v5: How to create a disk image

Macrium Reflect can create file backups as well as disk images. However, for this tutorial you be able to complete the following tasks:

  • Create a full image of your computer's system drives using the wizard

  • Save your options as a XML definition file for easy re-running

  • Retrieve your saved XML definition

Before you start this tutorial, you need to have installed Macrium Reflect on the machine you wish to backup.

Creating a backup of your computer

1. Start Reflect and take the option ‘Create an Image of the partition(s) required to backup and restore Windows’ located in the top left hand pane of the application window to start the backup wizard. It is highlighted in red below.

2. The wizard should start as shown below. You will note that all partitions are displayed in the wizard, but only the system partitions have been selected. 
Note: Further information about Windows 7 partitions can be found here

3. In the 'Destination' section, select where you would like the resultant image to be written. In this tutorial, 'E drive' has been used. Click 'Next'.  For more on choosing a backup destination see the section on Backup Destinations, below.

4. A summary screen is shown detailing the settings used for this image. Click 'Finish'

5. You are now given the opportunity to save the backup options as shown in figure 3 below.

It is also not mandatory to run the backup at this point. However, for the purpose of this tutorial click 'OK'

Your system partitions will be backed up to the chosen location as shown below.

When the image has completed click 'OK' to shut down the message box and then click 'Close' to close the backup window.

Your system has now been backed up.


Retrieving your saved XML backup configuration

Macrium Reflect saves backup configurations using XML. Using an XML definition you can schedule a backup, generate a VBScript file for complex scenarios or simply create a desktop shortcut for instant running of your backup by clicking the shortcut icon.

In order to view your saved XML backup configurations, select the 'Backup Definitions Files' tab as shown below.

This will show all your saved XML configurations. By right clicking on the XML file, you are given the opportunity to rerun the backup, schedule it, create a desktop shortcut and many other functions.


Backup Destinations

If you plan to automatically delete your excess backups using Disk Space Management (DSM), such as after Scheduling your backups, care should be taken in choosing the destination folder.  At step 3 above, the use of folders as the Destination in E drive would be the preferred way.

DSM deletes oldest backup sets in the destination folder to make space available for new backups.  DSM for one (XML) Backup Definition can delete backups sets created by another Backup Definition for backups placed in the same destination folder.  The use of different folders should be part of a retention policy for backups to make sure one backup definition does not delete backups of others if you do not want it to do so.  DSM works at folder level but only on the designated destination folder of the backup.

For information: A 'backup set' consists of a full backup and any incrementals or differentials with the same Image ID.  The Image ID is the part underlined in the following example backup file name: 69B5FC3F39E0F9F5-00-00.mrimg

Image all drives

In the tutorial above, we created a backup of all partitions required to backup and restore Windows. However, you can backup all drives and partitions on the PC by clicking the button as shown below:

This will automatically select all drives and partitions in the wizard to be imaged. Continue from step 2 above.

Image one drive or partition

You can also choose to image just one drive:

or just one partition by selecting the 'Actions...' button underneath the desired partition as shown below:

Video Tutorial


A Youtube tutorial showing the steps that have been covered above is available below:


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Posted 2 Jun 2011 by jon.dittman@macrium.com