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Best way to clone a laptop hard drive?

Syringer

Lifer
Aug 2, 2001
19,333
2
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I want to make a clone of my current 120gb hard drive (we'll call it 'A') and put it into a 250gb (hd 'B')--what would be the simplest way to do this? I have a USB/SATA converter, is there anyway with a program like Ghost to just boot from HD B and then transfer everything from hd A to B?
 

corkyg

Elite Member | Peripherals
Super Moderator
Mar 4, 2000
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I clone my laptop HDD regularly and swap drives every couple of weeks. There are two ways. I mostly do it this way:

Using Acronis TI 2009's bootable Rescue media, I boot to it, and select the CLONE utility. I have an external HDD set up via eSATA to the lappie. I clone the lappy HDD to the external drive.

When done, I power down, disconnect, and flip the lappy over and remove the HDD. I then replace it with HDD2. Reconnect and reboot to the Rescue Media, then clone from the EXTERNAL to the new Internal HDD2. When that is done, I disconnect and boot to the new drive.

My other way is to use my t60's Ultrabay and put HDD2 in it. Then I boot to Rescue Media placed on a Thumb Drive and clone HDD1 to HDD2. When done, I replace HDD1 with HDD2 and put the optical drive back in and boot to the new HDD2.

I am using all 320GB drives, and each cloning operation takes about 12 minutes.
 

VinDSL

Diamond Member
Apr 11, 2006
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www.lenon.com
Originally posted by: corkyg
I clone my laptop HDD regularly and swap drives every couple of weeks. There are two ways. I mostly do it this way:

Using Acronis TI 2009's bootable Rescue media, I boot to it, and select the CLONE utility. I have an external HDD set up via eSATA to the lappie. I clone the lappy HDD to the external drive.

When done, I power down, disconnect, and flip the lappy over and remove the HDD. I then replace it with HDD2. Reconnect and reboot to the Rescue Media, then clone from the EXTERNAL to the new Internal HDD2. When that is done, I disconnect and boot to the new drive[...]
Very creative! :thumbsup:

Did you think of that yourself?

I might try that using Clonezilla and my Thermaltake BlacX docking station!

Takes the guesswork out of whether or not the image will work, huh? ;)
 

corkyg

Elite Member | Peripherals
Super Moderator
Mar 4, 2000
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Originally posted by: VinDSL
Did you think of that yourself? I might try that using Clonezilla and my Thermaltake BlacX docking station! Takes the guesswork out of whether or not the image will work, huh? ;)
Been cloning my drives for years. I suppose it can technically be called an image. But, to me that usually means a consolidated file that can be restored, i.e., a backup.

My system uses cloned or duplicate drives. My desktops use mobile racks. I can swap a drive in about 15 seconds. These EZ-Swap racks from Vantec are really slick.

EZ

And yes, you know right away if you did it right. :)

A side benefit is that I thus rotate my HDDs. They get a week on and a week off. My laptop spare is all mounted in a spare caddy/tray ready to do.

 

VinDSL

Diamond Member
Apr 11, 2006
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Originally posted by: corkyg
Been cloning my drives for years. I suppose it can technically be called an image. But, to me that usually means a consolidated file that can be restored, i.e., a backup.
Not to split hairs, but you're the one that recommended TI, e.g. True Image... so I "supposed' you would know what I was talking about. Maybe I should have said clone/mirror image... Sorry!

I've got an Acronis *freebie* around here somewhere (and the key). They give it away once a year, and I downloaded it a while back - but I've never been interested enough in Acronis TI to install it. Clonezilla works fine for me, even though it's a kludge.

Still, I like your idea(s) in principal, so I think I'll give them a whirl... ;)
 

corkyg

Elite Member | Peripherals
Super Moderator
Mar 4, 2000
27,371
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Sorry about the "hairs." :) Many folks are confused between backup and cloning. There is a big difference.

I for got to mention one thing. For Vista and later, Acronis TI must be version 11 or higher. Also, my operational speed cited is actual using eSATA. I put an eSATA Express card in the lappy and then connect to a Nexstar 3 with eSATA. That averages about 10-12 minutes each way.

If I use the USB connection, it takes almost an hour each way. It is a real world exercise that clearly shows the relative speed of eSATA to USB.
 

VinDSL

Diamond Member
Apr 11, 2006
4,869
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www.lenon.com
Originally posted by: corkyg
[...] eSATA [...] averages about 10-12 minutes each way.

If I use the USB connection, it takes almost an hour each way.

It is a real world exercise that clearly shows the relative speed of eSATA to USB.
Yep! True that! :thumbsup:

eSATA rules! USB drools...

My BlacX dock (ST0005U) supports USB and eSATA . These 'new' docking stations are the greatest thing since water! :sun:

USB is slow as snot, but eSATA is indistinguishable from SATA, in terms of data read/write speeds.

An eSATA docking station will transfer data just as fast as physically swapping the HDD in and out of a computer.

Basically, eSATA extends SATA outside the machine... eSATA = extendedSATA. Get it? :D

That said, it's still nice to have both USB and eSATA. Every machine I own has a USB port - only 1 has eSATA. :(
 

Syringer

Lifer
Aug 2, 2001
19,333
2
71
Originally posted by: corkyg
I clone my laptop HDD regularly and swap drives every couple of weeks. There are two ways. I mostly do it this way:

Using Acronis TI 2009's bootable Rescue media, I boot to it, and select the CLONE utility. I have an external HDD set up via eSATA to the lappie. I clone the lappy HDD to the external drive.

When done, I power down, disconnect, and flip the lappy over and remove the HDD. I then replace it with HDD2. Reconnect and reboot to the Rescue Media, then clone from the EXTERNAL to the new Internal HDD2. When that is done, I disconnect and boot to the new drive.

My other way is to use my t60's Ultrabay and put HDD2 in it. Then I boot to Rescue Media placed on a Thumb Drive and clone HDD1 to HDD2. When done, I replace HDD1 with HDD2 and put the optical drive back in and boot to the new HDD2.

I am using all 320GB drives, and each cloning operation takes about 12 minutes.
Thanks for the reply..I've been reading up on Acronis software, and it seems like migrate tool will be really useful.

Would it just be a matter of sticking this old HD in my new laptop, and then connect the new HD to the laptop via USB SATA--and run one of these tools?

I don't see the point of going through paragraph 3--wouldn't that 2nd paragraph be all I need to do?
 

VinDSL

Diamond Member
Apr 11, 2006
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Originally posted by: Syringer
I don't see the point of going through paragraph 3--wouldn't that 2nd paragraph be all I need to do?
Don't mean to speak for Corky, but...

The way I took it was -- he's exercising his equipment. That is, instead of running one drive all the time (until it dies) and letting the other languish in the closet (until it's an antique) he's averaging out their lifespan.

Sort of like rotating the tires on your car...

That's what I like about his 'backup' regime. It's a rudimentary cloning process with a built-in fail-safe!

I think it's brilliant, actually! Industrial strength...

LoL!

He never did tell me if he's the one that came up with the idea... :D
 

corkyg

Elite Member | Peripherals
Super Moderator
Mar 4, 2000
27,371
232
106
Thanks, Vin. That is exactly the case. I have a spare or reserve HDD in all of my computers (4). I clone about every 10 days and then rotate the drives. In my desktop, that's a matter of a key switch on the front racks. Here's the setup:

EZ_Swap

On my laptops (2) I keep a spare HDD ready to go. I carry the spare in a small padded pouch when I travel. It is always the one that I last used prior to cloning.

Spare

I have a label on the drive with the date of last cloning. This way I do rotate my drives regularly. The main reason is to always have a ready to go spare on hand. On the Lenovo T60, it is a matter of one screw and removal of a small plastic cover. Then the drive is simply pulled out by the plastic tab. The swap takes a very short time.

As to how I came up with the idea? It happened over time. I have used the reserve drive concept for many years on the desktops - but the lappies presented a challenge. This is what I devised, and it works for me.

Maybe it's like carrying an umbrella - it never rains then. So, carrying a spare, ready to go (synchronized) HDD may be a good analogy. I have never had a laptop drive failure in over 10 years.
 

imported_Husky55

Senior member
Aug 15, 2004
536
0
76
corkyg,

When you clone original HD1 to the external HD2 via esata, you have an exact copy of the the HD1 (original drive).

When you switched the HD1 and HD2 in the laptop you have then the exact copy of the HD1 (original) in the laptop.

Why do you need to clone HD2 to the external HD1 again?

I used Acronis but I did not use the rescue disk.
 

corkyg

Elite Member | Peripherals
Super Moderator
Mar 4, 2000
27,371
232
106
Maybe I was not clear, but the laptop clone process involves THREE drives (unless the laptop supports two drives.)

The first operation clones the HD1 to an external drive. That is not HD3, but a 3.5-in drive in a eSATA case.

Then it is necessary to swap the internal drives in the laptop. HD2 replaces HD1. But - the new data has not yet been cloned to HD2.

The last step is to clone to HD2 from the eSATA drive.

Hope that clears up the question.

I can't do that without the Rescue Disk because I do not install TI in my laptop. Besides, the GUI is much better with the Rescue Disk, and there is less liklihood of an error because of all the rebooting required.
 

imported_Husky55

Senior member
Aug 15, 2004
536
0
76
Thanks corkyg, I got it.

But is it not better just to clone the internal laptop HD1 to an external HD2, 2.5" drive and then just switch the drives?

Jut pondering!!!

:)
 

corkyg

Elite Member | Peripherals
Super Moderator
Mar 4, 2000
27,371
232
106
Originally posted by: Husky55
Thanks corkyg, I got it. But is it not better just to clone the internal laptop HD1 to an external HD2, 2.5" drive and then just switch the drives? Jut pondering!!! :)
Not for me. That involves too much hardware disassembly and assembly You have to open up the external, remove the drive, and then place that drive into your laptop's HDD caddy or tray. That can involve 4 screws at least. I find it more efficient to leave the eSATA drive alone, and clone back to the new internal HDD.

Since I do this at least 2-3 times a month, that makes for a lot of wear and tear on the external case. :)

An added bonus is that you always have another copy on the eSATA drive if needed.

 

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