How to mount a macrium reflect backup image to retrieve files

In this tutorial you ‘ll find detailed instructions to clone a hard disk using the Macrium Reflect Free software. Macrium Reflect, is a reliable clone disk utility, that can be used to create an image of a hard disk or to backup disk’s partitions (all contents) or individual files and folders into a single compressed, mountable archive file.

A disk clone, is an exact copy of the data contained on one disk (original disk) into another disk (cloned disk). The hard drive clone operation, is useful, when you want to replace or upgrade a hard drive with a larger one, or if you want to backup the contained data for safety reasons. Additionally, you can use the cloned drive to another PC with the same or different hardware configuration. *

* Note for Windows 7 or Vista users: To make the cloned drive to work in another configuration read this tutorial: How to Replace Motherboard without Reinstalling Windows.

In this tutorial you ‘ll find detailed instructions to clone a hard drive using the Macrium Reflect Free software.

How to clone a hard disk with Macrium Reflect Free.

Step 1. Download and Install Macrium Reflect.

1. Download Macrium Reflect Free (Home Use).
2. At ‘Macrium Reflect Download Agent’, leave the default options and click Download.
3. When the download is completed, proceed and install the product.

Step 2. Clone Hard Drive with Macrium Reflect.

1. Select the disk that you want to clone.
2. Choose Clone this disk

3. Choose Select a disk to clone to…
Click at the destination (empty) disk. *

5. Then click Next. *

* Note: If the destination disk is not empty then click Delete Existing partition.

6. At the next screen you can specify a schedule for the clone operation. To run the clone immediately click Next.
7. Review your settings and click Finish

8. At the ‘Backup Save Options’, click OK. *

* Note: If you want to save your clone settings, to re-run the backup at any time on the future, leave the “Save backup and schedules as a XML Backup Definition File” option, checked.

9. Finally, sit back and wait the clone disk operation to complete.

That’s it! Let me know if this guide has helped you by leaving your comment about your experience. Please like and share this guide to help others.

Jason Fitzpatrick is the Senior Smart Home Editor at How-To Geek. He has over a decade of experience in publishing and has authored thousands of articles at How-To Geek, Review Geek, LifeSavvy, and Lifehacker. Jason served as Lifehacker’s Weekend Editor before he joined How-To Geek. Read more.

Generally speaking you image an entire drive to do a drive-at-a-time backup and restoration. Now and then you may find you need to mount a drive image you’ve created to retrieve a file or two. Read on as we show you how to mount a Macrium Reflect backup image as a Windows drive.

Why Do I Want To Do This?

Ideally you have parallel backup practices: one backup workflow for things like /My Documents/ and your photos and a tandem backup process for your entire system drive so you can restore your computer in the event of a failure or serious problem. But best practice isn’t always the practice we follow and sometimes you need a file trapped inside a disk image.

Let’s say, for example, you followed one of our tutorials that uses Macrium Reflect, like How to Create an Image of Your PC Before Upgrading to Windows 10, and then some time later you realize there was a file in your /Downloads/ folder that you really needed.

If that file isn’t co-located in your regular file backup system and exists only in your drive image then you need a way to get at that file without writing the entire image to a new drive. Fortunately for all of us Macrium includes a handy little way to mount your drive image as a virtual drive in Windows so you can browse /Downloads/ or any other folder in the disk image to your heart’s content.

Mounting The Disk Image

The first order of business is locate the disk image. For this tutorial we’re using a disk image located on a USB 3.0 backup drive attached to our main computer. Wherever your disk image is you want to locate it for ease of use before proceeding.

There’s a big important point to make before we proceed: all the elements of the disk image need to be in one place for this mount-the-image trick to work. This means if you’ve been using the advanced features in Macrium Reflect like differential or incremental backup then all the pieces need to be in one place (the original plus all the increments) and not just the smaller and later incremental pieces. If you’ve followed along with this tutorial after using one of our whole-drive image tutorials, however, you don’t need to stress about that. The entirety of your disk image is contained in a single file.

Backup image in hand it’s time to fire up Macrium Reflect. If you’re using the machine you originally created the image on it’s highly likely Macrium is still installed, if it isn’t installed you’ll want to grab a copy here and install it fresh. Note: you can skip the step in the installation process where it prompts you to download and create the recovery media (which will save you a bunch of time and around 500MB of bandwidth) as we’re just using the desktop application for this tutorial and not the recovery media.

With Macrium Reflect launched, switch from the default “Disk Image” tab to the “Restore” tab as seen in the screenshot below.

Click on the link, in the left hand navigation panel, labeled “Open an image or backup file in Windows Explorer.

In the subsequent menu, select “Image Files” and then click “Browse for folder ….”. Navigate to the location of your disk image and select the drive or folder it is located in. When you’ve selected a drive or folder that contains a proper Macrium disk image it will popular the list below the browse menu.

Once the list is populated you can select the image you wish to mount (simple enough in our case because there is only a single disk image in that directory). Check the image you wish to mount and then select an unused drive letter; we selected “W:”.

Below the list there are two options: “Enable access to restricted folders” and “Make writable”. We suggest you check them both, but first a word on their function. The first option, “Enable access to restricted folders”, mounts the drive image with full NTFS rights to override permissions that were set on another computer (or an old operating installation on the same computer you’re currently using). This is enormously convenient as old NTFS permissions present quite a hassle when browsing old operating system disks on a new operating system. (Seriously Macrium, we love you for including this feature and saving us from having to manually wrestle with old file permissions).

The second option “Make writable” sounds like a horrible idea but is actually harmless and very useful. There are many applications wherein you need to write and/or execute something in order to extract the data you need from them. Let’s say, for example, your old computer had a virtual hard drive on it and you need to open that up to get some old tax forms. By checking “Make writable” you can mount that virtual drive file (even though the virtual drive is actually inside the mounted backup disk image). The changes are temporary and the drive image will revert to the pristine state it was in when you’re done working with it.

Once you’ve made your selections, click OK to mount and open the disk image.

Browsing the Disk Image

When you finish with your selection in the previous step your the virtual drive should open automatically in Windows Explorer (if not you can open My Computer and browse to it like you would any other drive).

The disk image will appear like a regular drive with folders, files, and, importantly, the ability to copy files out. You can even use disk search tools to drill down through your files in search of the missing item you need.

Remember the step in the last section “Enable access to restricted folders”? This is exactly why we checked that item.

Note the drive structure: we’re currently in the /Users/Username/ folder of our old Windows installation. Traditionally this would pose a problem and we’d have to wrestle with NTFS file permissions but thanks to the simple toggle we’re able to easily do so. Also, it’s time to confess the real reason we’re diving into the old disk image. It’s not for tax returns or mission critical files, it’s for Minecraft. We needed those old world files and mods!

At this point retrieving the files is a simple drag and drop operation.

We, perhaps, underestimated exactly how many Minecraft files we had stashed in the old drive image. None the less over a USB 3.0 connection the transfer was surprisingly zippy and over in a matter of minutes.

Browse freely and find all the files you need to pull from the image. Once you’re done it’s time to move onto the next step, unmounting the image.

Unmounting the Disk Image

Your final step, once all the missing tax files and Minecraft maps alike are located and extracted, is to unmount the disk image. While you could certainly leave the image mounted for a period of time (and may need to depending on how large the files you need to retrieve are) it’s bad data hygiene and backup practice to leave the image unnecessarily mounted, so back into storage it must go.

To unmount the disk image you can either right click on the drive in Windows Explorer and select “Unmount Macrium Image” or you can unmount it, as seen above, in the Macrium Reflect application by selecting Restore -> Detach Image.

Once you’ve unmounted the disk image we strongly suggest returning the storage medium that contains the backup image to its prior location for safe keeping.

Got a backup created using Macrium Reflect, and now you need to restore it to a new computer? If you do it manually, you’ll only get your files. However, in this article, we’ll learn how to restore not just your files, but also your programs, profiles, settings, emails, accounts and all the rest – from the Macrium Reflect image backup to a different computer.

Mount the Macrium Reflect backup to access its files and contents

The first step to recovery is performing what’s called a “mount” of the Macrium backup file on the new computer. This operation allows to gain access to the backup’s contents, and thus to perform a restore. Here is how to do it.

  1. Make sure Macrium Reflect is installed on the computer. If it isn’t, you can download it from Macrium here.
  2. Once Macrium is installed, launch it and switch to the Restore tab. Then, click “Open an image or backup file in Windows explorer” on the left.
  3. Browse for the folder you have your backup in.
  4. Macrium will then show the drives inside your backup (such as “(C:)”). Click OK to complete the mount process and open your backup drive.
  5. After a brief waiting time, your backup will be mounted as a virtual drive.

Good job! At this point, you can already locate your old drives in Windows files and folders, and even copy some of your files to your new computer. Of course, manual copy of files is not what we are after – let’s see how to do a complete restore, including programs and settings, and to do it automatically.

Recover your files, settings, profile and programs from Macrium Reflect backup

Now that we have our backup accessible on the new computer, we’ll use Zinstall Migration Kit Pro to recover programs, settings files, emails, personalization, settings, documents and all the rest. The process is automatic and you won’t have to hunt everything down manually. Here is how to do it:

    1. On the new computer, run Zinstall Migration Kit Pro (you can download it here)
  1. Choose the “Moving from another hard drive” scenario (the “hard drive” here is our mounted Macrium backup)
  2. The Kit will automatically detect the mounted backup. Confirm the selection, and press Next.
  3. If you want to only recover some of the programs, or some of the files, use the Advanced menu to select which ones you want. If you want to just recover everything, simply click Next to continue.
  4. You will be presented with a quick summary of what’s about to be recovered – press “Go” to start the process.

That’s it – that’s how you restore a Macrium Reflect backup to a new computer!

By mounting image files in Windows Explorer you can browse or explore an image and access all the files in a backup. The backed up data appears as a temporary drive in Windows Explorer that you can access, just like any other drive, mounted with its own drive letter. Individual Files and Folders can easily be recovered by using Copy and Paste.

If you mount an incremental or differential backup, the chosen folder must contain all the files required to load the image. Meaning an incremental backup requires all the previous files in the backup set to be present, and a differential backup requires the full backup to be present. For example, If your backup is split across multiple DVD’s then it isn’t possible to mount the backup.

If you restart Windows, all temporary mounted Images are detached.

Note: If you have a File and Folder backup (not image backup) Macrium Reflect also has a wizard to restore selected files and/or folders. You must use the File and Folder restore wizard to restore files greater than 4 GB in size. These files cannot be restored by mounting your backup as described in this article. Please see Restoring a file and folder backup

There are several ways to mount / unmount an image:

Mounting an image in Windows Explorer

Navigate to the location of the image you wish to mount.

Right click the image file and select Explore image.

Select the partition you wish to mount and Click OK.

In this example, the image only contains one partition.

You can also select which Drive Letter you would like to be assigned.

The option Enable access to restricted folders mounts the image with full NTFS access rights to all folders in the image. This means you can browse images created on another PC without having to grant NTFS permissions.

The option Make writable makes the mounted file system temporarily writable. This is useful when accessing files in the image where the opening application is required to write to the file. For example, Microsoft Virtual Hard Disk (.vhdx) files can be mounted and files in the mounted backup can be recovered without having to restore the .vhdx file first.

You can now navigate through the image in Windows Explorer.

Using Macrium to mount an image

In the main window of Macrium Reflect, select Restore.

Select the image you wish to mount then click the Browse Image link.

Using Macrium Reflect Command Line Interface (CLI) to mount an image

Open a command prompt and change the directories as necessary so the path to reflect.exe is shown.
See Running an elevated command prompt.

Complete the command line as follows:

Note: Instead of inserting Path to Image file you can also replace it with LAST_FILE_CREATED if you want the last Image created in the current Windows session to be mounted.

Available CLI switches:


A comma separated list of drive letters to use for the mounted image eg; -drives m,n If no drive letters are specified then the next available letters are used.

Note: If you do not use -auto you will be prompted with the Backup Selection dialog to assign the drive letters.

Some examples of using the CLI to mount images:

To mount an image and prompt for a drive letter:

To mount all partitions of an image using the next available drive letter(s):

To mount all partitions for the last image created in the current Windows session:

To mount all partitions in an image using drive letters p,q,r

To mount the third partiton only using drive letter ‘R’

To mount all partitions in a password protected image using drive letters p,q,r where pwd is the password,(the password is case sensitive):

Unmounting a temporary mounted drive

Using Windows Explorer:

    To detach a temporary mounted drive using Windows Explorer, right click the drive you wish to unmount.

Scroll to Macrium Reflect, click Unmount Macrium Image.

Using Macrium Reflect:

    In the Macrium Reflect application, select Restore in the top menu.

Take the ‘Restore’ > ‘Detach Image‘ menu option.

Select the drive letter you wish to unmount.

Using the CLI:

Open a command prompt and change the directory as necessary so the path to reflect.exe is shown.
See Running an elevated command prompt .

Complete the command line as follows:

(i f no drive letter is included the switch -u will detach all temporary mounted drives).

Image backups are great for a couple of reasons.

One reason is that, if your hard drive fails or something else renders what’s on
your hard drive unusable, an image backup

The other good thing is that an image backup contains everything. Should you
need even only one file, you can get it from an image backup.

Accessing the image backup

In Macrium Reflect, click the Restore tab, and then click the “Open an image or backup file in Windows Explorer” option:

Next, you’ll be presented with a dialog to select an image to Mount

You’ll notice two different “Original locations”, each listed twice. Our original full system image included two partitions, the system reserved partition

The most recent “System Reserved” partition, the result of the full backup

The most recent C: partition, the result of the full backup with the incremental backup applied.

The original “System Reserved” partition full backup.

The original C: partition full backup.

If you have multiple incremental backups that have accumulated since the original system image was created (a common situation), you’ll see them all listed.

In general, you want the most recent backup of the partition that contained the file that you’re attempting to restore.

I’ve selected the most recent C: partition.

You also need to select what drive letter will be used to access the contents of this backup. I’ve selected F:.

Click OK to continue.

Macrium now mounts that backup as drive F:.

What that means is that you can now browse the contents of the backup image using Windows Explorer – or any Windows program.

Once you locate a file that you want to recover, you simply copy it from the mounted backup image to your local drive as you would copy any other file between drives.

When you’ve completed browsing or restoring files from the backup image, return to Macrium Reflect and click “Detach a backup image from Windows explorer”:

It’ll ask you to select the drive on which a backup image is mounted on; pressing OK removes the mount and the drive letter from use.

That’s really all there is to it. The ability to mount a backup image and browse it with tools that you’re already familiar with (such as Windows Explorer) make looking for restoring files contained within an image backup a snap.


Video Transcript

This is Leo Notenboom for

Restoring an individual file from an image backup using Macrium Reflect.

Even though you have an image backup, that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to restore the entire image. It’s quite possible to use that image to get at individual files. I’ll show you how.

We’ll click on Restore in Macrium Reflect and what we will do is ‘Open an image or backup file in Windows Explorer.’ We are presented with a list of the backup images that Macrium knows about.

Select the most recent one from the drive that contains the file you want to restore. Select a drive letter. You’ll see a list of unused drive letters on your machine. I’m just going to go ahead and use the first one, F. What happens is Macrium mounts that backup image into a virtual disk drive that you can now explore and you’ll find various files that were in your backup as of the time that you took your backup.

Using Windows Explorer, you can locate the file that you want to restore and then copy it back to your hard drive. I’ll just grab this copy of lastpass.exe that I have lying around. We’ll copy it from the backup. I’ll switch over to my C: drive and I’ll go ahead and paste it here into this folder. That file has now been effectively restored from the backup image.

Once you’re done restoring whatever files you want from the backup image, you would then go ahead and detach that backup image from Windows Explorer. The only one we have attached is F, so we’ll detach it. That’s all there is to it. Browsing backup images using Macrium Reflect is very easy and a very safe way to go back and get files from your backup images.

Do this

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You can browse or explore an image or backup by mounting the file in Windows Explorer. The backed-up data is mapped to a temporary drive letter that you can access just like any other drive.

In Windows Explorer, the backup image is read-only so you cannot change its contents. You can either open the files directly (but you will not be able to save them) or you can copy and paste them to the desired location using Windows Explorer.

Note: >>–> >>–>When you finish a session, you should detach the image to release the drive letter, otherwise the image or backup will remain mounted.

To mount an image or backup

In the Macrium Reflect main window, select the Restore tab at the top left.

Select the Image Restore tab or File and Folder Restore tab.

The restore tab displays a list of all the backup files discovered in the ‘Folders To Search’. You can sort the images by date, location, or filename by clicking the relevant link. You can filter the list by backup disk, and add additional folders to the search. To browse for an image file that is not listed, click Browse for an image file at the top.

Click an image to select it.

Action links appear inside the image area.

Click Browse Image .

The backup selection dialog appears:

Select the backup or image that you want to browse.

From the drive letter drop-down, select a drive letter.

To mount the image with full NTFS access rights to all folders in the image, select Enable access to restricted folders .

The Enable access to restricted folders option removes NTFS security restrictions in images that were created on another computer. Without this option, some folders such as personal or user folders, are inaccessible due to NTFS security restrictions.

Windows Explorer starts with the mounted image selected. You can browse and copy files from the image.

To detach a backup image and free the drive letter

Right-click the drive letter in Windows Explorer and select Unmount Macrium Image from the shortcut menu.

Tip / Trick

If you use your Windows computer a lot at home or you have a business with critical data being stored on your computer, you might be interested in finding some software that can backup your data instead of just relying on a system restore if something goes wrong.

There are many different free imaging programs out there that can help you backup the data on your Windows computer with ease regularly, but one of the best available out there is Macrium Reflect.

You might already be aware that Windows 10 comes with an option to take system image backups right from the Settings, but the features that come with Macrium Reflect are what makes people use it over what comes natively with Windows. With the Macrium version, you get smaller images, faster backups, the program itself is more reliable, heaps more features such as a boot menu option, boot repair options, and many more features.

You might expect things to be different since Microsoft is the billion dollar company, but the fact of the matter is that Microsoft hasn’t really developed their system image backup tools since Windows 7 and they aren’t even close to much of the competition that is doing a better job of creating tools for these system image backups for them. Part of the reason why Microsoft has lagged behind in creating decent tools for system image backups is that they apparently wanted to drop it for the File History Backup feature—which seemingly few people use.

How to create backup of system image in Windows 10 and restore it

Macrium is available as free and paid software. Like all products that offer free and paid software, the paid version comes with more features. You can read up on what they are from the download page that is given in the first step. The free version comes with everything you need for backing up and restoring the system images with ease.

Installing Macrium Reflect:

Head to the link and click on the download link available for home or business use—depending on what suits your needs. (Some links suggest this software is only a free trial. Discard those. This is not just a free trial.)

Click on the Reflect executable file when it is available above the taskbar.

Keep the “Free/Trial software” box checked if you want the free version of the tool and then click on the “Download” button.

Click “Yes” when you get to the confirmation dialog box.

When the download begins, you will notice a bit of a paradox: one of the main features of this tool is that it manages to save a lot of space when backing up its images in comparison to other tools, but the size of the download in itself is quite large. For most people, it will still make sense using over other tools if you wanted a tool that could save space, but you ought to assess if it’s worth having if you don’t plan on backing up and restoring much data with smaller images.

After the download completes, you then get to the Macrium Reflect Installer. Click on the “Next” button to begin running through the setup wizard.

Accept the terms and conditions and then click “Next.”

Click on the “Next” button again.

Since this is the free version, it already has the license key available in the box. (You can save that to your EverNote or Notepad if you want, but you don’t need to know the License key to use it.)

Click through the rest of the screens you get along with the installation wizard and then click on the “Install” button when you get to the end of them.

Creating rescue media:

Before getting stuck into the backups, Macrium invites you to create rescue media. The idea behind this is to give you an option to recover the system if it does not boot for you. It’s always a good idea to buy a separate USB stick for things like this so you don’t damage your rescue media because you might need to rely on it in the future.

When the Rescue Media dialog box pops up on the display, click on the “Yes” button to create it.

Click on the “Next” button again.

The program then displays your drivers (highlighted in yellow) and includes them in the rescue media for you. You can click on the “Update driver” button if you haven’t done that in a while, and then click on the “Next” button to advance.

Choose the PE architecture from the drop-down menu (most computer’s should be 64-bit these days.) Click on the “Next” button to continue.

Here you get to choose how you want to store the rescue media. If you are a disk kind of a guy or girl, then you can click on the “CD/DVD” option, or change it to the USB Device if you want to have it stored on a thumb drive.

Click on the “Finish” button to create your rescue media file after you have chosen the DVD or USB option.

Creating a full backup image:

Now the fun part: creating the backup of the data. By default, you are shown the “Disk Image” in the free version and the “Backup” in the Home edition. All of the connected disks are to be seen in the right pane. These connected disks and individually checked in the checkboxes so you can choose to either backup them all or only some.

Additionally, in the left pane is a couple of backup options: “Image selected disks on this computer” and “Create an image of the partition required to backup and restore Windows.” The latter only giving you everything from the C:/ partitions legacy BIOS / MBR system or all of the EFI system partitions plus the C: partition on a UEFI / GPT system.

The following screen is where you need to choose your destination folder. Here is where some people get stuck when they aren’t thinking—like me initially. If you try to do what I did here, it will give you an error message and let you know that you can’t choose a folder from your C:/ drive. That’s because you need to choose a folder that is stored on your E:/ drive which is your external media (USB flash storage drive.)

Click on the “Advanced” tab at the bottom to check out some other intriguing options.

You have six menu items in the left pane, all that offer something unique to do with your backups. If you click on the “Auto verify image” for example, you can automatically verify these instead of having to do it manually. Verifying the mage is referring to checking and making sure that your images are OK.

In the comments section, you should write something that allows you to identify this particular image backup that you are taking easily.

Click on the “OK” button after you are finished with the Advanced Options box. Click on the “Next” button to continue with your backups and then enter the name of your first backup definition.

The software then starts imaging the disks and partitions that you had selected. The first thing it does is take a snapshot. After the snapshot is taken of your system, you can then continue working on it while the backup is being taken. Macrium Reflect also allows you to change the priority of the resources which is handy if you notice your computer getting sluggish while it is working in the background.

Restoring a system backup:

Once the system image backup is taken, you will want to restore it in the future.

From the main Macrium Reflect user interface, click on the “Restore” tab to swap it over to the restoring options.

Click on the folder that is for browsing Reflect for images or backups that you have already taken. All of your images and backups are displayed in the right pane as soon as you click on the option for browsing.

The system image backup is now created and restored in your version of the Windows 10 operating system by using Reflect.

This article explains what your options are if you wish to transfer your data to a different/new PC.

When you purchase a new computer, it usually is delivered with the latest version of Windows and drivers / utility software specific to your new hardware. It is reasonable to think that it would be nice to backup all the applications and all your user data on your old computer and restore it to your new computer, while leaving your shiny new operating system in place.

Unfortunately, this task is, in practical terms, impossible to automate. This is due to the diversity of application software, how it interacts and extends the Operating system and some design decisions made in the early days of Windows.

Read on to learn why.

How data and applications are stored

A computer system contains lots of stored data. This data can be split into the following types.

  • The operating system (typically Windows)
  • Installed applications
  • User created data (documents, pictures, emails etc)

When you install a typical application, additional to copying the software to c:\program files, the install process can also modify the windows information store (registry), extend Windows (add background services and drivers) and carry out other actions specific dependent on your computer type and Windows version. This customisation and modification of shared resource during installation makes the installed files non-portable between computers.

To further complicate matters, despite there being some standard places for applications to store their data, they are not observed by many applications. Hence, it is impossible to automate the backup / restore of all your user data.

Your options

1. Take an image of your old computer and restore it to your new computer.

This is a simple process, and you will get a computer that works exactly like your old one if all goes well. However, it will now have the operating system that was installed on your original computer. You will have to install drivers for your new graphics and network adapters and any other specific hardware. You will also need to run Redeploy to ensure it has drivers required for booting. You may also find that you have to re-activate Windows for your new hardware (this may not be available if you have an OEM license).

2. Reinstall software on your new computer and manually copy user data/documents.

This requires more effort initially, but you retain your new operating system with its installed drivers and customizations for your new hardware. We suggest you make an image of your old computer; you can explore the image on your new computer, copying files as you need them. This article explains how to access files from the backup image. All applications, however. will need to be reinstalled.You can also use the Windows Easy Transfer feature to transfer the most common files, email, pictures, and settings. It is available here for Windows XP, Vista and 7 and built into Windows 8 (use the win8 search, search for transfer and follow the wizard).

Note: There are utility programs that claim to automate the migration of your installed programs to a new computer. However, due to previously described complexity, they will typically cause issues with your new computer which may vary from simply being unable to uninstall some applications to, in the worse case, making your system non-bootable or unstable.

Q: Why does Macrium provide a free backup product?
A: We believe the ability to keep your data safe and secure should be available to everyone.

Q: Is it reliable?
A: Yes, the core Macrium backup engine is common across our product range and trusted worldwide.

Q: Is it fast?
A: For one off backups and clones, yes. However, you will find it much slower than the rest of our product range when used for scheduled backups. We have not intentionally slowed Reflect Free; it is slower because it does not include various Macrium backup acceleration features.

Q: Where is it useful?
A: It is useful for one off backups and clones. We don’t recommend it for continuous / scheduled computer protection. In particular, it does not include:

  • Features needed for fully featured ongoing protection of a computer
  • Ransomware protection of backup files (Macrium Image Guardian)
  • ReDeploy to ensure a restore will boot on new hardware
  • Technical support

Q: I don’t have a registration code?
A: It should have been emailed to you, please check your spam folder.
Note that a registration code is not mandatory for non-commercial installs.

Q: Where do I download it
A: Navigate to and click on Download Free.

Q: I cannot download / install
A: For guidance on other related issues, please go here.
Note: Download using IE not supported. Please use an alternative browser.

Q: Are the backup files compatible with Macrium’s supported products?
A: Yes. If you upgrade to a fully supported product, you can browse and restore backups made with Reflect Free.

Q: Can Reflect Free be centrally deployed and managed?
A: Reflect Free is not compatible with Macrium Site Manager.

Q: Is it licensed for commercial use?
A: Yes, when registered accordingly, it is licensed for up to 10 concurrent installs. Please read the EULA for further details.

Q: What uses are specifically excluded?
A: Reflect Free should not be used for:

  • Backup of a computer other than that on which it is installed.
  • Restore to a computer other than that backed up, other than its replacement.
  • Install it on a device you do not own for use with any person other than the original registered licensee.
  • Use it on more than 10 concurrent installs across any one organization.

Examples of excluded usage.

  • Deployment of a common image to multiple computers (see the Macrium Reflect Deployment Kit)
  • Backup of any machine other than the computer upon which it is installed (see the Macrium Reflect Technician’s License)
  • Using a ‘service’ computer to clone, backup, or restore disks from other computers (see the Macrium Reflect Technician’s License)

Q: Is there a full EULA available?
A: Yes, it is here.

The system image (or image backup

Or put more simply – an image backup

I’ll walk you through creating an image backup using Macrium Reflect.

Our System

The example system that we’re backing up looks like this in Macrium Reflect:

The upper drive is our backup drive – the D: drive.

The lower drive is our system drive and has two partitions:

The System Reserved partition

Configuring the backup

On the left, Macrium includes a useful button to begin the process:

Click “Create an image of the partition(s) required to backup and restore Windows” to get things started.

The upper part of the resulting dialog will have been automatically filled in with the drives necessary to backup Windows for you.

The lower portion of the dialog allows you to specify where the backup image is to be placed.

The destination folder can be any folder on an attached drive, such as an external drive, or even a folder on a network

The backup filename defaults to the “Image ID”. This can be fairly obscure, but you’re quite welcome to specify a name for the backup – perhaps the name of the machine being backed up.

Click Next.

On the next screen, you’re presented with a summary of the options that you’ve selected for your backup. Click the Advanced Options link.

In reality, it’s safe to ignore most of the options here, but I like to increase the compression

Click OK and then Next to continue.

Macrium creates what’s called an “XML Backup Definition File” which saves all of the options that we’ve selected so far. This will become useful when we perform incremental backup

Make sure that “Run this backup now” is also checked and click OK to start the actual backup.

As the backup progresses, you can click the Hide button to hide Macrium Reflect while it does its job. Just right-click its icon in the status area and click Show if you want it back.

When the backup eventually completes, Macrium will present a status message:

The backup is complete. You’ll find the backup image in the location you specified as a single .mrimg or Macrium Reflect IMage File.


Video Transcript

This is Leo Notenboom for

Creating an image backup with Macrium Reflect.

Now that we’ve got Macrium installed and our rescue media created, it’s time to go ahead and create a base image backup of the drives that we care about.

In this particular machine, I actually have two drives. On top, you’ll see a backup drive D: and on the bottom, you’ll see a disk that has two partitions. The first being the system reserve partition and the second being the C: drive. What we’re going to do is to create an image backup of the lower drive. In this particular case, Macrium actually makes this fairly easy by simply allowing us to say, ‘Create an image of the partition(s) required to backup and restore Windows.’ It automatically selects both the reserved area and the C: drive and the master boot record which are required to restore Windows.

The destination of our backup will be the backup drive. As we saw before, the backup drive is the D: drive on this machine. You can select a local drive, an external drive or, if you want to, network drives that have sufficient capacity for the backup you’re about to create.

I’ll just go ahead and stick with the root

We’ll hit Next. We’re presented with a summary with what the operations are about to perform entail. There are advanced operations that are available. In general, you probably don’t need to worry about them. The only one I make a habit of changing is to increase the compression level to ‘High’ simply to make sure that the backups take up the smallest amount of space possible. That does mean that the backup itself may take a little while longer.

We’ll hit OK; we’ll hit Finish and now what’s happened is Macrium has created a definition file; a file that contains all of the options that we’ve just selected. That’ll come in handy later. For now, we’ll go ahead and save this backup file as what they call an XML Backup Definition File. You can give it its own name; they suggest My Backup as a default and we’ll go ahead and save it that way. In addition, the checkbox to ‘Run this backup now’ is also selected; we’ll let that go so both things happen when we press OK.

Since the backup is projected to take a little while, which is not uncommon for backups, you do have the option of simply hiding the program. When you do so, the program will continue running but only this little status icon down here will be displayed until the backup completes. You can restore the display of Macrium simply by right-clicking on that icon and selecting Show. And we’re done. As you can see, though it initially predicted something like 45 minutes, the actual backup took roughly 24. We’ll hit OK; we’ll close this and now you can see (we’ll open up Windows Explorer on the backup drive) and you can see there’s a 9 GB file here that contains the backup image. ‘MRIMG’ stands for Macrium Reflect Image. We have a full backup

How to install it:

After downloading the file and clicking the executable, follow all the prompts on your screen. Make the choices that fit your needs.
Choose Home Use and download it to the desired folder. You can execute the program within the browser. Since this tutorial is for the Home version, choose Home and click next.
It will automatically populate the license key.
If it appears. I always uncheck the register box and click next. It’s up to you if you want to register or not, it does not change the functionality of the software.
Leave all checks default and click next.

Finally, click install.

Click Next, and you’ll see the following as Macrium checks for Device Drivers compatibility. If you need to add Drivers, this is where you choose to do so.

Click Next to prepare and build the Windows PE image.

You can leave this at default or choose your ownWIM.
Click Next to begin the WIM build. Files will automatically be downloaded from Microsoft to complete the process if needed.

Once complete you can choose where to burn the media

You can choose either CD/DVD or USB. I recommend USB.

Click Finish to create your rescue media

Once you have your media created, it’s wise to test it to make sure it will boot on your PC.

You will choose the drive and partitions you want to image. Then, click Create an image of the partition(s) required to backup and restore Windows.

Make sure each partition you want to image is checked like above. Some of the partitions contain the boot files for Windows. Choose the location of the image file, preferably a separate or external drive.

You can name the image if you wish. Hit Next

You can add a schedule. As shown above, I have 2 Full backups and 12 Differentials, you can set it up any way that fits your needs. Explanation of Full, Differential backups: Incremental vs differential backup: what are the differences, and how do they compare?

Scheduling is self-explanatory.

This is your summary to check if all is well and to your specifications. You can also hit the advanced options and choose the option to verify the backup image before or after every run of the backup schedule.

This is it! You can run the backup you created now or uncheck that and let it run on the schedule you created.

  • Use caution when editing the registry, especially if you do not know what you are doing or without specific guidance from someone who is trained in manipulating the registry

In short:

    Open regedit and navigate to:

Add a new multi-string value, name it like you desire, fill it with the paths or files you want to exclude.

I have some films in c:\films, and I want to exclude them from the image (because it will be bigger otherwise).
I added:

Be careful with system variables: given that the parameter /s is present, windows/macrium will search and exclude all \film folders (and the files inside them) in %systemdrive%.
If you want to exclude c:\film\*.*, it will be simpler to use that one.



I love helping folks with computer issues. Family is the most important thing to me, then friends. I love music of all kinds, Country, Classical, Metal and in between. I play guitar a bit.(a very little bit)
I have been tinkering with computers and gaming (FPS) since about 1995. I have built quite a few systems over my time. I setup our server environment at work and manage all aspects of the IT issues and purchasing of said IT equipment.

Doom for Win 95 was my first online experience. 2cd- Jedi Knight II Dark Forces

  • Posts 1,938
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BSOD Academy Student
  • May 2, 2022
  • #41
  • I appreciate that this is an oldish thread, but I’ve been a Macrium Reflect user for many years now and some may be interested in the way I use it.

    I schedule a full Macrium backup image of my system drive every night (I don’t use incremental or differential backups – IMO these are just for improved speed of backup in a commercial environment, where availability is critical and backup time must be minimised) and I keep the most recent 7 images (so I can restore back to any day in the last week). I also have the Verify option turned on, so every image is verified immediately after being written.

    I backup to an external HDD which is USB attached all the time. The power for the external HDD however, goes via a USB controlled switch so that the external HDD is powered on and online only whilst the Macrium image is being saved. I actually schedule a batch job that turns on the USB switch, to power the external HDD on, it then waits 30 seconds for the HDD to come active, and then starts the full Macrium system disk image running. When the Macrium job ends the USB switch is turned off to take the external HDD offline.

    The batch job is actually a tad more complex than that because I also use SyncBackSE to synchronise my user data with the same external HDD before the USB switch turns it off. I’ve discovered that creating separate partitions for the system drive images and user data files makes sense too. The Macrium files are large and best performance comes on an exFAT partition, whilst the user data files are small and best performance comes from an NTFS partition. The batch job also uses SyncBak to do cloud backups, but after the external HDD has been turned off.

    IMO the main advantage of my method is, that because the external HDD is only online during the backup run, the chances of it being encrypted by ransomware are minimised. I did, for a time, also disconnect the Internet (via Nircmd) in the batch job before switching the external HDD on and then reconnecting the Internet after the external HDD has been switched off, to prevent ransomware from “phoning home” for the encryption key. I’ve stopped doing that though, it sometimes got in the way of the cloud backups staring properly.

    My Windows system and apps occupies less than 100GB. A full image takes about 14 minutes to write, and a restore (booted from a Macrium Rescue Disk), takes a little less (because the write also does a verify).

    Macrium Reflect has saved my life many times, not only when I suspect there might be malware on my system (a restore to an earlier backup eliminates it) but also when I do something dumb (I like to experiment) and end up with an unbootable or messed-up system. A 10-minute restore of a Macrium image is a faster way back to normality than just about any other method.

    by Jamil Parvez 19/06/2022, 8:53 am 38 Views

    Let’s see how to create rescue media macrium reflect. Macrium Rescue Media Builder supplies a simple interface to permit quick rescue media generation by choosing where the bootable media will be created.

    All options for the Macrium rescue media will be capability defaulted based on existing bootable media builds and a scan of the operating system environment.

    Create Rescue Media Macrium Reflect

    To create a macrium rescue media, click on the Other Tasks menu and then select create Rescue Media…

    Under select device, select a rescue media target and then click on advanced options.

    The Advanced options window will pop up to change the PE version and then select additional features for the macrium rescue media build.

    Select the Open menu to view files
    In the root of the ISO file, choose folder Win32 or Win64.
    The rescue media occupy both 32-bit & 64-bit versions of Macrium Reflect.

    Update drivers for the Mass Storage and Network devices will be indexes disclosing the current state of devices & driver support. Drivers can be added for drives missing driver support as well as updating drivers previously added to the macrium rescue media.

    Once the updated driver has been found in the list and selected, choose to apply to save the updated driver or cancel to retain the current driver.

    Macrium Reflect Rescue bootable Media files can be saved on a different volume, this tab permits for choosing of the preferred volume. Choose a volume by selecting the checkbox and then select ok. Macrium Reflect Rescue media files will now be saved on that volume, and any existing Macrium rescue media files from previous builds will be moved to a newly selected volume.

    Please note this option will not available in Windows XP.
    Click ok

    Select the device ISO file and then click build.

    Agree on a free license agreement and then click ok.

    Building Macrium rescue media.

    Successfully created ISO rescue media, click ok.

    Go to your C drive to find the MacriumRescue ISO file.