How to create and use a disk image

When you need to create a disk image

  • for a mechanically damaged hard disk
  • before an in-place fix attempt, like running CHKDSK /F

Disk image are typically used in data recovery and for backups. In data recovery, disk images are used when there is a risk of the original media degrading further before recovery is complete.

What is a disk image?

The disk image (sometimes called "disk image file") is an exact and full copy of the disk. "Full" means all the data is copied, including system data. "Exact" means data is the same as on the disk.

How to create a disk image file using ReclaiMe

  1. Make sure you have enough free space available to store the disk image file. You need amount of free space equal to size of the disk you want to image. Note that you must save the disk image file onto a drive which is formatted to NTFS. Disk images cannot be stored on FAT due to FAT file size limitation.
  2. Download, install, and run ReclaiMe.
  3. Identify the drive you want to create image of in the device list (need help identifying your drive?).
  4. Click once on the drive to select it.
  5. On the toolbar, open the menu by clicking on the arrow next to the Disks button. Select Create disk image from the menu.
  6. Specify where to place the disk image file when prompted.

How to use a disk image file

Once you have a disk image file, you should use it instead of attempting data recovery from the original physical drive. Doing so eliminates the risk of the physical drive failing completely during recovery.

Here is how to use the disk image file in ReclaiMe File Recovery software.

  1. Start ReclaiMe File Recovery software.
  2. On the toolbar, open the menu by clicking on the arrow next to the Disks button. Select Open disk image from the menu.
  3. Select the disk image file to open when prompted.
  4. The disk image file would appear on top of the device list. If there were any partitions on it, they would also appear in the corresponding sections of the device list.
  5. Double click either the disk image file itself, or any of the partitions it contains to start recovery.

Compatibility with other data recovery software

Disk image files generated by ReclaiMe are compatible with most if not all data recovery tools available out there. Should you decide to try some other data recovery software, you just need to read their instructions on how to open the image file.

The reverse is also true. If you create a disk image file with some other data recovery software, ReclaiMe will open and use it just fine in most cases.

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