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Is there a difference between Disk Mode and Partition Mode?

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Beginner
Posts: 4
Comments: 4

I have two partitions on my C drive. I have one backup created in Partition mode that selects the two partitions. I have another backup created in Disk mode selecting the C drive.

Question: is there any difference in the actual backups?

I know Grover recommends using Disk Mode, but what's the specific reason.

Thanks.

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Legend
Posts: 172
Comments: 11125

#1

Question: Is there any differences between a Partition Image backup and a Disk Image backup --if all the same partitions are included within both backups?

Many users don't really know to look at how many partitons exist on their disk as viewed in Windows Disk Management grapical view or Diskpart view so the completeness of a partitition image backup is always a question mark.
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If the partition mode backup contains the same partitions as included in the disk mode or disk image backup, then there is no difference in the data or partition content of the backup other than their names. One is technically identified as a partition backup and the other as a disk image backup. (Note: both are identified inside the backup task as a disk backup.) The real differences (ease of restore) is in their restore procedures offered by the program.

Yes, for most people, I do suggest the "disk mode" or disk image backup as my preferred and as the preferred for "most" others. Why is that? For many (especially for those newer to backups, it is a matter of safety.

By clicking the "switch to disk mode" within Windows (or clicking the disk check box if booted from the CD), this one action assures a disk image selection & that all partition will be included and the backup will be capable of creating a replacement disk. The user does not suffer a later "gotcha" due to a boot or recovery partitions missing. Note the example shows all partitions included automatically.

Fig 03- My Preferred "Disk Mode" Backup.
Select the Preferred Disk Mode Backup so ALL partitions will be automatically included in disk image backup which will help to ensure that you can Recover your system to a new disk.

Whereas, notice the partition mode selection.

Fig 02- Partition mode backup.
By default, Backup Mode opens into Partition Mode (not all partitions selected). My recommendation is the Disk Image type backup which requires the " Select Disk Mode" be clicked.

The default partition display is poorly lacking in that none of the partition associated with any specific disk, so unless the user is skilled and familiar with Windows Disk Management view, it is very very easy to miss partitions needed to boot a replacement disk. and even not include all disk partition of the system disk. This example of disks is a simple one as some users have many more partitions and many more disks so the listing of partitions can be confusing and easy to miss. If the partitions were disk identified, I might feel slightly different but there are far too many postings on the forum where the user believes their backup has the capability of creating a replacement disk when sadly, it is not because the backup is lacking boot partitions or other partitions needed to replicate the original disk. So, the disk mode is all inclusive so that is usually my recommendation.

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The real differences between a "Disk Image Backup" versus a "Partition Mode Backup" (also of all partitions) show up during the restore procedure for a disk image restore. In both the Windows version and when restoring from the TI REcovery CD, there are restore procedure differences  controlled by whether the backup is a disk image or a partition image backup. The disk image restore of a disk image backup can bypasses the partition assignments and goes directly to the disk selection screen. Whereas, a disk imge restore of a partition image backup (all partitions) is forced into the assignment/configuration of each partition which takes longer and is more difficult with more chances for a user error.

This discussion relates to using the Acronis recommend when booted from the TrueImage Recovery CD when restoring a system or restoring a backup to a new disk.

The restore of the partition mode will require that each partition be configured and located with all the details, etc. As each partition can consume 3 screens or more for each partition configuration and with multiple partitions, it is very easy to see how a user (especially a new user) can get all mixed up and even make the wrong disk active.

Whereas, with restoring the disk mode backup with the disk check-box checked, the restore will bypass the partition configuration and user needs only to select the target disk and "recover disk signature" option, or a savings in time, complexity and a huge increase in the success rate due to the lack of user errors.

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My signature link 3 below offers 3 guides for different situations.
Depending upon the situation, the same shoe will not fit everyone so there are exceptions to every rule. For example, if the source disk is really large and user wants to keep multiple backups, the size of the disk image backup may be a restriction and exclusion of folders, etc may need to be considered. The disk image is still the best backup to have for the majority but it may be less practical for some under certain circumstances.

Beginner
Posts: 4
Comments: 4

#2

Thanks, Grover. I knew you'd shed some new light.

The partition backup is just fine for me as I know what's what on the disk, but I think I will stick with the backup in Disk mode just to ease the recovery which I hope I will never have to do.

Forum Member
Posts: 7
Comments: 42

#3

"but I think I will stick with the backup in Disk mode just to ease the recovery which I hope I will never have to do".

Yep - that's why I use disk mode too.

Beginner
Posts: 7
Comments: 5

#4

Can you recover ONLY one partition from a disk image, or do you have to recover the entire disk? This is important if the OS is broken and you want to restore an earlier version -- without overwriting current data files (on another partition) with the earlier data files that are part of the disk image.

Beginner
Posts: 7
Comments: 5

#5

Can you recover ONLY one partition from a disk image, or do you have to recover the entire disk? This is important if the OS is broken and you want to restore an earlier version -- without overwriting current data files (on another partition) with the earlier data files that are part of the disk image.

Forum Star
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#6

Hello Stephen,
That answer is yes. A full disk image back up offers the greatest flexibility as you can restore, a file, directory, single partition or the entire disk.