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Create Bootable Clone Backup in Win7 (without disk/os/boot media) | Carbon Copy Cloner for Mac

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  • Backup
  • Storage
  • Boot
  • Macintosh
Last response: in Storage
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May 4, 2013 2:04:21 AM

Background

I have spent many (many!) hours studying backup strategies, and of course there are many depending on one's needs.

The most elusive of all however (detailed by hundreds of posts from myself and others on these forums) has always been the simplest of all - the Bootable HDD Clone Disk (BCD henceforth).

The objective is simple - when you boot/OS disk catastrophically fails, you take it out of the machine, discard it, replace it with your BCD, boot that drive WITHOUT PROPRIETARY MEDIA OR THE OPERATING SYSTEM DISK, and you boot back into the computer the way it was when the BCD was created. (you then restore the files missing since then from your incremental backup system whatever that might be).

This is COMPLETELY DIFFERENT from the creation of an HDD IMAGE (Image != Clone, despite what people say). An Image is a file format (like .vhd or .bkf) which is essentially a transformed/compressed version of a HDD's data - it can then be RESTORED and written to a new HDD. A CLONE however, is the exact filesystem, MBR, and inaccessible portions of the HDD copied bit for bit onto a volume of the exact same size; it is NOT a file.

But this is actually very difficult to do. Virtually ALL (I should just say ALL, since I haven't found software that does what I want yet) of the backup software available that does create clone disks have a massive problem (for me).

They require the use (e.g. Acronis) of proprietary media/formats or the OS install disk to boot the clone drive. I do NOT want an additional layer of anything standing between me and my BCD. Obviously the reasons revolve around the MBR, and the offset, etc., but not relevant to my problem.

I want to literally plug my BCD in, push the power button, and boot straight into Windows like nothing happened (with just the incremental data since the last BCD clone was made missing). I do NOT want to get involved with a boot loader of any kind, or a 'recovery environment' (I absolutely despise these due to previous issues, and the general belief that they are technologically inferior).

I should be able to just boot the BCD with no issues.

Windows
Now... the only software I've been able to surmise that performs this function SOMEWHAT for Windows, is Handy Backup by Novosoft. Apparently (I don't want to purchase it until they make this clear to me) the software creates bootable clones on a SCHEDULE (which is important to me - it's the ONLY software I've found that automatically creates clones on a schedule).

But it DOES also seem to have it's own recovery environment/boot loader which is required to boot the clone disk.

Mac

Just recently then, I discovered this software called Carbon Copy Cloner, which APPARENTLY is for Mac only... http://

According to their website, this program does exactly what I want - it creates a BCD which is bootable without any media or disks or recovery environments - the example they use is perfect - they use an external HDD as a BCD, and when the primary drive fails, they restart the machine and just select the external to boot from, straight back into the OS (minus the lost incremental data of course).

BUT there is a huge problem - this apparently is only for Mac.

Is there an equivalent for Windows? I have not found it.

Please help!?

More about : create bootable clone backup win7 disk boot media carbon copy cloner mac

May 4, 2013 2:27:10 AM

Have you looked at GParted? I am not entirely sure that it is what you want, but it will make bootable copies of volumes. It is also free and open source.
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a c 131 G Storage
May 4, 2013 2:44:21 AM

GParted, or just the command-line dd tool. You'll need a live USB/CD to make the drive, but don't need to boot of drive.

In fact, the drive I'm running off now is a dd clone of the old drive. Works perfectly (unless drive to clone to is smaller than original, when you need to shrink partition first).
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May 4, 2013 2:59:44 AM

Gparted still requires the use of a LiveCD. I believe it basically writes the MBR stuff appended to the clone, then writes everything to the drive.

This though, isn't helping because it's basically the same thing as using a recovery CD - it's kind of like just pre-paring the cloned disk ahead of time so it's ready to go when you want to boot - there's really no advantage at all to using Gparted compared with the dozens of other programs which clone disks and require a recovery environment or boot interface of some sort - Gparted is just changing the timing of it essentially.

In this case the idea is to basically power down, swap disks, and power up as if nothing had happened in between - the system shouldn't be able to even tell a different disk was replaced.
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a c 131 G Storage
May 4, 2013 3:03:23 AM

Well, you need the software at some point. I think he is fine with using it to create the disk, but wants to then be able to basically have it on a shelf ready to go. OP?

The difference is that if you lose the other disks, you can't re-download them to restore your drive, as your computer isn't working.
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May 4, 2013 12:44:17 PM

I'm a bit confused about how Gparted works, but I have a strong suspicion it's NOT what I'm looking for.

I'm still very unclear why CCC for Mac is able to do this (again according to their website and those who have used it - I don't have a Mac so I can't try it), but Windows cannot?

Is there a fundamental OS architectural problem that I'm missing here that allows Mac to create a Clean bootable Clone without the need for a disk or recovery environment, but Windows can't?

Note: http://

These are the instructions for Carbon Copy Cloner Mac to restore a cloned disk, in particular:

Restoring an entire volume (including system files)

To restore an entire volume that includes an installation of Mac OS X, for example your boot volume after a disk failure, you will need to boot from an external Firewire or USB hard drive. Ideally, you will simply boot from the hard drive that you backed up to using CCC:

Attach your CCC backup disk to your Mac
Open the Startup Disk preference pane in the System Preferences application
Choose your backup volume as the startup disk, then click on the Restart button
If you are unable to boot from your original hard drive, hold down the Option key as you start up your Mac. Your backup disk should appear as a startup disk option in the startup disk selector screen.
If you are replacing your original startup disk with a new hard drive, be sure to initialize that hard drive so it's ready to host an installation of Mac OS X: Formatting and partitioning a hard drive
Launch CCC
Select your backup volume from the source menu
Select your original source volume from the destination menu
Choose "Temporarily archive modified and deleted items" from the preconfigured settings popup menu.
Click the Clone button
When the restore process has completed, reset your startup disk in the System Preferences application and restart your Mac.
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a c 131 G Storage
May 4, 2013 4:40:41 PM

Oh. Generally it's not a good idea to clone an HDD while the OS is running off it - any change files are almost certain to be corrupt.

It looks like that is a way to clone it to an external drive, then clone it back to the internal one. With GParted/dd I'd clone it to an external drive, and when you need to replace it you just pull the drive out of the case and put it in your computer.

EDIT: If you can boot off the drive made by CCC, you likely could just remove it from the case and install it. Except that replacing a drive in a mac can be difficult.
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a c 942 G Storage
May 4, 2013 5:11:17 PM

Just use your drive manufacturers cloning software. I've only used WD's and have never had to use the windows install cd to boot from the clone, just swap the drive in. You can use windows built in scheduler to run it on a schedule but I'm not sure it will use an answer file to automate the selections.

I do something similar but instead have setup a completely separate boot drive. When I install something I want to also be on this master boot drive I simply reboot to it and install it there. Its much quicker than the few hours I would need for a full clone.
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May 4, 2013 9:33:14 PM

Somehow I'm even more confused now - It seems perfectly clear to me that CCC's drive IS bootable; so I'm just looking for that same functionality in Windows.

@Popatim - you claim that using any regular cloning software creates an independently bootable disk? I was under the impression that this was not at all the case - CCC is the only software I have read about that does this?
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a c 942 G Storage
May 5, 2013 4:53:04 PM

I said I've only used WD's utility but I was wrong, I've also used Samsungs and even with that I did not have to run startup repair. I just had to boot from the new drive.

Do you have a spare drive to test with?
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Best solution

October 18, 2013 8:36:17 PM

Casper backup software from Future Systems Solutions does exactly what you want.

I have two hard drives in my Windows system: the one I use daily and the other is a clone of it created with Casper. When my main drive fails, I just swap it with the clone.

Casper also has a scheduler. After the initial cloning is done, it only backs up the files that have changed since the last backup. This takes only about 3 minutes with my 500 GB drive.

Casper web site: http://
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October 19, 2013 4:08:28 AM

I was a bit skeptical at first about Casper 8.0, as I had looked into Casper months ago when I was researching this, but it DOES seem that this 'instantly bootable clone drive' feature is NEW as of August 2013.

Casper 8.0 Announced

--
The way they phrase the feature seems to mirror my exact language, which is a good sign. I am of course a bit paranoid about this, as backup software makers are very sloppy about their terminology, calling things 'clones' that are actually DISK IMAGES, which are files which require mounting frameworks like recovery environments, discs, etc., which I do NOT want (I understand the usage cases though where people might want them, and indeed I use them for my non-system drives).

I emailed the Company that makes Casper 8.0 to verify their language before I buy yet another backup software suite only to be disappointed.

If indeed Casper 8.0 does what they say it does on the website, this would have been almost 2 years I have been waiting for this to come out in a mainstream software package. I have NO idea what took so long as Volume Shadow Copy (which, inter alia, enables this to work) has been in Windows for a LONG time.

I will almost certainly buy it anyway just because I've never seen software that comes this close, AND creates delta-data backups as well (meaning delta-data doesn't have to be managed with another backup system, which is cleaner), AND the recommendation of the previous poster!

Thank you! I will report back on what Casper 8.0 says about this query, and how the software works out.

I have a good feeling about this!
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a c 131 G Storage
October 21, 2013 2:20:43 AM

Volume shadow copy has been available in many different software packages. Tried SyncBack?

Personally, I'd use something like dd to create your clone, then Syncback or similar to keep it up to date.
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November 13, 2013 10:44:51 AM

Well, the thing that bothers me about all this.

One, CCC has been free, donation driven, for a long time and I know a number of people who use it routinely without incidence.

Second, I worry about Casper simply because I have not heard of anyone who has used it routinely without incidence, (not saying there aren't people who have, just haven't heard much about it).

When I read about people who have attempted this on PC's, it astounds me how many lousy stories they have about why none of the solutions worked for them when they needed it.

To me, this should be something that Windows does!!!! Nowadays, people NEED swapable media, to make cloning such a hassle is a royal pain in the rear and has been forever on Windows machines.

What we all want is a simple solution that doesn't require a yearly license. That is like having to re-license the formatting on your hard drive every year. That would be a joke right??

WTF, all we want is a simple bottable copy of our boot drive. This is more than irritating.
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a c 131 G Storage
November 13, 2013 7:48:07 PM

It's a one command solution using any linux distro, as above. I believe it can also be done from windows, but I'd be seriously skeptical about any tool that lets you backup while the OS is running - it's a recipe for data corruption.
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January 18, 2014 8:21:07 AM

Commissarmo,

If you haven't already tried it, DriveImage XML is free and will allow you to create bootable images on external drives. I'm running on an image now that's been copied to a WD Passport. It's not as easy to use as rsync for the Mac/Linux, but it's the closest I've found for Windows machines.

The one note that I'd make, no matter which option you choose, is to make sure you go in to disk management and mark the drive active. Without that Windows will boot in to the default boot drive every time, regardless of your boot menu choice.

Kit
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March 5, 2014 5:58:48 PM

I can vouch for Carbon Copy Cloner being as awesome as advertised. I manage a fleet of 100 MacBooks and re-imaging them is as easy as booting to an external HDD and running CCC. It does incremental backups AND restores, so restoring takes a few minutes. It was doner-ware for versions up to OSX 10.8 Mountain Lion. I WISH they made a version for Windows!
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May 8, 2014 12:12:08 PM

Love love love Cabon Copy Cloner! I use it each time I make a change to my Hackintosh in case the change causes kernel panics and ruins the OSX. All you do is run CCC to clone the disk to a second hard drive before making a change, then make your changes and if you run into problems power down the bad drive and power up the good drive using Please do not use link shorteners, and do not resurrect dead threads - SS

I am also looking for something like this in Windows 8.1 and 2012 R2. Casper 8.0 seems to do it for 8.1 but nothing for 2012. I have emailed Backup Assist but they don't do it: "

BackupAssist does not support the type backup and recovery described. You would need to do a restore / recovery using the backup drive first before you can boot the server again."

Any suggestions for 2012 R2?
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August 29, 2014 9:25:59 AM

I am with commissarmo: I too would LOVE some software that would allow a real BCD of my Win7 OS. I bought and tried Casper last year (2013) and it DOES NOT create and maintain a BCD regardless of their advertising and despite many long and detailed discussions with their support crew. In fact they eventually refunded my purchase price because Casper could not perform that function as advertised. If Casper or any other company has since created an application that will create and maintain a BCD since then I would dearly love to know about it.

I used to use SystemGuardian from Duocor on my old XP system and that did exactly what we want: it created and maintained a BCD from my live OS without error, and in fact it saved my butt on a few occasions, so it is possible to create and maintain a BCD from a live OS. Sadly Duocor went under due (I believe) to internal problems before they could release a new version of SystemGuardian for Win 7.

So: any news of any software that will allow the creation and maintenance of a BCD for Windows 7?
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September 13, 2014 4:47:57 PM

BradHar said:
Well, the thing that bothers me about all this.

One, CCC has been free, donation driven, for a long time and I know a number of people who use it routinely without incidence.

Second, I worry about Casper simply because I have not heard of anyone who has used it routinely without incidence, (not saying there aren't people who have, just haven't heard much about it).

When I read about people who have attempted this on PC's, it astounds me how many lousy stories they have about why none of the solutions worked for them when they needed it.

To me, this should be something that Windows does!!!! Nowadays, people NEED swapable media, to make cloning such a hassle is a royal pain in the rear and has been forever on Windows machines.

What we all want is a simple solution that doesn't require a yearly license. That is like having to re-license the formatting on your hard drive every year. That would be a joke right??

WTF, all we want is a simple bottable copy of our boot drive. This is more than irritating.


Well; I have been trying for a very long time to Clone my Windows 7 standard `delicate` hard drive to an SSD for a very long time; and have managed to do it using my first ever try of Casper.

I even managed to get around any partition issue by De-fragmenting the 640Gb drive (With 65Gb of programs and files on it) and reducing it to a 115Gb Partition, to fit onto a 128Gb SSD (119Gb in reality). I made sure the rest of the 640Gb hard drive partition was set to Unused or whatever in Disc Management first.

Every other program had failed for years of my trying, except Casper.

Well done Casper. Thank you. My laptop now feels secure now my warranty ran out and a replacement hard-drive with Windows 7 on it costs $400 from Toshiba. THREE HARD-DRIVES failed on this laptop in the first two years. THREE. Now at $400 a pop from Toshiba. Because this is a Japanese laptop, we cannot get an English version of Windows 7 Ultimate for the CODE to work. Unable to register Windows English version using the Japanese W7 codes we have with this (we live in Japan). There is no ISO of Windows for this laptop outside Toshiba who refuse to supply anyone in Japan with a downloadable copy of the software.

Now Casper Cloned to SSD it now boots up Windows 7 in 15 seconds; rather than over a minute+; and runs GREAT.

Brilliant.
A distant last place goes to all the clone fakers out there.

Don`t have to panic with the children running around the table now.
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