Backup: Paragon Drive Copy 10 Personal

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As we have discussed in previous reviews and articles, hard drives do have a tendency to fail and therefore regular data backup is essential if we all want to keep hold of our important files, and doing so manually is both tedious and time consuming, which is why hard drive backup software is so important.

For the belt and braces approach to backup, the latest version of Paragon Drive Copy 10 Personal certainly fits the bill, offering a number of utilities for both system backup, migration and recovery that should make anyones life easier if the worst scenario comes true, with an irrecoverable hard disk crash or the like.

As with the majority of Paragon software we have reviewed the program offers two user interfaces to cater for any user level from beginner to expert.  The "Express Mode" in reality should suffice for the average user with a very simple command interface that allows for full hard drive or partition migration through the "Migration" tab (e.g. in the case of a failing drive), "Migration to a virtual machine" (that allows you to literally use your current operating environment on any other machine that has the ability to load virtual machines), partition copying, hard disk cloning, or hard disk imaging through the "Disk Copy and Imaging" tab,  In addition tools for "Rescue and Recovery" provide the ability to create a recovery disk on CD or another bootable media, undeleting of partitions, and a file transfer wizard that allows users to recover files from previous hard disk images or supported file systems.

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Use of an image as a virtual machine (compatible with VMware Workstation, Fusion, Microsoft Virtual PC and Sun VirtualBox) allows you to have access to every file on your parent hard drive or partition anywhere you go (although system performance will most likely be slower and the virtual environment doesn't really cater for resource intensive applications).

Each of the wizards in the "Express Mode" of Paragon Drive Copy 10 Personal provide a simple and well explained walkthrough of the procedure making it incredibly simple for new users to use.  For those, however, that want to have slightly more of hands on and customisable experience the "Advance Mode" offers exactly that allowing for a more detailed approach to hard disk imaging. In addition, the "Advanced Mode" alows scheduling of hard drive or partition imaging, and far more advance hard disk and partition management options including the ability to hide/unhide partitions, conduct surface tests, as well as update the hard disks MBR, modify a partition ID or SID, serial number etc.

Perhaps the most interesting utility of Drive Copy is the tool that allows users to tweak a migrated hard drive with a preinstalled operating system to be optimised for use with a different system, which in thory means that you could literally take your hard drive that you have in your machine as you read this and transfer it to a friends and then use Drive Copy to make your drive bootable on their machine.  This function although likely to be used infrequently would be fantastic when it comes to upgrade time!

The recovery CD/bootable media function allows for system recovery from a hard drive fault or user error by providing the ful set of Paragon Drive Copy utilities on optical media or memory stick, which are essential when an operating system fails.  With access to hard drive images the software can fully repair the operating system with minumum fuss and get you up and running again in no time.

The features of the Drive Copy 10 software are, in our opinion, well worth the money (~£20 at the time of writing) and should provide bullet proof backup of your existing system and will most likely be of use in future system builds.