Macrium Reflect 7 Review (Free Edition)

Macrium Reflect 7 Review (Free Edition)

Features - 89%
Usability - 93%
Security - 80%
Support - 88%
Pricing - 100%


Very Good

Whilst more and more backup applications are starting to offer some form of disk image backup these days, it is fair to say Macrium have been in this field for a long time and know what they are doing!

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Macrium Reflect 7 (Free Edition)

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    Reflect 7 Free Edition is the latest free disk imaging software from Macrium, a company with a great reputation for producing solid and reliable disk imaging software.

    This free edition is a slightly cut-down version of the premium Macrium Reflect 7 Home version, the Home version does, of course, contain a few additional options and tools which are more suited to the more advanced or small business user!

    Don’t let the fact this software is free put you off however, Macrium have made a very powerful tool which excels at its main purpose of creating images of disks as well as cloning and migrating windows systems between old and new disks!

    Looking for Disk Cloning Software?

    Are you looking for practical help and advice in selecting the best disk cloning software? If so, then be sure to check out our full range of disk cloning software reviews as well as our guides to the Best Free Disk Cloning Software and the Best SSD Migration Software amongst various other guides on this site!

    Macrium Reflect 2023 Updates

    Unfortunately, as of writing this update in 2023, Macrium no longer offer the free edition of their Reflect software for download. The Reflect Home edition featuring enhanced backup functionality is still available (see my Macrium Reflect 8 Home review for more details) whilst anyone already making use of the Reflect Free edition can expect it to be supported until 1st January 2024.

    * For information on some good alternatives to Macrium Reflect Free, be sure check out my guide to the Best Macrium Reflect Free Alternatives!

    Key Features

    • Well designed and reliable backup software
    • Excellent set of features for a free application
    • Both disk imaging (to a file) and disk to disk cloning
    • Good image compression options
    • Encryption only available in the premium (Home) version
    • Very comprehensive recovery media building solution
    • Alternative backup location – a very innovative tool
    • 100% Free to use (for both business & personal use)

    Macrium Reflect 7 Usability

    In this section of my review, I will be downloading and installing Macrium Reflect for myself and looking at how well it performs across a set of key backup and restore features. A little later on I will then be looking at how this free-to-use backup solution compares to the premium Reflect Pro edition and assessing what additionality is on offer.

    Backing Up

    Starting off with obtaining Macrium Reflect 7 is easy enough, the software is completely free so downloading and installing was a quick and simple process. Within just a few minutes and a few clicks I had the software up and running on my PC.

    macrium reflect 7 installer

    Once installed and having started up the application, Reflect 7 will take you to the main start screen, from here all of the main backup and disk imaging tasks can be performed. Any disks installed on the current system will be displayed in the main window and tasks such as imaging or cloning the specified disk can be started by clicking the buttons below the disk or on the left side menu.

    macrium reflect 7 home screen

    Starting off with the imaging backup functionality Reflect 7 will begin the imaging wizard, initially requiring use to specify what disk to image backup and where to store the image file.

    macrium reflect image backup configuration

    As well as selecting the disk and the storage location we can also set up alternative storage location which is an excellent addition to the software. Essentially, should your primary storage location be unavailable (if it is a network drive for example) then the application will automatically try and perform the backup again, this time using one of the alternate storage locations. This is a great feature as with many other providers the backup would have simply failed, potentially leaving the user vulnerable to data loss!

    macrium reflect 7 alternative backup locations

    Moving further into the wizard we can also specify the backup method we wish to use, for example we could just create a single disk image which is manually run once or a full disk image with weekly differential backups adding to this initial image (NB incremental images are only available in the Home version). There is also the option to create a schedule meaning that whatever backup method we choose, the whole process can be automated by the software.

    macrium reflect 7 scheduling options

    Towards the bottom of the scheduling screen, we can also find the button for the advanced settings configuration page, here we can set things such as the level of compression, email notifications and whether the image should be auto verified after a backup has completed. Be aware that although email notifications are available you will need to enter SMTP server credentials in order to make use of them (fair enough in free software I suppose).

    macrium reflect 7 smtp settings

    Once of the big limitations with the free version Reflect 7 is that encryption of the backup is one of the features limited only to the premium (Home) version of the application. In other words, if having your backup encrypted is important then you should consider upgrading!

    Moving on, before actually completing our image backup job, the application will shows us a summary screen with the details for our newly created backup job. From this point we can optionally run the backup manually or simply await the schedule kicking in!

    macrium reflect 7 backup summary

    After image backups the other big feature of Reflect 7 is the ability to clone hard disks directly onto other hard disks, for example migrating an entire system from an old hard drive to a new hard drive. This is especially useful when moving from an old mechanical hard drive to a newer and faster SSD drive.

    As with most of the functionality within Macrium Reflect 7 cloning a disk is simple and straight forwards with the wizard doing most of the configuration for us. As before to start a new clone simply click on the “Clone Drive” button below the drive to be cloned.

    macrium reflect 7 disk cloning setup

    Once in the wizard we first start by selecting the drive to be cloned and the target drive to be written to, the next screen will allow us to set a schedule for the job (should this be needed). Finally, almost as quickly as it began, we are now ready to clone the disk, a very nice and simple tool which makes introducing new hard drives into a PC very quick and simple!


    When it comes to restoring from an image backup, we must first head over to the dedicated restore tab found within the main application. This is a nice addition as it helps keep backups and restores separate and makes it easier to see all restore options on a single screen.

    macrium reflect 7 restore tab

    To restore from a previous image means first locating the necessary image file on the backup storage medium. If this image backup was taken recently then it might already be showing under the list of recently modified image backups within the application itself.

    Another nice feature available to us before starting the restore process is the ability to browse through the contents of an image file and check what files / folders are available before going any further with the restore process. Individual files and folders can of course also be copied over from this backup preview view if a full restore is not warranted.

    macrium reflect 7 select backup image

    If a full restore is required, then clicking on the “Restore Image” button will start this process off straight away. If necessary, the target disk (or any other disks) can be specified as the restore target and also only specific partitions can be copied across if this is required.

    macrium reflect 7 restore image wizard

    There is not much else to the restore wizard after this, the application will then be ready to begin the restore process.

    Other Features

    Macrium Reflect 7 really is a very focused backup tool, aside from the core functionality of disk image backups and disk cloning, the provision of any other tools is very limited. One of the most useful additions which is included, however, is the recovery media builder tool as can be seen below.

    macrium reflect 7 recovery media builder

    I have used a lot of recovery media building tools over the years and most are quite basic and rigid in what they offer, simply a couple of clicks to get things going and you are away. The recovery media builder built into Reflect 7 differs in that it is actually a very powerful solution which allows for a very specific recovery media disc to be created. For example, support can be added to the final bootable media for Microsoft BitLocker drives and the specific version of Windows PE can also be specified should this be needed.

    Macrium Reflect Home vs Pro

    As I have mentioned earlier on in this review, this is the free version of Macrium Reflect which I am testing and that here is also a premium version available called Macrium Reflect 7 Home. As you would expect, the “Home” version does include a few additional features which are missing from the free version.

    The first (and potentially most important) of these missing features is the password protection and encryption functionality. If this is an issue for you or you know your data might be stored somewhere off site (in the case of business users), then it is definitely worth considering upgrading to this home edition for this reason alone (although this probably won’t be much of an issue for the typical home user).

    macrium reflect 7 passwords only in pro

    Another interesting feature limited only to the “Home” version is the new “Image Guardian” tool, a tool which aims to add an additional layer of defences for your backups against malware attacks. Again, I don’t think this will be a necessity for the average home user, but if you take your PC and backup security very seriously then this tool might make the “Home” edition of Reflect worth looking into further!

    Another useful tool available only in the “Home” version of Reflect is the “File and Folder” backup tool.  In the free version of Reflect 7 we are limited to only taking image-based backups (and disk cloning of course). If you like the image backup functionality of Reflect 7 and would like to compliment it with a file and folder backup for increased backup efficiency, then upgrading to the “Home” edition might be worth thinking about.

    Macrium Reflect Security

    Unfortunately, one of the main features of a secure backup (data encryption) is not available in the free version of Macrium Reflect 7. Whilst this omission will not be too much of an issue for many home or non-business users on the whole, you should consider upgrading to the Macrium Reflect Home edition if security and encryption of backups is important.

    Macrium Support

    Macrium have a very good support section on their website featuring user documentation, a knowledge base and a user support forum. Whilst there is also an online ticketing system to submit support requests it should be noted the free version might receive limited support via the ticketing system.

    Macrium Reflect Pricing

    Macrium Reflect 7 Free Edition is, well, 100% free to use!

    Not only is Macrium Reflect 100% free-to-use, but it can now be used by both individuals and businesses for free as well, excellent!

    Macrium Reflect Alternatives

    Whilst the free edition of Macrium Reflect offers a solid set of disk imaging features and backup functionality, there are various other free-to-use software solutions offering the same and additional features!

    * Be sure to check out my guide to the Best Macrium Reflect Free Alternatives for more information!

    Macrium Relect Review Summary

    The main focus of Macrium Reflect 7 is that of disk imaging, this includes both making images of a disk to a file or the cloning of a disk directly to another disk. Whilst more and more backup applications are starting to offer some form of disk image backup these days it is fair to say Macrium have been in this field for a long time and know what they are doing!

    One of the things which really stands out is how well designed the user interface is, everything you need is easy to find and the application so well laid out so well you probably don’t need to look for it in the first place! Furthermore the two wizards for image backups and disk cloning were very straight forward to use and produces the desired results with the minimal of fuss, excellent!

    Of course, I understand been a business, Macrium cant give us everything for free and as such one of the noticeable missing features from the free edition is that of encryption and incremental backup schemes (we only have differential available). Whilst probably not a big deal for the majority of users if you do have the budget for a complete backup solution I think the upgrade would definitely be worth considering.

    All in all very impressive for a free tool, well done Macrium!

    Looking for Disk Cloning Software?

    Are you looking for practical help and advice in selecting the best disk cloning software? If so, then be sure to check out our full range of disk cloning software reviews as well as our guides to the Best Free Disk Cloning Software and the Best SSD Migration Software amongst various other guides on this site!

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