Backup software Macrium Reflect Free is being retired

Martin Brinkmann
Nov 27, 2022
Backup
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Many Ghacks users use the backup software Macrium Reflect Free for their backup tasks on their Windows devices. The free for non-commercial use version is being retired by parent company Paramount Software UK Limited on January 1, 2024.

macrium reflect free

Users of Macrium Reflect Free may receive information about the end of the product as a service announcement during updates. It states:

Macrium Reflect Free - Service Announcement

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This is to notify that Macrium Reflect Free Edition is being retired. Security patches will be provided until 1st January 2024, but there are no planned feature changes or non security related updates following this update.

Note: This notice only applies to Macrium Reflect Free.

Please see the section 'Macrium Reflect Free Product - End Of Life (EOL)' in our support policy for more information.

The information is not shown in the Macrium Reflect interface nor on the Macrium website when you open the Macrium Reflect Free section. There is a product support policy page on the website, however, which provides information on the end of life of Macrium Reflect Free.

Paramount Software UK Limited plans to provide security updates for Macrium Reflect Free until January 1, 2024. No further updates will be provided after that date. Macrium Reflect Free v8.0.7167 was the last release to receive bug fixes, compatibility updates and features. Users of the free version may continue to use it, but they are on their own when they run into issues.

All commercial versions of Macrium Reflect remain available. Macrium Reflect Home is available for €57.95 regularly.

Macrium Reflect Free alternatives

With Macrium Reflect Free being retired, users of the backup software face a tough decision. While they may continue to use the free version, it is not advised to do so. Imagine running into a bug that prevents recoveries or that the app starts on the system. While it is possible to pay for Macrium Reflect Home, a license is good only for a particular major release version.

If you purchase a Macrium Reflect 8 Home license, support is guaranteed until the release of Macrium Reflect 9 plus one year.

There are free alternatives available for Macrium Reflect, here is a short list:

  • AOMEI Backupper -- Another free solution with paid upgrades. The Standard Edition is free to use, supports file, system, disk and partition backups to all sorts of storage devices, including Network/NAS and cloud. It lacks some features, including differential backup, encryption or dynamic disk backups.
  • Paragon Backup & Recovery Free -- This is the backup solution that I use. It supports all major features, including file, partition/disk and entire computer backups, scheduled backups, incremental and differential backups, and more.
  • Rescuezilla -- An open source backup solution that supports creating and restoring data backups. It is operating system agnostic.

Now You: are you affected by the decision? Have another backup suggestion? (thanks Peter for the tip)

Summary
Backup software Macrium Reflect Free is being retired
Article Name
Backup software Macrium Reflect Free is being retired
Description
The free version of the Macrium Reflect backup application is going to be retired on January 1, 2024. Here are alternatives that you may use instead!
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Ghacks Technology News
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Comments

  1. John G. said on November 27, 2022 at 9:05 am
    Reply

    Old versions still work like a charm, there shouldn’t be problems to use them. Thanks for the article.

  2. chump2010 said on November 27, 2022 at 9:17 am
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    Are you sure they mean that Macrium reflect Free is being retired permanently?

    Or Macrium Reflect Free version 8 is being retired by then, and a new version Macrium Reflect Free Version 9 will be released.

    1. cams said on November 27, 2022 at 10:11 am
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      It means Refect Free V8 is will only be updated till 1st January 2024 but will likely work fine for years after than. If they where going to release Reflect Free V9 then there would be no point to not support Reflect Free V8 till then.

  3. Lau Russ said on November 27, 2022 at 10:06 am
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    Thank-you for your discussion of this problem. I just updated Macrium and saw the notice that Free was being discontinued in 2024. This was really disturbing to me as I have used it for years on several computers (personal use) and have Macrium images of older computers that I like to refer back to. I read somewhere that it is possible, somehow, to mount the Macrium images even without having Macrium installed. Anyway, think I will follow your lead and switch to Paragon as the free version appears to have a full range of features. I have used Aomei a little bit but found it simplistic and lacking in options compared to Macrium. Also checked the free version of Easeus but it seems to lack options for differential/incremental backups.

    1. Clairvaux said on November 27, 2022 at 8:33 pm
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      To the best of my knowledge, you need Macrium to read or to restore a Macrium image or backup. Do check this.

  4. Harro Glööckler said on November 27, 2022 at 10:27 am
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    > Have another backup suggestion?
    EaseUS Todo Backup.

    I can’t praise this software and their tech support enough. I’m using three versions – Home 8.9, Home 10.6 and Workstation 14.2 Lifetime on different PCs and they always went above and beyond when i had any problem. Most memorable were when they reset my activations for the 7th time in a row without any questions for v10 that i bought years ago for some cents in a Humble Software bundle and when v14 somehow bugged out and their dev team actually manually repaired it in less than 30mins and sent me a new setup file. One of the few applications that is well worth the money.

    1. Mikhoul said on November 27, 2022 at 5:59 pm
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      I don’t like the interface but it’s really reliable, I use it for my daily incremental backup since 10 years and it never failed.

  5. Belga said on November 27, 2022 at 10:36 am
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    are you affected by the decision? Not really under Win 8.1 !

    @ chump2010

    See at the end of this page : https://www.macrium.com/product-support-policy

  6. Toby said on November 27, 2022 at 11:35 am
    Reply
  7. Tyrone said on November 27, 2022 at 11:36 am
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    That’s sad. Macrium has some annoyances, but overall it’s a solid program for system backups.

  8. Belga said on November 27, 2022 at 11:52 am
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    I had reported (at random because there is no support for the free version) that the System partition appeared in red and full with version 8.0.7167 under Win 8.1×64.
    A new version has just been released: 8.0.7175 with the same fault.
    It’s hard to understand anything anymore!

    1. Peterc said on November 27, 2022 at 6:45 pm
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      @Belga: I always thought it was a mistake for Paramount to not offer an easy way for Macrium Reflect Free users to report bugs. Not providing active support to Free users is one thing; shutting out a huge source of potentially useful feedback is another.

  9. Anonymous said on November 27, 2022 at 12:58 pm
    Reply
  10. Joe Taylor said on November 27, 2022 at 1:05 pm
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    People oddly keep updating imaging programs for no genuine reasons like disk imaging has somehow changed last week, which all you need is to make a PE based on Windows 11 and your imaging software will last for years.

    The current Macrium Reflect Free version works on Windows 11, so you are guaranteed many years of that version and keep a copy of the installer offline in-case you need to install it again.

    1. Clairvaux said on November 27, 2022 at 8:28 pm
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      Operating systems do change. “Years” is not enough. I’m on Windows 7, and important application programs have started dropping support.

      I use the Vivaldi browser. Starting next January, new versions (which are released maybe monthly) won’t be compatible with Windows 7 anymore. Neither will be Google’s Chrome. I need to block updates if I still want to be able to browse the web.

      1. Anonymous said on November 28, 2022 at 1:13 am
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        I don’t know whether you are trolling or not. Windows 7 has been supported for more than 10 years. By that time your kid will already become teenager.

      2. Clairvaux said on November 30, 2022 at 10:33 am
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        You are the one who is trolling. I don’t know what your argument is with Windows 7. I want to keep it and i will. How is that any business of yours ?

  11. hg said on November 27, 2022 at 2:21 pm
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    Aomei BackerUpper is very good – been using it for many years. I prefer it to Acronis which I paid for.

    1. Anonymous said on November 27, 2022 at 5:47 pm
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      Acronis started out great then turned into a spammy mess.

  12. Stefan said on November 27, 2022 at 2:22 pm
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  13. Service Pack said on November 27, 2022 at 3:39 pm
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    Can you download it directly without using the provided downloader? I would like to download using IDM instead…

  14. Bob Loblaw said on November 27, 2022 at 4:36 pm
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    I like Aomei Backupper and stick with it. Tried some paid Ashampoo backup version before that and it sucked.

    1. Clairvaux said on November 27, 2022 at 8:15 pm
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      Ashampoo software is generally dismal. Heavily discounted and aggressively promoted, but really slapped together in a very rough way.

  15. Peterc said on November 27, 2022 at 6:21 pm
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    Back in the days of BIOS, 32-bit Windows, IBM “Deathstar” mechanical drives, and WD “click-of-death” mechanical drives, I used xxclone, a lesser-known utility from the outfit that made xxcopy. It was a file-by-file cloning/copying utility, so the initial clone took quite a while to complete, but daily updates typically took only a small handful of minutes. It even had an option to automatically rewrite the original volume label to the clone when the cloning/updating was done (which, correct me if I’m wrong, Macrium doesn’t offer). I don’t think I ever had to swap in a clone of my *own* system back then, but xxclone saved the butts of friends and relatives I’d set it up for at least five times that I can remember. (The aforementioned hard drives were *bad news*!)

    When UEFI and 64-bit Windows came along, I switched to Macrium Reflect Free, initially for cloning, and later (with a “modern” laptop that requires minor surgery to open) for imaging. I managed to dodge all but one of the seriously buggy Windows updates that started cropping up in spring 2015 — the one I *didn’t* dodge burned out my laptop’s fan and melted the CPU’s thermal compound but left the system intact — but after a Wireshark update made my system unbootable, the Macrium clone I swapped in worked *flawlessly*. A friend of mine was less lucky in dodging bad Windows updates, and he had to swap in his Macrium clones at least two times that I can recall, with similar flawless results. I have to rely on imaging with my new, DIY-resistant laptop, but I’ve been lucky and haven’t yet had to restore any of my images (knock on wood).

    I’ve become increasingly disillusioned with Microsoft and Windows starting with Windows 8 and began dipping my toes into Linux as Windows 7 approached end of life. Macrium Reflect Free, along with voidtools Everything, was one of the top two Windows-only programs I figured I would miss most. Obviously, there are cloning and imaging solutions available for Linux, but being able to continue using your system *while* the cloning/imaging process is running is a very attractive feature not (to my knowledge) found in any of the Linux options. (When you “live on your computer,” hours of forced downtime can be inconvenient.)

    I’m not sure I’ll still be using Windows, or at least not as much, when Macrium Reflect Free hits end of life, but if I am, I’ll probably give the alternatives Martin mentioned a shot, starting with Paragon. If I’m happy with an alternative, I’ll find myself in the same Windows-versus-Linux dilemma I do today. If I’m not, Macrium Reflect Free’s demise will push me a little further into the Linux camp. (And if fsearch ever matches Everything, that will push me a *lot* further!)

  16. Mothy said on November 27, 2022 at 7:44 pm
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    Now You: are you affected by the decision?

    No, I’m still using the free version 7.2.x from 2018 that still works very well for my needs.

    I only use Macrium via a bootable USB flash drive to take a system image where the image is saved to another USB flash drive and then also copied to my local NAS (network attached storage) as an additional backup. The original Macrium 7.2.x full installer is also stored on the NAS if ever needed again.

    The software itself was only installed when I briefly used Windows 10 and from where I created two USB bootable flash drives, one for primary use and another as a backup in case something happened to the first. But then the system was wiped and I installed Windows 8.1 (Pro) instead.

    1. cams said on November 28, 2022 at 3:11 am
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      Its easier to do backups (Full or Differential) on a schedule rather than remember to boot the PC from a USB flash drive and make an image. Your method leaves you quickly with an outdated image.

      1. Mothy said on November 28, 2022 at 4:17 am
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        @cams Depends on your setup. For me, my systems are very locked down and controlled where there are no software updates/changes that happen without my explicit consent, even anti-malware definition updates (which can be easily downloaded again after restoring an image). So the only time I really have a need to create a new system image is prior to me making any major change to the system myself, which normally is once a month to install Microsoft updates. Or as another example that happens less frequently is prior to installing/moving to a new Firefox ESR branch.

  17. Clairvaux said on November 27, 2022 at 8:24 pm
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    That’s an unfortunate turn of events. It has been obvious for a long time that Macrium targeted businesses, and downplayed its free version.

    It’s quite difficult to find it on the site to begin with, and you’re not even allowed to ask questions on the official forum if you don’t have a paid version.

    Furthermore, paid versions have been quite expensive for years now. I bought one, but I have skipped paid upgrades and I don’t intend to pay more.

    Although Macrium works well and it does have an extensive help environment, its interface, as far as I can tell, is still incredibly quirky and non-standard, to the point of being quite irritating at times.

    At least, when paying such an amount of money, I want an easy-to-use, regular, modern interface.

    Despite the fact that you’ll be able to use Macrium free for a long time, presumably, if you keep a current version, I would really recommend that present users migrate to another program, if they do not want to upgrade to a paid version.

    Imaging programs are complex and critical. You need to be able to summon all the help you need if and when something goes amiss. You won’t be able to do that with the unsupported free version.

  18. Mothy said on November 27, 2022 at 8:56 pm
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    “With Macrium Reflect Free being retired, users of the backup software face a tough decision. While they may continue to use the free version, it is not advised to do so. Imagine running into a bug that prevents recoveries or that the app starts on the system.”

    I guess that could apply if you have the software installed on the operating system where there are more complexities and options in play. But for the record, I have not had a single problem creating or restoring system images using just a bootable USB flash drive in the 4+ years of using the older free version 7.2.x.

  19. Haakon said on November 27, 2022 at 10:06 pm
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    “Now You: are you affected by the decision? Have another backup suggestion?”
    No and yes.

    Rathlev’s Personal Backup. Feature sets and granularity unequaled IMHO.

    https://personal-backup.rathlev-home.de/

    1. Haakon said on November 27, 2022 at 10:08 pm
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      Forgot to mention, it’s free.

      English site:
      https://personal-backup.rathlev-home.de/index-e.html

    2. Ivan said on November 28, 2022 at 10:26 am
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      Seems like it’s file level backup, but Macrium does volume level backups.

  20. BillD said on November 27, 2022 at 10:39 pm
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    I’ve been happily using Cobian Backup for many years, for my full and incremental backups to an external hard drive. It’s a nice free option.

    It was favorably reviewed on this site a long time ago, then there was a period of years with no updates after the code was sold. That version continues to work just fine, but in early 2022 the developer released a complete rewrite called Cobian Reflector (also free).

    1. cams said on November 28, 2022 at 3:19 am
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      Corbian Backup is a file backup app, Macrium Reflect Free can clone OS drives or make OS images including full/incremental.

  21. duck season said on November 27, 2022 at 11:46 pm
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    It’s a good thing it’s open source, now people can pick up where it left off and continue releasing new versions…….. OH, WAIT… It’s proprietary! (closed source) Forget what I just said.

    WAH WAH WAH WAAAAAAAAAAAAAhhhhhhhh!

  22. Anonymous said on November 28, 2022 at 2:12 am
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    Any software that lets you filter out folders?

  23. Cool said on November 28, 2022 at 9:51 am
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    Macrium Reflect is always my go-to option.

    AOMEI Backupper was good… until the “Explore Image” feature is removed from the free version. Then, I switched to EaseUs Todo Backup as a second option.

    Try MiniTool ShadowMaker briefly… seems not up to the standard of the above programs.

  24. DirCompUser said on November 28, 2022 at 2:17 pm
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    So no one yet tried Hasleo which was reviewed again here only on 26 November?

    https://www.ghacks.net/2022/11/26/hasleo-backup-suite-3-0-launches-with-file-backups-and-other-improvements/

  25. Jan F. said on November 28, 2022 at 3:54 pm
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    It’s a real shame, macrium reflect is a very user-friendly piece of software. I will continue to keep using it for as long as it keeps working. I used to use clonezilla, but macrium reflect is so much better. If I can’t use macrium reflect anymore I’ll go back to clonezilla.

  26. Chris Ellwood said on November 28, 2022 at 6:21 pm
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    Well this is no surprise, I’ve used reflect for what feels like decades! After less time than that self employed and using an excellent piece of software, I kinda feel the need to say thanks to them by at least paying for the proper version. It’s helped me out so many times, it’s a bit wrong to use some else’s effort and not pay.

  27. VioletMoon said on November 28, 2022 at 7:31 pm
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    Mystique said on November 26, 2022 at 4:08 pm–gHacks should give credit to Mystique since he was the first to alert readers on the gHacks forum that Macrium would be retiring its free version.

    Other comments followed since many users like Macrium and have a substantial amount of data saved as Macrium Reflect image files–usually with the .mrimg image.

    Since Macrium has its own ViBoot Image Assistant that enables one to load an entire OS backup as a Virtual File in VirtualBox, eliminating a “free” version can and probably will create problems for users in the future. At least the convenience will be gone.

    @Adelaide mentioned the use of Hasleo’s WintoUSB program that provided a great bootable ISO with persistence.

    The main theme in the comments is the perennial question: “How can I make a full system image backup that I can later explore for files or program installation .exe’s in the future without having to shell out a ridiculous sum of money per computer on an annual basis?”

    I’ve yet to read a satisfying option. Maybe EaseUS To Do–a program I do like and have used in the past; however, I don’t recall the features of the free version, nor have I installed a recent version for checking.

    I suppose it’s possible to continue using MR free without issue; not the best idea in the long run.

    It became apparent this morning that I hadn’t made a backup of my Gmail account for years; others may want to think about email backups if they use email for storing serials, birthdates, personal emails with sentimental value and attachments, etc.

    With some trepidation and success, I used Google’s backup service–Google Takeout–that creates an MBOX file; MailStore Home enabled me to access the MBOX file. Thunderbird can also be used with an add-in. A new program on the list that I haven’t tried is Windows MBOX Viewer:

    https://github.com/eneam/mboxviewer/releases/tag/v1.0.3.36

    Just thinking ahead . . . and credit to whom credit is deserved makes a more pleasant tech blog.

  28. Anonymous said on November 29, 2022 at 12:46 am
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    I use AOMEI Backupper Workstation, the best $50 spent.

  29. Dee said on November 29, 2022 at 7:00 am
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    I always stay away from any of the free software made in China because it’s being sponsored by China. Acronis is good, but is too heavy and has too much garbage I don’t need. The best I’ve found for my image backup needs is the TeraByte Drive Image Backup and Restore Suite. I’ve been using it over 5 years and only had to purchase it once.

  30. stunt double said on November 30, 2022 at 4:12 am
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    > I use AOMEI Backupper Workstation, the best $50 spent.

    Only fools pay for software (especially PROPRIETARY SOFTWARE) when free and open source options exist such as Rescuezilla.

    So I saved $50 and I got a good laugh. LOL! Tell me another joke, please.

    1. Anonymous said on December 2, 2022 at 4:19 pm
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      To use Rescuezilla, however, we must boot into the PE environment. This is unable to automate backups. Many more options are available in AOMEI Backupper, which runs on Windows. Are there any other, cost-free options?

  31. Novice said on January 12, 2023 at 4:27 pm
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    I decided to look at Paragon Backup & Recovery Free so clicked the link above the summary. On the page that took me to it says, “The program is available for all client versions of Windows that Microsoft supports…”.

    I then decided to check what Paragon has to say and found they have a “Community Edition” at

    https://www.paragon-software.com/free/br-free/#we_offer

    Under the System Requirements tab it says, “Supported Operating Systems

    Windows 7 SP1 and newer”

    So for now at least it still works. I couldn’t see any mention on the Paragon website about stopping support for Windows 7 etc.

    1. HabsKilla said on January 12, 2023 at 8:32 pm
      Reply

      CE edition does not support Windows server

  32. HabsKilla said on January 12, 2023 at 8:29 pm
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    Final version released containing feature and bug fixes has been released.

    Only security releases now until January 2024.

  33. Rob Nicholson said on January 14, 2023 at 11:31 am
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    A shame but it’s not unusual. I can’t blame Paramount/Macrium too much – they’re a business after all and if this makes them more money, then that’s their choice. Although it will leave a slightly bitter taste if one is asked to recommend an imaging tool.

    I’m a lone roaming IT support engineer so I’ve used Reflect Free many a time to image a client’s laptop/computer before trying to fix some nasty problem. I’m near retirement so I’ll be fine with the lifespan for now. Clonezilla probably work equally as well too.

    I do have the paid version on my main PC as the ease of restoring when I cock-up is worth the cost. But the cost of the technician version is prohibitive.

    I do wonder sometimes at the pricing models. I love EMCO Ping Monitor but the paid version is too much so small clients who don’t need 250 nodes but 5 in the free version is too limited.

    History is littered with companies who got a little too greedy. Not that I think this applies here.

  34. Peter NOwell said on January 15, 2023 at 5:07 pm
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    I owe Macrium free a lot for all the disasters it saved me from. I read, prior to Macrium’s closing of free version -We understand not everyone can afford to pay for imaging so we will continue to provide a free imaging service. Not long after, the reversal took place where it said $ would now be a factor. It is apparent that it’s philosophy changed and was influenced by the competition.
    Thanks for all the good free years and no hard feelings for the reversal..

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