Hard Drive Imaging

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tinman001

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Hey all. I just completed my first install of Windows 7 on my system. What I would like to do once I've got everything setup like I want it is to clone my current drive to a second identical one. The goal is to create a second drive that I can just plug into the computer in place of the first one and have a fully functioning system. This way if drive A dies I have drive B that will get me up and running very quickly. Is there any software out there that can do this? I've worked with Norton Ghost some but didn't really see any options that looked like they would accomplish what I wanted.
 
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Just ran across Easeus Disk Copy in another thread. I've not used it, but have used other Easeus products with satisfaction. The writeup says it can copy or clone Check it out.

Raybro
 

redoak

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"List of disk cloning software" That title is very misleading, since many of the apps listed do not "clone" a drive. Would have been better to have use "List of backup software."

{redoak}
 
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If you want to create fully functional clone on a separate hard drive of your current OS, Files, drivers, program applications, etc.... Acronis True Image is the way to go. Keep in mind the clone will be a copy of the current configuration and will not incorporate any changes since it was created.

This is the primary reason the approach you are contemplating using is not more popular. The most common usage of Acronis is to create what is called a backup image on another drive. This image can be supplemented with what is called an "incremental" backup image which records any changes since the full back image was created.

If/when you experience a hard drive failure, you then install a new drive and using Acronis, recover the image to a fully functional system as it was at the last incremental backup.

Raybro
 

tinman001

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Thanks for the suggestions. I'll be sure to give the suggested apps a look.
 

redoak

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Look at "Macrium Reflect," too.

{redoak}
 
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Free system imaging/backup software:

Macrium Reflect (Free)
O&O Disk Image Express
Comodo Time Machine
Clonezilla Live (A bootable CD of Debian with Clonezilla.)
Paragon Backup & Recovery
Drive Image XML
PING (Partimage is not Ghost)
Partition Saving
Clonezilla

But, a different drive is different hardware, so you may run across some problems, depending on your system and how many hardware changes there are. Startup Repair solves many of them.

In general, though, a disk image is a better idea than a clone. With an image, you can restore to another drive is a short time, and since they are smaller and easier to make, you will always have a more recent backup than if you try to keep clones current. You also will have multiple dates to restore to, and you save a great deal of space.
 

Noyb

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I Use Acronis for this .. Haven't had any complaints since I donated Ghost to the local landfill.
The freeware Macrium is Very popular >> Tutorial

W7 is a little touchy .. Make sure you make a Repair CD.

Yes, Imaging is Popular .. but the low cost of HDDs nowadays .. Why not have a Duplicate Backup built before you need it.

Most new drives have free cloning software you can download.
 

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Why not have a Duplicate Backup built before you need it.
Nothing wrong with that at all. But the thing that would prevent me from doing it is the "freshness" of the backup. How often is someone really going to clone their entire drive? It is a time-consuming process that is often CPU-intensive, making doing other things less efficient. The clone will always be fairly old in usage terms.

But an image can be created daily, or even more often if incrementals are used, and there is then a full backup that represents the state of the machine just hours before. And incrementals are made in just a few minutes, making it less of a burden on any other machine uses. There would also be older backups, just in case an infection or other problem was not noticed and backed up along with everything else. You can then go back to an earlier image that is still clean or without problems. Multiple backups have many uses.

But, suum quique.
 

Noyb

Jay
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Nothing wrong with that at all. But the thing that would prevent me from doing it is the "freshness" of the backup. How often is someone really going to clone their entire drive? It is a time-consuming process that is often CPU-intensive, making doing other things less efficient. The clone will always be fairly old in usage terms.
If a large amount of data is involved ...Cloning a drive is much faster and easier than Copying > Pasting or recovering from an Image.
One example .. The drive in the external (disc 6) or disc 1 was Cloned from disc 0 .. A working disc with several hundred gig of data.
Then the small System partition was recovered (replaced) from the Image of a Fresh install .. Only takes a few minutes.
If disc 0 gets corrupted .. I'll just swap disc 6 <> disc 0 .. Update the system while it's still fresh ..keeping it fresh ..
Then later, rewrite the corrupted system Partition from the Image of the latest Fresh Install .. and it's ready for the next time.

I never backup a "working" system .. All my backup Systems are as fresh as possible.
My data is backed up as it's collected or created.
 

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