Imaging vs. Backup: Which to Use?

If you are confused about whether to choose disk imaging or backup software, you need to first understand the differences between the two. One question that comes up is if the terms “imaging” and “backup” are interchangeable. Well, they are not.

Although these terms are sometimes mistakenly used interchangeably, the two types of software actually differ significantly. Backup software copies just your data, while disk imaging software makes a full, exact copy of your entire hard drive.  Thus, with imaging software, you get a perfect mirror of the PC. Certain software programs do include both functions, such as Laplink Software’s DiskImage.

Importance of Imaging

If you only have a backup of your data and you need to format your PC, you will have to reinstall your operating system and all your software. In addition, you will also need to restore the backup data on the hard disk and individually reset all your preferences.  Thus, solely backing up data is not sufficient if you want to easily keep the same personalization of your PC. To accomplish this, use imaging software to restore the exact copy of your hard drive to your PC, and your PC will be the same as it was previously.

Imaging can also be convenient if you want to upgrade the hardware. Restore the image of your old disk onto your new computer, and your new PC will then have the same setup as your old PC. If you chose to instead back up your PC and reinstall the software, it would take you much more time and effort because you would need to restore each part one by one.

Third, if you image your hard drive regularly, then in case of any system failure you will be able to easily restore your PC to the point before the failure. You can schedule the imaging process with the help of imaging software. Imaging routinely has two advantages – you don’t lose any data, and neither do you need to reinstall your system.

Importance of Backup

Creating a backup of your PC also has some benefits. For starters, when you upgrade your computer’s operating system, taking a precautionary backup of your data is a good option.

Also, if you frequently revise files and create new files on your PC, taking a backup of the data at regular intervals is more important than creating a new image each time. This way, you can take a backup of only the files that have changed since the last backup, which will take less time and use less storage space than imaging each time.

Therefore, it is up to you to decide if you want to use imaging or backup software. If you want to avoid reinstalling your programs, use imaging. If you want to copy data and keep it safely, creating a backup is the best option.

For the most versatility, select software with combined imaging and backup functionality, such as Laplink DiskImage.  With DiskImage, you can choose which functionality to use based on your specific needs in each situation.

DiskImage product box

Understanding Laplink DiskImage backup software

With Laplink DiskImage you can make a backup or image of entire computers, single drives or files during running operations. By restoring such an image or backup later, a user has their normal and familiar working environment back again in a short space of time. The Hardware Independent Restore feature enables a system restoration onto machines with different hardware setups. This means a system image or a clone cannot only be restored onto Server and Desktop PCs with identical hardware, but also onto hardware where the processor or motherboard has been changed, for instance.

We call this function the Hardware Independent Restore. It is in enormous demand from customers and not nearly as complicated as you may think.

When is it used?

Hardware Independent Restore is generally used or enabled in the following cases:

  • Restoration of an image on a computer with different hardware or cloning/duplication of a computer
  • Enabling Hardware Independent Restore by using the boot media to exchange faulty or defect drivers of an existing system
  • Migration of physical computers onto virtual machines or virtual machines on physical computers´

What does it cost?

Unlike most of our competitors, Laplink does not charge any extra for this comprehensive function. It is included in the very competitive price of the product Laplink DiskImage, from just $39.95 for a full version with no time limits.

How does it work?

Windows operating systems must be compatible with a variety of hardware platforms. This portability is achieved through a special layer within the operating system, which is responsible for the management and control of hardware, architecture and machine-dependent devices, such as the I/O interfaces, Interrupt Controller and multi processor communication mechanisms.

This layer is commonly installed on and aligned to the current hardware on an installed and running Windows. If the hardware is exchanged, it becomes necessary to align the layer accordingly, to ensure smooth and continued functionality of the operating system and the programs installed.

Buy Laplink DiskImage now.

3 tools for an easy PC migration experience

Prior to transferring your entire PC’s files, settings, users, and applications from one PC to a new one, you’ll want to explore three tools that will make the entire process faster, easier, and stress-free.

Here are three tools from Laplink Software that we suggest to make your PC migration experience simple:

1. Back up everything before you start transferring with Laplink DiskImage

DiskImage saves a mirror copy (image) of your entire hard drive to an external media device, protecting against unforeseen data loss due to corrupted systems, viruses, hackers or other malware. DiskImage is the best tool for backing up your PC’s files, settings, and applications. With it, you can schedule regular back-ups in the background without compromising your computer’s performance. Buy it here.

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2. Connect your PCs to transfer with the Easy Transfer Cable for Windows

The Easy Transfer Cable for Windows is the fastest tool to connect two PCs and transfer the files, settings, and user profiles from an old PC to a new PC. It’s the best solution for someone with a slow network connection, or without any network at all.

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No other “easy transfer cable” works with Windows 10. Laplink’s Easy Transfer Cable supports data migrations PC to PC for Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8/8.1 and 10 computers.

The Easy Transfer Cable from Laplink speeds up the transfer when moving huge amounts of data to a new PC. It doesn’t leave anything behind, and it will not delete anything on the PCs. This cable makes a PC to PC data transfer quick and easy. Buy it from Laplink here.

3. Use PCmover Professional to complete the transfer

PCmover Professional transfers your old Windows applications, files, users, and personalized settings to a new PC, saving hours of time and difficulty when setting up a new PC at home or work. PCmover Professional was rated the number one migration software two years in a row by Top Ten Reviews!

PCmover is Microsoft’s® only recommended solution. The easy-to-use software guides you through the transfer. If you need help, Laplink’s Free Transfer Assistance is available 24/7 by phone or online chat. Keep your old PC’s personality and usability without overwriting your new PC’s features with PCmover Professional. You’ll be set up on your new PC in no time. Buy it at Laplink’s website here.

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A Solution to the Windows Upgrade Dilemma

upgrade paths

PCmover supports 2 core migration scenarios:

  1. PC to PC Migration
  2. In-place Upgrade

1. The Standard PC to PC Migration

The easiest way to enjoy the latest Windows release is to buy a new PC loaded with the new OS, and to use PCmover to migrate all of the applications, data, and settings to the new PC using a Laplink Ethernet or USB Transfer cable, a network connection, or external media (e.g., external USB hard drive).

An alternative way is to either create an image on an external hard drive (PCmover provides the necessary functionality to do that) or to take the existing hard drive out of the old PC and to connect the old hard drive (or the image) to the new PC, load PCmover, and all applications, data, and settings will be transferred to the new PC.

2. The In-Place Upgrade: Custom Install without Drive Formatting

All Windows XP, Vista, and 32-bit Windows 7/8/8.1 users who upgrade to Windows 10 will be required to perform a clean (custom) install. The user will likely be able to choose between re-formatting their hard drive and installing Windows 10 without a re-format.

For users who have no external device or do not want to take the extra step, and still want to upgrade their PC to Windows 10 without losing all of their data and settings (without having to re-install all their applications), PCmover offers an easy solution.

Simply install Windows 10 without re-formatting the hard drive (customer install), subsequently install and run PCmover which will automatically restore all the applications, data and settings from the Windows.old directory. This is the only method to perform an in-place upgrade from Windows XP, Vista, and 32-bit Windows 7 to Windows 10 without having to re-install all your applications and without having to back up all your data in advance.

Users might insist on a clean install or need to have a pre-defined image of Windows 10 installed. In this case PCmover (Business Edition only) can run PCmover on the source PC and move all applications, data and settings to external storage.  After the PC is reformatted and Windows 10 is installed, the user can then re-install PCmover, which will automatically restore the applications, data, and settings to the PC.

Depending on the size of the installed data, it is recommended to use an external or network hard drive rather than online storage, as bandwidth and speed limitations can throttle performance dramatically.

How to migrate PC to PC with Laplink’s PCmover

If there’s one thing that every person can agree on it’s that there is usually not enough time in the day to get everything done that you need to do. Between work, errands, and busy weekends in the summertime, it’s nearly impossible to find the hours–or days!–needed to manually migrate thousands of files and folders from an old PC to a new PC you bought this month with Windows 10 on it.

Most people replace their PC every 3-6 years. During those years, you’ve created thousands of personalized settings on your PC. These settings can be things like how you set up the sound, or the mouse and touchpad settings, or your energy-saving settings which are all managed in the Control Panel. Over the lifetime of your PC, these settings take seconds to setup, but imagine starting from ground zero when you buy a new PC, and being forced to reconfigure every single setting in place? That task alone would be enough to make anyone power off their new PC and walk away in frustration.

The most valuable data on your old PC is without a doubt the applications that have been downloaded, purchased, or installed. Fortunately, more and more applications are digital software downloads, typically available for free on the web. But it is still common to have applications (“programs”) installed on your PC that were originally installed by CD. And even with those digital software programs you installed years ago, they required a specific serial number which you more than likely never wrote down.

Repurchasing your many applications and taking the time to reinstall each one would be a significant drain on your time and your wallet!

The bottom line is this: it would be a great weight off of your shoulders if there was one simple solution that could successfully, quickly, and inexpensively migrate the files, folders, settings, user profiles, and all of the applications you rely on from your old PC to the new one you just bought. Not to mention, all of that data has to be compatible with your new Windows 10 system, without overwriting any of the new OS’s features or settings.

The answer is Laplink’s PCmover Professional software. This all-in-one software solution allows you to quickly and easily download the program onto your old PC and your new PC, and following the easy-to-use wizard interface, you are prompted to select and transfer a complete list of your files, folders, thousands of settings, user profiles, and all applications* from your old Windows PC to your new Windows 10 PC. Once you’ve selected everything, start the transfer, and walk away. PCmover will finish the job for you in a fraction of the time so that you can start enjoying your new PC right away.

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When the transfer is finished, your new PC will have the personality and data on it so that it looks and behaves exactly like your old PC did. You’ll save time because everything will be located exactly where you remember it being. No time will be wasted refamiliarizing yourself with a new system; you’ll be able to enjoy all of Windows 10’s new features, but with all of the data you want and need on the new PC.

PCmover Professional by Laplink really is the best solution for a fast migration of all of your data, settings, profiles, and applications from your old Windows PC to a new one, including Windows 10.

If you bought a new PC recently, click here to purchase PCmover Professional on pre-sale before the offer expires on July 29!

Upgrade Paths to Windows 10

Upgrading to a new version of Windows, soon to be Windows 10, usually sounds like a straightforward process:

  • Download the software (or install via a DVD/CD);
  • Run the installer, upgrade the OS;
  • Voila! Everything should be in place.

in place upgradesFor all scenarios which are not “green” it’s a different story. In particular, any remaining Windows XP users and all Windows Vista users cannot easily upgrade, and users running the 32-bit version of Windows 7/8/8.1 don’t have an easy (in-place) upgrade to the 64-bit Version of Windows 10, either.Unfortunately, it’s different. While there are many ways to migrate or upgrade to a new version of Windows, only a few options actually allow an in-place upgrade. The chart below depicts the different options available with the green boxes indicating upgrades “out of the box”.

These scenarios require a “clean” or “custom” install of Windows, which can be done either by reformatting the hard drive or by “over-installing” the new operating system. Both cases result in the applications, data, and settings being moved to different directories, and the existing applications will not work as they are not registered with the new OS.

Laplink® has created a solution with PCmover® that allows in-place upgrades. The table below indicates that all upgrade scenarios which are not supported “out of the box” are supported by PCmover.

upgrade paths

In the next blog post, we will dive deeper into the two core migration scenarios PCmover supports.

PCmover migration: hard drive image recovery

PCmover Professional and Business support all migration scenarios:

Scenario 1: Migrate to a New Machine

  • Direct peer-to peer transfer over cable or network
  • File-based transfer using storage device

Scenario 2: Upgrade an old Windows PC to Windows 10

  • Custom Windows 10 install
  • Reformatted Windows 10 install

Scenario 3: Recover directly from a hard drive or VHD

  • Physical drive restoration
  • Image file restoration (mounted as VHD)

The third scenario PCmover supports is the transfer of applications, data, and settings from an image or hard drive to a new PC.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If the organization has images of a Windows XP PC and need the image restored to a new Windows 10 PC, there are no solutions from traditional image vendors (Symantec, Acronis, Paragon, etc.) However, with the right software, one can mount the image on the new PC, but the applications and settings will not work.

PCmover’s built-in technology called “Image & Drive Assistant” takes a unique approach to this issue by being the only software that can restore an old image to a new PC without overwriting anything on the new PC. Some companies take this functionality and optimize it for their normal PC deployment: an IT service professional will manually remove the hard drive from an old computer, attach it to the proper housing component, and connect it to the new PC with a compatible cable. While it adds complexity and is usually technician-driven, this scenario offers the fastest migration, especially in cases with full high capacity drives. If a PC is unresponsive, but the hard drive is in working order, PCmover’s Image and Drive Assistant function is the only way to transfer data, settings and applications to a new Windows system.

In most cases, larger organizations comprised of over 500 PCs will have prepared an image that is put on a new PC by the IT department, or as part of the factory process at the OEM or service provider.

Using PCmover makes these transfer processes easy, and the migration is completed in record time. Beyond end users, these are all optimal migration scenarios for an IT service provider to utilize for business customers, and resellers to use to market to IT departments.

You can watch a video about it here.

PCmover migration: in place upgrade

PCmover Professional and Business support all migration scenarios:

Scenario 1: Migrate to a New Machine

  • Direct peer-to peer transfer over cable or network
  • File-based transfer using storage device

Scenario 2: Upgrade an old Windows PC to Windows 10

  • Custom Windows 10 install
  • Reformatted Windows 10 install

Scenario 3: Recover directly from a hard drive or VHD

  • Physical drive restoration
  • Image file restoration (mounted as VHD)

In the second scenario, PCmover supports in-place upgrades where the new operating system is installed on top of an old Windows version. Microsoft does not support in-place upgrades from Windows XP or Vista. It also does not support an upgrade path from a 32-bit machine to 64-bit. It also recommends a complex re-installation of applications, data, and settings. This reinstallation is often too costly for an organization, especially if they must repeat this process many times, because they have a number of PCs that were purchased in the last 4 years but are fast enough to handle Windows 10.

This built-in technology in PCmover, the “Upgrade Assistant” tool, is the only technology to support this type of scenario. After Windows 10 is installed as a custom install (no formatting of the hard drive), PCmover’s Upgrade Assistant function can restore the applications, data, and settings from the old Windows directory and apply them to the new OS environment.

While PCmover can perform in-place upgrades, many customers prefer to “export” all data, settings and applications to a network location or external drive. This allows the PC to be updated with a full image, which includes the preferred settings and new applications of the organization, before the data, settings and applications are imported again. If no image is needed, organizations can use the Upgrade Assistant function of PCmover to preserve data, settings and applications on a new Windows version.

You can watch a video of how an in-place upgrade to Windows 10 works here.

In the next blog post, we will explore the third and final migration scenario PCmover supports.

PCmover Supports Migrations to Windows 10

Laplink is continuing its previous, successful relationship with Microsoft. Together Laplink and Microsoft are collaborating to ensure that PCmover users have a great experience when using PCmover in an upgrade scenario. From what we understand (and have tested) right now, it’s safe to say that PCmover will support migrations to the following editions of Windows 10:

  • Windows 10 Home
  • Windows 10 Pro
  • Windows 10 Enterprise
  • Windows 10 Education

The easiest way to enjoy the latest Windows release would, of course, be to buy a new PC loaded with the new OS and to use PCmover Professional to migrate all the applications, data, and settings from your old PC to this new PC. But PCmover also supports in-place upgrades to Windows 10, and transfers all the old OS’s files, settings, profiles, and applications without overwriting the new operating system.

For standard hardware refreshes and as-needed PC replacements, PCmover can operate across a corporate network, cross-over Ethernet cable, Laplink USB cable, or a portable storage device, offering a flexible, time-saving and simple solution for automating the end-to-end process.