Whereas most parts of a PC can be replaced without too much trouble, the same is not always true of hard drives. If they become damaged or suffer a catastrophic crash, it may be impossible – or at least extremely expensive – to recover the files stored on them.

Unfortunately, hard drives are one of the few parts of your PC with mechanical components, so wear and tear from heavy usage can take its toll. Given the amount of irreplaceable data that many people keep on their computers, it’s important to have a backup in case the worst should happen.

PC with mechanical components

Macrium Reflect is a complete recovery solution, which can create full backup images of disks. In the case of data loss, these images can be restored to exactly the same state as when the backup was made or recreated on another disk, if necessary, It also offers a way out of fundamental disk trouble, with the option to create a bootable rescue CD, which can revive a drive if it’s no longer recognized. With the rescue disc options, you can create a CD that boots your PC with a basic version of Linux or BartPE and detects hardware before restoring data from a backup image.

By using the Volume Shadow service, Reflect avoids the problems of accessing files while they are open, enabling it to back your information up while you work. This saves you from running your backups overnight, or neglecting to do it at all. Once you’ve created an image, you can confirm that the data was written correctly with the Verify Image and Backup Files option. This uses a checksum analysis to check the backup for errors that may be caused by a bad CD, or errors during the copying process.

Under the Advanced settings options, you can choose to create an Intelligent Sector Copy or a complete clone of your disk. The Intelligent Sector Copy option only backs up the areas of the disk that are referenced in the FAT as containing valid files, and excludes temporary data that is unlikely to be needed again, such as the paging file.

This is usually the most sensible choice if you’re backing up data, but if you’re seeing the signs of possible disk failure and need to transfer your entire system, it may be best to create a clone to make sure nothing will be permanently lost if the disk never starts again. When you do this, all the information, including the remains of deleted files, are safely stored.Combined with compression settings, backup profile storage, and the ability to perform regular scheduled backups, Macrium Reflect is a worthy tool and a reliable way to stay out of trouble.