What is Macrium Reflect?
Macrium Reflect is an image based backup and clone software for both commercial and non-commercial users in Windows OS. It enables you to backup Windows, disks or individual files/folders into a compressed archive file, which can be used to restore your hard disk, so as to recover a broken system.
Macrium Reflect has a series of product editions, most of them are for commercial users, like Workstation, Server and Server Plus. For personal users, you can choose either the paid Home Edition or Free Edition. It’s not difficult to find their differences in features according to the edition comparison.
Why need an alternative to Macrium Reflect?
Although there are multiple editions of Macrium Reflect with various features, as mentioned earlier, most of them are designed for business clients or enterprises with huge data to protect, and the prices are certainly not cheap.
Meanwhile, the free version provides very limited features for personal users, which can be summed up as Windows backup, disk backup and clone. Even the latest version - Macrium Reflect 7 Free Edition fails to do incremental backup nor files and folders backup while many other alternatives can.
There’s no technical support provided in free version, either. If you are not good at computer and encounter some problems when using Macrium Reflect Free Edition, you have no choice but to find the answer by yourself.
Also, the downloading and installation process is relatively cumbersome and time consuming – I almost feel tired before actually starting using it.
To put it simply, if you are just a personal user who wants a backup software with complete features and simple operation process for free, Macrium Reflect may not be the best choice.
Best free Macrium Reflect alternative in Windows
Talking about Windows backup software, there are many alternatives containing all sorts of features on the market. But if you are finding a Macrium Reflect alternative free of charge to make up for its lack of function, there aren’t many options left.
Therefore, I’d like to recommend you a freeware which meets all the criteria – AOMEI Backupper Standard. It’s an all-around data backup & clone software which can not only backup Windows OS or disks as Macrium Reflect free edition does, but also enables you to perform file/folder backup, or incremental backup for free.
By the way, it also provides technical support for every edition.
After a simple downloading and installation process, you will the see the full view of AOMEI Backupper Standard. It has a graphical user-friendly interface with nothing confusing even for newbies. It contains complete features like backup, restore, clone, sync, etc. along with various optional tools and settings, but you can still learn to operate it pretty quickly.
How to backup files for free with AOMEI Backupper?
As one of the biggest limitations of Macrium Reflect, file backup can only be performed in premium editions. But in AOMEI Backupper Standard, it’s a basic function totally for free. If you are an ordinary PC user who wants to backup some important files just in case, it could be the backup mode you use most.
1. Install and launch AOMEI Backupper. Navigate to Backup tab and choose File Backup.
2. Choose Add File or Add Folder to select source files, then specify a destination directory. In addition to local disk, you can also backup files to NAS, cloud drive, network location, etc. for better security.
3. Adjust settings in Options, Schedule or Scheme if needed. For example, setting up a schedule can make your backup task performed automatically on a regular basis. Then hit Start Backup to begin the process.
4. Click Finish to end the wizard. Next time you want to restore the files, just launch AOMEI Backupper again and find the backup task under Home tab, or go to Restore tab and select the corresponding image to get start.
AOMEI Backupper enables you to backup Windows or selected disks, partitions just as Macrium Reflect. The basic operations are almost the same as file backup. You just need to choose corresponding mode under Backup tab to perform System backup, Disk Backup or Partition Backup.
Options - including comments, compression, splitting, email notifications and so on. In system, disk and partition backup, intelligent sector and VSS are also available.
Schedule - it can be applied to your task on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. You can also upgrade to paid editions to enjoy the auto backup options of Event triggers and USB plug in.
Scheme - it will auto delete your older backups to save disk space. It’s available in AOMEI Backupper Professional and higher editions. You can make your choice according to the actual needs.
If you want to copy the source and keep its original format so as to check the content directly, you can consider using Partition Clone or Disk Clone instead of backup. Comparing to Macrium Reflect, AOMEI Backupper offers you more flexibility and even a System Clone (available in paid edition) option.
How to do incremental backup in AOMEI Backupper?
An incremental backup means to back up only the changes and newly added files since the last incremental backup. It will obviously save your storage space as well as the backup time.
Luckily, incremental backup in AOMEI Backupper Standard is also a free feature, and you can do it either manually, or automatically on a regular basis.
To do incremental backup manually:
You can click the three-stripe button of the backup task on Home page, choose Backup > Incremental Backup in the drop-down menu.
To do incremental backup automatically:
Incremental backup is the default mode of scheduled backup, which means once you set a schedule for auto backup, it will be incremental backup by default. You can find options of scheduled backup mode in Schedule > Advanced.
A full backup must exist as the start point of a series of incremental backups.
All the image files in an incremental backup series share a sequential relationship, if any incremental image file in the sequence is damaged or missing, then subsequent image files will be invalid.
In addition to incremental backup, you can also perform differential backup manually for free with this software, and the approaches are almost the same. But the scheduled differential backup option is only available in paid edition.
As one of the best free Macrium alternatives, AOMEI Backupper Standard is capable to bring you better experience while managing backup and clone on your computer. And just like Macrium Reflect, there are multiple editions of AOMEI Backupper to meet your different levels of backup requirements.
If you are not satisfied with the speed or features of free version, AOMEI Backupper Professional shall be a better choice. And if you are running a small business, AOMEI Backupper Workstation or AOMEI Backupper Sever may help you better.