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Full bootable System Backup


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#1 Rob the Newbie

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 02:33 PM

I have a laptop which, because I fear it could die as I am in the midst of writing my dissertation, I worry may die. I bought an external USB hard drive, which is in fact bigger than what is in the laptop. What I want to do is make an image of my laptop's disk in such a way that (after changing the BIOS settings to boot from USB) I can boot from this external drive on any other capable computer, and it is as if I am working on my original computer (less whatever hardware changes there might be) but I would be on any other given computer capable of booting off of a USB. I have found numerous programs that claim to "image" the disk, but it is not bootable. Norton Ghost does not do this either (as the Best Buy geek told me). I tried R-Drive which does a raw, disk to disk copy and it did not work either.

I know that wanting to do this sounds strange, but I have some programs that are not easy to reinstall and so I'd like to not have to worry about that if my laptop dies. Also, it just seems to me to - theoretically at least - an easy thing to do, but I have not found anything. Its frustrating, because one would think that if a program makes a "clone" of my laptop hard disk (there is only one), then that would include the MBR and everything else.

I am currently using a Dell Inspiron 1525 with Windows 7 Home Premium.

Again, just to point out (sorry, I asked this at other places, and people did not seem to get me), this is not about making a bootable recovery disk. This is as if I am completely replacing any given computer with this hard drive, but using the USB port to do it.

Thanks!

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#2 hamluis

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Posted 19 August 2010 - 11:25 AM

<<What I want to do is make an image of my laptop's disk in such a way that (after changing the BIOS settings to boot from USB) I can boot from this external drive on any other capable computer, and it is as if I am working on my original computer (less whatever hardware changes there might be) but I would be on any other given computer capable of booting off of a USB.>>

Some Google Links to Explore.

A major flaw in thought, as I perceive it.

A USB or any other drive...is only a storage medium.

Any clone/backup of the system...still needs the system...or it's of no value unless one just wants an assortment of files.

The system is the hardware, operating system...and software working together. Eliminate any one of those and you have something that is less than a system.

What I would suggest...rather than backup, clone the current hard drive to a larger (if that's the key) laptop hard drive...which could then be inserted into the laptop as a replacement...anytime.

Louis

#3 Rob the Newbie

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Posted 19 August 2010 - 07:15 PM

I see what you are saying...but what I want to be able to do is almost precisely what you said at the end of your response (I will look at your Google searches...thanks, buy the way). Suppose mu hard drive completely died; I then have my USB drive that I can then use. I do not have the technical ability nor desire to actually insert a new drive - i just want to boot from this backup drive. What is a program that can do this, or what would you suggest?

#4 hamluis

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Posted 19 August 2010 - 10:37 PM

<<I do not have the technical ability nor desire to actually insert a new drive - i>>

Oh, yes, you do :thumbsup:.

It's the easiest thing in the world to do on a computer...manufacturers make it so because of the frequency where users have to or want to....replace a hard drive or add one to the system (if desktop).

Take a look: How To Replace A Hard Drive..

Additionally, the manufacturer of laptops will usually include any instructions for doing such...if it's not readily apparent.

http://www.ehow.com/how_4530960_install-ne...hard-drive.html

There are tons of these types of links on the Web...just using Google is probably the best way to learn how easy or difficult many things involving a computer system might be or not be :huh:.

How large is your USB drive? In order to boot XP from such, you would require a lot more knowledge/effort...than it takes to remove and/or replace a hard drive.

Google Links, Installing XP on Flash Drive.

And...your system may not even allow for booting from a flash drive...it's not a system requirement for every computer system.

Believe me...I offered the easiest, most simple alternative...clone a hard drive which can be easily inserted after turning a couple of screws and a few seconds of activity before turning those same screws again.

Louis

#5 Rob the Newbie

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Posted 20 August 2010 - 02:03 PM

Louis, thank-you for your helpful reply. I agree that it probably would be easier to replace with a new hard drive, technically. I knowingly underestimated my abilities - after all, I went through the process of looking through the web in order to upgrade my laptop memory.

So, given all that, and granted that you believe your solution to be the best one, suppose I just want to be stubborn. I know that the BIOS does allow for USB booting. In your last sentence, you said "lone a hard drive which can be easily inserted..." What would I use (software-wise) to clone my hard drive to my USB drive (internal HD is 100GB, external is 250GB), and boot off of it?

#6 hamluis

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Posted 20 August 2010 - 04:10 PM

If you have a laptop...you need a laptop drive to clone to. They are not the same size as regular hard drives. I always (wrongfully) assume that everyone has a desktop and is referring to 3.5-inch drives :thumbsup:.

And you need the same type of connectors.

120GB 5400 RPM SATA HDD

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...N82E16822136373

http://www.partition-tool.com/easeus-parti...r/disk-copy.htm, free software is good...and I've used this one before.

You would need to ensure that you can attach a laptop drive to a USB port.

Process: Install program, attach destination drive....NO!! READ directions for using program first. Then...install program, attach destination drive, open program, ensure that destination drive appears. Start the process.

The finished cloned drive will be an exact duplicate of your former drive, as far as content is concerned.

There are various other programs that perform this same function...I just happen not to have tried any of them.

Louis




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