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What's the simplest way of creating a single, mountable image in Windows XP of an external drive?

At first I thought of creating an ISO, although a 60+GB might be a little large. What recommendations do you have?

I thought of exploring free Acronis alternatives, but decided to run it by the SuperUsers first.

The image must be easily mountable later, within Windows.

Any info and pointers are appreciated.

Thank you.

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I've used Macrium Reflect Free in just this manner. You'd need it on both the system you are imaging, and the system you are mounting it in

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You can try downloading WAIK (Microsoft Windows Automated Installation Kit).

This has a tool called Imagex which can make WIM files.

Read here for more information on the tool. You basically need the \mount and \capture flags.

Here is the direct link to information on creating images.

Here is the direct link to information on mounting images.

Imagex is a single small tool within the WAIK, but not sure if you can download seporately, it works without any other tool, so you may want to install the WAIK in a VM or a spare machine and just take a copy of ImageX

If this is not suitable, I recommend Acronis as well (although never tried any one of their free tools... Didn't know they had any!), or Norton Ghost.

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It depends on your purpose but you might check out this tool: This will allow you to mount the drive from within windows. Unless your image is less than 4GB your external drive should be formatted NTFS.

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DriveImage XML runs from within Windows and it can copy directly from drive to drive or to image. Many people had a good experience with this product.

Product Highlights

  • Backup logical drives and partitions to image files
  • Browse images, view and extract files
  • Restore images to the same or a different drive
  • Copy directly from drive to drive
  • Schedule automatic backups
  • Run DriveImage from WinPE boot CD-ROM


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