Always with the free tools! Are you sick of them yet or are they coming in handy? Well either way now I have found Drive XML a program that is easy to use and reliable program for imaging and backing up partition and logical drives. In not so fancy words, it can save all the data on your hard drive and save you a lot of trouble if your system gets a horrible virus or just craps out. You can backup your logical drives, browse the images and extract files, restore these images to the same or different drives, copy directly from drive to drive and also schedule automatic backups with your Task Scheduler.
So let’s get into Drive XML and its uses, how to use it and where you can get your copy of Drive XML so you can start backing up and restoring your system(s). You can find the free program at (http://www.runtime.org/dixml.htm), a simple download and you are ready to install. Very simple installation, you just run the installer and click yes to all the prompts and in about a minute you will be ready to start playing with your new toy. I like that the program is so easy to install and use, very useful for low-tech (or computer retards as I like to call them, but it’s not as politically correct) people who don’t know a lot about computers. This program is very simplistic and easy to use so don’t be scared of Drive XML if you are a beginner.
Once the program is installed you can either play around to figure it out or you can read the help files. This is the one downfall of the program in my mind, it is a very simple program to use and just by trial and error you should be able to figure it out, but it would be nice to have some documentation and step by step tutorials included with the program. Even though the Drive XML lacks these tutorials you can find all you need in the help files, and will be well on your way to utilizing Drive XML in next to no time.
I like the interface that Drive XML has, it’s very easy to understand, they have Backup, Restore, Drive to Drive, and Browse. That is pretty easy to understand, and if you don’t get it then you might want to leave the computer magic to the pros. Drive XML is also one of the fastest backup software’s I have ever used, at least the fastest free one. It backed up my 40 gig drive in about 12 minutes, not to shabby, and the restore of the drive was about the same.
A few drawbacks to Drive XML, first and the problem I ran into that I didn’t expect, you can only restore to a drive that is the same size or bigger than your original drive. Even if the data is smaller than the drive you are restoring to, it doesn’t matter the way Drive XML performs the operation it won’t write to a smaller drive. This can pose a huge problem for anyone wanting to use this program on a mass quantity of hard drives. If this is your plan make sure you make your first image on the smallest drive available otherwise you will have issues later on. Drive XML won’t let you write the data to a CD or DVD either, which would be a great convenience but is outside of the scope of the program at this point in time.
These drawbacks to Drive XML are problems but they don’t make the program useless you can work around the issue. The best use I have found for the program is on my home system with dual drives. I have two hard drives one for my OS and the other is storage, well I backed up my OS onto my secondary hard drive, when ever my system crashes I can simply restore it to the last good state. Takes me 15 minutes where it could take me hours to reinstall windows and reload all of my programs. This has saved me a lot of time. Also Drive XML has a feature where you can do periodic backups, you just schedule a time (say over night while I am asleep) and it will backup my system, do this every week or so and you never have to worry about your system crashing, and if it does you know you are well protected.
Drive XML has a decent website (http://www.runtime.org) where you can find information on the program and a good FAQ with some helpful hints and tricks. They also will answer questions via email but support is limited being this is a free tool. The website also has some other awesome free tools; one in particular that I liked was GetDataBack, which is a tool that can recover lost or corrupt data on a hard drive. This tool seems to be the programmer’s main point of focus now and for good reason. The websites best section is the How To… section that gives in great detail how to use some of the products they offer, this can be a great help to first time users. The website also has a lot of other tools and information that is totally free so it can’t hurt to check it out it won’t cost you anything.
Well that is Drive XML in a nutshell, this is seriously a great tool, and Drive XML has many uses and is totally free. If you are familiar with Ghost it can do most of the same things as Ghost and is slightly faster, and you won’t have to spend any money for Drive XML. If you haven’t noticed I like to drive the point home that these programs I love so much are free! I just want to give you all the best tools for your computer needs, especially when they are free tools. Everyone likes to save money but a lot of people don’t realize that there are free tools that will do many of the same things as programs that cost hundreds of dollars. Even if you don’t like Drive XML at least it won’t cost you anything to find out that it isn’t what you needed or wanted.