How to Use Drive Image XML


DriveImage XML is a backup utility, which is free for personal use. It allows you to backup any partition and store it as a combination of "XML" and "DAT file formats. This allows the backup image to be viewed without having to restore the data or extract the entire contents of the file. DriveImage XML also allows "drive-to-drive" backups, which avoids image files, and instead copies all files straight to the destination drive.

Backup Feature

  • Click "Backup" on the lower left side of the DriveImage XML window.

  • Select the drive or partition letter you would like to backup, and click "Next." Click "Next" again in the resulting pop-up window.

  • Select your options.

    "Directory" is the destination for the image files. This can be a drive letter to save files to the root directory, or it can be a subfolder. Change the destination by clicking the folder icon on the right.

    "File" lists the drive you want copied.

    Don't select "Raw mode" unless you have a specific reason to do so. This is a sector-by-sector copy, which makes an image file the exact size of the partition, rather than just the space occupied by the files. As an example, a 500-GB drive with 10 GB of files will still have an image file that is 500 GB. Unselecting "Raw Mode" would result in a maximum image size of 10 GB.

    "Split large files" allows image files to be split into smaller chunks, which is useful if you plan to burn them to a DVD or copy the files to a FAT32 system, which can only recognize files sizes under 4 GB.

    "Compression" is recommended to reduce image sizes. The resulting size is dependent on the types of files being backed up. Highly compressed files, such as MP3 or JPG, won't compress much, but uncompressed files, such as TXT files, will.

    "Hot Imaging Strategy" allows two options. "Try Volume Locking first" means the program will lock the drive, preventing information from being written to it during the backup process. This cannot be done on a system drive. "Try Volume Shadow Services first" mirrors the data at the time of shadowing, which means anything written after that time will not be backup up. However, the drive is accessible during the backup process.

    When satisfied, click "Next" and the program will automatically backup the data and let you know when it's complete.

Restore Feature

  • Click "Restore" on the bottom left of the DriveImage XML window, and click "Next" on the bottom right.

  • Select the image backup you want to restore by clicking the folder icon on the pop-up window and navigating to the image file.

  • Select the destination partition from the list where the restoration will be placed. This has to be a drive letter, and not a subfolder. Click "Next" twice to begin restoration.

    A system backup cannot be restored to the system drive. To do so, you would have to install the system drive as a slave (secondary) drive in another computer and restore to it from there.

Drive to Drive Feature

  • Click "Drive to Drive" in the lower left side of the DriveImage XML window.

  • Select the source drive in the top of the window. This will be the drive you wish to backup. Click "Next."

  • Select the options, which are similar to those under "Backup Features," although compression and splitting large files are not supported in "Drive to Drive." Click "Next."

  • Select the destination drive, which must be at least as large as the source drive, and click "Next" twice to being copying.

Browse Feature

  • Click "Browse" on the lower left side of the DriveImage XML window.

  • Navigate to the image file you wish to browse and click "Open."

  • Browse through the file list for any files you would like to see. You can select files and click "Extract" at the top to extract only a few, select files. You can also "Launch" and "View" files or search for files with the "Find" feature.

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  • Photo Credit Will Crocker/Photodisc/Getty Images
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