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Cloning To A Smaller Drive

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January 15, 2010 8:53:00 AM

I would like to set up my system such that I boot and run programs off of a RAID 0 SSD configuration instead of my current HDD. I have a general idea as to how to set up RAID and clone drives, but I want to make sure I know what I am doing before I start buying the SSDs. Note that I only have two 3.5" drive bays.

From what I can tell so far, this is how I should go about doing this:
  • Backup HDD
  • Partition HDD
  • Transfer user data to new partition
  • Delete user data from partition with apps and system files
  • Create system image of partition with apps and system files and put on external HDD
  • Uninstall current HDD
  • Install SSDs and configure RAID
  • Clone the RAID configuration with system image of partition with apps and system files on external HDD
  • Attach old internal drive via external case
  • Delete partition of apps and system files on external HDD and reconfigure user data partition to use full HDD

    Now that seems right to me, but is there anything that I am missing? Any tips or general advice would be much appreciated.
  • More about : cloning smaller drive

    a b G Storage
    January 15, 2010 3:00:05 PM

    Will you have a seperate partition for the OS or will it be the entire drive.
    I only ask due to the fact that if the OS fails and you want to re-install but accidently format, then you lose everything, if you have an OS partition, then the extra added level of caution is in place.

    Is it correct to assume that the external HDD will be smaller than the existing HDD's? I mean, if you plan on cloning the data from the raid drives to the external drive, then you may run into problems as plenty programs out there do not support dynamic disks (however; I would like to also mention that someone may have further knowledge in this regard and thought I would mention this before someone paints a target on me).
    Also, if the data to be cloned is larger than the external drive, then unless there is some sort of compression involved, it's unlikely you will have a successful cloned data image on said drive.

    I have a similar setup however, my 'mirrored' drives are backed up to an external drive that contains a cloned image of the system OS as well.
    It's setup with the existing system partition, and then a second partition that has a copy of my data. Thus in an event that my current OS craps out, I can boot up with the external esata HDD and then attempt recovery of the crashed OS drive.

    Hope this helps...
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    a c 348 G Storage
    January 15, 2010 3:10:32 PM

    Can you explain what advantage you expect from a RAID0 array of SSD's? I know people debate the speed advantage of RAID0 over single drives in the case of standard spinning disks, but almost all of that comes from not waiting for head movement and disk rotation. NONE of that happens in SSD's which is at the core of their speed advantages. They are already so much faster that a traditional hard drive, I don't understand what further you could get from using them in a RAID0 array.
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    Related resources
    January 15, 2010 4:27:56 PM

    Paperdoc said:
    Can you explain what advantage you expect from a RAID0 array of SSD's? I know people debate the speed advantage of RAID0 over single drives in the case of standard spinning disks, but almost all of that comes from not waiting for head movement and disk rotation. NONE of that happens in SSD's which is at the core of their speed advantages. They are already so much faster that a traditional hard drive, I don't understand what further you could get from using them in a RAID0 array.
    I am only doing RAID 0 with the SSDs to save money on the storage by not having to buy one big drive, but instead buying two smaller drives at a better cost to storage to performance ratio.
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    January 15, 2010 4:40:53 PM

    elmo2006 said:
    Will you have a seperate partition for the OS or will it be the entire drive.
    I only ask due to the fact that if the OS fails and you want to re-install but accidently format, then you lose everything, if you have an OS partition, then the extra added level of caution is in place.

    Is it correct to assume that the external HDD will be smaller than the existing HDD's? I mean, if you plan on cloning the data from the raid drives to the external drive, then you may run into problems as plenty programs out there do not support dynamic disks (however; I would like to also mention that someone may have further knowledge in this regard and thought I would mention this before someone paints a target on me).
    Also, if the data to be cloned is larger than the external drive, then unless there is some sort of compression involved, it's unlikely you will have a successful cloned data image on said drive.

    I have a similar setup however, my 'mirrored' drives are backed up to an external drive that contains a cloned image of the system OS as well.
    It's setup with the existing system partition, and then a second partition that has a copy of my data. Thus in an event that my current OS craps out, I can boot up with the external esata HDD and then attempt recovery of the crashed OS drive.

    Hope this helps...

    I wont be cloning the RAID drives to the external as the RAID drives will be empty, I will be cloning the RAID drives with the image of my old HDD that I will put on an external drive.

    To be clear: I currently have a 750GB internal HDD and a 500GB external drive. In the end I would like to have two SSDs in RAID0 internal with just my OS and apps, the 750GB HDD in an external case and connected by eSATA for my files, and keep my 500GB external drive for backups.
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    a c 348 G Storage
    January 15, 2010 7:25:06 PM

    Given what you want - combine two smaller drives to get the capacity at a lower cost per GB - check into a less common system known sometimes as JBOD (for "Just a Bunch of Drives" or more properly as concatenation or spanning. It is one way to "combine" two or more drives (they do NOT need to be matched in any way) so that the OS sees them as one. You may encounter this under the heading of RAID (although technically it's not), and sometimes a mobo with built-in RAID capabilities includes JBOD as an option. I'm not sure so you should check, but this system may carry less risk of total data loss in the event of failure in one disk unit.
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    a c 348 G Storage
    January 15, 2010 7:32:51 PM

    Check out Sminlal's post in this thread here:

    http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/254836-32-windows-dri...

    He refers to a procedure similar to what you want IF you are working with Win 7. I am not sure, but maybe that process can specifically clone only selected portions (like the folders containing the OS) of a large drive to a smaller one (the new SSD's).
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    October 7, 2010 7:18:13 PM

    I personally recommend you the Clonezilla / Gparted option. Clonezilla is one of the best hard drive cloning software out there and it is free and open source, same goes for GParted. Here is what you need to do

    1) Reduce partition using GParted
    2) Let the computer boot so it can fix any possible filesystem errors
    3) Clone the reduced partition using Clonezilla

    I got it from this article:

    http://geekyprojects.com/storage/how-to-clone-hard-driv...

    Hope it helps.
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