An “image backup” is simply an image or copy of everything on your system, including your operating system. This differs radically from just a file backup because the image that’s created contains everything that’s part of your system

Disk images are called by a variety of names including a bare metal backup, a recovery backup, image level backup, and the like. The key thing to know about doing an image backup is that it will include everything that’s on the hard drive. Your files, folders, pictures, videos, and so on. In addition, it will also include the entire operating system that ‘s on the drive. In short, an image backup will backup everything on your hard drive.

This type of backup is relatively easy to set up because in most cases you’re selecting the drive and your software takes it from there. Technically there are two types of image backup software, those that are sector based and those that are file based. Both types backup everything so that restoring to a blank drive will enable you to boot back to the way your system was when it was backed up.

TeraByte Drive Image Backup and Restore Suite

TeraByte Drive Image Backup and Restore Suite is an affordable and high quality drive image backup and restore software package that provides an easy, quick and convenient way to completely back up all your hard drive’s data, programs and operating systems.  Back up to external drives, network  drives, and other media, even directly to CD, DVD, or BD.  It can also be used to do disk to disk cloning.  It features everything you could want in a disk imaging package such as validation, incremental and differential backups, password protection, encryption, scheduling, custom file sizes and much more.

TeraByte Drive Image Backup and Restore Suite includes everything you need to create a recovery boot disk.  Simply boot the recovery boot disk and restore your data, programs and operating systems in one step back to the way they were when the backup was created. It’s that easy.

The TeraByte Drive Image Backup and Restore Suite also allows you to mount the image of a backup so you can search through it just like it was a regular drive.  If you like you can also extract individual file or folders from the backup without having to restore the whole thing or even use the mounted drive to boot in a virtual machine such as Hyper-V.  That can be a real time-saver.

The TeraByte Drive Image Backup and Restore Suite includes Image for Windows, Image for Linux, Image for DOS, Image for UEFI,  OSD Tool Suite, TBIView, TBIMount, TBIHD, and more.  Image for DOS, Linux and UEFI support the same powerful drive image functionality and file format without requiring a working Windows installation.  This is definitely the go-to package for image backups.

Acronis Cyber Protect Home Office

Acronis Cyber Protect Home Office, was formerly called Acronis True Image.  This new iteration has many enhanced features and some catching options.  There are versions for both Windows and Mac PC’s. A 30-day trial is available so you can fully test out the product before you buy it.

Acronis Cyber Protect Home Office comes with 1 Terabyte of storage in the Acronis Cloud system.  It allows you to back up individual file and folders in addition to the ability to create mirror images of your system.

Acronis Cyber Protect Home Office also allows you to create an all-in-one recovery drive in case you ever need it.  Something new in this version of Acronis Cyber Protect Home Office is the ability to scan your system for malware.  The goal is to create a product that protects your data on multiple levels, backing it up, creation of a recovery drive, and protection against viruses and malware.

Acronis Cyber Protect Home Office will authenticate all your data using blockchain technology.  It strives to simplify protection by combining multiple tools into one product.  Acronis Cyber Protect Home Office is available in three versions: Essentials, Advanced, and Premium.  It should be noted that the Cloud Storage is not available with the Essentials package.

AOMEI Backupper

AOMEI Backupper is a full featured product for backing up all your important data.  You can use it to back up individual files and folders as well as backing up entire drives.  AOMEI Backupper also has a clone function that lets you clone an entire disk or partition.  Backups can be stored on any standard media including external drives, network drives, optical media, and cloud storage.

AOMEI Backupper allows you to schedule backups so they can run on the days and times you specify.  In addition, incremental and differential backups are also supported.  You can encrypt your backups utilizing a password, split a backup into custom sizes, adjust the level of compression, and mount the image like it was a regular drive.

AOMEI Backupper also helps you to create a “OneKey Recovery” partition.  This function allows you to restore your entire system with the touch of one key.  The program also has a number of handy utilities including disk wiping, creation of bootable media, creation of a portable version, and more.

Paragon Backup and Recovery CE

Paragon Backup and Recovery is a full-featured backup program that’s absolutely free. For commercial use there is a Paragon Backup and Recovery Business version that you pay for. Paragon Backup and Recovery lets you decide exactly what you want to back up. You can elect to just backup individual files and folders or you can decide to backup individual volumes or the entire computer.

Paragon Backup and Recovery allows you to schedule your backups so your data is always protected and your backups are up-to-date.  It can automatically delete old backups so you aren’t wasting space on your backup media of choice. Paragon Recovery Media Builder can prepare a WinPE-based bootable environment on a USB drive or as an ISO image. This ensures that your computer can always start up recovery even when the OS is failing or malfunctioning.

Paragon Backup and Recovery is relatively easy-to-use for most users.  If you want advanced features you’ll need to pay extra for those features. The Business edition includes a hard disk manager as well as a partition manager. It allows you to clone Windows and much more.