O&O DiskImage 17
DiskImage 17 is the latest PC backup and disk imaging solution from O&O Software, a tool which stands out thanks to its ease of use alongside the high degree of disk imaging and backup functionality it has on offer, all available from within a single application.
With the main disk image and file-level backup functionality aside, one of the biggest improvements in version 17 of DiskImage is the comprehensive support for VHD and VHDX disk imaging formats which have been integrated into the application for greater file compatibility with Windows systems. Alongside this we also see included the one-click disk imaging tool, the excellent recovery media builder alongside options to easily clone or recover to new or dissimilar hardware all within this single package!
I reviewed DiskImage version 16 last year and so, naturally, I am looking forwards to trying out this new version and finding out how the imaging and backup functionality fares when in use, let’s go!
- (New) Support for VHD / VHDX format virtual hard drives
- Nicely designed and easy to use interface
- Wizard interface makes backing-up and imaging quick and easy
- Support for file-level and full system image backups
- Easily backup to both locally attached drives and NAS drives
- One-click disk imaging tool (makes for easy full disk backups)
- Disk cloning tool (with support for SSDs & dissimilar hardware)
- Support for zero knowledge encryption (up to AES 256-bit)
- Ability to mount disk images (including VHDs) within Windows
- Good scheduling and backup plan options (wizard based)
- Potentially unlimited historic file versioning options (user defined)
- No built-in cloud support!
- Fully functional 30 day free trial available (no personal info required)
- Fair value, one-off pricing @ $49.95 for a single PC licence
- Very Good value 5x PC licence available for just $69.95!
DiskImage 17 Usability
In this section of my review I will be looking at the usability aspects of DiskImage 17 in more detail, this includes both downloading and installing the software for myself and looking at the main features including disk image backups, file level backups, disk cloning, recovery media support and the one-click imaging tool!
This begins in the next section of this review with the installation of DiskImage 17, if you would like to try the software for yourself then please note that O&O Software offer a 30 day free trial of DiskImage 17 via their own website (and no personal info is required to take this trial).
What’s new in DiskImage 17
The big new feature within version 17 of DiskImage is the support for Microsoft compatible VHD and VHDX file formats when making use of the disk imaging functionality found within the application. Whilst the DiskImage line has for a long time already provided a comprehensive disk imaging solution, this option to now work with your image backups across multiple PCs thanks to these new VHD & VHDX formats been natively supported by modern Windows systems (without the need for any additional 3rd party software) helps to move things on to a new level.
VHD / VHDX file formats are also very useful when making use of virtual machines for testing purposes, for example, you might want to set up your existing PC as a virtual machine (using software such as Oracle VirtualBox) and then install software updates virtually prior to doing so on your main PC to ensure they work as expected and cause no issues in the process.
Installing DiskImage 17
At just over 2.5MB in size, the DiskImage 17 installer can quickly and easily be downloaded from the official O&O Software website, thanks to this set-up I had the installer downloaded and running on my own PC just a few moments later.
In my instance the installer went on to download approximately 54MB of additional data once running before then prompting me to choose the type of install I want. As can be seen in the image below, we are given three options as to the best type of install to suite own own requirements, these include a ‘typical’ install with the main features of the application included, a ‘full’ install which includes all features by default or the custom option allowing us to specify exactly what is installed (potentially saving disk space by eliminating features which you don’t intend to make use of).
With all necessary options set, the installer will complete the install before bringing us to the registration screen next, from here we can either register the software (if already purchased) or elect to make use of the 30 day free trial. After all registration options are complete we can begin making use of the full version of the software!
NB – O&O offer a 30 day free trial of DiskImage 17 via their official website – simply click on “try now” to download the installer and see the software in action for yourself (also not that O&O require no personal nor payment details to take advantage of this 30 day free trial).
Configuring Disk Image Backups
One of the most useful aspects of DiskImage 17 is its ability to create full disk-image backups of a PC, a very useful type of backup which sees the entire contents of the PC (inducing the operating system, user documents, system settings and any installed software) automatically included as a part of the backup process!
NB – Whilst disk imaging is very useful in that is automatically covers all important aspects of a PC during the backup process, the major downside to this type of backup is that it tends to take more time to complete than simple file-level backups and can also lead to very large file sizes as well.
We can begin the process of creating a new image backup set within DiskImage 17 on the “Jobs and Reports” tab, it is here where we will find the new backup wizard on the main toolbar. On the first page of this wizard we must specify whether we are making a full disk-image backup or, alternatively, an “image of the changes” (which is essentially an incremental disk image backup).
NB – When using DiskImage 17 we cannot make use of the incremental image backup functionality without first completing an initial full disk image. Once created, a full disk image can serve as the base image for an incremental backup plan which will only backup any changes to this original image thereafter.
After selecting to make a full disk image on the first screen of the wizard, we can then select the necessary disk or disks to be imaged on the second (this is as simple as checking the relevant disks as is shown in the wizard below):
Having new selected the source disk to be imaged, we can then (optionally) set a schedule for the image backup to be taken upon. Given that in this example I am simply creating this initial full image for use later on in the backup process, I will simply select “now” to run the task straight away (I will look at scheduling in more depth later on in this review). After selecting to run the task straight away, we can then select the target to store the disk image file upon, this can be on any locally attached drive (such as an external hard drive) or a network / mapped drive.
Next, having selecting the target storage, we can make use of some of the other functionality available to us within DiskImage 17, this includes setting compression and encryption, specifying maximum image sizes, turning on the automatic overwriting of existing files and error handling functionality amongst other things.
Finally, with all settings in the wizard complete, we will be ready to run this initial full disk image backup, If a schedule has been set during this process the backup will run automatically at the specified time. Alternatively, right-clicking on the newly created job in the “Jobs and Reports” screen (as can be seen below) will set the job running manually at any time:
At this stage in the process, as was mentioned a little earlier on, the DiskImage 17 wizard doest allow us to configure an initial full disk image backup and a scheduled incremental image backup at the same time (as we can do in close alternatives such as Acronis Cyber Protect Home Office). As such, with this in mind, the next step for me here is to re-launch the wizard and create an incremental image backup using the previously created full image as a base (note in the image below, we must start by selecting “Image of the changes” when running the wizard this time around).
The next screen in the wizard (seen below) allows us to set the backup schedule, earlier on I set this to “Now” (as I wanted a single run of my initial full image backup), since I now want my incremental backups to run regularly I can set a schedule managed by DiskImage at this stage:
NB – As can be seen above, a daily schedule is the most frequent interval offered to us via this scheduling tool. For many PC users a daily backup will suffice, however, I would have ideally liked the option to set at least hourly backups at a minimum.
Moving on and it is on the next screen which we can select the full disk image which is to be used as the base image for our incremental backup job (it is at this stage you must also provide your password, if set, when selecting the base image).
Next, with the base image file selected, we can select a target folder to store the incremental backup files in and (optionally) select the naming convention to be use for said files (I would suggest keeping the incremental files in the same location as the base image for convenience). Finally, after selecting the storage location, we will reach the final settings page in the wizard, here we can (amongst other things) enable password protection and compression for the incremental backups:
NB – In the above image we have the option to limit the maximum number of files kept as a part of this job (labelled as “Maximum image file count”). This is effectively our version control tool when using this set-up within DiskImage and, when using a daily backup like I have, the number of files kept will also equal the number of days of file version history which is kept.
At this stage we will have our base image already completed and the daily incremental image job now ready to go when the schedule picks it up. Both jobs can be seen on the “Jobs and Reports” tab at this stage and (optionally) by right clicking on the incremental job we can run it manually at any time.
In the next section I will continue by looking at the process required for making file-level backups (which are potentially much quicker than image backups) and then move on to the process of recovering data within DiskImage 17.
Configuring File-Level Backups
So far in this review I have looked at creating both full and incremental disk image backups, both manually and via the built-in scheduling tool provided by DiskImage. In this section I will look at the file-level backup functionality found within DiskImage 17, a method of backup which focuses only on backing up selected files and folders as opposed to the entire disk (which means it will usually run much quicker and take up less storage space than image backups as a result).
The “File Operation” tab is where we can begin configuring a new file-level backup job, this starts off by selecting all necessary files which are to be backed-up using the file picker (seen below) and then by clicking on “Add as job” towards the bottom left of the screen.
The first thing we need to do in the new wizard is to give this new backup job a meaningful name on the first tab and then, if necessary, set a schedule for the backup to run upon on the second (such as the one seen below):
With the scheduling now set, we can optionally set up email notifications on the next tab and then set the target storage location for the backup files to be saved to on the next:
NB – email notifications are available within DiskImage 17, this feature does, however, require users to provide their own SMTP account and settings in order to make use of it.
At this stage, the new file backup job will be saved and ready to use, before moving on it is worth pointing out that if you want to turn on specific features not covered by the aforementioned wizard (such as encryption and compression) then this must be done under the “Options” box found under the “File operation” tab before completing the new file backup job:
With the new file level backup job now set we can (if applicable) allow the scheduling engine to run it for us or alternatively, via the “Jobs and reports” tab, run the new job manually when required.
All-in-all an effective file backup component which serves as a good accompaniment to the core image backup functionality found within DiskImage 17.
Restoring Data within DiskImage
Having now seen the process required for creating both file level and full disk image backups, we can now have a look at some of the available methods for recovering any data which is backed-up using DiskImage 17.
Starting off with the file level backup which was configured in the previous section, recovery here begins in the “File operation” screen where we can first select a backup file to recover from (when selecting the file, be sure to select the correct date if you require an older version). With the file selected (and password entered if necessary) we will be able to browse all files protected as a part of that backup and then select those we wish to recover (after selecting any such files, we can then choose the restoration location by default, something which is nice to see versus being forced to recover to the files original location):
Next, moving on to the disk image recovery and we have 2x main options available here for recovery, one is mounting an image backup as a virtual drive within Windows (which will allow us to browse for the files we wish to recover and simply copy them across to the working system) and the second option involves restoring the entire disk which has been imaged.
NB – When recovering an entire imaged disk we are limited in that we cannot recover the disk which has the OS installed upon it and is actively in-use. In such cases where we need to recover the working (in-use) system we must boot into the DiskImage recovery media first (media which can be created within the DiskImage application itself).
Starting off with the virtual drive mounting approach and we find the necessary “Mount drive” tool under the “Tools” tab as can be seen below:
As above, once the drive mounting tool is open, we can select the necessary disk image file to mount and then (optionally) select to mount the entire drive or a single partition found within it (note that we can also specify the drive letter which will appear in Windows should we need to make use of a specific letter). Finally, clicking on “Mount drive” towards the bottom left of the box will perform the drive mounting operation, once finished with the drive, we can simply unmount it by right-clicking on the drive in Windows explorer and selecting the unmount option provided by DiskImage.
Finally, should we ever need to recover our entire system (e.g. due to hardware filature, malware issues and the like), we can create a bootable system recovery disk. This starts by having access to the DiskImage recovery media which can be created via the “Create bootable disk” button found (again) on the “Tools” menu as is seen below:
As can be seen above, we can not only create a physical disc for booting into, but also a recovery partition on an existing system disk as well as a bootable USB flash drive as well (all options require the WinPE environment be installed in some way and the tool will guide you to the correct download locations should you not already have such media installed).
Once the recovery disk (or recovery disk partition / USB flash drive) has been created, we can then boot into the DiskImage 17 recovery environment ans choose to recover (re-write) the entire system disk to an earlier point in time!
Creating “One-Click” Disk Images
One of the most prominent and useful features of DiskImage 17 is the inclusion of the “One-click image” tool, a tool which makes the process of creating a full system image of a PC very quick, easy and with the minimal of fuss!
As can be seen above, accessing the One-click imaging tool is very straightforward given its tile is available on the main start page which is shown when DiskImage 17 first loads up. Once this tool is loaded up, it will immediately open up the “Drive operation” tab with all system disks selected and a pre-determined configuration already in place. All that is left to do at this stage is (optionally) change the location the image file will be saved to and click on “Start” to begin!
As we have already seen earlier on in this review, DiskImage 17 provides lots of additional settings which can be applied to our image backups (e.g. compression, encryption, SMTP notifications etc.). In contrast, the One-click tool simply sets up a basic configuration allowing DiskImage users to very quickly get a full image backup of their entire system with just a single click. This means if you are not computer literate and want piece of mind all of your data is safe or simply need to protect an entire system in a hurry, one-click imaging is an ideal addition to the software!
Other Tools & Features
So far we have seen DiskImage 17 in action and taken a closer look at some of the main backup related features it has to offer, besides core features such as file level and image level backups, DiskImage 17 also includes many additional tools which further enhance the usefulness of this suite.
As can be seen above, the “Tools” tab is where we can find a multitude of additional tools within DiskImage, these include the following (notable) additions:
Given that DiskImage has the ability to save disk image files in either their own imaging format (OMG files) or the standardised VHD / VHDX Microsoft compatible format, it is great to see they have included the ability to mount either format (as well as ISO files) as virtual drives within Windows.
To mount an image file created by DiskImage (and be able to browse its contents) simply make use of the relevant mounting tool (as is highlighted in the image above) and select the image file to be mounted. Unmounting these virtual drives is also very straightforward and simply requires right-clicking on the virtual drive in Windows (an option will exist to unmount the drive) or by making use of the included unmounting tool which is also in the “Tools” tab.
Image File Merging & Converting:
Two other potentially useful utilities included within DiskImage 17 are the tools for merging multiple incremental images into a single file alongside the tool for converting existing image files from one format into another (for example, converting from the default “OMG” format to either “VHD” or “VHDX”).
Disk Cloning Utility:
Also included within DiskImage 17 is a fully functional disk cloning utility, a tool can be used to clone (make an exact copy of) an existing system disk onto a new disk, ideal for times when you might want to upgrade or replace an existing hard disk which is already in use (without having to re-install Windows).
NB – DiskImage 17 will automatically detect if either mechanical or SSD drives are in use and automatically optimise its processing to suit either technology.
Furthermore, thanks to the inclusion of Machine Independent Restoration technology (M.I.R), the disk cloning tool included within DiskImage 17 also supports cloning to disks which will be used on different (new) PCs when this special option is switched on. This means the tool is not only ideal for updating an existing PCs hardware but also migrating an existing system to completely new hardware!
DiskImage 17 Security
One of the most important methods of ensuring any backed-up data remains safe and secure whilst being stored is to make use of zero knowledge, AES 256-bit encryption in combination with a strong password whenever making back-ups!
Thankfully, DiskImage 17 has full support for various different strengths of encryption built-in to the application itself, these include options up to and including the very secure AES 256-bit option. Turning on this protection is as simple as clicking a button to enable encryption whilst configuring a new backup set and then entering a strong password before the backup is set running.
NB – If you make use of encryption on your backups (and it is recommended that you do) then you must remember the password which has been set! If you forget this encryption password, O&O Software themselves won’t be able to reset it and could therefore result in an unusable backup set and data potentially being lost as a result!
O&O Software Support
O&O Software have a detailed support section on their website covering DiskImage 17, this includes both PDF and online versions of the user manual alongside “how to” articles and a FAQ section explaining how to make the most out of the backup process.
Should further support be needed, the O&O support team can be contacted via an online messaging system found on the main support section of the O&O website.
DiskImage 17 Pricing
A single licence of DiskImage 17 costs $49.95 and covers usage on a single PC. A 5x PC licence pack is also available directly from O&O Software for $69.96, this provides excellent value for those working across multiple PCs!
You can download a 30 day free trial of O&O DiskImage 17 by clicking here!
DiskImage 17 FAQ
Yes, DiskImage 17 is a leading piece of backup software and notable for its focus on providing disk imaging based solutions, these include backing up Windows PCs in addition to other disk imaging tools such as those used for cloning disk drives and mounting disk image files within Windows.
No, DiskImage 17 is priced at a one-off $49.95 for a single perpetual licence or at a one-off $69.96 for a 5x licence pack!
Yes, DiskImage 17 supports strong encryption up to and including AES 256-bit and is available for both image and file-level backups.
DiskImage 17 Alternatives
O&O DiskImage 17 is a useful and comprehensive tool for making full disk image backups. Despite this high level of functionality, there are several close alternatives available to DiskImage which perform on a similar level, some of which I have listed below:
1) Acronis Cyber Protect Home Office
Cyber Protect Home Office is the direct replacement for the popular True Image line of PC backup software from Acronis, a backup solution which is widely regarded as one of the best disk imaging technologies available as of today! With this disk imaging technology, Acronis have developed an image based backup utility which is ideally suited to both home and small business users looking to backup either locally, to an external hard drive or NAS system or, alternatively, make use of the included Acronis cloud storage service.
Priced from $49.99 / year, Acronis provide Cyber Protect Home Office on a subscription only basis which includes varying levels of cloud storage as it does other cyber protection features including antivirus software.
2) Macrium Reflect 8 Home
Macrium Reflect 8 Home is another leading disk imaging backup solution which is very similar in its core backup and imaging functionality to DiskImage 17. This functionality extends to full support for file-level backups, disk and partition image backups and disk cloning functionality with full support for SSD drives (as well as support for AES 256-bit encryption and the ability to recover disk images to dissimilar hardware).
Macrium Reflect 8 Home is priced at $69.96 for a single PC licence or as a pack of 4x licences for $139.95, a limited free version is also available.
3) AOMEI Backupper (Professional)
AOMEI Backupper is a fully functional and very easy to use backup solution featuring support for full disk and system image backups alongside multiple other features including file-level backups, file synchronization, disk cloning and support for several leading cloud providers (including Dropbox and Google Drive) all within a single application.
AOMEI Backupper Professional is priced at $49.95 for a single PC licence which includes free lifetime upgrades, a limited free version of the software (Backupper Standard) is also available.
4) Ashampoo Backup Pro 16
Backup Pro 16 from Ashampoo is a leading all-round backup solution which, alongside good file-level backup options and built-in cloud backup support, also features a good set of disk image backup functionality. This disk imaging backup functionality includes both full and incremental disk imaging functionality alongside support for compression and full AES 256-bit encryption amongst many other useful features.
Backup Pro 16 is priced at $49.99 for a single licence which covers use on up to 3x PCs!
DiskImage 17 Review Summary
I think it is fair to say that DiskImage 17 stands out as a leading disk imaging solution, one which includes a whole host of useful features such as strong AES 256-bit encryption, file compression, scheduled backups plus the ability to make use of standardized VHD and VHDX image files for enhanced compatibility and easy recoverability. Add on to this core functionality the very impressive recovery media setup, One-click disk imaging, disk cloning tools with support for optimising SSDs and dissimilar hardware plus tools for mounting image backup files as drives within Windows and it becomes clear this is a very useful backup tool!
Pricing wise and I think DiskImage 17 is fair value at $49.95 for a single licence, especially given that this remains perpetual software with a simple one-off cost attached (not everyone likes subscriptions). If you have more than a single PC to backup then the 5-pack of licences is also available for a simple one-off payment of just $69.95, excellent value given that many subscription-based alternatives would potentially cost more than this across 5x PCs for the first year alone!
Despite being a solid product overall, after testing DiskImage for myself, I still feel there are a few small areas viable for improvement. For example, when wanting to configure incremental disk image backups we must first make a full disk image to be used as the base image and then configure the incremental backup plan separately thereafter. This is not necessarily a problem on a technical level, but it would be nice to see the built-in wizard allow these two components to be rolled together and setup as a single job (like would be found on many competing backup solutions). Also, slightly letting the software down in my opinion is the maximum scheduling frequency of only running jobs once once per day (a minimum of hourly scheduling would be much better).
Overall, DiskImage 17 is a solid backup tool for anyone wanting to make use of secure disk image backups as well as have access to a solid set of accompanying tools covering one-click imaging, disk cloning and system migration to dissimilar hardware all within a single package. A solid choice overall!