Go Back   AnandTech Forums > Hardware and Technology > Memory and Storage

Forums
· Hardware and Technology
· CPUs and Overclocking
· Motherboards
· Video Cards and Graphics
· Memory and Storage
· Power Supplies
· Cases & Cooling
· SFF, Notebooks, Pre-Built/Barebones PCs
· Networking
· Peripherals
· General Hardware
· Highly Technical
· Computer Help
· Home Theater PCs
· Consumer Electronics
· Digital and Video Cameras
· Mobile Devices & Gadgets
· Audio/Video & Home Theater
· Software
· Software for Windows
· All Things Apple
· *nix Software
· Operating Systems
· Programming
· PC Gaming
· Console Gaming
· Distributed Computing
· Security
· Social
· Off Topic
· Politics and News
· Discussion Club
· Love and Relationships
· The Garage
· Health and Fitness
· Merchandise and Shopping
· For Sale/Trade
· Hot Deals with Free Stuff/Contests
· Black Friday 2014
· Forum Issues
· Technical Forum Issues
· Personal Forum Issues
· Suggestion Box
· Moderator Resources
· Moderator Discussions
   

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 12-08-2012, 05:17 PM   #1
RhoXS
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Florida
Posts: 112
Default How to clone W7 - A Definitive Solution

I have recently noticed a number of posts asking about cloning as a back up strategy so I thought I would comment on a method I reliably use.

For years my back up strategy was to simply make a plug and play clone of my C: drive every couple of weeks. I used a DOS based version of Ghost (on a disk or USB device) that worked very well, was simple, did not run from the Windows environment, and did not require installing one of the popular but overly complex bloatware packages (in my opinion). If the destination drive was bigger than the source drive, Ghost would automatically expand the partition to utilize the entire drive. On a couple of occasions over a lot of years it was a wonderful thing having a replacement drive that just needed to be plugged in when my installed C: drive failed.

With the advent of W7, Ghost no longer worked as well as it once did. The Ghost clones required a Windows repair using the Windows repair disk to make the clone boot. This added complexity made me lose confidence in the reliability of the backup clones because it was not always reliable when I periodically tested it. I also missed the one step consistently reliable simplicity of Ghost.

The following procedure works: It works well, it is easy, runs from a USB drive, is free, and I just thoroughly tested it again to prove it is reliable. It is essentially a much refined GUI version of the old DOS based Ghost.

There is a free product called Disc Copy by EaseUS. It boots from a USB device so nothing needs to be installed under Windows. I tested it again today by doing the following:

1. Using EaseUS Disc Copy (booting from a USB memory device), I cloned my 128 Gb Samsung 830 SSD to another identical 128 Gb Samsung 830 SSB. The clone booted indistinguishably from the original and I can see no meaningful difference in any of the benchmarks, boot time, etc. In fact, this is being typed on the clone which will remain installed because I see no reason to remove it.

2. I then cloned the clone to a 1 Tb Western Digital Blue HDD. Again, except for seeing the effects of a painfully slower mechanical HDD as compared to an SSD, it too worked perfectly just by plugging it in.

EaseUS Disc Copy, unlike Ghost, will not automatically expand the partition if the destination drive is larger than the source drive. For the purpose of having a ready to use backup safely stored out of harms way on a shelf, this really does not matter. However there is also a free solution to easily fix this.

EaseUS also has available a free product called Partition Master Home Addition. The free product must be installed under Windows but the downloaded file is only about 11 Mb so it does not have a big foot print. There is a version that can be purchased for $40 that I think allows running it from a USB device. Nevertheless, very simply, it expanded the partition on the Western Digital 1 Tb HDD clone to include the entire drive.

I previously used Truecrypt and found I could not get the procedure above to work reliably. My C: drive is now unencrypted. The Samsung 840 SSD is advertised as having 128 bit AES hardware encryption but it requires a motherboard that supports TPM. I do not yet have an 840 (256 Gb very soon) and my motherboard does not support TPM. In any case, I do not know how well EaseUS Disc Copy will work with this form of encryption.

Hope this helps.
__________________
Asus P8P67 Pro Rev 3.1
Intel i7 2600K @ 4.3 Ghz
Samsung 830 128GB SSD
WD 750 GB Caviar Black
8 GB Corsair Vengeance DDR3 1600 8-8-8-24
EVGA 9800GTX Graphics
Corsair H50
Corsair HX850W Power Supply
Corsair 600T Case
W7 Professional 64 bit
RhoXS is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-08-2012, 05:34 PM   #2
John Connor
Diamond Member
 
John Connor's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Somewhere with an encrypted radio mocking the NSA
Posts: 6,493
Default

How about Macrium reflect?
John Connor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-08-2012, 06:32 PM   #3
RhoXS
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Florida
Posts: 112
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Conner View Post
How about Macrium reflect?
Dont know anything about it. I want something simple that preferably runs from a USB memory device. The EaseUS products I mentioned mostly are like that. Even though they apparently work I have stayed away from the Acronis, Norton, etc products because they install to much unneeded crap and load too much stuff that takes up unneeded overhead as can be seen in msconfig. I put "Macrium Reflect" into Google as I never heard of it and it describes itself as "A complete disk image and backup software solution for your PC". That scares me away because that means it probably has one of those bloated mega installs under windows. I just want to make a bootable plug and play clone every couple weeks and don't want all that crap on my computer.
__________________
Asus P8P67 Pro Rev 3.1
Intel i7 2600K @ 4.3 Ghz
Samsung 830 128GB SSD
WD 750 GB Caviar Black
8 GB Corsair Vengeance DDR3 1600 8-8-8-24
EVGA 9800GTX Graphics
Corsair H50
Corsair HX850W Power Supply
Corsair 600T Case
W7 Professional 64 bit
RhoXS is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-08-2012, 08:13 PM   #4
Dessert Tears
Golden Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 1,100
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Conner View Post
How about Macrium reflect?
The free version of Macrium Reflect can create a WinPE bootable ISO (it does the needful for USB drives and SD cards), but it requires the full install and a 1.7 GB WAIK download. A user on another forum generated and uploaded the ISO, but I don't trust random files on the Internet. I think the pay version can generate one copy (some sort of Windows licensing issue) of the ISO without the WAIK download.
__________________
every day i'm snorgeling
Dessert Tears is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-08-2012, 11:37 PM   #5
John Connor
Diamond Member
 
John Connor's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Somewhere with an encrypted radio mocking the NSA
Posts: 6,493
Default

Well, I used Macrium reflect and had no issues.
John Connor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-08-2012, 11:52 PM   #6
readymix
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 219
Default

i like macrium very much. i install it on my W7 PCs and leave it. runs a single service, 2 if it's working an operation. can run a pre-configured operation from a xml desktop link so you rarely need to open the gui. really, if i'm not using it i don't know it's there. fixed what for so long always seemed to be unsure backup woes. not sure if it's bloatware or what someone would consided what is bloat and what is not. but, i can confirm it comes no where near the mess that is acronis. and in some cases ghost. as a matter of course i no longer mantain a clone, partly thanks to my confidence in macrium and partly to the fact my boot drive never died. the latter is probably age related memory issues. and in breaking with conventional wisdom if i do clone its from within windows. so far after a year and a half of monthly images going to offsite and onsite locations and specific folder sometimes daily macrium has given me nothing to worry about.
readymix is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-2012, 02:59 PM   #7
jheorghe
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 1
Default Macrium Reflect failed me

I did the same. I have created images of my system and data with Macrium for over a year. When I needed to restore the system, however, Macrium Reflect failed. To all my attempts to make some use of the back-ups I collected every week, it was offering only excuses (well, explanations why it was not possible). You do not know that a system image software actually works until you try to RESTORE. All that fancy imaging is useless if that critical function does not work. Given that the moments you need a restore are often moments of pressure, you need the restore to work as simply and reliably as a button. Unlike most other software, it can be many month, even years until you really know what's the software worth.
jheorghe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-2012, 04:08 PM   #8
RhoXS
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Florida
Posts: 112
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by jheorghe View Post
... When I needed to restore the system, however, Macrium Reflect failed.

... You do not know that a system image software actually works until you try to RESTORE. All that fancy imaging is useless if that critical function does not work.

... Given that the moments you need a restore are often moments of pressure, you need the restore to work as simply and reliably as a button.
Thank you for making those statements. That is exactly why I have always used as simple a solution as possible that does not run from Windows.

A plug and play clone is about as simple a fix as it gets. Simply remove the failed drive and plug in the new one. The only trick is to have the discipline to make a new clone at a reasonable interval. If making the clone is simple than you are more likely to do it.

I do indeed periodically check to make sure the clones do indeed work. Yesterday I cloned a 128 Gb SSd to another identical 128 Gb SSD and this clone is what is now installed. I then cloned the 128 Gb clone to a 1Tb WD Blue HDD and it also booted, albeit a lot slower, without issue so the clone of a clone worked. I think this clearly proved this method works.

I usually use two drives that I alternate, each in a removable tray. I simply push the tray into the holder on the front of my tower and boot off a USB memory device with EaseUS Disc Copy. I then remove the tray and set it on a shelf out of harms way.

Now that there are fast USB 3.0 external drives for around $99, I am going to see if they will make a plug and play bootable clone. My idea is to rotate two of these drives instead of what I do now with the big 5.25" HDD in trays. Then, if I need to use one, I will simply clone it to a new SSD. SSDs are just two expensive to use them as the on the shelf backup clones as I do now with cheap HDDs.

I started this thread not with the intent to discuss various solutions that will work but simply to let anyone interested know, since I see the question continually pop up, of a simple free solution that is well tested and works very reliably without having to install software and have resource hungry services running in the background.
__________________
Asus P8P67 Pro Rev 3.1
Intel i7 2600K @ 4.3 Ghz
Samsung 830 128GB SSD
WD 750 GB Caviar Black
8 GB Corsair Vengeance DDR3 1600 8-8-8-24
EVGA 9800GTX Graphics
Corsair H50
Corsair HX850W Power Supply
Corsair 600T Case
W7 Professional 64 bit
RhoXS is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-2012, 05:17 PM   #9
capeconsultant
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 454
Default

I have been using Active@Disk Image software for years and it has worked quite well. Still lean and mean compared to Ghost or Acronis. I commend them for that!
__________________
Mac mini - 2.3ghz - core i7-16GB Ram | 24 inch Dell IPS monitor | OCZ Vector 512GB SSD | 2TB WD External | CapeWP.com
capeconsultant is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-2012, 09:50 PM   #10
GPz1100
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Posts: 337
Default

I gave up on ghost years ago (not too long after symantec acquired them). These days I use acronis backup and recovery in the field. For the home user, their true image product offers similar functionality.

Edit: I should clarify, I use the acronis bootable media product, not the windows installation. Being an old school ghost user (from the days of binary research), I'm still a firm believer that the best backups are those done OUTSIDE the operating system.
__________________
Living reality in a dream

p8z77v-deluxe, 3770K @ 4.6, +.050V offset, LLC at high, xspc raystorm/ex360 WC

Last edited by GPz1100; 12-09-2012 at 09:53 PM.
GPz1100 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-2012, 10:39 PM   #11
RhoXS
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Florida
Posts: 112
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by GPz1100 View Post
I gave up on ghost years ago (not too long after symantec acquired them).

Being an old school ghost user (from the days of binary research), I'm still a firm believer that the best backups are those done OUTSIDE the operating system.
I used Ghost 2003 off a floppy then a USB memory device up until W7 required a repair to be bootable. This was, IMO, a great piece of software and I was very sorry it was never updated. It was simple, easy to use, and 100% reliable. I think the old DOS based Ghost 2003 should be the poster child for the old adage; "If its not broke, don't fix it".
__________________
Asus P8P67 Pro Rev 3.1
Intel i7 2600K @ 4.3 Ghz
Samsung 830 128GB SSD
WD 750 GB Caviar Black
8 GB Corsair Vengeance DDR3 1600 8-8-8-24
EVGA 9800GTX Graphics
Corsair H50
Corsair HX850W Power Supply
Corsair 600T Case
W7 Professional 64 bit
RhoXS is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-2012, 11:11 PM   #12
tcsenter
Lifer
 
tcsenter's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Central California
Posts: 16,986
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by jheorghe View Post
I did the same. I have created images of my system and data with Macrium for over a year. When I needed to restore the system, however, Macrium Reflect failed.
The free version of Macrium Reflect will not restore to dissimilar hardware, especially if the hard drive is different/larger. This is a feature supported only in the paid/registered version. I'm wondering if this isn't the problem with many 'free' version products that people are having. I keep hearing people use the word "restore" but many don't specify if they changed the hard drive.
tcsenter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-10-2012, 12:21 AM   #13
RhoXS
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Florida
Posts: 112
Default

I tried an experiment and it failed.

I recently bought a USB 3.0 Seagate 1 Tb BackUp Plus external drive. I was curious if it would clone via a USB port. Using EaseUS Disc Copy I cloned my C: drive (same one I discussed previously) to it. It seemed to clone OK but it would not successfully boot. It would start to boot and get as far as the initial screen with the colored things merginging together but would crash there. Tried a repair and that would not work. So much for that idea.
__________________
Asus P8P67 Pro Rev 3.1
Intel i7 2600K @ 4.3 Ghz
Samsung 830 128GB SSD
WD 750 GB Caviar Black
8 GB Corsair Vengeance DDR3 1600 8-8-8-24
EVGA 9800GTX Graphics
Corsair H50
Corsair HX850W Power Supply
Corsair 600T Case
W7 Professional 64 bit
RhoXS is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-10-2012, 07:32 AM   #14
Mfusick
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 500
Default

Interesting read. I'm a clean install kind of guy.
Mfusick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-10-2012, 11:47 AM   #15
Old Hippie
Diamond Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 6,361
Default

If you think your post will eliminate cloning questions, think again.

BTW, I use Acronis for this purpose.
__________________
Rick
You Get What You Pay For!
Old Hippie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-12-2012, 08:05 PM   #16
Dessert Tears
Golden Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 1,100
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by tcsenter View Post
The free version of Macrium Reflect will not restore to dissimilar hardware, especially if the hard drive is different/larger.
I see "Restore to dissimilar hardware" in the feature comparison table, but I've done a few drive migrations (create image and restore to new drive, not clone) using the free version. This thread says that "dissimilar hardware" doesn't include drives.
__________________
every day i'm snorgeling
Dessert Tears is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-13-2012, 04:28 PM   #17
weevilone
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 69
Default

I appreciate this thread. I don't use Windows any longer, so I'm not up to date on the lastest and greatest backup and imaging techniques.

I recently built a PC for a family member but didn't have their hard drive handy. I've built the software load on one of my SSDs, so now I need to put some of this advice to use.
weevilone is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-13-2012, 07:12 PM   #18
jolancer
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 469
Default

...just a few notes since this thread is here...

If your not restoring the image to the orginal disk, deleting the mounted partition entries in the registry key bellow BEFORE cloning might fix your issue, it will regenerate the MountedDevice entries according to the clones new surroundings.(Not tested thats what i found on google though, i personaly havnt needed 2try it yet)
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\MountedDevices]

Bellow is a link to what looks like a very nice slim cloning utility Free for private use, that someone posted here before(Not tested this either, i personaly havnt needed to try it yet)
http://www.runtime.org/driveimage-xml.htm

If your preference is command based apps because of there efficency, my only suggestion for those would be linux. Thats what i did, just the basics and learn the specific task you need and it works great. for those interested lookin into it ill just name a couple things... every linux guy has there own prefered distro etc, but for running terminal commands and some basic gui tools i so far only use http://www.sysresccd.org

command for cloning at disk level:
$ dd
command for cloning ntfs fs specific partitions
$ ntfsclone

for googling manual page for operation list of a linux command just use:
man ntfsclone
if a more practical example isnt givin near the bottom of that page just google for example: ntfsclone examples or watever
jolancer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-20-2012, 11:01 AM   #19
jobz
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 117
Default

I used acronis 2011 rescue disk to clone win7 from hd to ssd.

What jheorghe said is absolutely right, a backup is not a backup unless you restore it once. A quick way to test this is to restore to a virtual machine, like vmware or free virtualbox. In fact, my old winxp machine is running in a vm, imaged from acronis disk, of course.
jobz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-20-2012, 11:45 AM   #20
Diogenes2
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 2,110
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by jheorghe View Post
I did the same. I have created images of my system and data with Macrium for over a year....
It doesn't sound like you are talking about ' cloning '...

Yes with an image, you don't know if it's any good until you try to restore.


With cloning you just plug in the drive and go.. It is also good for rotating your drives.. I do this often.. I just clone my system drive then swap it until it's time to back-up again.


I have done this hundreds of times with Macrium and it has never failed to make a good clone.. Different drives don't matter as long as the partition will fit..
__________________
3930K @ 4.4g - AsRock X79 Extreme9 - 212+ EVO - 16gb PC1333 GTX 560Ti 448
Diogenes2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-21-2012, 02:34 AM   #21
adlep
Diamond Member
 
adlep's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 5,254
Default

The Acronis True Image works well.
__________________
Heat
adlep is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-21-2012, 01:09 PM   #22
bbinnard
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 32
Default

Notice that Samsung has just put up their own SSD cloning software. Too bad it arrived a week too late for me.
bbinnard is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 02:26 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.