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DriveImage XML v2.6
DriveImage XML is a lightweight and free to use disk imaging and disk cloning tool for Windows. The main focus of the application, naturally, is making image based backups of a Windows system and allowing the cloning of disks which makes upgrading your system to a new disk easy.
A fairly simple and straightforward design this tool is easy to use and focused on the job, there is little else in terms of additional tools meaning DriveImage XML is very much a tool for a job rather than a full functional “backup suite”.
- Genealy easy to use and reliable software
- Focused tool with little else aside from core imaging features
- Quick and easy to get an image backup from a Windows System
- Disk cloning is easy to configure and use
- Scheduled backups available
- Backup image mounting allows browsing of image files
- Ability to run from a live CD / USB drive
- 100% free (for non-commercial use)
DriveImage XML is a free to use piece of software, this means downloading from the Runtime.org website and installing is a quick and simple process (the download is only 1.78MB at time of writing).
Once installed and running DriveImage XML starts up with a specific welcome screen, from this screen there is a brief description of the software and on the left hand side a menu linking to the available tools.
Starting with the backup tool we can take a full image backup of an entire drive or multiple drives together forming an entire Windows system, once all drives have been selected the backup wizard will begin.
On the second page of the wizard, with the drives selected we can select where the disk image is to be saved. DriveImage XML actually saves an image as two files, one .dat file containing the drive data and an XML file containing the drive property details.
This page also allows us to specify the level of compression, if large files should be split and the imaging strategy to be used, this allows for Microsoft’s VSS to be used or not.
Once this second screen is configured the backup will begin, the software shows a display a status page whilst the backup is in progress.
In addition to disk image backups the software allows for a full clone of an entire disk drive to be written to another disk, this includes adapting the clone to accommodate a larger target disk if necessary.
Again, thanks to using a wizard interface, the disk cloning tool is very easy to use. Once the source and destination disks have been selected the only meaningful option is to select whether VSS (Volume Shadow Copy) should be used or the drive instead locked during the process.
DriveImage XML does support backup scheduling, however, this is slightly convoluted and involves the software instructing the user on how to configure the Windows task scheduler to do this.
As can be seen above the Windows task scheduler must be configured with the desired backup schedule and then the specified backup triggered by using its name in the command used to open the application.
Whilst this works fine and probably wont be an issue for more tech savvy users it is not an ideal solution and considerably less user friendly than a lot of other available solutions.
Once a backup has been made DriveImage XML makes restoring easy thanks to several options for retrieving any backed up information. Firstly, any given image backup can be viewed using the browse image facility, this makes it easy to mount an image file and recover individual files is needed.
Being an image backup the tool also supports restoring an entire Windows system to the state it was at when the image was taken, again DriveImage XML makes this process quick and easy to do with the minimal of fuss.
DriveImage XML is very focused on the core features of image backups and disk cloning, as such there are few other features within the application. What is included, however is a utility for changing (resetting) the Windows assigned drive ID which is automatically assigned to all known drives.
Since this ID can sometimes cause problems when booting form a cloned drive it is useful to see this tool included.
Unfortunately, despite offering some compression options, DriveImage XML does not seem to offer any support for encrypting image backups, this means they should only be stored in a secure location. Whilst this will make the software unsuitable for some it is important to remember this software is 100% free to use and this wont affect the majority of users!
Runtime do not offer any official support for DriveImage XML, however, they do have a website containing user guides and FAQs. Users of the premium version (for commercial use) will have access to the technical support team so this is worth considering if you find the software meets your needs.
DriveImage XML is 100% free to use for non-commercial purposes. If you do plan to use commercially a premium licence is available.
As a tool for creating ad-hoc image backups DriveImage XML does a great job, it is quick, easy and free to install and once running there are few configuration options to worry about. This means a full disk backup can be taken very quickly as and when it is needed.
Cloning of hard drives is also possible with DriveImage XML thanks to the disk cloning tool. Again, just as with image backups this tool makes migrating any disk or entire Windows system to a new disk both quick and simple.
Whilst scheduling is available, making this potentially a full backup solution it should be noted it is a little bit convoluted and relies on the user themselves configuring the Windows task scheduler. If there is one thing which would make this software much better very quickly it would be integrating an easy to use scheduling engine into the application.
It should also be pointed out that encryption is not available within DriveImage XML, whilst this wont affect many home / individual users (who this software is aimed at) if this is a priority for you then you might need to look elsewhere.
With these couple of small issues aside the core functionality of this tool works very well and given it is free I would definitely recommend having a look and even keeping it installed on your system for times when a quick image backup is needed in a hurry! A great job Runtime!