Those goofy Brits.

They keep the monarchy around for generations after it has become nothing more than a quaint anachronism (although you do have to admire Queen Elizabeth for ruling for almost 60 years – and counting).  They eat food called bangers and mash.  They have a cheese-rolling contest every year.  They have place names in the form of X upon Y, in which Y is usually a river (and occasionally the river Wye).

That’s why it didn’t really surprise me when I found a software product from the UK named Macrium Reflect.  It’s not obvious from the name, but this is an excellent product for backing up a whole disk drive.

Here’s the story.  Bettie had a disk drive going bad.  Not terrible, since it was her old XP drive and not her new Win7 SSD.  We had a 2T drive ready for her PC, but didn’t have it installed yet.  On Saturday, the dying drive started doing those end-of-life things that are terrible to experience.  And it was severe because the old XP disk is where she has MS Office installed, and where we can access her scanner.

And where the PowerPoint for Sunday’s service was stored.

We managed to get the box to boot under Windows 7 to get the presentation saved off (multiple times, thank you!).  But we also wanted to save that XP installation.  But how?

A web search brought up DriveImageXML and Macrium.  I don’t remember what tipped my hand in favor of the Brits, but that’s the way I went.  I backed up her hard drive (a very full 320G drive) across the network to my drive in about 5 and a half hours.  Not speedy, but not bad.  Kick it off at night, wake up to a completed backup.

I fought to get her computer back up and running (complaining about the NTLDR being missing, which is an XP error, not Win7), but finally got it up again with instructions from EasyBCD.  The 2T drive is in, and the restore is currently pulling the data from my PC and dropping it in onto the big, empty disk.  It had no problems with the different sizes of disk, and it is supposed to copy and restore the Master Boot Record (MBR) though this.  We should end up with the XP system installed onto a new drive.

This is a professional-strength tool, very friendly to walk through, and very handy.

Well done, chaps.