (but one which is available in the premium edition of the tool as well as various alternatives including, EaseUS ToDo Backup and Acronis Cyber Protect Home Office amongst others).

    NB – For more information on the differences between file-level and disk image backups, be sure to read my detailed guide to System Image vs File Level Backups!

    Macrium Reflect Free FAQs

    Macrium Reflect is a specialist Windows backup utility which is both well-known and highly regarded for its excellent disk imaging and disk cloning capabilities. Also included within the Reflect software line is support for making both file-level and disk partition backups as well as a specialist recovery media building tool to make for a comprehensive imaging-based backup application overall.

    No, Macrium Reflect does not provide any integrated support for using cloud storage services within the application itself (only locally attached storage, external hard drives and NAS devices are currently supported). Making use of cloud storage with Macrium Reflect is still possible when creating disk image backups to a file and then manually moving said file to a third-party cloud service manually afterwards (although by no means an ideal solution).

    Yes, Macrium Reflect can be used to clone both individual partitions as well as entire hard disks across to any other connected storage device (including external hard disks). Disks can be cloned to other disks directly (via direct disk-to-disk cloning functionality) or can be cloned to a disk image file which can then be stored and used to image a new disk drive from at a later date.

    Yes, Macrium Reflect provides full support for backing up and restoring disk and partition image backups to modern SSD and NVMe dives (including direct disk-to-disk cloning between mechanical hard disks and SSD drives). Macrium Reflect also supports correct 4K alignment when SSD and NVMe drives are been used as target disk drives.

    Yes, the Macrium Reflect recovery environment can be written to and used via a USB storage device in addition to CD/DVDs and external hard drives.

    Top 5 Macrium Reflect Free Alternatives

    Finally, I will be listing 5 of my favourite Macrium Reflect Free alternatives. These are disk image-based backup solutions which, much like Macrium Reflect Free does, make taking disk image backups both quick and straightforward as well as being able to assist in direct disk-to-disk cloning and the migrating of existing systems onto newer and quicker hard drives as well.

    Remember, any ratings given below reflect my own opinions and are intended only for use as a guide, be sure to always check the details for any potential disk imaging solutions before making a purchase and, if possible, always try and make full use of any free trials before making a decision.

    1) EaseUS ToDo Backup Home

    ToDo Backup Free is the free-to-use backup solution form EaseUS, a tool which provides an impressive level of disk image-based backup functionality in a free-to-use software package.

    macrium reflect free alternatives - easeus todo in-use

    What really impresses me with ToDo Backup Free is the level of functionality which is provided within a free-to-use backup tool. This includes the ability to make file-level backups alongside disk-image, partition-image and even full system image backups alongside the ability to also make use of full or differential / incremental backup methodologies (something which was not supported in the free version of Macrium Reflect).

    Whilst this free edition of ToDo Backup does have its limitations (which is, of course, understandable being a free-to-use solution), the premium ToDo Backup Home edition provides a highly useful upgrade path which brings much more functionality to the table. Upgraded functionality found within the premium edition includes support for full system imaging, upgraded disk-to-disk cloning tools, use of the EaseUS SMART functionality plus universal restore functionality for restoring disk image backups to dissimilar (or new) PC hardware (amongst many other upgraded tools found in the premium edition).

    EaseUS ToDo Backup Free is 100% free-to-use and is available for download directly from the Official EaseUS website. The upgraded ToDo Backup Home is available on a subscription basis (with cloud storage from EaseUS themselves optionally available) from just $39.95 per year as well as via a one-off purchase with free lifetime upgrades included from just $79.95.

    2) AOMEI Backupper

    Backupper Standard stands out as one of the best free-to-use disk imaging-based backup solutions in my own opinion, especially so given how easy the software is to use and how quickly a full disk image backup can be taken and kept safe whilst making use of this tool.

    macrium reflect free alternatives - aomei backupper in-use

    Also included within the Standard edition of AOMEI Backupper (which is 100% free to use) are various other useful features including support for making incremental disk image backups, sector-by-sector imaging technology, automatic folder synchronisation, direct disk-to-disk cloning plus a good set of disk partition management tools amongst many other features.

    Also available is an upgraded version of the software in the form of AOMEI Backupper Professional, an edition of the software which brings with it much more functionality for a simple one-off licence cost or on a subscription basis with cloud storage options available. Additional features in this premium edition include strong encryption support, upgraded operating modes, advanced system cloning tools (including universal restore), advanced options for splitting-up backup files plus enhanced scheduling functionality allowing for a plugged-in USB drive to trigger a backup running amongst various other additions.

    AOMEI Backupper Standard is 100% free-to-use for non-commercial purposes. The upgraded AOMEI Backupper Professional is priced from $39.95 / year or a one-off cost of $69.95 for a perpetual licence with free lifetime upgrades included. More information on all editions of the software can be found via the official AOMEI website.

    3) MiniTool ShadowMaker

    With the free-to-use edition of ShadowMaker, MiniTool continue to offer what is widely regarded as a fast, reliable and, above all, easy-to-use disk imaging-based backup solution for Windows PC users.

    macrium reflect free alternatives - minitool shadowmaker in-use

    What really makes ShadowMaker stand out is the high number of tools and disk-imaging related features which are included within a free-to-use backup application. This includes support for making both file-level and full system image backups, strong scheduling support, automatic folder synchronisation, direct disk-to-disk cloning tools plus the ability to use incremental disk image backup methodologies to speed up the backup process amongst many other included features.

    Also available from MiniTool is ShadowMaker Pro, an upgraded edition of the software which brings with it many new and upgraded features. Additions include being able to run backups based upon events (e.g., plugging-in USB drives), additional backup schemes, strong data encryption, command line operation and, via the ShadowMaker recovery media, the ability to backup from within a Windows PE recovery environment amongst other features.

    MiniTool ShadowMaker Free is, unsurprisingly, 100% free-to-use! The upgraded ShadowMaker Pro edition is priced form just $3 / month (on an annual subscription) or from a one-off cost of just $79 for a lifetime licence with free upgrades included. More information on both editions of ShadowMaker can be found via the official MiniTool website.

    4) Paragon Backup & Recovery

    Backup & Recovery (Community Edition) is the free-to-use backup software application from software experts, Paragon Software. It is a tool which provides an impressive set of disk-imaging related backup functionality alongside many other useful backup tools not usually found on free-to-use backup software offerings.

    macrium reflect free alternatives - paragon backup & recovery in-use

    Whilst the core functionality of Backup & Recovery is support for making disk image-based backups, we see this functionality extended with many additional features including support for data encryption and compression, the use of VHD file formats, automatic scheduling, the use of multiple backup sets plus the ability to specify (potentially) unlimited historic file versioning depending upon any disk space which is available.

    Whilst this is undeniably a great set of features found within a free-to-use disk imaging-based tool, Paragon also offers a premium upgrade in the form of their Hard Disk Manager Suite package. This premium upgrade features not only an extended edition of the Backup & Recovery software itself, but also brings many additional features including hard disk migration tools (including SSD support), disk partition management and secure drive wiping functionality amongst many other features making for a fully functional system management utility.

    Paragon Backup & Recovery (Community Edition) is 100% free for non-commercial use. More details on Backup & Recovery plus the upgraded Hard Disk Manager suite can be found via the official Paragon Software website.

    5) Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows Free

    Making up the final sport in this list of alternatives to Macrium Reflect Free is the latest free-to-use Windows backup tool from Veeam – Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows!

    macrium reflect free alternatives - veeam agent for windows in-use

    Featuring both file-level and full system image-based backup functionality, a simplified and easy-to-use interface, automatic backup scheduling, support for saving backups to Microsoft OneDrive, recovery media building tools and built-in CyrptoLocker protection, this a surprisingly featureful free backup solution.

    Furthermore, Veeam provides one of the few free-to-use backup solutions which features support for applying full AES 256-bit encryption to any backed-up data making it also one of the most secure free disk image-based backup tools currently available as well (especially so given that this tool is free for both personal and commercial usage).

    Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows is 100% free-to-use for both personal and commercial users alike! More information on the software itself and the advanced Veeam technologies being deployed within this solution can be found via the official Veeam website.

    Macrium Reflect Free Alternatives Summary

    In conclusion, whilst Macrium Reflect Free was undeniably a highly useful and well-designed free disk imaging solution, there still remains various other free alternatives which provide many of the same or upgraded disk imaging, scheduling, security and cloud backup related capabilities.

    The above list of my 5 favourite free alternatives to Macrium Reflect Free shows several similar tools which also include between them many additional features for making full disk and system image backups. Also, readily available within this set of free-to-use tools are features such as disk cloning and system migration, folder synchronisation, cloud backups, automatic scheduling plus advanced encryption amongst many other related features.

    Best of all, with all of the above alternatives mentioned being both well-known and highly rated tools, there is always scope to try them out for yourself with no need to pay upfront and even run one of more of them alongside Macrium Reflect Free, if required, to help boost the free disk imaging functionality available.

    Overall, Macrium Reflect Free was an excellent disk imaging-based backup solution, but this guide has hopefully shown that various other free disk imaging offerings also exist which can help in keeping your PC and its valuable data safe.

    Looking for backup software?

    Are you looking for help and advice on choosing the best backup software for your PC or Mac? If so then be sure to check out our guide to choosing backup software which also contains a list of our favorite choices as tested here on!

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