VCOM – Perfect Image 11 review

competent drive image backup and restore tool
Photo of VCOM – Perfect Image 11

There are plenty of uses for Avanquest’s Perfect Image 11, a utility that can save a complete image of a drive and reinstate it. It’s a good guard against operating system corruption or the installation of a new application which freezes things, and it can be used effectively for installing alternative operating systems on the same PC. It also includes a migration tool to move an operating system from one drive to another, when you add a new hard drive to your machine.

Version 11 includes several innovations to keep up with the competition, programs like Acronis’s TrueImage and Symantec’s Norton Save and Restore. For a start, it saves time by creating disk images while running under Windows; it doesn’t have to restart and work under a dedicated OS. It can back-up to an internal drive on the machine it’s installed on, a DVD, an external hard drive or onto network storage, so you can use it in almost any configuration.

Creating a drive image is pretty quick on an internal IDE or SATA hard drive, though actual times of course depend on the size of the drive image: the program intelligently images only used areas of a drive. It’s not so quick on external drives, though; it took over 30 minutes to create a 12GB image on a USB 2 drive.

Although you don’t need to reboot to create a drive image, you do to restore one. You can initiate this from Windows or by booting from the Perfect Image 11 installation CD, which also acts as a rescue disc. It took 20 minutes to restore the same drive image from our external drive, but again an internal device would be quicker.

As well as straight drive image save and restore, the program can clone individual partitions or complete hard drives, which is particularly useful if you’re introducing a new hard drive to your PC. Both the save and restore and the clone tasks are Wizard-driven, so you work through them step-by-step to set up the parameters, but you can operate the program using more conventional explorer-style screens, if you prefer.

Avanquest’s AutoSave 2 is bundled with Perfect Image 11. This takes a second copy each time you save a work file and puts it in a designated back-up location. This is handy as an automated back-up option, but there are limitations, the most restricting of which is that the back-up destination has to be on the same machine as the source file, so no network back-ups are possible.

Company: VCOM

Contact: 0800 289041

PerfectImage 11 is a valid alternative to better-known drive-imaging utilities like TrueImage and in some ways is easier to use. It doesn't have the copy performance or range of compression settings of some competitors, nor does it combine conventional file back-up with drive image back-up, but for the single type of image copy, it's a fine tool.