Getting Started With Win32 Disk Imager And Etcher

Back in the 1960s, CDs and DVDs became obsolete as it was the time they were first used to backup information or create a perfect carbon copy of any optical media. In this generation, instead of having to use a physical CD to place into your reader and gain access to the information you need, you would just have to open a disk image and have full access to all of your files.

Win32 Disk Imager is an open-source software developed by gruemaster and tuxinator2009. It is a compact application that allows you to write a raw disk image to a removable device easily (USB drive, SD memory card, etc) or backup a removable device to a raw image file. You can use this software to write your ISO files into CDs, DVDs, and SD/CF cards, creating a virtual disk drive. Win32 Disk Imager supports writing an ISO image to USB too. It can be used to write boot images to an SD flash device or USB flash device, making it bootable. Win32 Disk Imager is a great alternative to Etcher which has a simple and limited user interface.

The Win32 Disk Imager is a lightweight piece of software, sitting at only 44 MB in size. Its interface is very simple, user-friendly and it does exactly what it is supposed to do. Nothing more and certainly nothing less. This utility is free to download. It is very useful for embedded development, namely Arm development projects (Android, Ubuntu on Arm, etc). Anyone is free to branch and modify this program. Patches are always welcome.

Win32 Disk Imager is a Windows program and works best with Windows 7/8.1/10. It can be downloaded and installed to the older versions of Windows operating systems as well but you would want to use the v0.9 Win32 Disk Imager. The latest version of this program is the Win32 Disk Imager version 1.0. Win32 Disk Imager's performance is almost similar to Etcher.

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Something you need to consider, some issues have been reported when using to write to USB Floppy drives (and occasionally other USB devices, although very rare). While this has been fixed in v1.0, it is highly recommended that before an image is written to a device, the user should do a Read to a temporary file first. If this fails, please report the failure along with your system information.

It is necessary to backup removable drives because they can simply stop working at any time and are easily lost due to small size. To prevent the data of the removable drives from being lost, you can create an image file of the drives with Win32 Disk Imager. 

After you have concluded the Win32 Disk Imager download, you are then free to begin the installation. Don’t worry, even if you aren’t tech-savvy, the installation wizard will guide you through the few simple steps and begin the installation on your machine. It all comes down to accepting the license agreement, choosing the installation directory and proceeding to the actual installation. Since the software is not that big, the installation should take no longer than a minute or two. This will also be influenced largely by your computer’s performance. 

After the installation has finished successfully, you will be prompted with another choice. You can choose to run the Win32 Disk Imager immediately after installation and you can also choose to view the readme file. The readme file contains your usual legal disclaimers, the list of features, known issues and patch notes, listing all of the bug fixes that have been implemented throughout development. Now that all of the preparation has been done, you can finally proceed and learn how to use a win32 disk imager on your computer.

You just need to unzip the program (no installation required), select the image you want to create from your hard drive and finally the device where you want it written to, and that's it, in a few seconds your pen drive or your memory card will become a virtual CD.

You can also go back and create an image by copying the data on the storage device, but you can't create it from a CD, for that you will need a different program like Etcher.

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