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.

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Data security made easy!

Regardless of whether at home or at work: The safety of digital data is often overlooked by many users these days, on the basis that “nothing ever happens to me”. Unfortunately, it can and often does! Many users think a backup or system image is too complex and takes too long – so they don’t bother.

Data security was never this easy!

We have directly addressed this problem and integrated into our software, Laplink DiskImage, that guides a user step by step through the creation of an automatic data backup. This significantly easier to use backup functionality enables even novice users to create a reliable and fast backup of their data immediately. With Laplink DiskImage, you can make a copy of your data, applications and your operating system and restore it when required as if nothing had ever happened.

Further new features:

  • Direct creation of virtual disks: from the program itself, you can now create virtual disks. No need for an external program or extra process. This function further strengthens our compatibility with virtual environments which are becoming ever more popular.
  • Task scheduling / planning now has a new assistant to make organizing your data security even simpler. You can, for instance, have an image or backup created through triggers, such as when you first log-in.
  • Plug-and-Play functions: triggers jobs automatically through the simple attachment of a USB or similar to your machine.

The most reliable way to protect yourself against data loss is if you make regular backups of your data and the operating system and store it on an external storage medium. You effectively create a safe which you can access but no one else. When backing up your PC, Laplink DiskImage saves both personal files as well as drive information and individual settings. This not only protects irreplaceable files, such as family photos, vacation videos and office documents, but you also save yourself in the event of a crash the lengthy set up and reinstall of all the programs and the Windows operating system.