HD Cloning

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HD Cloning
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Colin B
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May 18, 2014 - 8:13 pm
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Being somewhat dumb..May I ask this:

If I wish to clone my HD. Is there any "better than others" software? Anything free https://davescomputertips.com/wp-includes/images/smilies/icon_smile.gif
From what I've read it appears to be a relatively easy task (!) but I am finding it hard to work out what one actually does to restore !
If I clone to a USB drive, do I use that USB drive to then copy the data to a real HD and then swap this for my faulty or corrupted HD?
Hmm..re-reading that seems a bit confusing.. I guess what I mean is...Should I only clone to a proper HD and not to a USB?
Once cloned does it mean that I should be able to unplug the original drive and plug in the cloned one?
Finally (!!) Would simply cloning to a USB drive work at all? That is would it work as a "C" drive as is?
Whew..

EDIT
Having re-read this and also by searching this site I found this:
https://davescomputertips.com/how-to-create-a-windows-7-system-image/
But I think my question is more: Can I create a cloned HD that I can keep safely away untill i might need it?
I know that it would be "old" if cloned previously..but at least I would know I have a backup that should work if needed.

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dandl
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May 18, 2014 - 11:55 pm
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Hi Colin. I use the free version of Easeus Todo Backup. You can clone a disk, do a partition image or a system image. I have cloned from older hard drives to newer ones and then change the bios boot options and boot from the newer drive and wipe the older drive and use it for storage. Be aware that every time I swap drives I still have to reactivate windows. Get a external drive and just do a system image.

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Colin B
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May 19, 2014 - 2:47 am
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Thanks, Dandl.
I guess I want too much !?
Just something I can plug in if my "C" drive fails.
I only have the one drive "C".
I wanted some software that would clone..in all respects.. without having to activate this and that, or search for lost seria/ driverl numbers etc etc.
Probably no such thing?
But thanks for your reply.
What is a "system image"?
How different is that from a "Clone"
Thanks...

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Jim Hillier
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May 19, 2014 - 3:48 am
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Hey Guys,

Cloning is basically a disk to disk copy of the entire contents of one drive directly to another. On the other hand, a system image can be created and saved on an external drive and the image can then be restored any time later as a separate process. A system image can either be used space only or sector by sector (including unused space).

System images are primarily meant to be used for disaster recovery, that is when the system is broken so badly that it will not boot or work properly. They really only work when restoring to the same hardware setup, trying to restore to dissimilar hardware creates serious issues with drivers. When restoring an image to the same hardware, there is no need to re-activate the operating system and all licensed software will still be licensed and work fine. You can simply restore the image and everything will be back the way it was at the time the image was created.

Hope that helps,
Cheers... Jim

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Colin B
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May 19, 2014 - 9:07 am
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Ummmm, How do I do that? Create and Restore I mean. That's what I'd like to do.

Maybe this might help....

I wish to buy a HD from a shop and do something with it that would allow me to simply plug it into my computer if my original "C" drive fails
That something is to somehow create an exact copy of my functioning "C" drive onto the HD that I buy from the shop that could be used if and when my original HD fails..If ever.

I would be using the same hardware, same computer, same GPU, same RAM..everything except for the drive that had failed of course!
If that is possible.
Thanks

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Jim Hillier
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May 19, 2014 - 10:11 am
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All you need is the correct software. Both Macrium Reflect Free (http://www.macrium.com/reflectfree.aspx) and Aomei Backupper Standard/Free (http://www.backup-utility.com/free-backup-software.html) will allow you to create and restore images.

Install the software in your current operating system. Then run the software, create a full system image and save it to either external hard drive or USB flash drive (providing the latter has sufficient capacity).

Both Macrium and Aomei Backupper include the ability to create bootable recovery media so, if your hard drive fails or your system is so badly infected or broken that it is no longer working, you can boot from that media and restore the saved image either to a new drive or the old drive, depending on whichever situation applies.

Hope that all makes sense Colin.
Cheers... Jim

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Colin B
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May 19, 2014 - 8:04 pm
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Hi Jim,
Thanks for the software links.
Creating and restoring images..??! Bootable recovery media?
Sorry to be such a bloody nuisance but I still don't get it..:(
What I want to do was covered already but if you can answer this:

Using the software you mentioned..would it allow me somehow to place the contents of my "C" drive onto another HD and if/when necessary. replace my "C" drive with the "cloned" ? one without having to do anything else at all!

Will the software mentioned do this for me?
Maybe I'll never ever need to replace my HD...and I hope not ..but...!!!

As far as having to do "this and that" with files and drivers and stuff..well that is something I would probably never do. I'd go for the option of simply unplugging the corrupted drive and replacing with the one that was..um cloned? or whatever the term might be? That is if it is at all possible? Maybe it isn't?

Sorry to repeat myself..but can this be done with the software mentioned? I certainly don't mind paying for a program that would do this.
Thanks..
Colin.

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Jim Hillier
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May 19, 2014 - 9:36 pm
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A system image is a complete backup of everything on the hard drive or partition - settings, installed programs, data, everything. When you restore an image, which basically means copying the image back to a hard drive or partition, the operating system will be in exactly the same state it was when you created the image.

Bootable media generally refers to CDs, DVDs, and USB drives which can be booted. For example; a Windows operating system installation disc is bootable media. You place the installation DVD in the CD/DVD drive and, provided BIOS is set to boot from the CD/DVD drive first, the disc will load and you can then go through the installation process. Similarly with the Windows 7 System Repair Disc; if Windows will not boot, you can load the repair disc in the same way and access all the repair options.

In the case of hard drive failure, these are the steps that you would need to take after first creating and saving a full system image using one of the free imaging programs mentioned earlier:

1) Purchase a new hard drive
2) Remove the old failed hard drive and connect the new one
3) Boot the recovery media and restore the image you created earlier
4) Start using your operating system again

Of course, you would need to keep the saved image as current as possible, creating a more recent image and deleting the older one as you went along.

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Colin B
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May 20, 2014 - 3:09 am
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I think I'm becoming a nuisance :) But I did warn of that in my introduction when I first joined up !!
So my final query is
What would be the recovery media I need to boot from?
Is that a seperate device/HD than the one that will replace the faulty one?
Do you actually mean that I must clone to another separate HD meaning I should purchase two HD's. One to clone with and one to do the cloning on?
Your Point 3) is a bit confusing..
Maybe I need to join a group for real beginners :)
Yep, that's certainly me by the looks of things.

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Jim Hillier
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May 20, 2014 - 3:24 am
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You are not being a nuisance at all Colin. That's exactly why the Forum is here, to help people such as yourself.

The recovery media is the bootable disc (or USB drive) you have created using the previously mentioned imaging software. Most imaging software includes a feature to create bootable media which is otherwise known as recovery media... they are one and the same thing.

No need to clone anything Colin. No need to even buy another internal hard drive until you actually need it. Just create a full system image and keep it stored safely on an external drive. Create a fresh image occasionally as you go along to help keep it as current as possible, and if your hard drive ever fails all you need do is follow steps 1 to 3 as previously outlined.

Sorry mate, I just can't explain it in any simpler terms...

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Colin B
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May 20, 2014 - 9:16 pm
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Oh Jim..
Thanks for your patience.
I now get it. It goes like this?

I need two hard drives to accomplish my task.
One to copy the image to and the other one to transfer that image to..?
So I need to purchase two hard drives with the same amount of gigs that my "C" drive has?
From what I gather, one of the new purchases should be a USB drive and the other purchase would be a mechanical drive, BOTH of the same gigabytes as the other. ?
Then I would install the cloning software on my functioning computer by following the instructions.
This "image" would then be written to the new USB drive...Making sure it's plugged in!!

Then I simply remove my functioning "C" drive and plug in my NEW one.
Then using my new USB with the image (or whatever it's called), boot from it.Then following the instructions allow the contents of that USB drive to be written to my new mechanical drive.
So far so good?
Then..phew.. remove the new mechanical drive and the USB drive and re-plug in my old "C" drive and place the now backup mechanical drive in a cupboard somewhere !!
Then if something happens I can simply just find that cupboard again and plug in the backup mechanical drive.

Tell me I'm right..please!
I think I was confused about requiring two drives to "clone" my "C" drive.
I imagined it would only require the one new purchase.
Colin

EDIT some hours later Read at own risk

I've just noticed on this link: http://www.macrium.com/help.aspx
That both Imaging and cloning have seperate entries.
So I must still not be getting it !
Which of these do I use for my sorry case?
Do I image or do I clone or are they the same?
Colin

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Jim Hillier
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May 21, 2014 - 8:21 pm
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I need two hard drives to accomplish my task. One to copy the image to and the other one to transfer that image to..?

Yes. You'll need an external drive immediately, to store the image. An internal drive only if and when the current hard drive fails.

So I need to purchase two hard drives with the same amount of gigs that my "C" drive has?

No. The drives can be any size. The external drive can be a flash drive if you like, just so long as it has enough space to hold the image.

From what I gather, one of the new purchases should be a USB drive and the other purchase would be a mechanical drive, BOTH of the same gigabytes as the other. ?

No. The USB drive could be smaller because it would only be used to store the image. Images are compressed so do not take up as much space as the used space on the "C" drive. For example, used space on my "C" drive is 75GB but the system image is only 37GB. So I would need an external drive with enough space to store that image. On the other hand, the new internal drive will be a lot bigger, at least as big as your current "C" drive, because it has to hold the restored operating system plus allow plenty of room for additional applications, personal data, etc.

Then I would install the cloning software on my functioning computer by following the instructions.
This "image" would then be written to the new USB drive…Making sure it's plugged in!!

Correct.

Then I simply remove my functioning "C" drive and plug in my NEW one.
Then using my new USB with the image (or whatever it's called), boot from it.Then following the instructions allow the contents of that USB drive to be written to my new mechanical drive.

Almost correct, except you would boot from the recovery media (CD or flash drive) created by the imaging software and then recover the image to the new drive.

remove the new mechanical drive and the USB drive and re-plug in my old "C" drive and place the now backup mechanical drive in a cupboard somewhere !!
Then if something happens I can simply just find that cupboard again and plug in the backup mechanical drive.

You could do that if you wanted to but it is not the best method. What happens if your hard drive fails 12 months down the track after creating the image. Your operating system and everything would all be 12 months old.

Better to just buy the USB drive immediately and create and save an image. Then every month or so, create a fresh image to replace the older one. That will help keep your image current. There is no need to buy the internal drive until you actually need it, just so long as you have the image safely tucked away.

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Colin B
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May 21, 2014 - 8:42 pm
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At the risk of closure on this topic..Many,many thanks, Jim.
"I think he's got it!"
I'll keep in touch on how I go.
Do I hear groaning noises?
Cheers and thanks again, Colin

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Jim Hillier
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May 21, 2014 - 8:49 pm
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LOL. No problem Colin.

You might like to check out this giveaway, Aomei Backupper is top notch software and the Pro version is currently available for free: https://davescomputertips.com/softpedia-giveaway-aomei-backupper-professional/

Cheers mate... Jim

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Colin B
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May 21, 2014 - 10:17 pm
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Great stuff. Thanks for the link.
Now the questions you were dreading...
There is an option on this software called .."Clone"
From what I can make out this option will clone directly to another mechanical drive without requiring the middle step of writing an "image" to a USB drive
Is that correct?
If so then do I just buy a mechanical drive, connect it up and umm.. Clone to it?
I guess this Clone operation writes a copy to the "new" disk while I watch, so to speak. This Clone could then be used as the "C" drive immediately afterwards?

And..there's always an "and" ..to perform a Image copy I guess that option that this software offers is either very hard to find from within the menu or it does not exist or it lies somewhere within the "Backup" option?
Reading the FAQs etc is very vague about imaging.
Any clues there, Jim
It is a bit confusing.
Just like me.
Thank God for Jim !!

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