A lot of people will be upgrading to Windows 7 from XP over the next few months, and backing up your data is a crucial step in the process. Today we take a look at Macrium Reflect Free Edition, which is an easy to use backup utility that should help make the process easier.
Installation of Macrium Reflect is pretty straight forward. When you use the free edition, you’ll notice that they include a key for you.
You will need to register the free version, and you’re reminded that you need an Internet connection.
After installation has completed you are offered to check out their online tutorial if this is the first time using it.
Using Macrium Reflect
The user interface is nicely laid out, this is a shot of the main GUI where everything is available to operate the utility.
To start a backup, click on the new backup image icon. It will make an image of an entire disk or partition, which is cool if you have dual boot system.
The Create Backup Wizard starts and will guide you through the backup process.
In the next step, select the disk you want to create the backup image for.
Choose a location for the backup file. Notice you can backup to an optical disc, network location, or external drive. In this example we are using an external drive.
Now you can check out the the imaging summary or click advanced to control compression levels.
You can set the compression level to none, medium, high, or a specific size. Also you can copy only the disk sectors that are being used and have data, or make an exact copy of the entire disk.
After you have everything set how you like it, enter a name for the backup and run the process.
The backup process begins. The amount of time it takes will vary depending on the amount of data and specs of your system.
You get a notification when the process has completed. For this test we backed up 88GB of data and with medium compression the entire size came in around 46GB which is nice if you have limited space to store a backup.
It also includes a nice tool to verify your backup image to make sure it is free of errors and can be used at a later time.
You can create a Rescue CD if your computer won’t boot or load windows, or if your trying to restore an image. Just go into Other Tasks and select Create Rescue CD.
Then Select a Linux recovery disk or BartPE and continue to follow the wizard and burn the CD.
The nice thing about Macrium Reflect Free Edition is everything is wizard driven, making it easy to use for beginners and experienced users alike.
We ran this test on a Windows 7 32-bit system, but this easy to use backup utility would be great for backing up your XP machine if you’re upgrading to Windows 7. Again, everything is Wizard driven, with a nicely laid out easy to navigate GUI. If you are looking for an easy way to backup your XP or Vista machine before doing a fresh install of Windows 7, you might want to check out Macrium Reflect Free Edition.