HOWTO: Clone Your Hard Drive - Comments Page 2

Category: Backup , Hard-Drives

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Posted by:

Edward Symons
10 Aug 2013

I use two identical HDDs and EaseUS Todo Backup Workstation for my clone image which has saved me big headaches, full re-install of everything, at least a handful of times so far. I perform the clone once a month and save incremental backups of data files throughout the month to a flash drive.

When I upgraded my laptop HDD to a 1TB drive I purchased two identical drives so I would be able to clone my working drive to the other as a backup.

I tried to get Acronis True image to work but it wouldn't successfully clone a laptop internal SATA drive to the identical drive in a USB enclosure. Apparently they have to both be to the same SATA motherboard which I couldn't do with my laptop. They may have fixed this by now. When I tried it it was a pain and didn't work. I could clone a partition at a time however, but not the whole drive. That was kinda weird.

I ended up using EaseUS Todo Backup, which was free. I later purchased it and even upgraded to a version for Windows 8 it worked so good. I have an old laptop and upgraded it to USB 3.0 and can do the clone in about 6 hours. With USB 2.0 it used to take 16.5 hours.

Posted by:

10 Aug 2013

i bought a program a few years ago called hdclone and it worked really well. i was having problems with my hdd and bought a bigger one to switch it over to. the whole operation went great but when i went to access the new one, i only had as much disk space as was on the original disk even though the new one was larger. what i eventually had to do was create a partition on the larger one and then i could use the 2nd partition for extra storage. it was a pain to have to do it that way but at least i was able to clone it perfectly.

Posted by:

10 Aug 2013

Can't you just ask the NSA for their backup copy?

Posted by:

11 Aug 2013

Anyone need to backup a server to an image?
Boot by CD or USB.
I use REDO Backup & Recovery to backup Server2012.
I have imaged the server. It is fairly quick.
I then intentionally wiped the system to test the recovery from the image.
I booted from a USB and restored the image.
Rebooted the server after reimaging and it was good as before I wiped the drive.

Posted by:

Roger Hass - pcbugfixer
11 Aug 2013

Hi Bob,
The concept of what you are trying to do and say is good in principal, however somewhat outdated in view of other imaging software available such as TeraByteUnlimited Image-For-Windows

I consider that a new image may need to be created if you had a major software application update or un-installed older applications and installed newer or alternative versions. Other than this, an image may only be needed or required twice yearly (every six month)

"Backingup" so to speak, other Data files such as documents, email .pst, accounting and any other folders or files, can be a simple task of a "Copy and Paste" task to a 2nd Internal or External HDD which when needing to access these files or folders, do not require any of the Backup or imaging software you have mentioned in your article.

It should be noted that the method that any individual uses, is the one that they understand "how to use" as without this knowledge recovery is imminent to failure.

Roger H.

Posted by:

James C. Williams
11 Aug 2013

Used Ghost with a EZ-Swap unit to clone two identical HD's which went intosafes at two locations. In the event of a crash, it was simple to boot from the clone until the Master drive was replaced, usually in a matter of minutes with a screwdriver and no hi-priced trip to a repair shop. Worked well with XP, BART worked better but does not work with Win 7. Need to upgrade drivers etc.

Posted by:

11 Aug 2013

I am a novice and need to clone my laptop. It is running out of memory and I want to buy another laptop and copy the cloned files to the new one! Is this possible and what do I need to do it?
I was looking at the spotmau software....please advise.

Posted by:

Richard Remmele
11 Aug 2013

I had an experience with Acronis and I don't know if it would happen also with others.

I had a power supply failure, the proprietory power supply was very expensive. I had another computer, so I tried to load the Acronis Image on that computer which would not either load or work (it was a long time ago).

Somehow I finally did get it to load (again, I don't remember how I did it) but then I got a reminder from Microsoft that I didn't have a valid Vista license.

So I never used Acronis again. Any comments?

Posted by:

Gene De Lorenzo
11 Aug 2013

I've been using Acronis True Image software for over 5 years with amazingly consistent results. I've made viable images of partial or complete partitions with Windows running, and have used those images to restore files or partitions. Imaging with Windows running slows the imaging process down somewhat, but the results are fine and the process is less cumbersome than to run off the Acronis boot disk. I would also add that I've only had two or three images fail in all this time using this method. Full imaging is the fastest and most effective backup method available for the PC.

Posted by:

12 Aug 2013

I've used EaseUS todo also to clone my drives. I haven't switched them out to see if they actually work or not but the process was fairly quick, 8 hours.

Posted by:

12 Aug 2013

Nice article Cloning saves a lot of time if your hard drive crashes. I have been using CASPER for years and it has worked well... as long as you close all programs and shut off (disable) the anti virus and firewall before cloning (particularly any Norton software)Casper is inexpensive and user friendly. One could mirror image to an internal or external drive (as long as it the same size or larger , (or big enough to keep all your programs and operating system.) and boot directly from the external (or internal) hard drive that you placed the mirror image on. You could also use the mirror image drive to reformat and place the mirror imaged data and OS back onto the original hard drive. It's a lot better, quicker and simpler that doing disk back ups of just your files or some programs. . and since you can boot from the drive there is no need for cd's. Casper 7.0 also has boot capabilities as well a smart start ability And Casper 8.0 is suitable for windows 8

Posted by:

12 Aug 2013

I have been imaging my laptops for several years. My son (IT specialist) gave me a Gentoo image software disc which I put in & fill in the new date & let it run. It creates a bootable 100% image of the laptop although I've never had to use the image. My son uses them all the time being a hardware specialist.

Older XPsp3 laptop took 5hrs cos it was pretty full. Newer win7 'fast as all get out' laptop with 100Gb of data on it takes about 2.5hrs to image. That is stored on an external hard drive & I have since purchased a high speed connection external hard drive for the next image so it should take even less time.

I also do a standard back up that stays on the internal HD for purposes of doing a roll back plus I make another win7 standard image to an external hard drive. I always do house keeping before imaging, ie do more thorough check for malware etc, check for fragmentation, get rid of redundant files, clean the registry etc. I do have a small problem in that the internally stored backup gets duplicated during the image which adds unnecessary volume. But the x-hds are 2Tb so plenty of room.

Posted by:

12 Aug 2013

Freeware for Windows:

Posted by:

12 Aug 2013

I've use the built-in system image in Windows 7 ever since I got my Win7 Asus laptop. I use it to backup my system image once a week. There are settings to keep only recent image copies if necessary. I create system images on both my laptop and desktop machine (both Asus).

I actually tried restoration from the system image with great results. Of course, you need to make the system repair disk for Win7 as well. It boots the system and looks for the system image, which I store on an external 2TB USB drive.

The system image took just 25 minutes from start to finish. The only file it missed was a Windows update that was installed after the last image was recorded. (BTW, that's reason enough to make your SI more than once or twice a year.

I do perform nightly data back-ups to the external as well. And since I'm a freelance writer, I backup online to SpiderOak every 30 minutes.

Sounds like a lot, but I haven't lost a single file in over 15 years. I can't afford to.


Posted by:

Rich OBrien
12 Aug 2013

The best drive partition cloning software is Casper - like Ghost only friendlier. I've used Casper every day for years. Unlike the other cloning software, Casper conveniently runs in the background to create a bootable clone of your Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8 operating system WHILE you are running Windows and using your computer to do other things. It is best to use two identical hard drives but not essential. I have four hard drives made by the same company. Three will boot. The newest one won't boot even though it is 500 GB like my primary drive and contains the cloned image of my boot partition. It is a mystery. I also have a bunch of old parallel drives that slide in and out of my computer like drawers. They wouldn't boot and I thought that was reasonable because my boot drives were all new serial hard drives while my removable drives were all old parallel drives. Then I discovered in MiniTool Partition Wizard that the partition wasn't set to Primary and Active. Once I used Partition Wizard to correct this setting, all boot partitions on my old parallel drives can now boot into Windows. One other thing. For security, put your data on a second partition away from the bootable Windows partition. Casper can intelligently backup a 100 GB partition containing data in a couple of minutes by recognizing and copying only the files that are new or that have changed. Backup a 100 GB drive with other software and it is likely to take hours.

Posted by:

14 Aug 2013

I've used Acronis True Image for over a decade, and since Windows Vista, have never had a problem loading a bootable image to another system. Operating system files are copied exactly while Windows is running. The problem is drivers, not operating system files. Windows XP and older were terrible about finding and using correct drivers to boot. Every Microsoft operating system since XP handles the drivers issues very well.

Having said all that, Acronis pushes too hard for yearly upgrades - which often are worthless. Images made from one version won't work on another, so defeats the purpose of a 2 year old image. I wouldn't recommend anyone to Acronis for those reasons only, but the products work.

Posted by:

16 Aug 2013

I ever use the Microsoft WAIK to clone Windows Vista OS.

This software can help you to install, customize and deploy Windows Vista in many computers through network. Technically, you can use Microsoft WAIK to create an answer file for unattended Windows installation, create Windows PE bootable CD and capture Windows image using imageX. You also can use imageX to deploy Windows image into others computers in you network environment.

For computer technician that need to manage many computers in the lab, this software is for you. Even, Norton Ghost is easier to be used than WAIK, but for me I prefer to use WAIK because it's FREE. Why we want to spend money to pay for IMAGE BACKUP SOFTWARE if we can get the another for FREE OF CHARGE.

Visit my blog at

Posted by:

John Barfoot
22 Aug 2013

I clone my hard drives periodically, using a dedicated "copy station" bit of hardware. The downside is that you need another hard drive and you need to take the original disk out of the machine to make the copy. The hardware only works with SATA disks including Laptop SATA drives.

Posted by:

30 Sep 2013

I have used Acronis for many, many years. If you have a WD drive go to the WD website - it is free. If you use Seagate go to the Seagate - it is free. All you need is one WD, or one Seagate drive to use either of their (different) versions of Acronis. I always have two back-ups (at least once a month back-up) for each of my 4 desk tops. Hard drives are so cheap!! I have never had to worry about a crashed drive since.

Posted by:

10 Oct 2013

great freeware program for windows that I've used for years: DriveImageXML

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