After stumbling across a number of references to DMDE on this forum (the majority of which appear to have been made by Wonko - if it wasn't free I'd suspect he was on commission ) I thought I'd try it out. DMDE appears to be a powerful disk editor - even in form of the slightly limited Free Edition. Description from the DMDE Website -
DMDE is a powerful software for data searching, editing, and recovery on disks. It may recover directory structure and files in some complicated cases through the use of special algorithms when other software can't help.
DMDE has a number of freeware features such as disk editor, simple partition manager (e.g. allows undelete a partition), a tool to create disk images and clones, RAID constructor, file recovery from the current panel. Paid editions support file and directory recovery without restrictions, DMDE Professional Edition has additional features to recover data for clients (compare editions)......
DMDE supports FAT12/16, FAT32, NTFS, Ext2/3/4, and works under Windows 98/ME/2K/XP/Vista/7/8 (GUI and Console), DOS (Console), Linux (Terminal)......
Disk imaging includes creating, writing images back to disk, disk cloning, and supports handling of I/O errors (bad sectors)......
DMDE does not require installation and runs just after extracting.
I have barely scratched the surface of this tool, however I did complete a couple of quick disk imaging tests that I thought I'd share here. The test system was a Lenovo Thinkpad T400 laptop with a 5400 RPM SATA-II HDD. I copied a 8GB USB Flash Drive (SanDisk Facet - appears as a Fixed Type Disk) to the internal HDD. I've not had the USB drive for long, so it's not accumulated too much cr@p (in terms of disk content and deleted files). At the time of testing it had 0.99 GB of used space.
The first test was a straightforward disk image. This took approximately 5 minutes and 52 seconds - the program doesn't give any feedback in terms of time taken to complete an operation so I used a stopwatch.
No compression options were available so I did a second test - this time saving the image to a NTFS compressed folder. This test took approximately 6 minutes and 42 seconds. The Size on disk: of the resulting image file was 2GB.
I then did a few quick tests in WinHex for comparison. Quick note - WinHex requires a licence in order to create a RAW type disk image, as the Free version will only capture in the propriatory .whx format.
I tested WinHex using three different compression settings available for RAW type images -
- No compression - took 6 minutes 32 seconds, Size on disk: 7.45 GB.
- NTFS compression - took 9 minutes 48 seconds, Size on disk: 2 GB.
- NTFS Sparse - took 6 minutes 34 seconds, Size on disk:2.12 GB.
It's worth mentioning that I tested this twice. On both occasions I ran WinHex and DMDE in Windows PE and used the same HDD and USB drives.
The DMDE results were almost identical in terms of the time taken to capture the image. The WinHex results varied by up to 37 seconds - on the first run the NTFS sparse compression took 5 minutes 57 seconds, following a reboot and retest it took the 6 minutes 34 seconds referred to above.
WinHex is a fantastic piece of software and results are likely to vary significantly depending on the content and type of disk being imaged - I am not implying in any way that DMDE is superior to (or inferior to) WinHex! These result are for comparison purposes only.