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Want to clone HD before OS upgrade, lots of Q's

Last response: in Antivirus / Security / Privacy
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March 22, 2012 5:47:13 AM

Hey Guys,

So I decided that I finally want to upgrade to Windows 7 from Windows XP, mainly because I'm upgrading my system from directx 9 with a Radeon 4850 to a Direct X11 with a 6850 to help my gaming performance. I wanted to make a complete clone of my current hard drive in case something goes terribly wrong with the upgrade so I can restore to exactly how it was before, but I recently just started reading up a bit on the whole cloning procedures so I don't know a lot about it. My questions:

1. All I have is an external hard drive, am I able to clone to this?
2. If so how would I restore my clone from the external drive to the main in case of failure? Is it bootable?
3. If it's not bootable... I hear many of these programs require creating a bootable CD, can you create AND restore images with this? (Is this how 2 is done?)
4. I currently have files on my external and I read cloning wipes everything on it to write to it. Should I move all my files to my main drive to have a clean external?
5. After I have upgraded my new hard drive to windows 7, will I be able to load up and retrieve files from my cloned drive and put them on my main drive?

Now after the upgrade to 7 goes okay I'd like to make a clone of that and keep it up to date to be able to restore my system. I was reading in the other thread that creating an image of your drive and then using a backup program is a good way to be failure safe. You restore the image file you created on X date and then any backups after that. But how is this done? I've never used backup software before, I've only moved certain directories to my external.

And one last thing if you could point me in the right direction of a good piece of software (or several) to use for this or write a small guide I'd be hugely appreciative. Thanks!

More about : clone upgrade lots

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a b 8 Security
March 22, 2012 11:08:39 AM

1. Yes, as long as the drive is the same size or larger than the original.

2. A clone is an exact copy, so yes, it's bootable.

3. Not applicable.

4. Yes, move all files to the other drive first as cloning will wipe out the destination drive.

5. Yes, you can have the cloned drive installed as a secondary drive and retrieve files from it.

Extra: You don't need to clone the windows 7 drive. You use backup software to create an image of the drive. In case of a drive failure, you restore the image and everything is back the way it was. Any good backup software will allow you to create a bootable rescue disk. In case of drive failure you boot from the rescure disk (dvd) and restore a prior image.

I've had great success with Acronis True Image Home. I beleive their free trial is fully unlocked.

http://www.acronis.com/homecomputing/products/trueimage...
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March 22, 2012 10:19:40 PM

Hawkeye22 said:
1. Yes, as long as the drive is the same size or larger than the original.

2. A clone is an exact copy, so yes, it's bootable.

3. Not applicable.

4. Yes, move all files to the other drive first as cloning will wipe out the destination drive.

5. Yes, you can have the cloned drive installed as a secondary drive and retrieve files from it.

Extra: You don't need to clone the windows 7 drive. You use backup software to create an image of the drive. In case of a drive failure, you restore the image and everything is back the way it was. Any good backup software will allow you to create a bootable rescue disk. In case of drive failure you boot from the rescure disk (dvd) and restore a prior image.

I've had great success with Acronis True Image Home. I beleive their free trial is fully unlocked.

http://www.acronis.com/homecomputing/products/trueimage...



Ok so on number 3...since the external hard drive will be bootable (would have to bump its priority in BIOS correct?) If something goes wrong with the windows 7 install or I want to go back to XP I can just boot from my External USB drive and just clone that one back to my desktops HDD right? Also Acronis seems to only be free for 30 days, know of any good free ones off the top of your head? DriveImage XML seems to create image backups, but not clones (DriveImage XML) however this program: EaseUS Disc Copy seems to be a free cloning software. Which one would be better to use? It sounds like EaseUS uses a bootable CD to run its program and clone the drive exactly correct?
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March 23, 2012 12:21:08 AM

I have used Paragon Backup and Recovery Free for many years
http://www.paragon-software.com/home/br-free/
will backup to external USB or secondary drive
can do a complete clone or image of your HD
Destination HD needs to be same size or bigger though I think if you clone a partition that might not be true-never tried yet
you go to tools and make a recovery CD or USB stick to boot into
here is user manual
http://www.paragon-software.com/home/br-free/download_m...

cannot boot into image
would need to clone image back onto a different HD than it is stored on
I actually had a 200gb IDE 7200rpm drive I had laying around and since I had a IDE header on my older AM3 mobo I installed the IDE as secondary backup
it has my image just in case of HD or OS failure
I also have recent documents,music,vids,pics etc backed up on external 320gb USB drive
I made a Paragon backup cd and keep it safe next to my tower
I am going to dedicate a USB thumb drive to making a recovery media bootable
and then store it inside of tower

can never be too safe when it comes to backing up
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March 23, 2012 7:48:54 AM

Sounds like a pretty solid piece of software, is it done via windows or through bootable media like a cd/flash drive?

I think what I'd ultimately like to do is create a clone of my drive. Then when I know the clone is okay format and install windows 7 on my main hard drive. When that goes okay I would reinstall my programs and transfer all my files from my cloned drive (you can actually pull files from an exact clone right? Like if I plug my external hard drive in via my esata cable would I see it via my computer and be able to pull the files from it?) and then make an image of my main drive once it's all set up and do regular backups from there.

I hate having to reinstall all my programs all over again, but since I'm upgrading from XP I don't really have a choice lol

Another question. If I make a clone of my drive to my external drive, can I go back and use it normally afterwards or is there some special info on external hard drives that let them be plug and play?
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a b 8 Security
March 23, 2012 10:42:50 AM

godfree51586 said:
Ok so on number 3...since the external hard drive will be bootable (would have to bump its priority in BIOS correct?) If something goes wrong with the windows 7 install or I want to go back to XP I can just boot from my External USB drive and just clone that one back to my desktops HDD right? Also Acronis seems to only be free for 30 days, know of any good free ones off the top of your head? DriveImage XML seems to create image backups, but not clones (DriveImage XML) however this program: EaseUS Disc Copy seems to be a free cloning software. Which one would be better to use? It sounds like EaseUS uses a bootable CD to run its program and clone the drive exactly correct?


You can't boot to an external drive. If your boot drive fails, you will need to move the external drive inside the case to boot from it. Don't get the terms clone and image confused. An image is a file that contains an exact copy of your drive and must be restored to a drive. A clone is an exact copy of another drive, not just a file.

Macrium Refelect is pretty good.

http://www.macrium.com/reflectfree.aspx
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March 23, 2012 11:19:06 AM

No? They can boot via USB or eSATA? Damn, seems like its fairly useless to make a clone on an external drive then, seems smarter and easier to make a full image file and store it on the clone to restore via a bootable cd of a free program to me. And I do know the difference between the two i just thought you could boot from a clone on an external via USB since there's a boot from USB option in BIOS, guess not :(  lol
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a b 8 Security
March 23, 2012 11:24:44 AM

Normally you only clone a drive when you are replacing a drive. You image a drive as a form of backup.
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March 23, 2012 11:56:06 AM

Makes sense, an image can be stored on the external fine then in addition to anything else on it correct? I don't need to move everything else off of it?
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a b 8 Security
March 23, 2012 12:32:31 PM

^ Correct.
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March 23, 2012 7:25:15 PM

Okay great sounds like this is the way that I'll go, I can probably image both my old hard drive AND once I upgrade to windows 7 on the same external. Images are full backups correct? OS and everything? That should do it now if I can find the 'best' program for this, Macrium and Paragon seem to be the top two on Gizmo's freeware review. I'm leaning more towards Paragon for it's incremental backup as the only negative seems to be that it doesn't have a PE environment restore option which I don't even know what that is :p 
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March 24, 2012 1:48:13 AM

Paragon from what I understand it means it doesnt have a bootable windows restore
it uses a form of linux
I have been very happy with it myself
make sure you read over the user manual
but after doing it one time you will find out it is a very easy GUI
also once into the main recovery software use the hard drive tab on top of screen for restoring and backing up

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March 24, 2012 5:03:15 AM

Edit: Read the manual and it can restore individual files and folders, this is what I'll be going with then :) 

Sounds pretty good, now the one thing I'm curious about is once I've made an image of my hard drive, is there a way to mount that image and extract files for it? For example after I install windows 7 I'd like to put my images and stuff from my pictures back onto my main drive :) 
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March 24, 2012 11:28:21 AM

as far as I know the answer is no
Paragon uses its own compression system to make the image
You would have to back up your pictures and other files through windows
seperately to a folder
I like using a file manager for that
Nexus file manager is a good one and free
http://xiles.net/nexusfile/
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a b 8 Security
March 24, 2012 2:38:51 PM

True Image Home can mount image files as drives so you can retrive individual files, but it's not free. Also, you asked if an image files contains the OS, yes, it contains everything on the drive.
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March 24, 2012 2:45:42 PM

True Image sounds interesting Hawkeye22 (BTW cool name-refers tp MASH?)
that would be great to pull individual files off of images
worth the money IMHO
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March 25, 2012 3:47:07 PM

king smp said:
as far as I know the answer is no
Paragon uses its own compression system to make the image
You would have to back up your pictures and other files through windows
seperately to a folder
I like using a file manager for that
Nexus file manager is a good one and free
http://xiles.net/nexusfile/


According to the manual it actually can restore individual files, both to their original location and also to a location that I specify on the drive. As soon as I get a chance to order my eSATA PCI adapter I'm going to get this project rolling :) 
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March 25, 2012 3:50:27 PM

TBH I have been using Paragon for years but only to clone HD images
never fully explored the software
so that is great to know
thank you
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March 25, 2012 4:18:52 PM

No problem, I like to learn about everything that a software has as far as features I want :D  The only thing paragon seems to be lacking is a Windows PE option but it does say it has a linux based PE Disaster recovery option so that should be just as good if not better. :)  Thanks all for the help clearing everything up for me!
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March 25, 2012 4:25:59 PM

Best answer selected by godfree51586.
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March 25, 2012 4:46:28 PM

I hope it works well for you
if you have any questions about Paragon PM me and I will try to help you
Best regards
King smp
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a b 8 Security
March 25, 2012 5:27:29 PM

This topic has been closed by Area51reopened
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