Any drive-imaging system that allows easy access to image contents?

danwood82

Member
Feb 23, 2013
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Hi all, not sure if this is the best subforum for this.

In the past, I've used Clonezilla to make drive backup images, and it works great for fully restoring drives.

What I'd like however, is that functionality, but with the possibility to read-only-access the contents of those image files *without* restoring them to a drive... so I could easily dig out a handful of files occasionally if I want to, without needing to do a full restore to get at them.

Is there any system that does that out-of-the-box as it were? (This is primarily for Windows / NTFS based drives, but occasionally use Linux too, so a universal solution would be neat)
 

BlueFox

Legendary Member
Oct 26, 2015
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Veeam lets you browse any snapshot and mount it as another drive on any given system. You can copy individual files from there.
 

danwood82

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Feb 23, 2013
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Thanks. Looks expensive though... should have specified - this is just for personal use, so can't stretch to enterprise-level prices.
Any open-source or home-use-level packages offer this sort of functionality?
 

RTM

Well-Known Member
Jan 26, 2014
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Thanks. Looks expensive though... should have specified - this is just for personal use, so can't stretch to enterprise-level prices.
Any open-source or home-use-level packages offer this sort of functionality?
While veeam is an enterprise level product, there is a community version for up to "10 workloads" that you could probably try out.
 

BlueFox

Legendary Member
Oct 26, 2015
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Thanks. Looks expensive though... should have specified - this is just for personal use, so can't stretch to enterprise-level prices.
Any open-source or home-use-level packages offer this sort of functionality?
I use the free version personally. It should be adequate unless you have a ton of systems you need to maintain.
 

uldise

Active Member
Jul 2, 2020
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I use the free version personally
a side question - can you run veeam server inside virtual machine? is veeam server on it's own OS or do it still need a dedicated Windows machine?
sorry for noob questions, but i have looked at their site more than once and still don't understand it's ecosystem..
 

danwood82

Member
Feb 23, 2013
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While veeam is an enterprise level product, there is a community version for up to "10 workloads" that you could probably try out.
I use the free version personally. It should be adequate unless you have a ton of systems you need to maintain.
Oh, nice! That sounds ideal... I'll give it a look!

I assume it's relatively straightforward to set it up to do simple, offline drive images?
Is there a documentation resource I could read through to get an idea what I need/don't need before starting?

(Oh, and can this be used to image an active system drive? Or is there a way to launch a bootup-environment where I can?)

Much thanks guys!
 

BlueFox

Legendary Member
Oct 26, 2015
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a side question - can you run veeam server inside virtual machine? is veeam server on it's own OS or do it still need a dedicated Windows machine?
sorry for noob questions, but i have looked at their site more than once and still don't understand it's ecosystem..
I don't actually run a Veeam server at home. I just have everything backing up to a NAS. Didn't think it was needed for home use.
Oh, nice! That sounds ideal... I'll give it a look!

I assume it's relatively straightforward to set it up to do simple, offline drive images?
Is there a documentation resource I could read through to get an idea what I need/don't need before starting?

Much thanks guys!
It's really simple and easy to use. Install, select what you want to back up (generally all fixed local drives), and tell it where to back up to (external drive, NAS, etc), adjust a few settings (frequency for example), and you're done. You can have a more complex setup if you'd like.

I honestly never touch unless I'm actively restoring something since it will notify if there's a failure with a backup attempt.
 

Stephan

Well-Known Member
Apr 21, 2017
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Germany
Used to recommend Acronis TrueImage, back in 2002. Until they lost their mojo. Then 10 years later StorageCraft ShadowProtect, until they lost their mojo as well, some 5 years ago. No, I don't want to install 10 GB of cr@p and I don't want to backup anything to S3.

These days we recommend Drive Snapshot (Drive Snapshot - Disk Image Backup for Windows NT/2000/XP/2003/X64). Very cheap, only 400 KB binary that's it, can mount an image, give Explorer higher privileges to battle NTFS permission problems in mounted image, fast, can be run from Windows install CD command prompt, compatible with basically every Windows OS, extensive command line options, but also has a small GUI. Easy trial, download and go.

We use the software in two aspects: Within a batch file with counter to backup servers every day in a 2x (full backup + 30 diff) kept fashion. Will even send mail on errors using blat.

Secondly, you can do things like this:

Code:
set BACKUPSERVER=192.168.100.100
set BACKUPPATH=\\%BACKUPSERVER%\Backup
set LOGINUSER=DOMAIN\Administrator
set LOGINPASSWORD=whatever
set BACKUPUSER=Backup
set BACKUPPASSWORD=yeahwhatever
set OPTIONS=-L0 -W -o --PrintTotals --AutoBackupSize:0
set NETUSE=--NetUse:%BACKUPPATH%,%BACKUPUSER%,%BACKUPPASSWORD%

PsExec64.exe -accepteula -nobanner \\%* -u %LOGINUSER% -p %LOGINPASSWORD% -n 10 -s -e -c ^
snapshot64.exe HDWIN:* %BACKUPPATH%\$computername-$disk.sna %OPTIONS% %NETUSE%
This will zero-touch image-backup all partitions of a system's windows drive (HDWIN:*) to a backup server using psexec. Without installing anything on the target machine. Can be run from an admin PC during business hours and in theory you could image a 1000 PCs in an hour using another batch script. If you run this many parallel jobs you should of course talk to them to buy a suitable site license or whatever.
 

Stephan

Well-Known Member
Apr 21, 2017
630
414
63
Germany
I have attached a sample Drive Snapshot backup batch file. snapshot.exe line probably has to be adjusted for the partition layout.

You'll want "Blat v3.2.22 (build : Jul 19 2019 23:25:36) 32-bit Windows, Full, Unicode" SHA1 492ed0c53dc4a976394727e582b16ae05a3aef7d, 245.760 bytes, for mail notifications, because newer is sadly buggy.

So all you need is drivesnapshot.exe, the batch file and blat.exe in one directory. Batch file can of course be installed as a windows task schedule.

All in all not even 1 Megabyte for a complete, light-weight, backup solution. German efficiency? Many say dead, for very good reasons. In places, like this, not dead. ;-)

To restore bare metal, boot windows ISO, load a couple of drivers from USB if need be (weird controllers etc.), start network from command line, map network drive with backups, start drive snapshot e.g. from a stick or from network drive, restore machine.
 

Attachments

zac1

Active Member
Oct 1, 2022
213
160
43
disk2vhd produces regular ol' *.vhd(x) virtual disks that can be mounted and browsed like regular disks. Not sure if that's helpful at all since it's not really a backup tool (no incremental images) but it makes disk images that can be browsed (and booted to boot!).
 
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danwood82

Member
Feb 23, 2013
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Glock24

Active Member
May 13, 2019
155
88
28
Thanks for all the suggestions everyone! Lots of great options to consider.

I had in fact not seen this. Looks perfect for my needs, given I've already got a bunch of previous images stored. Much thanks!
Clonezilla works great and it's fast. You can algo take a look at G4L (Ghost for Linux)
 

acquacow

Well-Known Member
Feb 15, 2017
715
397
63
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The standard built-in windows backup works great for this. I prefer adding the older win7 backup stuff into win10 and 11 (fully supported).