Selfimage is an open source hard drive imaging utility that can create, compress and restore an image of a hard drive or partition. This is useful for backing up a hard drive as well as restoring it to an earlier state.

This program has some really cool features, as follows:

  • Can create an image file of a partition that is currently in use.
  • Can create an image of an entire hard drive including master boot record and all partitions (and partition table).
  • Can create images that Windows doesn’t recognize or isn’t mounting; i.e. you can use Selfimage to manage images of partitions in a multi-OS PC.
  • Can restore an image to any partition  –  even mounted ones – that doesn’t have open files.
  • Will ignore free space in a partition, which (a) make the resulting image much smaller, and (b) results in a significant speed increase in image creation.
  • Allows for the creation and restoration of images remotely across a network.

Additional features which were not in the version I tested but are in the pipeline for future releases:

  • Bootable media that can restore images, in cases where it is not possible to do so from within Windows.
  • Ability to browse/read files within an image.
  • Ability to span created images across multiple media (CD’s, DVD’s, etc.), and support for creating images directly to backup device (CD’s, DVD’s, Tape, etc.).

Before I talk about how much I like this program (alot), I will say that the current lack of an option to restore an image from bootable media is a significant drawback compared to other disk imaging programs. Having said this, we will take the author at his word that this feature is coming soon.

I am very impressed with the speed of this program, the feature list it offers, as well as the simplicity of the user interface. Add to this the fact that it is 100% free and you can justifiably conclude that this one is a winner.

Version tested: 1.1.1.b56

Compatibility: Windows 2000, XP.

The program page no longer exists, but you can download ver. of the program here.