Can I leave my cloned drive in my system?

Status
This thread has been Locked and is not open to further replies. Please start a New Thread if you're having a similar issue. View our Welcome Guide to learn how to use this site.

halcour

Thread Starter
Joined
Mar 2, 2005
Messages
510
I just got Acronis True Image and would like to clone my drive. But it says I have to remove the old drive after I clone it. Wha's up wi dat? I have a SATA and an IDE drive. I want to clone my SATA to my IDE and leave them both in the system. I have an ASUS mb, as long as I have my bios set to boot from the SATA, then this shouldn't be problem, should it? I don't want my computer to explode or anything.;)

Thanks,
Harold
 
Joined
May 26, 2003
Messages
3,303
This has to do with the MS user license and piracy.
So .... it would be illegalllllllllllllllllllllll.
 

Noyb

Jay
Trusted Advisor
Spam Fighter
Joined
May 25, 2005
Messages
21,286
I'm running twin SATA drives.
Basically - my second drive is a cloned copy of the first.
I can boot from either drive .. no problem with the license key .. or explosions.
Don't know about mixing drive types ... but should work OK .. it can only boot from one HD at a time anyway.
I'd guess that's between you and your BIOS

The License Key goes with the computer - not which hard drive it's booted from.
 

JohnWill

Retired Moderator
Joined
Oct 19, 2002
Messages
106,726
The reason they mention removing the cloned drive is a little problem that can occur if you clone to a drive that's formatted and assigned a drive letter. The image you're cloning from has the destination drive assigned a different drive letter than the system boot letter. When you boot from the clone in that instance, you'll end up in a login loop when it gets confused about what the drive letter is.

A simple fix for this is to boot from an MS-DOS floppy and type FDISK /MBR to remove the signature bytes from the master boot record.
 

halcour

Thread Starter
Joined
Mar 2, 2005
Messages
510
Ah John, thankyou, thankyou. I just went thru a completely baffling cloning experience and now I'm assuming maybe the reason was the one you mention.

I cloned my drive - SATA (C) to IDE (E) - because I was going to install some software I was worried about. After the clone it rebooted correctly back to the SATA and everything seemed fine. I installed the software and ideed had problems so I then cloned my E: drive to my C: drive to revert to the way it was before I installed the software. Then when it rebooted after the clone it reversed the drive letters, so E: became the C: drive, so it was booting from the IDE. (I also got "found new hardware" msgs and ZoneAlarm was asking for a bunch of new permissions, all of which I don't understand since a clone is supposed to be an exact copy, right?) Since I want the SATA to be my boot drive, I turned off the computer and disconnected the IDE, rebooted into the SATA drive, but the screen was just blank where XP is supposed to start up. So I reconnected the IDE drive, booted into it, cloned the IDE to the SATA again, and on reboot the SATA was once again the C: and IDE the E:, so everything is back to normal. Crimeny!

A simple fix for this is to boot from an MS-DOS floppy and type FDISK /MBR to remove the signature bytes from the master boot record.
Could you elaborate on this a bit more? Let's say I want to clone my C: to E: and leave E: connected to my system. When do I do this FDISK /MBR, after the cloning? Also, can I make a bootable cd and use that instead of a floppy?

Thanks,
Harold
 
Joined
Jun 11, 2004
Messages
3,888
I think the problem is deeper than you think.

Your XP in the Sata has a record showing that it was installed in the first bootable disk. The information should be in boot.ini.

When you clone it into an IDE it carried the same record but your IDE is now the 2nd bootable disk. Therefore that copy of XP should not be booted.

The IDE disk will only work if you arrange it as the first bootable disk otherwise you will get confused because the Sata will get booted instead and you can't tell the difference. Changing the drive letters don't alter the working of the hardware.

I am not aware that you can boot two XP with NTldr. In Linux you can boot as many copies of XP as you want because it has a facility to "re-arrange" the booting order of the hard disk "on-the-fly". I have tried it with 3 copies and I needed a different wall paper set up to tell me which copy I was booting.

I believe the standard method of using your IDE cloned XP is to remove the Sata disk.

I don't think there is a legal problem to have two copies of XP images in a PC because there is no possibility of them running together. The way MS protects XP means the cloned copy cannot be used on another machine any way.

In RAID 1 a user can have two identical disks with one mirroring permanently at the back ground and that is as legal as anybody running on a single disk.
 

JohnWill

Retired Moderator
Joined
Oct 19, 2002
Messages
106,726
The problem isn't in leaving it connected, it's really if the disk has a drive letter assigned BEFORE the clone operation. For instance, you have a drive with data on it, and you're going to overwrite it to clone your system. Apparently, the clone operation doesn't touch the MBR, which kinda' makes sense since the partition table is in the same sector. So, the disk signature that 2K/XP writes when you assign a drive letter is still there. When you go to boot the cloned copy, XP login thinks it's running on drive E: for instance, and it's really on drive C:. That's when the loop occurs. This really threw me for a loop the first time, but now I have it under control. :D

FWIW, I've had lots of cloned disks sitting in a machine, and even accessed them after the fact and extracted data from them. There's no issue that I'm aware of doing that, and it's never been a problem for me.
 

halcour

Thread Starter
Joined
Mar 2, 2005
Messages
510
Actually, after looking into it a bit more, I think I like the idea of imaging better than cloning. I can fit several complete images of my C: drive on my E: drive, so I've scheduled separate backups 3 times a wk, each which will be overwritten once a wk. So I can revert to yesterday, a few days ago, or a wk ago. Acronis creates a boot disk that boots right into their program, making it simple to restore an image. It also creates a "secure zone" on the backup disk so windows and other programs can't screw around w/it. Pretty sweet.

Whaddya'll think of this backup plan?

Thanks,
Harold
 
Joined
Jul 7, 2004
Messages
7,235
I love images compared to cloning but thats because thats the only tool I have ever used. To me cloning seems like a waste unless you have to be up RIGHT away. Personally I don't mind waiting 30 mins for a image to be restored to my original location.

Cloning exact duplicate cons takes up more space pros recovery from failure faster.
Imaging makes a snapshot cons takes longer to recover pros usually can compress nicely saving space.

Really its all down to preferance.
 

JohnWill

Retired Moderator
Joined
Oct 19, 2002
Messages
106,726
I use Acronis True Image to do multiple backups, but I don't use the secure zone stuff, it seems pointless to me. That's just one more complication to go wrong. I just do the images on my backup drive internally, then a scheduled copy makes a copy on a networked machine later.
 

halcour

Thread Starter
Joined
Mar 2, 2005
Messages
510
I wanted to get a better/bigger backup hd. So I just bought a new WD 80 gb SATA on Ebay for $50, including shipping. Incredible prices these days. My first hd, for a 286sx computer, was 10 megabytes and cost $200! My, how times have changed...

Harold
 
Joined
Jun 11, 2004
Messages
3,888
In my experience cloning a disk is writing natively the information in binary pattern and must be done by a separate operating system after the in-core operating system is dropped on a reboot. This is to avoid the conflicts with protected system files.

Implicit in the cloning process is the entire content of each partition will have to be mirrored and therefore the boot loader, if stored inside a partition, will be faithfully transferred into the target disk.

Also if the source disk has a small amount of data then the large amount of the empty space is religiously copied in bits of 1 and 0.

A backup facility is more likely to operate on the filing system only and the boot loader is not touched because the boot sector is never part of the filing system.

Therefore to backup is to make a backup copy of the filing system. Cloning is to mirror a partition or a disk.

Cloning has to be used if there is a need to have the partition bootable in the target.

A user can store Linux, Dos, Windows, BSD and Solaris in the same disk but in different partitions. Only cloning, which works natively on bits of 1s and 0s, can back up a disk with "different" filing structures and enable the "backup" target disk to the boot up to the different operating systems again.

So it is a matter of horses for courses.
 

Noyb

Jay
Trusted Advisor
Spam Fighter
Joined
May 25, 2005
Messages
21,286
saikee said:
Cloning has to be used if there is a need to have the partition bootable in the target.
Don’t understand – using an ATI recovery image, I can restore my bootable OS- and partition the HD at the same time for either an old or a new HD.
The key here - is to recover to, or clone to, un-partitioned space. This means deleting the target partition first.

Anyway - Using ATI and saving recovery Images is the way to go… and I don’t understand why you have problems with two bootable drives installed.

Just because I want to play – and have the HD space – I’m running twin SATA bootable drives partitioned such that my system (only) is in the first partition and my stored data is in the second Partition of each drive.
See attached screen shot.
My system partition in HD 2 is basically a freshly installed, (untinkered with) OS. Occasionally, I boot into HD2, make some manual updates then get out … Booting back to HD 1.

This has the advantage – If I have a problem with the OS in HD1, I can boot to HD2 and checkout HD1 or determine if I have a hardware problem.
So far - All my problems have been something confusing the OS in HD1 because I’ve been messing around.
Once I’ve decided that I don’t want to spend a lot of time troubleshooting/fixing the OS in HD1 – I boot into HD2 and clone this fresh OS back to HD1, fully loaded, mostly updated, and ready to go .. in about 4 minutes.

Just in case either of these drives totally crash … I have a couple of ATI recovery images of the OS in HD2 stored in HD1 and vice versa.
Since I suspect that a nasty virus can span both drives – I have the Data and ATI system recovery images of these OS’s stored in my external HDs.

I have no problem with drive letter assignments. The System partition that I’m booted from - automatically becomes the C: drive and swaps letter assignments with the non-booted drive system Partition ... the D: partition.
Maybe this is because I have a fairly new computer and its MOBO and BIOS supports up to 4 SATA drives.

I depend on my ATI system recovery Images, but primarily use Cloning in this computer because I have the extra bootable internal HD.
The key here is to have a partitioned HD with ALL the stored data in a different partition.
This keeps the system partition, (occupied space) and its recovery images, or partitions, small.

Yes … This is probably backup overkill – But I had the time, curiosity and HD space to play with.
Hope all this rambling helps a little.
 

Attachments

Status
This thread has been Locked and is not open to further replies. Please start a New Thread if you're having a similar issue. View our Welcome Guide to learn how to use this site.

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Users: 0, Guests: 1)

As Seen On
As Seen On...

Welcome to Tech Support Guy!

Are you looking for the solution to your computer problem? Join our site today to ask your question. This site is completely free -- paid for by advertisers and donations.

If you're not already familiar with forums, watch our Welcome Guide to get started.

Join over 807,865 other people just like you!

Latest posts

Staff online

Members online

Top