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Best Way To Clone Windows 8 to External HD?

Tags:
  • External Storage
  • disc image
  • Storage
  • Cloning
  • Windows 8
  • Backup
Last response: in Storage
July 29, 2014 9:51:15 AM

Hey guys, sorry if this is a dumb question, but I'm trying to backup my entire system with the installed software intact to an external hard drive (the software is worth more than the laptop it's installed on).

My computer is:
Samsung Chronos 7
Operating System: Windows 8 64-bit (6.2, Build 9200)
System Model: 700Z3C/700Z5C
BIOS: P03ABJ
Processor: Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-3635QM CPU @ 2.40GHz (8 CPUs), ~2.4GHz
Memory: 8192MB RAM
Available OS Memory: 7894MB RAM
Page File: 5109MB used, 4640MB available
------------------------
Disk & DVD/CD-ROM Drives
------------------------
Drive: C:
Free Space: 80.5 GB
Total Space: 953.3 GB
File System: NTFS
Model: ST1000LM024 HN-M101MBB


And the External Drive is:

Seagate Expansion USB 3.0 2TB External Portable Hard Drive :STBX2000401

--------------------------------------------


I tried to do similar early on to another external drive using Windows 8 built in disc imaging, but there was an error in the final disc image. It said that most of it was fine, but some area had an error. Anyway I've read nothing but horror stories about pulling this off, and there's no consensus on which is the best software to use.

Does anyone know how to do this, or at least can tell me how they would do it? I would appreciate any help.







More about : clone windows external

a c 427 G Storage
a b * Windows 8
July 30, 2014 5:33:20 AM

You can use seagate's Disk Wizard to clone your drive.
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a b G Storage
July 30, 2014 7:04:27 AM

CloneZilla is another good imaging tool, but the UI isn't the friendliest.
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July 30, 2014 12:05:25 PM

Hawkeye22 said:
You can use seagate's Disk Wizard to clone your drive.


Can or should clones even be made to an external portable drive?

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a c 427 G Storage
a b * Windows 8
July 30, 2014 12:48:13 PM

You can do it, but the assumption is you are going to replace the original drive with the clone. So, with an external you either replace the original drive immediately or if you plan on replacing the original drive at a later time, then shut the external clone down and disconnect it from the computer. At some point you will need to remove the clone from the external enclosure in order to replace the original.

I use a sata dock to clone with that way I don't have to fuss with assembling/disassembing the external enclosure. Also, I've only done this with home brew enclosures, that is purchasing a seperate enclosure and drive, not the already built ones like freeagent or WD books. I'm sure opening one of those would void the warranty, not to mention that they sometmes have custom bridge chips that alter the way a PC sees them.
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July 30, 2014 2:12:13 PM

Hawkeye22 said:
You can do it, but the assumption is you are going to replace the original drive with the clone. So, with an external you either replace the original drive immediately or if you plan on replacing the original drive at a later time, then shut the external clone down and disconnect it from the computer. At some point you will need to remove the clone from the external enclosure in order to replace the original.

I use a sata dock to clone with that way I don't have to fuss with assembling/disassembing the external enclosure. Also, I've only done this with home brew enclosures, that is purchasing a seperate enclosure and drive, not the already built ones like freeagent or WD books. I'm sure opening one of those would void the warranty, not to mention that they sometmes have custom bridge chips that alter the way a PC sees them.


Here's my dilemma: It's very difficult for me to get this laptop open. It's not like others, and it would really take a professional. Is there a way to get my installed software and operating system onto a portable external drive, and then later transfer it via USB to my laptop if my OS ever goes kaboom, or to a new laptop altogether if this one gets damaged?

If that's possible How would I do that? And is that cloning, or imaging?

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a c 427 G Storage
a b * Windows 8
July 31, 2014 6:08:56 AM

An image or a clone can be used as a backup, but in this case you probably want an image of the drive created with some backup software. Good backup software will allow you to create a bootable rescue CD/DVD. In case of a virus or accidently deleted files, you can then boot from the rescue CD and restore the image to the internal drive.

If the drive fails, you will still need to replace the internal drive, then boot from the rescue CD and restore to the new drive. Restoring the image to a new laptop probably won't go well unless the motherboards are similar due to the fact that the image will contain the drivers for all your old hardware and those drivers may not be compatable with any new hardware.
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July 31, 2014 12:48:16 PM

Hawkeye22 said:
An image or a clone can be used as a backup, but in this case you probably want an image of the drive created with some backup software. Good backup software will allow you to create a bootable rescue CD/DVD. In case of a virus or accidently deleted files, you can then boot from the rescue CD and restore the image to the internal drive.

If the drive fails, you will still need to replace the internal drive, then boot from the rescue CD and restore to the new drive. Restoring the image to a new laptop probably won't go well unless the motherboards are similar due to the fact that the image will contain the drivers for all your old hardware and those drivers may not be compatable with any new hardware.


Thanks for your reply. I don't care about hardware or data files on my current laptop. I only care about my 'installed' software. I can backup data fine, and can afford a new laptop, but not all of this software on it again. Does an image include the installed software (meaning I won't have to install it again)?

Can an installed system environment complete with software and an OS be put on an external drive, and then later transferred to a new laptop or drive?

Thanks again.
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Best solution

a c 427 G Storage
a b * Windows 8
July 31, 2014 1:19:23 PM

If the programs and OS are installed in the same partition (they usually are by default) then yes since your are imaging or cloning that partition. If you have programs installed on a seperate partition/drive then you need to back those up too. Moving the clone to a new laptop or restoring an image to a new laptop isn't guarneteed to work due to the differences I stated earlier. I was running out of space on my C drive (the OS drive). I cloned it to a new larger drive and replaced my old drive with it. All programs are still 100% functional. I image my drive weekly. If my current drive fails (which has happened in the past), I can easily replace it with a new drive, restore the image, and be up and running. I guess I should mention that my images are stored on an external drive. It doesn't matter where you store your image as long as you can get acces to it during the restore procedure.

One of the key things is to ensure the new drive maintains the same drive letter as the old drive since the windows registry stores this information in regards to where the program was installed to. If you are replacing a drive it's a non-issue. If you added a drive, you may need to go into the windows disk management and reassign the drive letter.
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July 31, 2014 2:48:02 PM

Hawkeye22 said:
If the programs and OS are installed in the same partition (they usually are by default) then yes since your are imaging or cloning that partition. If you have programs installed on a seperate partition/drive then you need to back those up too. Moving the clone to a new laptop or restoring an image to a new laptop isn't guarneteed to work due to the differences I stated earlier. I was running out of space on my C drive (the OS drive). I cloned it to a new larger drive and replaced my old drive with it. All programs are still 100% functional. I image my drive weekly. If my current drive fails (which has happened in the past), I can easily replace it with a new drive, restore the image, and be up and running. I guess I should mention that my images are stored on an external drive. It doesn't matter where you store your image as long as you can get acces to it during the restore procedure.

One of the key things is to ensure the new drive maintains the same drive letter as the old drive since the windows registry stores this information in regards to where the program was installed to. If you are replacing a drive it's a non-issue. If you added a drive, you may need to go into the windows disk management and reassign the drive letter.


The only reason I ask is because I was under the impression a clone isn't an item or object you can move around from drive to drive. I thought it was an active environment. And I also thought disc images only included data, not software in an installed state.

Is that right, or no?

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a b G Storage
July 31, 2014 3:56:50 PM

A clone is an exact copy of the original drive. It's helpful when you run out of space on a drive in a laptop, you can clone it onto a larger capacity drive and put it straight into the laptop without any other hassles. It's also helpful if a company needs several of the same computers all with the same software, they can use cloned drives instead of installing the programs individually on each computer. If you try to connect a cloned drive to another motherboard, you will need to re-activate windows.

Disc images depend on the software. Some only copy data, some copy everything. From the Acronis website "Recover your complete system or just the files and folders you need quickly and easily, anytime, anywhere. A full computer image backup is the only way to protect your complete system and be operational immediately after restoring your system.

Unlike file and folder only backups (locally or online) where you are required to reinstall Windows, your applications, reconfigure your system and setup your preferences, bookmarks, etc all over again."
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July 31, 2014 4:16:51 PM

byza said:
A clone is an exact copy of the original drive. It's helpful when you run out of space on a drive in a laptop, you can clone it onto a larger capacity drive and put it straight into the laptop without any other hassles. It's also helpful if a company needs several of the same computers all with the same software, they can use cloned drives instead of installing the programs individually on each computer. If you try to connect a cloned drive to another motherboard, you will need to re-activate windows.

Disc images depend on the software. Some only copy data, some copy everything. From the Acronis website "Recover your complete system or just the files and folders you need quickly and easily, anytime, anywhere. A full computer image backup is the only way to protect your complete system and be operational immediately after restoring your system.

Unlike file and folder only backups (locally or online) where you are required to reinstall Windows, your applications, reconfigure your system and setup your preferences, bookmarks, etc all over again."


Thanks for clarifying. I was thinking about getting a docking station (this one: Sabrent USB 3.0 to SATA Dual Bay External Hard Drive Docking Station for 2.5 or 3.5in HDD, SSD with Hard Drive Duplicator/Cloner Function [4TB Support] (EC-HDD2) ) , and then making an image of my current setup (using this: Macrium Reflect v5 Standard ) to a regular 3.5" drive (this SATA drive: WD Green 2 TB Desktop Hard Drive: 3.5 Inch, SATA III, 64 MB Cache - WD20EZRX ) and then later transferring the installed software state to a new laptop. Think that would that work?

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a b G Storage
July 31, 2014 4:34:59 PM

You didn't link anything, but it sounds like you have the right idea. It should work fine. It's suppose to be a simple process, but if it's at all possible it's worth doing a trial run before the laptop bombs, because you're not really sure what you're doing and something has messed up but the source is kaput, then you'll be up the creek without a paddle.

Update: Now I can see what you're using, as far as the parts you are using yes it should work. I've never used that software so I can't really comment on it.
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July 31, 2014 4:38:14 PM

byza said:
You didn't link anything, but it sounds like you have the right idea. It should work fine. It's suppose to be a simple process, but if it's at all possible it's worth doing a trial run before the laptop bombs, because you're not really sure what you're doing and something has messed up but the source is kaput, then you'll be up the creek without a paddle.


It didn't let me link. My post showed up with them edited out. Guess I'm too new, or whatever. They were links to all different merchants and suppliers, so it wasn't like I was shilling for one company.
Anyway, this is what I wrote instead:

Thanks for clarifying. I was thinking about getting a docking station (this one: Sabrent USB 3.0 to SATA Dual Bay External Hard Drive Docking Station for 2.5 or 3.5in HDD, SSD with Hard Drive Duplicator/Cloner Function [4TB Support] (EC-HDD2) ) , and then making an image of my current setup (using this: Macrium Reflect v5 Standard ) to a regular 3.5" drive (this SATA drive: WD Green 2 TB Desktop Hard Drive: 3.5 Inch, SATA III, 64 MB Cache - WD20EZRX ) and then later transferring the installed software state to a new laptop. Think that would that work?

I'll give it a whirl. Thanks for all of the feedback, and patience.

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