Why need alternative to 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.
But in this post I'll discuss its alternaitive on Windows, here are some of the reasons:
>> Macrium Reflect has a series of editions, most of which are designed for business clients or enterprises with huge data to protect, like Workstation, Server and Server Plus, and the prices are certainly not cheap.
>> Meanwhile, the free version provides limited features for personal users to perform Windows backup, disk backup and clone. Even the latest version fails to do incremental backup nor files & folders-level backup.
>> 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, it doesn't work intuitively to clone a larger disk to a smaller disk, which is a quite common need today.
To put it simply, if you are just a personal user who wants a backup & clone software with complete features and simple operation process, there might be free alternative that suits you better.
Best free Macrium Reflect alternative in Windows
Talking about Windows backup & clone 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 or clone 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. I'll show you some of them as following.
Clone larger disk to smaller disk intelligently with AOMEI Backupper
If you want to replace the hard disk with another one, or copy it to external drive as a backup, you may need to use the disk clone feature. Comparing to Macrium Reflect, AOMEI Backupper offers you more flexibility. For example, the default intelligent mode will copy only the used sectors and skip the bad and unused ones, which supports you to clone a larger HDD to smaller SSD or something like that.
There are also Partition Clone to copy an individual partition, and even System Clone option (available in ad edition) to help you migrate operating system to another hard drive.
Here I'll give an example to clone larger disk to smaller disk.
1. Connect the target disk along side the old one. If you have only one drive bay, connect it trough an USB-to-SATA adapter.
2. Install and launch the software, select Clone and choose Disk Clone.
3. Select the hard disk you want to clone, and then the target disk.
4. If the destination is an SSD, tick the SSD Alignment option to accelerate its reading & writing speed. Then Start Clone.
Sector By Sector Clone - with this option, all the sectors on source disk will be cloned. So if want to clone a larger disk to a smaller one, don't tick it.
Edit Partitions - it enables you to adjust the size and drive letter of the partitions on the destination disk. Available in advanced editions.
If you upgrade to advanced editions, you can also clone system disks MBR to GPT/GPT to MBR, or clone dynamic volumes on dynamic disks.
Backup files & folders 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.
Perform incremental backup manually or automatically 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.