Backup and Migration: Laplink DiskImage

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di_3dboxshot_leftBacking up your data is one of the most important jobs that you will have to do with your PC on a regular basis.  With the chance of a hard drive or component failure always possible even on the most modern laptops or desktops, the need to back up your photos, videos, documents and applications to a safe a reliable location should be considered by all users whether new to computing or those who should know better who have been hitting the keys for a long time!

The latest software from Laplink designed to address this very problem is their award winning Laplink DiskImage, a fully featured backup solution that provides all of the backup and restore facilities that any user would require for their PC.  As with the other Laplink products we have reviewed, the package is somewhat sparse (a CD and a sheet of paper with quickstart instructions), however a full user manual is available online through the Laplink website and the the software is very simple to use with wizards for the main functions.

Installation of the software is a doddle, requiring a reboot of the host machine and then simply entering the license code to activate the software. From there on in, the software can be used to create an image of any hard drive on the system (as the name might suggest!) which can be done using preset settings ("One-Click Imaging") or using your own settings.  Since you are imaging the entire drive this process can obviously take a significant period of time if you have a lot of files but once the initial image is complete, incremental images can be created that effectively "update" the original image with any changes that have been since the last.  Usefully Laplink DiskImage also allows images to be burnt to CD or DVD so that in the event of hard drive failure images and therefore all of your files can still be accessed.  Throughout the process DiskImage provides easy to follow information on the progress of any tasks, which certainly reassured us that everything was running flawlessly.

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As well as imaging options, Laplink DiskImage can also be used to clone your hard drive so that the cloned hard drive can be directly replaced with the original in the event of hard disk failure (effectively eliminating periods of downtime on your PC).

Once you are au fait with the software, Laplink DiskImage also allows imaging jobs to be fully scheduled.  This allows, for instance, jobs to be run overnight when the PC is not in use and minimises the chance of forgetting to create an incremental or differential backup on a regular basis.

Any images created using the software can be mounted as virtual hard disks in Windows and individual files accessed directly allowing very simple file recovery.  In the event of a more serious failure, the downloadable bootable CD of the DIskImage software (based on WinPE) allows image files to be accessed even if Windows itself is compromised in some way.

The version we reviewed also included access to a downloadable version of Laplink PCmover Image Assistant, which provides a simple way of migrating your data and image files from your existing PC to a similar or newer Windows based operating system.

For around £30 (at the time of writing) Laplink DiskImage provides a simple data and drive backup and restoration tool set for any Windows based PC system and based on our testing of the software we wouldn't hesistate to recommend ot as one of favourite backup tools.