Tag Archive for data backup

Hard Drive Recovery – Great Hard Disk Data Recovery Software Reference

Always keep your System backed up. Software tools can not always recover lost data. Please read our post on how to backup your computer (disks). You can even take a backup on a cloud storage which is reliable too. Read How to backup your files using online backup services.


Bootable Live Disks

Linux Live CD/DVD (such as Knoppix/Ubuntu Live) – When the Hard Drive is non functioning, your system will not boot. If you have stored or want to access files that are there on the drive, the first thing to do is, boot your computer using Live CD/DVD distributed by Linux (Knoppix or any other Live OS CD). Live CD/DVD can boot your computer via CD/DVD and installing RAMDISK image (on RAM of course). Advantage here is, Live CD/DVD can mount your internal Hard Drive and you could explore files that are recoverable. This is really helpful and we have used this technique in the past with great success.

Hard Drive Consistency Checkers

If your Hard Drive is able to boot but you feel or see some disk related errors, it would be worthwhile to run Disk consistency checking software such as;

CHKDSK – A DOS/Windows utility that can find disk errors and fix.

Disk Utility – A Disk related tool for MAC OS X that can verify the integrity of the Disk.

fsck – a Disk consistency checker for the UNIX.

These software tools are capable of finding disk errors and possibly fix them. But, it should be noted that not all errors can be fixed by these tools, they are not miracle tools anyways :)

Data Files Recovery

Sometimes we accidentally delete important files only to regret later. Fortunately there are some free data recovery tools that can just undo deleted files.

Recuva recovers files deleted from your Windows computer, Recycle Bin, digital camera card, or MP3 player.

PhotoRec is another such tool.

Data Forensics

After a break-in or seizure of computer systems or disks, forensic analysis can happen on the disk to understand the data or recover data from the disk. There are tools that can perform forensic analysis of the recovered disk from criminals etc.

The Coroner’s Toolkit (TCT) – TCT is a collection of programs by Dan Farmer and Wietse Venema for a post-mortem analysis of a UNIX system.

Forensic Toolkit (Commercial) –  Data forensic software created by AccessData.

EnCase (Commercial) – Disk security and recovery experts.


Are there better tools? Did we miss any tool? Please have your comments below.

9 Free Data Backup and Recovery Utilities That Will Keep Your Important Data Safe

Data backup is very critical for every computer user whether it is for personal use or business, Hard Disk is likely to fail and important data collected over a period of time could be at risk. Especially Windows PC is more vulnerable to Virus attacks or Spyware attacks which could ruin everything and may call for fresh installation of Operating System. There are quite a few commercial and proprietary software that does Disk cloning, Partition backup, Automatic Data backup deployment to a network folder and more. Some notable commercial Data Backup software tools like Norton Ghost, Acronis True Image, Drive Snapshot etc do provide good features but many don’t know that there are equally good  or even better Data backup tools that are mostly free. Here is a list of 9 free data backup and recovery tools to protect your valuable data. In other words, these are free alternatives to Norton Ghost :)

Hard Disk

Photo by miss karen

1. Clonezilla


Clonezilla is free (GPL) disaster recovery, disk cloning and deployment software that is based on DRBL, Partition Image, ntfsclone, partclone, and udpcast. There are two Clonezilla variants, Clonezilla live is suitable for single machine backup and restore, While Clonezilla SE is for massive deployment, it can clone many (40 or more) computers simultaneously. Clonezilla saves and restores only used blocks in the hard disk. Supports a lot of features;

  • Filesystem supported: ext2, ext3, ext4, reiserfs, xfs, jfs of GNU/Linux, FAT, NTFS of MS Windows, and HFS+ of Mac OS. Therefore you can clone GNU/Linux, MS windows and Intel-based Mac OS, no matter it’s 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x86-64) OS. For these file systems, only used blocks in partition are saved and restored. For unsupported file system, sector-to-sector copy is done by dd in Clonezilla.
  • LVM2 (LVM version 1 is not) under GNU/Linux is supported.
  • Multicast is supported in Clonezilla SE, which is suitable for massively clone. You can also remotely use it to save or restore a bunch of computers if PXE and Wake-on-LAN are supported in your clients.

Download Clonezilla here

2. Macrium Reflect


Macrium Reflect is free Windows XP and Vista compatible disk imaging software with automatic scheduled backup etc. Great features are, automatic .iso backup of drives to DVDs, Network, USB etc really takes the pain of manual backup of OC Data. Of course, a lot more is supported:

  • Create a disk image whilst running Windows using Microsoft Volume Shadow copy Service (VSS).
  • Image to Network, USB, FireWire drives and DVD.
  • Built in scheduler.
  • 32 bit and native 64 bit versions.
  • Industry leading compression levels and speed.
  • Linux based Rescue CD with Network access and full GUI. Only 6.5MB in size!
  • Built in CD/DVD packet writing engine. Supports packet writing to DVD DL media with Windows Vista.
  • HTML log files.

Download Macrium Reflect here.

3. HDClone


The Free Edition of HDClone (for Windows) has limited features but sufficient for home users. It clones an entire hard disk to another, larger medium. You can use it for migrating an existing installation to a new hard disk or for rescuing data. The Free Edition is a real freeware without obligation to buy and is intended for the short-term usage at no cost. If you are frequent backup taker then higher end versions may be useful since they offer higher performance, support for a wider range of hardware, and additional options which are optimized for regular or professional use.

Download HDClone here.

4. XXClone


If you are not so tech savvy and prefer simpler ways to backup your drives, then XXClone Free (for personal use) is ideal. A really simple way of backing up data, as shown in the screenshot.


XXClone supports following features:

  • Makes a self-bootable clone of Windows system disk.
  • Supports all 32-bit Windows (95, 98, ME, NT4, 2000, XP).
  • Can restore the self-bootability in many cases.
  • It takes only a minute to run.
  • Everyone should keep the Freeware handy for just in case.
  • The Pro version is ideal for daily backup.
  • Supports common internal disk drives (IDE, SATA, SCSI).
  • Supports external USB/FIREWIRE drives (good for a laptop).
  • Competes with Norton Ghost, DriveImage, MaxBlast.
  • Much faster than any of them in typical daily backup.
  • Need not go to the DOS mode. Operates in regular Windows environment.
  • Simple to use by novices.

Download XXClone here:

5. Carbon Copy Cloner


Carbon Copy Center, is a data backup solution for Mac, it has free version that you can use for personal use. It will save all your important data, family photos, documents and you can schedule it and forget!! It supports the following features:

  • Complete, bootable backups
  • Simple interface for indicating exactly what you want to back up
  • Restore using the same process used for backup
  • Backups are non-proprietary, so you can browse them or use them with Migration Assistant
  • Fast, incremental backups copy only the items that have changed since the last backup
  • Archival backup archives items that have been deleted from the source
  • Support for block-level disk-to-disk clones
  • Support for backing up across the network to another Macintosh
  • Back up to hard drives or to disk images
  • Schedule backup tasks on an hourly, daily, weekly, or monthly basis, or you can indicate that a backup task should run when the backup device is attached (e.g. an iPod). You don’t even need to be logged in for your backups to occur!
  • CCC recognizes iPods specifically, allowing time for the iPod:iTunes synchronization to complete
  • Built-in software update feature notifies you when updates are available

Download Carbon Copy Cloner here.

6. O&O software


O&O Software Express Edition is a freeware (limited features) data imaging product. Advantage is, its being so easy to use, you’ll be able to create images of your entire computer and restore individual data drives in no time at all.



  • Mounts image as a drive – if, for example, you’ve accidentally deleted just one important file, you can now select to restore this file only from the entire image (Best feature!)
  • Images all drives, including drive information and system partition – all your installed programs and their personal settings can be imaged and quickly restored when needed
  • Restores individual data drives
  • Saves space with incremental and differential images that save only changes – images only those files that have been changed or added after the last imaging. This saves time!
  • Displays imaging information – O&O DiskImage 4 Express Edition keeps you constantly informed
  • Easy to use and free – free data imaging developed by data professionals

Download O&O Software Express Edition here.

7. PING (PartImage is not Ghost)

PING is a live Linux ISO, and It can be burnt on a CD and booted, or integrated into a PXE / RIS environment. PING can backup/restore partitions in an easy way. It is similar to Symantec Ghost, but has even better features, and is totally free.

Features include:

  • Probably the best available Linux toolbox for rescuing a system
  • Backup and Restore partitions or files locally or to the network (MS Network Shared directory, NFS, FTP or SSHFS)
  • Backup and Restore the BIOS data as well
  • Either burn a bootable CD / DVD, either integrate within a PXE / RIS environment
  • Possibility to Blank local admin’s passwor
  • Create your own restoration bootable DVD (see the Howto Documentation)
  • Partition and Format a disk before installing Windows (so to make sure your unattended Windows installation will happen on the right partition)

Download PING here.

8. EaseUs Disk Copy

EASEUS Disk Copy is a freeware providing sector-by-sector disk/partition clone regardless of your operating system, file systems and partition scheme by creating a bootable CD. The sector-by-sector method assures you a copy 100% identical to the original. Disk Copy can be used for copy, cloning, or upgrading your original small hard drive to a new larger drive. Simply speaking, it can copy anything from the old hard drive including the deleted, lost files and inaccessible data. So, the freeware is a perfect tool for Data Recovery Wizard to recover files from a backup disk.

Download EaseUs Disk Copy here.

9. Paragon Free Drive Backup

Paragon Drive Backup lets you back your drive/partition and restore when you need to recover from a loss of data. Simple and feature rich is good for personal use.

Download it here.

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