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Backing up or cloning a dual boot computer system.


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#1 BlueGalaxy

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Posted 06 May 2017 - 08:05 PM

Hi, guys. My computer has a dual boot of Windows 8.1 and Linux Ubuntu 16.04 LS. The computer has several partitions. I would like to make a complete copy of both operating systems, the relevant files and programs, my personal data, in short - a complete copy of the whole computer. I have a really customized dual boot computer system, and a lot of installed software. I would like to make a copy/backup in such a way that I would be able to take this backed-up data, and use it to overwrite my computer to that backed-up state if anything goes wrong, or overwrite a different computer to give it the contents of the backup. I want to clone my whole computer into another machine, or the same one to revert it to an earlier stable state. What kinds of methods might be used to achieve this goal? Do I need an external hard drive disk to save the data onto? I heard that a bit-by-bit copying process could do the trick. Does anyone have any knowledge or suggestions about how to clone a dual boot computer system?


Edited by hamluis, 06 May 2017 - 09:11 PM.
Moved from Win 8 to Backup/Imaging - Hamluis.


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#2 RolandJS

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Posted 06 May 2017 - 10:34 PM

Yes, one idea is to usb or dvd boot Macrium Reflect, AOMEI Backupper, or anything similar and either clone the entire HD or make full images of each partition of said HD onto an external HD; if done on a routine basis, you can have 2-3 images of each partition rather than just one clone.


Edited by RolandJS, 06 May 2017 - 10:35 PM.

"Take care of thy backups and thy restores shall take care of thee."  -- Ben Franklin revisited.

http://collegecafe.fr.yuku.com/forums/45/Computer-Technologies/

Backup, backup, backup! -- Lady Fitzgerald (w7forums)

Clone or Image often! Backup... -- RockE (WSL)


#3 BlueGalaxy

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Posted 07 May 2017 - 01:25 AM

I am not very experienced using such software. Could you direct me to an article explaining how to use it to implement the backup methods? Is it possible to restore the backup onto a different computer, overwriting its current contents?



#4 RolandJS

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Posted 07 May 2017 - 07:24 PM

I am not very experienced using such software. Could you direct me to an article explaining how to use it to implement the backup methods?  Is it possible to restore the backup onto a different computer, overwriting its current contents?

I do not have a list of HowTo threads or articles concerning any particular or general backup/restore/clone programs.  I do have a few articles, with "lots of outside URLs", in my itty bitty place (see my sig), if you're a brave person, be my guest.  Of course, BC has many tutorials and threads on backups, restores, recoveries!

Meanwhile, yes, it is possible to restore a full image onto, or place a clone into, another computer.  The only two main common problems: drivers for the hardware and Microsoft retail or OEM license snafus.


Edited by RolandJS, 08 May 2017 - 10:13 AM.

"Take care of thy backups and thy restores shall take care of thee."  -- Ben Franklin revisited.

http://collegecafe.fr.yuku.com/forums/45/Computer-Technologies/

Backup, backup, backup! -- Lady Fitzgerald (w7forums)

Clone or Image often! Backup... -- RockE (WSL)


#5 Neil_Hines

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Posted 08 May 2017 - 05:56 AM

That's the most frustrating part IT guys like me face like most of the time. First I used to make copies of data every time I had to make backup and clone it on an external drive (I have 2 1 TB Western Digital Hard Drives) but have given up this method since the last 6 months. Reason being that one of my hard drive "vanished' from my workplace I don't know how, and that really made me switch to opting for online backup services, and now I just plug a wireless USB onto laptops, install Crashplan (an online backup software), back up the data online and Voila! I can easily backup and restore my data anytime anywhere and the best bit is that unlike my previous method, I didn't have to carry external drives with me all the time. 

 

*Online backups are much safer than external backups, but for some reason, if you are unable to connect to the internet on a dying machine than I would prefer to make a backup on external drives then because then that's the only options that'll work. 



#6 RolandJS

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Posted 08 May 2017 - 10:16 AM

"...Online backups are much safer than external backups..."  There are many who will agree and many who will disagree.  Online and offline have their respective advantages, disadvantages, features, benefits, drawbacks.  My experience has been with two dedicated usb platter-driven pancake-sized 1TB hard-drives to each computer -- each getting about two "Cs and two Ds" (OS partitions and Data partitions) bi-monthly or sooner.  Never having done online -- I will learn from you, Neil!  :)


"Take care of thy backups and thy restores shall take care of thee."  -- Ben Franklin revisited.

http://collegecafe.fr.yuku.com/forums/45/Computer-Technologies/

Backup, backup, backup! -- Lady Fitzgerald (w7forums)

Clone or Image often! Backup... -- RockE (WSL)


#7 smax013

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Posted 10 May 2017 - 03:04 PM

Hi, guys. My computer has a dual boot of Windows 8.1 and Linux Ubuntu 16.04 LS. The computer has several partitions. I would like to make a complete copy of both operating systems, the relevant files and programs, my personal data, in short - a complete copy of the whole computer. I have a really customized dual boot computer system, and a lot of installed software. I would like to make a copy/backup in such a way that I would be able to take this backed-up data, and use it to overwrite my computer to that backed-up state if anything goes wrong, or overwrite a different computer to give it the contents of the backup. I want to clone my whole computer into another machine, or the same one to revert it to an earlier stable state. What kinds of methods might be used to achieve this goal? Do I need an external hard drive disk to save the data onto? I heard that a bit-by-bit copying process could do the trick. Does anyone have any knowledge or suggestions about how to clone a dual boot computer system?


I would suggest cloning, although you should also be able to do it with imaging. If you do a bit-by-bit clone, then the clone drive will be setup EXACTLY like the original drive, including how you have the boot manager setup. From there, you could either swap the clone drive into the computer (if you clone to an internal drive in an external USB dock, hooked up internally in another internal drive bay [typically more of an option on desktops, but possible on some laptops], connected by universal USB adapter, or that you put in an external USB enclosure) or restore from the clone drive by cloning to a new internal drive that you installed in the computer after the old drive died, etc.

As to specific steps, that will depend on which program you select to use for cloning. I personally use Acronis TrueImage. And for me, I don't bother installing it in Windows. I just boot from the True Image bootable optical disc (I bought a physical copy, but you can create a bootable optical or USB flash drive if you buy the downloaded version) into True Image. From there, it is pretty straight forward to find the clone tool/command. Other program would be rather similar.

#8 smax013

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Posted 10 May 2017 - 03:20 PM

I am not very experienced using such software. Could you direct me to an article explaining how to use it to implement the backup methods?


Again, it will depend on which software program you pick.

Here are some instructions for TrueImage:

https://kb.acronis.com/content/56634

Here is how with Macrum Reflect v5:

http://kb.macrium.com/KnowledgebaseArticle50081.aspx

Here is for older versions of Macrum Reflect (I believe):

http://knowledgebase.macrium.com/display/KNOW/Cloning+a+disk

Here are instructions for Aomei Backupper:

http://www.backup-utility.com/features/system-clone.html
 

Is it possible to restore the backup onto a different computer, overwriting its current contents?


Yes and no.

Technically, it can be done, but you will have some hurdles to deal with, which you may or may not be able to jump.

The first is drivers. If the new computer has different hardware, then the drivers from the old computer will be potential problems. At best, they will just fail to load and you can then remove them. At worst, they might cause crashes and/or "Blue Screens of Death". Typically, if you are going to migrate a setup from one computer to another, you first want to nuke all drivers from the old computer BEFORE you start the migration process. If it is a new computer to which you are restoring stuff from a backup of an old computer, then there is not good way to nuke the drivers. In that case, you best option is to setup the new computer how you want it (including installing applications from scratch) and then restore just the data from the backup, but not the OS or programs.

The second is activation of the Windows OS. Technically and per license agreements, the two type of license that you can "migrate" from one computer to another is a retail license of Windows (common for home use or small business use) or an enterprise site license (common only in large companies). If the license is an OEM license (whether what I call a "true" OEM license that comes with Dells, HPs, and other "manufactured" computers or a "system builder" OEM license that comes with a custom built computer either by someone else or yourself), then that license is technically and effectively legally tied to the old computer. From a technical aspect, at best you will have issues activating Windows on the new computer. At worst, the computer will not boot (Windows on some manufactured computers is effectively "hardwired" to that computer and will not boot on another computer).

The last can potentially be programs/applications. They will have their own potential activation issues. And if you cannot restore/migrate Windows and then want to try to restore the programs to a new computer that already has Windows installed, then many times this will not work. You typically have to reinstall programs/applications on a new computer that already has Windows installed.

Generally, when you get a new Windows computer, the easiest way to set it up is just install the programs/applications from scratch and then move just your data over to the new computer (either from the old computer if it is still working or from the backup). There is the Windows Easy Transfer function/utility that will at a minimum move data files and some preferences and maybe some applications.

Edited by smax013, 10 May 2017 - 03:22 PM.


#9 MDD1963

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Posted 25 May 2017 - 03:37 AM

Clonezilla also works well, although it is not pretty to look at, it is, however,  also tried and true, and I've used it specifically to image multiboot systems (Win7/Mint, WIn10/CentOS, etc..), and never had an issue.....)

 

As a few folks have already mentioned TrueImage, I thought I'd throw in that anyone with an internal or external Western Digital drive can download/use the WD free version of Acronis True Image...; just be mindful of drive letters, as True Image boot up disk likes to assume the WD drive is C:, which can easily lead to catastrophic mistakes when attempting to quickly choose source and destination drives.


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#10 tos226

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Posted 01 June 2017 - 09:44 PM

As a few folks have already mentioned TrueImage, I thought I'd throw in that anyone with an internal or external Western Digital drive can download/use the WD free version of Acronis True Image...; just be mindful of drive letters, as True Image boot up disk likes to assume the WD drive is C:, which can easily lead to catastrophic mistakes when attempting to quickly choose source and destination drives.

The solution to the drive letter is simple. Name every partition. Never rely on drive letters. Then, regardless of a drive letter you will know what you're imaging and where it is to be written. The only partition you can't name are those without a drive letter, such as system_Drive or other such names.


Edited by tos226, 01 June 2017 - 09:46 PM.





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