Win7 Drive cloning software

skeedo

Senior member
Nov 29, 2004
269
0
76
What is the drive cloning software of choice these days? I haven't cloned a drive in literally 10 years, and last time I did it was Norton Ghost. I had a hard drive crash and had to reinstall Win 7 on an old IDE drive, ordered a new SATA drive that I would like to clone to. I've heard good/bad things about Acronis, and I'm not entirely sure about Clonezilla.
 

Chiefcrowe

Diamond Member
Sep 15, 2008
5,046
177
116
My favorite is Macrium Reflect right now. I have used Acronis in the past but not sure about the latest version since i haven't used it.
 

WildHorse

Diamond Member
Jun 29, 2003
5,023
0
0
I formerly used Acronis True Image, but now I rely on the native Win7 backup (file backup+image), which works just fine. It even lets you select and restore an individual file from the backup.

I don't understand why GFI, Macrium Reflect, Clonezilla, Acronis, Genie9, Easeus Todo, DriveImage XML, Paragon, Ghost, etc. are any better than the native Windows 7 tools. Maybe they're better, but if so I'm ignorant of why.
 

gquiring

Junior Member
Jan 10, 2011
5
0
0
I formerly used Acronis True Image, but now I rely on the native Win7 backup (file backup+image), which works just fine. It even lets you select and restore an individual file from the backup.

I don't understand why GFI, Macrium Reflect, Clonezilla, Acronis, Genie9, Easeus Todo, DriveImage XML, Paragon, Ghost, etc. are any better than the native Windows 7 tools. Maybe they're better, but if so I'm ignorant of why.
I have not tried the Win7 backup apps, how do you recover from an image backup with Win7?
 

lxskllr

No Lifer
Nov 30, 2004
57,418
7,599
126
I don't understand why GFI, Macrium Reflect, Clonezilla, Acronis, Genie9, Easeus Todo, DriveImage XML, Paragon, Ghost, etc. are any better than the native Windows 7 tools. Maybe they're better, but if so I'm ignorant of why.

I don't know that Clonezilla's better, but with that, and other tools, I prefer using open source applications that work on a wide variety of O/Ss. That way I can learn one way to do something, and use it with anything that I might need, from win98 to Win7 to Linux. It's also free for me to use as I see fit, without any strings attached.
 

WildHorse

Diamond Member
Jun 29, 2003
5,023
0
0
I have not tried the Win7 backup apps, how do you recover from an image backup with Win7?

The Windows backup will make both a backup of files, and in the same pass will also (if you select the option), make an image of whichever drives you chose. That's how I do it.

Restore from the image (as gquiring requested):
One way is to navigate to the saved image, double click on it, and you're on your way. I had to do this a few days ago, and the resulting restore works perfectly.

Another way is to open Windows Backup and click on the Restore and select your options.

Restore from backup files (this is copied from the WIn7 Help):
Restore files from a backup

You can restore backed-up versions of files that are lost, damaged, or changed accidentally. You also restore individual files, groups of files, or all of the files that you've backed up.

  1. Click to open Backup and Restore.
  2. Do one of the following:
    • To restore your files, click Restore my files.
    • To restore the files of all users, click Restore all users' files.
      GetContent.aspx
      If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
  3. Do one of the following:
    • To browse the contents of the backup, click Browse for files or Browse for folders.
      When you're browsing for folders, you won't be able to see the individual files in a folder. To view individual files, use the Browse for files option.
    • To search the contents of the backup, click Search, type all or part of a file name, and then click Search.
    Tips

    • If you're searching for files or folders associated with a specific user account, you can improve search results by typing the location of the file or folder in the Search for box. For example, to search for all JPG files that were backed up, type JPG in the Search for box. To only search for JPG files associated with the user Bill, type C:\Users\Bill\JPG in the Search for box.
    • You can use wildcard characters such as *.jpg to search for all JPG files that were backed up.
To restore a backup made on another computer


  1. You can restore files from a backup that was created on another computer running Windows Vista or Windows 7.
  2. Click to open Backup and Restore.
  3. Click Select another backup to restore files from, and then follow the steps in the wizard.
    GetContent.aspx
    If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
To find files that were restored from a backup made on another computer


  1. If you're restoring files from a backup that was made on another computer, the files will be restored in a folder under the user name that was used to create the backup. If the user names are different, you'll need to navigate to the folder where the files are restored. For example, if your user name was Molly on the computer that the backup was made on but your user name is MollyC on the computer that the backup is being restored on, the restored files will be saved in a folder labelled Molly. You can find the restored files by following these steps:
  2. Click to open Computer.
  3. Double-click the icon of the drive that the files are saved on, for example C:\.
  4. Double-click the Users folder.
    You will see a folder for each user account.
  5. Double-click the folder for the user name that was used to create the backup.
    The restored files will be in the various folders based on where they were located originally.
To restore files from a file backup after restoring your computer from a system image backup


  1. After you restore your computer from a system image backup, there might be newer versions of some of your files in a file backup that you want to restore. Because you've reverted your computer to the state that it was in at the time the system image backup was created, Windows Backup won't show any file backups in the Restore Files wizard that were created after the system image backup was created. To restore files from a file backup that was created after the system image backup was created, follow these steps:
  2. Click to open Backup and Restore.
  3. Click Select another backup to restore files from.
    GetContent.aspx
    If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
  4. In the Backup Period, select the date range of the backup that contains the files that you want to restore, and then follow the steps in the wizard.
 

WildHorse

Diamond Member
Jun 29, 2003
5,023
0
0
I don't know that Clonezilla's better, but with that, and other tools, I prefer using open source applications that work on a wide variety of O/Ss. That way I can learn one way to do something, and use it with anything that I might need, from win98 to Win7 to Linux. It's also free for me to use as I see fit, without any strings attached.

Yes, your reason makes sense.

The bit where you mention prefering the "free" version is the only hesitation I have, because it seemed the free versions of some of the brands won't make an Image (like GFI), or won't allow restoration of a single file, etc.

As far as I know the native Win7 backup doesn't do incremental backup, but on my personal computer that's no drawback. It can run a fresh complete backup when I'm not using it, like when I'm out jogging or in a meeting or something, so it's OK with me.
 

corkyg

Elite Member | Peripherals
Super Moderator
Mar 4, 2000
27,370
238
106
Win 7's backup/restore functions are pretty solid. However, backup/restore is not cloning. A cloned drive is a bit by bit duplicate of another drive, and if it is the OS drive, a cloned drive is immediately bootable and useable without restoration.

I carry cloned drives in all my computers. I call them Reserve Drives. If the primary drive fails, I simply move the power Molex to the Reserve drive and boot.
 

WildHorse

Diamond Member
Jun 29, 2003
5,023
0
0
Win 7's backup/restore functions are pretty solid. However, backup/restore is not cloning. A cloned drive is a bit by bit duplicate of another drive, and if it is the OS drive, a cloned drive is immediately bootable and useable without restoration.

I carry cloned drives in all my computers. I call them Reserve Drives. If the primary drive fails, I simply move the power Molex to the Reserve drive and boot.

(a) What application do you use to create your clone?

(b) Is a clone just another name for an image? Or are a clone and an image different?

Thank you.
 

corkyg

Elite Member | Peripherals
Super Moderator
Mar 4, 2000
27,370
238
106
(a) What application do you use to create your clone?
(b) Is a clone just another name for an image? Or are a clone and an image different?Thank you.

I use Acronis TrueImage 2011 at present, but never from within Windows. Cloning is best done using the TI prepared CDR (full function with Linux based GUI.)

There are backup images and cloned images. The difference is, a backup image is usually coded into a format that requires restoration. A cloned image basically duplicates the drive, and no restoration is necessary. All files are in their native format and the MBR is placed correctly so the drive can boot.

A backup image can be for specific folders, full or incremental. A Cloned image is the entire drive. The backup image is archived into a single file. In order to extract the data, the file must be deciphered - and that is what restore does.
 
Last edited:

gquiring

Junior Member
Jan 10, 2011
5
0
0
The Windows backup will make both a backup of files, and in the same pass will also (if you select the option), make an image of whichever drives you chose. That's how I do it.

Restore from the image (as gquiring requested):
One way is to navigate to the saved image, double click on it, and you're on your way. I had to do this a few days ago, and the resulting restore works perfectly.

Another way is to open Windows Backup and click on the Restore and select your options.

Restore from backup files (this is copied from the WIn7 Help):
Restore files from a backup

You can restore backed-up versions of files that are lost, damaged, or changed accidentally. You also restore individual files, groups of files, or all of the files that you've backed up.

  1. Click to open Backup and Restore.
  2. Do one of the following:
    • To restore your files, click Restore my files.
    • To restore the files of all users, click Restore all users' files.
      GetContent.aspx
      If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
  3. Do one of the following:
    • To browse the contents of the backup, click Browse for files or Browse for folders.
      When you're browsing for folders, you won't be able to see the individual files in a folder. To view individual files, use the Browse for files option.
    • To search the contents of the backup, click Search, type all or part of a file name, and then click Search.
    Tips

    • If you're searching for files or folders associated with a specific user account, you can improve search results by typing the location of the file or folder in the Search for box. For example, to search for all JPG files that were backed up, type JPG in the Search for box. To only search for JPG files associated with the user Bill, type C:\Users\Bill\JPG in the Search for box.
    • You can use wildcard characters such as *.jpg to search for all JPG files that were backed up.
To restore a backup made on another computer


  1. You can restore files from a backup that was created on another computer running Windows Vista or Windows 7.
  2. Click to open Backup and Restore.
  3. Click Select another backup to restore files from, and then follow the steps in the wizard.
    GetContent.aspx
    If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
To find files that were restored from a backup made on another computer


  1. If you're restoring files from a backup that was made on another computer, the files will be restored in a folder under the user name that was used to create the backup. If the user names are different, you'll need to navigate to the folder where the files are restored. For example, if your user name was Molly on the computer that the backup was made on but your user name is MollyC on the computer that the backup is being restored on, the restored files will be saved in a folder labelled Molly. You can find the restored files by following these steps:
  2. Click to open Computer.
  3. Double-click the icon of the drive that the files are saved on, for example C:\.
  4. Double-click the Users folder.
    You will see a folder for each user account.
  5. Double-click the folder for the user name that was used to create the backup.
    The restored files will be in the various folders based on where they were located originally.
To restore files from a file backup after restoring your computer from a system image backup


  1. After you restore your computer from a system image backup, there might be newer versions of some of your files in a file backup that you want to restore. Because you've reverted your computer to the state that it was in at the time the system image backup was created, Windows Backup won't show any file backups in the Restore Files wizard that were created after the system image backup was created. To restore files from a file backup that was created after the system image backup was created, follow these steps:
  2. Click to open Backup and Restore.
  3. Click Select another backup to restore files from.
    GetContent.aspx
    If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
  4. In the Backup Period, select the date range of the backup that contains the files that you want to restore, and then follow the steps in the wizard.
But how do you restore an image if the system died aka new hard drive?
 

mvbighead

Diamond Member
Apr 20, 2009
3,793
1
81
Win 7's backup/restore functions are pretty solid. However, backup/restore is not cloning. A cloned drive is a bit by bit duplicate of another drive, and if it is the OS drive, a cloned drive is immediately bootable and useable without restoration.

I carry cloned drives in all my computers. I call them Reserve Drives. If the primary drive fails, I simply move the power Molex to the Reserve drive and boot.

Why not just configure RAID1?
 

DirkGently1

Senior member
Mar 31, 2011
904
0
0
Boot to your Win 7 disk and go into the recovery options. Select your backup image and you're off to the races.


I use the built in Win 7 imaging facility and that is exactly how i got up and running again after a recent drive upgrade. Alignment is preserved too. Very useful for a free tool! Question is, will the EU be suing MS for anti-competitive practices again, this time in the disk-imaging market? :rolleyes:
 

corkyg

Elite Member | Peripherals
Super Moderator
Mar 4, 2000
27,370
238
106
Why not just configure RAID1?

I use RAID1 for my data drive. That is common to both OS drives. RAID1 provides redundancy and is OK for data, but program errors and corruptions are auto replicated and not a valid backup. My system (in 4 computers) allows me to alternate HDDs weekly - That allows them to rest every other week.

My RAID1 atrray runs 24/7 and is itself backed up on an external drive.
 

skeedo

Senior member
Nov 29, 2004
269
0
76
Man, I'm getting all kinds of "Buffer I/O error on device" popping up in Clonezilla, doesn't seem like theres an easy fix. Also doesn't look like Win 7 is viable for cloning a drive. Wonder if I should give this Tudo backup a shot since it is free.
 
Last edited:

Phynaz

Lifer
Mar 13, 2006
10,140
819
126
Or you could spend $25 and buy Acronis.

Depends upon how much your time and frustration are worth.
 

Emulex

Diamond Member
Jan 28, 2001
9,759
1
71
acronis easy clone is free by western digital, intel if you own any parts it will operate. free and legal
 

soundasleep

Member
May 11, 2011
80
0
0
I'm curious, can anyone confirm that the Windows 7 tools definitely CAN'T do true drive image files, like Ghost or Clonezilla would. i.e., you would require a boot disc in order to "recover".

Also, do any of these tools allow you to clone a drive or partition but only use the amount of data that is actually used in the partition? i.e. 120GB boot partition with some drivers & apps that is only 1/2 full...can you create an image that is only 60GB?

Thanks...
 
Last edited:

pcunite

Senior member
Nov 15, 2007
336
1
76
I've stayed with Ghost for all these years. These days you'll need to buy the version called Ghost Solution Suite, it comes with ghost32/64 and you can use it from WinPE environments. They have the old dos version updated as well. I think it now at version 11.x.