While we always try to optimize our software we enhance the file format of our archives every now and then. Of course we take care to ensure downward compatibility.
Our classical archive file format has been the PBF format. PBF stands for “Paragon Backup File”. This refers to the main index file which has .pbf as file extension.
In late 2011 we optimized this format. The PBF indices still exist, but the main index file is the .pfi file now. This change took place for Hard Disk Manager 11/2011. All programs since create this modified file format. These programs are able to restore the older format as well. Older programs don’t come along with the newer format of HDM 11 – of course.
Notice: “Hard Disk Manager” in this context stands for Backup & Recovery (including “Free”), Partition Manager and Drive Copy as well. All these programs are build on the same kernel. That means that the archives are exchangeable between the different programs. Of course it is necessary to keep the respective version in mind. And every program can only work in the borders of it’s skills. A Partition Manager for example cannot restore file based archives because it does not offer this feature.
The big change came with Hard Disk Manager 14. With this program we introduced the new archive format “Virtual Disk” (VD) – a completely different format: pVHD = Paragon Virtual Hard Disk. This is basically a proprietary VHD format. We create a pVHD file with dynamic size and then perform a copy of the selected items (HDD, partition or files/folders) to this file. Optionally it is possible to select other VHD formats like VHD or VMDK for the VD backup in the program’s settings.
In the HDM 14 programs the old PBF format via “Smart Backup” has been the primary file format. pVHD was accessible on the tab “New Backup Format”.
In the HDM 15 programs the standard format is pVHD. PBF is accessible by clicking the tool symbol on the right side of the menubar and selecting “Legacy Mode”.
The PBF archive as well as the pVHD archive have a main index file *.pfi. Thus in both modes these index files can be selected. This makes it necessary to keep in mind all the time which mode is selected – even if working from a rescue environment. The same mode has to be selected for backup and restore. Otherwise the restore will fail with an error message.
With the HDM 16 programs the PBF format is obsolete and not available for backups anymore. Restoring PBF archives with HDM 16 is no problem though. Just launch the Restore Wizard and select the .PFI or even the .PBF file. Missing .PFI files can be reconstructed for an – apart from that – valid and undamaged archive by selecting the .PBF file.
Importing (“Add Backup”) for further processing as base archive for increments etc. is not possible. As well it is not possible to open or mount it to extract files/folders. You may want to restore it to an empty disk or use the rescue media of your old software you created the archive with to get access to single files/folders.