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 backup removable storage device to an image file in Windows 10/8/7.
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?
It is quite easy to use for removable drives. However, it has some issues reported. In some cases, the program may fail with an error message like “Cannot find the device”, “Access is denied”, or other error.
In such cases, you can find an alternative to work around. Besides, if you intend to backup your removable devices into an image file, you probably are not content with Win32 Disk Imager utility. You may need more advanced options like automatic backup, incremental backup, real-time sync, etc.
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. You can backup to network drive, external hard drive or local computer. For only image backup purpose, AOMEI Backupper Free can be regarded as the best alternative software to Win32 Disk Imager.
AOMEI Backupper Standard is a free imaging and cloning tool. Compared with WIN32 Disk Imager, it has many advanced features.
You can set up scheduled backup to backup your removable device automatically at a specific time or upon an event. You probably want to have a lot of backup versions and also want to save disk space. AOMEI Backupper handles it well enough. By default, it performs incremental backups after the first full backup. You can also switch to differential backup or full backup.
If you need to backup much more frequently, you can set up real-time file sync task to sync your removable device data to another folder in real time.
How to image a removable disk
With its user-friendly interface, AOMEI Backupper is very easy to configure even for those who try it for the first time.
you can set up a schedule to automatically backup USB drives at a specific time or on an event. You can 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.
To image a USB drive:
1. Download this Win32 Disk Imager and run it on your computer.
2. Click “Backup”, and select “Disk Backup” you want to backup the entire removable storage device. Otherwise, you can select File Backup.
3. Select the removable drive as the backup source and then select a folder or partition on your computer or network location to save the backup image. You can backup multiple removable devices into one image file
4. Click Schedule to enable a schedule to run the backup if need be. In the Schedule Setting screen, you can configure the trigger of the backup and how you want the backup performed (full, incremental or differential).
5. Click “Start Backup” to start imaging your removable device. If you try the Professional edition, you can also set up a backup scheme to automatically manage your backup space by deleting old backups.
The backup image is compressed by default and is protected with a special file extension. You can change the compression level in the Backup Options if need be.
When the backup is complete, it provides an option to check the integrity of the backup. A backup that cannot be restored is no backup at all, so it is recommended to check backup on completion.
Besides image backup, you can also create an exact clone of your removable device to protect your data. If you clone a bootable USB media with AOMEI Backupper, the cloned disk will also remain bootable.
How to restore a backup image
If something happens to your removable device, you can easily restore your data back. As you have seen above, you can just click on the Restore tab from the Home screen and then specify the image file to get the restore started.
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.
Under the Restore tab, you can select the backup version and follow the instructions to complete the restore. You can also click Path to specify the backup that you want to restore.
In conclusion, AOMEI Backupper Standard is the best Win32 Disk Imager alternative for image backup purpose. It is simple, safe, and fast to keep your removable storage device backed up.