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Want To Clone Desktop Hard Drive


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#1 tb75252

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Posted 22 July 2011 - 05:20 PM

Not sure if this is the right forum for my question. If not, please suggest a better one.

I just purchased a Seagate ST320005EXA101-RK which is a 2 TB external hard drive.

I am getting ready to install Windows 7 to a desktop PC that currently has Windows XP on it. As a precaution, I would like to clone the internal hard drive of the PC to the Seagate external hard drive using a program called EaseUS Todo Backup (or maybe even Clonezilla). With the term "cloning" I mean copying all the sectors of my internal hard drive, including the unused sectors and the MBR, to the Seagate external drive. This way, should the installation of Windows 7 fail for some reason, I can restore the internal hard drive using the backup. My internal hard drive is 80 GB, so there should be no problem cloning it to the Seagate external drive.

What I do not understand is whether I need to partition the Seagate external drive before starting the cloning procedure. It is my understanding that the process of cloning will destroy everything that is on the external hard drive. Through Windows Explorer I can see that there are some files and directories on the Seagate external hard drive. They must have been placed there by the Seagate factory and I think that it would be better not to overwrite that stuff. So I was thinking about creating two partitions on the Seagate external drive: One partition would harbor the files and folders that came with the Seagate drive and a second partition that I would use to do the cloning of my internal hard drive.

What do you guys think? I am totally inexperienced at this...

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#2 Allan

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Posted 22 July 2011 - 05:23 PM

It's entirely up to you. You can just as easily copy those files from the new drive to a usb drive and replace them later, though the files are not required. Probably a backup program and other stuff - nothing you can't live without.

#3 Ryan 3000

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Posted 22 July 2011 - 05:29 PM

I agree with Allan - the stuff on that external hard drive is probably not important. You're free to clone your desktop drive. Although, a better option may be to remove your 80GB drive all together and install Windows 7 on your 2TB drive as an internal. That way, if Windows 7 is successfully installed, you can add your 80GB drive as a 'secondary' drive and avoid the hassle of cloning it.
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#4 tb75252

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Posted 22 July 2011 - 06:32 PM

A better option may be to remove your 80GB drive all together and install Windows 7 on your 2TB drive as an internal. That way, if Windows 7 is successfully installed, you can add your 80GB drive as a 'secondary' drive and avoid the hassle of cloning it.


I don't think that I can do that... My desktop hard drive interface is IDE/PATA and the external hard drive is USB only. To make things worse, my (old!!) desktop does not allow to boot up from a USB device.

#5 tb75252

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Posted 22 July 2011 - 06:35 PM

It's entirely up to you. You can just as easily copy those files from the new drive to a usb drive and replace them later, though the files are not required. Probably a backup program and other stuff - nothing you can't live without.


Now I am getting confused...
I just talked to an friend of mine who insists that cloning is not necessary. He suggests disk imaging instead. (i.e. creating a compressed file of only those sectors on the hard drive that are actually being used.) But the thing is that he has never done a restore of a hard drive. He just heard that imaging is better than cloning!

What do the experts suggest? Should I stick with cloning or turn my attention to imaging? Will imaging also back up the MBR? I consider it vital being able to backup the MBR when attempting to install an operating system on top of another one. (Clean Install.)

#6 Ryan 3000

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Posted 22 July 2011 - 09:05 PM

I don't think that I can do that... My desktop hard drive interface is IDE/PATA and the external hard drive is USB only. To make things worse, my (old!!) desktop does not allow to boot up from a USB device.

If you remove your external hard drive from its plastic encasement, you'll find that it is just an internal drive with some protection for portability. It may be an IDE drive, which will make it a very easy internal upgrade.
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#7 Allan

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Posted 23 July 2011 - 05:17 AM

An Image is fine.




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