What is Win32 Disk Imager?
Win32 Disk Imager is a free program designed for writing a raw disk image to a removable device (USB flash drive, CD, DVD, etc) and backing up removable storage device to an image file in Windows.
It is an open-source tool, so any one who has programming experience can branch and modify it. The latest version is available for Windows 10/8/7. If you are running older Windows like Windows XP or Vista, you can download the previous release.
Why do you need an alternative to Win32 Disk Imager?
Win32 Disk Imager software is quite easy to use for removable drives. However, there are some issues reported. Some users find Win32 Disk Imager fails with an error message like “Cannot find the device”, “Error 5: Access is denied”, and “Error 2: The system cannot find the file specified”. In such cases, you may get an alternative to work around.
Besides, if you intend to backup your removable devices into an image file regularly, you probably are not content with Win32 Disk Imager utility. That’s because the more advanced options like automatic backup, incremental backup and real-time sync are missing in Win32 Disk Imager.
Free Win32 Disk Imager alternative for Windows
You probably have stored valuable data on a removable storage device like USB drive because it is very convenient to carry with you everywhere you go. However, it is also easy to get lost and it may get corrupted or infected with malware virus after lots of times of connection or disconnection.
To protect your data’s safety, it is highly recommended to backup your removable device. For the image backup purpose, AOMEI Backupper Standard can be regarded as the best alternative to Win32 Disk Imager for Windows 10/8/7. It is free of charge and compared with WIN32 Disk Imager, it has many advanced features:
✦ It supports to backup to network drive, external hard drive or local computer.
✦ It allows you to set up scheduled backup to backup your removable device automatically at a specific time or upon an event.
✦ It enables you to have a lot of backup versions while saving disk space. After you set up a scheduled backup, it performs incremental backups after the first full backup by default. You can also switch to differential backup or full backup.
✦ It offers the “Real-time sync” feature which allows you to sync your removable device data to another folder in real time. You may upgrade to AOMEI Backupper Professional to enjoy this feature.
How to image a removable disk via AOMEI Backupper
With its user-friendly interface, AOMEI Backupper is very easy to configure even for those who try it for the first time. Learn how to use this USB image creator to create USB drive image backup to local computer, NAS (network attached storage), external hard drive or other storage devices below:
1. Connect your USB flash drive to your computer and make sure it is detected. Download this Win32 Disk Imager alternative, install and run it.
2. Click “Backup”, and select “Disk Backup” if you want to backup the entire removable storage device. Or you can select File Backup if you only want to backup certain files.
3. Select the removable drive as the backup source by clicking “Add Disk”. Then, select a folder/partition on your computer or network location to save the backup image by clicking the column under “Add Disk”.
✎ Tips: If you want to backup multiple drives at once, just select all the disks that need to be backed up after clicking “Add Disk”.
4. Click “Schedule” to enable a schedule to run the backup if needed. In the Schedule Settings screen, you can set the frequency of the backup under the “General” tab and how you want the backup to be performed (full, incremental or differential) under the “Advanced” tab.
5. Click “Start Backup” to start imaging your removable device.
6. When the backup is in progress, it provides an option “Check backup integrity on completion”. A backup that cannot be restored is not a backup at all, so it is recommended to check this option. Click "Finish" when the image backup is done.
The backup image is compressed by default and is protected with a special file extension. You can change the compression level in “Options” based on your needs.
If you try AOMEI Backupper Professional edition, you can also set up a backup scheme to automatically manage backup disk space by deleting old backups.
AOMEI Backupper also enables you to create an exact clone of your removable device to protect your data. If you clone a bootable USB drive with it, the cloned disk will remain bootable.
If you don't have a bootable USB/CD/DVD etc, you can create a recovery environment on your computer in advance. It will help you to boot your computer successfully and enter the software interface.
How to restore a backup image
If something bad happens to your removable device, you can easily restore your data back. There are two methods for your reference:
1. Go to “Home”, find the disk backup task and click “Restore”.
2. Click “Restore” on the left pane, click “Select Task” or “Select Image File” and follow the wizard to finish the recovery process.
✎ Tips: If you want to restore the backup without booting into Windows, you can create a bootable media on a USB flash drive or CD/DVD, and then you can boot your computer from it to restore image backup from CD or USB drive.
AOMEI Backupper is the best Win32 Disk Imager alternative for image backup purpose. It is simple, safe, and fast to create image backups for your removable storage devices and it can keep them backed up on a regular basis. Download it now to discover more!