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IntroductionDriveClone 3 Pro, by FarStone Technology, is a hard drive imaging and cloning application that purports to facilitate quick hard drive recovery, replacement, or upgrade in the event of any data disaster.
On its website, FarStone states that DriveClone 3 Pro appeals to the home user because it is easy to use, and also appeals to the system administrator because it is feature rich. A user can easily copy a single disk image onto multiple computer systems, dramatically reducing the time needed to install new software, configure settings, and load data. Supposedly, you could transfer a saved disk image to a new hard drive or to multiple hard drives or partitions.
DriveClone 3 Pro offers incremental and automatic backup options as well as allows you to perform most imaging and recovery tasks without ever leaving the Windows environment.
DriveClone 3 Pro sounds like a pretty useful piece of software, doesn’t it? I thought so and was eager to try it out and see how well it worked on an HP Pavilion laptop that runs Windows XP SP2. Unfortunately, I never got the application installed.
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Installation & SetupRating What's Hot:
I installed this application through a file I downloaded directly from FarStone's website. The installation ran as expected. When the installer completed, a message was displayed on my computer screen informing me that the computer needed to be rebooted to complete the installation.
When the computer rebooted, it booted up to Windows, displayed a large blue screen-of-death fatal error message, and started rebooting again. I was not able to read much of the blue screen message because the computer started rebooting almost immediately. The computer continued to boot, display the same blue screen fatal error message, and reboot again, in a continuous loop until I turned off the computer. Then I booted the computer into safe mode and immediately deleted the software from the computer. As soon as I removed the software from my computer, I was able to boot normally again.
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Help & SupportRating What's Hot:
FarStone uses an online support ticket form as its primary mode of support.
Since FarStone's website states that it provides priority support within 1-2 business days to customers who have registered their software and who hold a valid serial number, I registered the software on FarStone's website, submitted a Support Ticket form, and waited for a response.
More than a week passed with no response from FarStone, so I submitted another online support ticket.
Five days later I finally received a response. FarStone sent me an email and asked me to run a diagnostic (they had attached a diagnostic program to the email) on my computer and email some printed results back to them for review.
The diagnostic created a SystemInfo.txt file that included information about the computer (OS version, CDROM information, etc.) and a print dump of the computer's registry.
I ran the diagnostic and emailed the SystemInfo.txt file back to FarStone. Two days later, I received a cryptic explanation from FarStone. FarStone identified three possible causes and made the following recommendations:
- Disable any installed RAID controllers. FarStone did not know if any RAID controllers were installed on my computer, but informed me that DrivePro Clone does not support them.
- Uninstall a competing backup software application that was installed on the computer
- Configure antivirus software to not scan the DriveClone program folder and any related .RIT files
I sent an email to FarStone explaining that I did not understand how these recommendations would solve the problem and asked for clarification:
- I had not installed a RAID controller to the computer, did not know what a RAID controller was, and did not know if a RAID controller was installed on the computer, so I didn't know how to disable it.
- There was no competing backup software installed on the computer at the time I attempted to install DriveClone Pro.
- The blue screen-of-death occurred before the software installation was completed, so I didn't know how I could configure the antivirus software to avoid the DriveClone Pro folder.
Five days later I received a poorly written email response that failed to address any of my concerns. FarStone's email simply restated its original recommendations and provided a poor explanation regarding how RAID controllers and antivirus software could have contributed to the problem.
When I expressed dissatisfaction with FarStone's support and requested clarification and detailed instruction on how I might implement FarStone's recommendations, I received the following response:
"Unfortunately, Imaging technology and Cloning technology is not as basic as we would wish. Most of our competitors . . . have trouble with RAID controllers as well."
From my first submission of an online support ticket to this last and final FarStone email response, 22 days had passed. Twenty-two days had passed and I was no closer to resolving this issue than when I first received the blue screen-of-death fatal error message.
Reading over the string of emails that were exchanged between me and FarStone over this time period leads me to believe that FarStone support had only glanced over my emails so they did not even understand my issue, and they were not interested in working with me to resolve my issue.
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Product FeaturesRating What's Hot:
FarStone’s website indicates that DriveClone 3 Pro is feature rich. If I had installed a working copy of DriveClone 3 Pro to my computer I might be able to:
- Create an exact copy of a computer’s hard drive that could be replicated across multiple computers or be placed on my next new computer
- Store a complete backup to an external or network drive or burn the backup to a CD or DVD
- Perform incremental backups
- Create system snapshots or restore points
- Recover lost or deleted files from various backup versions
- Burn a bootable recovery disc to a CD or DVD
DriveClone Pro supports FAT32, NTFS, Linux EXT2/3 and other partitions as well as IDE, EIDE, SATA, and SCSI hard drives and hardware RAID 0/1
Unfortunately I can not confirm if any of these features work.
Given the inadequate and lackadaisical support I received as a new customer simply trying to install the software to my computer, I can't help but wonder how well FarStone support would handle potential support issues related to DriveClone 3 Pro’s product features.
Backing up computer data is my first line of defense against a serious computer problem. Seeing how FarStone responded to my support issue left a pretty strong impression on me regarding how much I could depend on FarStone to help me if I encountered a serious issue somewhere down the line using any of DriveClone Pro features.
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Suggested FeaturesSince I was not able to explore any of DriverClone 3 Pro's features, I cannot offer any suggestions about added or enhanced features.
FarStone needs to provide professional and timely support to its customers instead of the lackadaisical support it currently provides.
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ConclusionMy dealings with FarStone support were frustrating and disappointing. Farstone's emailed responses to my support issue were poorly written and did not provide coherent or detailed instructions about how I might resolve my issue. After 22 days of trading emails back and forth with FarStone support, I did not feel that FarStone understood my issue or was remotely interested in helping me resolve it.
Given my experience dealing with FarStone support, I cannot recommend DriverClone 3 Pro software. If you are looking for a backup solution that is reliable and easy to use, don’t waste your time on DriverClone 3 Pro.