Macrium Reflect Free
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Full user review
"Very good program to backup and restore a system drive"
Better than native mirror backup of Windows 7 (see summary). Solid and reliable
Does not support restore from external media connected via USB 3.0
Till a week ago I used the native mirror backup for the system drive (Win7 64bit), to an external HDD via USB 2.0.
Now I use "Macrium Reflect Free" because it has several advantages compared to Windows mirror backup; mainly it allows to recover specific files, can manage several backups made at different dates and can verify integrity of backups.
The installation and first use were a little confusing, but learning curve is very fast.
The recover media is also a bit complicated to create, but works perfect (I made both a CD and a USB 2.0 flash drive bootable recover media using the create recover media in the program menu).
To backup individual data files and folders I use a different program, there are many good free programs for this purpose.
To summarize: "Macrium Reflect Free" is an excellent program, solid and easy to use for backup and restore the system drive. I give to it only 4 stars because it does not support external media with USB 3.0 connection (Win 7 mirror restore does not support USB 3.0 either). Macrium does allow to load external drivers during loading the restore media, but I was not able to have it working with my USB 3.0 external HDD. You could use the external HDD with USB 3.0 to produce the backup, but then to restore, you have to connect it via USB 2.0 (much slower).
If you want to use an external HDD 3.0 to backup and restore the system drive, I know that there are other programs that can do that, but they are not free.