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Making a complete system image for backup


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#1 C_Man

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Posted 31 August 2010 - 07:50 PM

Hi all,

I have several windows XP computers and am interested in making an exact clone of the hard drive that contans XP along with all the applications on an external hard drive as a backup. However, apparently Windows XP does not allow you to make a system image unless you have a floppy drive (which none of these computers do). After running the XP Backup utility (which did create a .bkf file on the target drive, I received the error message that no floppy drive was found and that therefore the backup could not be completed.

This got me thinking about possible workarounds to create a system image. My question: Is there any reason why you cannot simply use the XCOPY command with the /s /e /h switches to create a system disk as follows:

xcopy c: destinationDrive: /s /e /h

and then to make the

This seems too simple given all the commercial products that are available to do this task, so probably I am missing something? I would appreciate the thoughts of experts here.

Thanks

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#2 Platypus

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Posted 31 August 2010 - 08:42 PM

No, using XCOPY like that will not do what you want to do. I believe it is possible to do it using a complex method, for example as shown here:

http://xpontology.host22.com/guidexcopy.htm

As you've observed, it's so simple to do with commercially developed software, some of which can be free to use, that no-one goes through the hassle of trying XCOPY these days. It was more feasible with older versions of Windows.

I have Seagate drives in all my computers, so I use the Seagate DiskWizard, which is a feature restricted version of Acronis TrueImage available at no cost from the Seagate support website. Western Digital have an equivalent. Each just requires that there be one of the relevant manufacturer's drives in the computer system in order to function.

There are also various freeware cloning and imaging applications.

Edited by Platypus, 31 August 2010 - 08:43 PM.

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#3 C_Man

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Posted 31 August 2010 - 09:18 PM

Thanks Platypus for the very quick response! :thumbsup: Do you have a favorite free utility? Also, do you know if any of the free utilities can handle a RAID0 setup? I mean cloning the disk image from a RAID0 array to a single exteral hard drive.

Thanks

#4 Platypus

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Posted 31 August 2010 - 10:08 PM

My experience has mostly been using the Seagate DiskWizard, which is Acronis TrueImage, and I haven't had occasion to use it on a RAIDed system myself. However, when operating under Windows to create backup images, TrueImage uses the RAID driver(s) being used by Windows. When restoring an image, you would normally boot from recovery media, typically CD/DVD. TI uses a Linux environment for this, and can address RAID arrays that there are Linux drivers for, which covers many.

Acronis Knowledge Base has a lot on RAID:

http://kb.acronis.com/search/apachesolr_search/RAID

http://kb.acronis.com/content/1565

Edited by Platypus, 31 August 2010 - 10:12 PM.

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#5 Romeo29

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Posted 31 August 2010 - 10:23 PM

I like PING and NFGDump open source tools. I also have free Acronis Backup with my new Western Digital hard disk.

Here is a list of free Acronis True Image download links for various hard disk manufacturers :

TrueImage for Western Digital
Seagate DiskWizard
Maxtor (now acquired by Seagate) MaxBlast

#6 tenz

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Posted 01 September 2010 - 12:41 PM

I would reccomend Clonezilla (www.clonezilla.org)

It is open source, free, fast and has advanced/beginners modes, as well as a lot of community support.

You can store images on optical media, internal/external Hdds, and on the network.

Check it out, it has been a simple yet robust solution for me

-Tenz

#7 C_Man

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Posted 02 September 2010 - 05:10 AM

Thanks platypus, Romeo & Tenz for the great info. Interstingly, Western Digital support advised me that the version of True Image that they provide free for WD drives, does not recognize a RAID 0 array properly. I was assured by 2 separate techs that this version sees the drives as 2 separate drives, apparently not looking at the hardware RAID controller but directly at the hard drives. I have seen much conflicting information on this on the web.

I have also learned that the ultimate boot disk 4 windows http://ubcd4win.com/howto.htm has a utility called DriveImageXML that reads RAID 0 arrays (hardware RAID and not software RAID) and there is also a version of DriveImageXML that runs directly on windows. I will give this a spin along with clonezilla and advise if anything crazy happens.

Tenz, this may be a dumb question, but is it easy to verify with clonezilla that a bootable disk image has been created?

Thanks again to all.

Regards,

C_Man

#8 tenz

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Posted 02 September 2010 - 05:55 AM

\

Tenz, this may be a dumb question, but is it easy to verify with clonezilla that a bootable disk image has been created?

C_Man




if you put the new drive into your machine after cloning and it boots, there's your verification. the only times that i have used clonezilla that the drive failed to boot was when there wereother issues going on with he drive or other hardware components.

#9 Platypus

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Posted 03 September 2010 - 11:58 PM

Interstingly, Western Digital support advised me that the version of True Image that they provide free for WD drives, does not recognize a RAID 0 array properly.

Yes, that is interesting. If that's the case, I wonder if they've gone too far feature limiting the free issue, maybe Acronis required the limit?

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