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Best free x64 software to image win7 install

Posted on 2010-09-08
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I would like to image my win7 drive wiith all my important programs installed.  Can someone recommend a free utility that will:

* Image the partition but SKIP THE FREE SPACE (I don't need a 150gb iso)
* is free
* can create a bootable image for reinstall
* will sort out the mbr/partition table so that the reinstalled drive will be bootable

my windows install seems to weigh in at about 50gb (with everything installed) and I have a 128 gb flash drive, so I'm hoping this works out logistically.
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Question by:jacksmind
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8 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:Daniel Junges
ID: 33627420
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Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 33627623
Microsoft ImageX.  It's not exactly user friendly, but it's Free, it does FILE based imaging and automatically excludes huge files like the PageFile and Hiberfil file.  And the compression is pretty good - I'd say typically 50%  If you make your flash drive bootable with WinPe, you can put the image on it as well and then run a simple to restore the image.  Additionally, it doesn't need to format your hard drive to re-apply the image (you can format the hard drive if you like).
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by:noxcho
ID: 33630739
Solid and time tested solution for free by Paragon Software: http://www.paragon-software.com/home/db-express/index.html
Has all you need for backup imaging and recovery. Creates boot CD and bootable USB flash drive so you could restore from image in case the system dies or even HDD dies. Simply replace the drive and restore from image. You are on track again.
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Author Comment

by:jacksmind
ID: 33642702
Driveimage XML - I was thinking of this but I couldn't find any info about skipping the free space. (I don't need to image 150gb when I only am using ~50gb of space

Microsoft ImageX - looks too hard to use, I'd like to have a gui

The Paragon Software - not free
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 33643340
It's actually very easy.  Takes a little getting used to but it's a very easy command line tool to use.
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noxcho earned 1000 total points
ID: 33644023
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Expert Comment

by:Daniel Junges
ID: 33645184
Hi jacksmind
I used Driveimage last week, it skeep free space and you can run it from a CDROM for restore an image: http://www.runtime.org/peb.htm
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Author Comment

by:jacksmind
ID: 33761649
You're right noxcho, I was looking on the wrong page. Paragon seems to be great software and exactly what I need.  thanks!
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