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Questions about cloning a hard drive


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#1 flobiwan

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Posted 11 October 2017 - 06:12 PM

I hope this is the right forum for this.  I have a Windows 7 64 bit PC and I have all my data on a secondary drive so that my C drive just has Windows and the installed programs.  Being the paranoid sort of guy that i am, i would like to clone my C drive so that if it ever goes down, i can put the clone in and be off again.  I heard that when cloning the C drive, you should plug the blank drive you're making the clone on in the same SATA connector on the motherboard that the original C drive uses (then move the original C drive temporarily).  Something about it helping with geometry.  Is that true?  I wouldn't think it would matter if you're making an exact copy.  

 

If it does matter, what if the C drive is plugged into slot "1", I plug the clone into slot 2 and then, if the C drive ever goes bad, i just replace it but have the clone run from slot "2" thereafter.  Wouldn't that solve the issue?

 

also, a crazy question.  I'm going to want to do this again from time to time as i add/update programs and i don't feel like taking off the side of the machine each time.  What if i drill a hole in the side, hook up a Sata cable to the motherboard, put it through the hole and maybe seal it in place with a grommet, then tape the cable to the side of the PC so it's handy.  Of course, i'd still have to supply power to the drive i was hooking up but i have an adpater that plugs into the wall for that.  Would that work?


Edited by hamluis, 11 October 2017 - 06:37 PM.
Moved from Internal Hardware to Backup/Imaging/Disk Mgmt - Hamluis.


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#2 JohnC_21

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Posted 11 October 2017 - 06:29 PM

I don't think for your situation you want to clone a drive. I think in your case you would be better off creating a disk image of your Windows drive and have it saved to your secondary drive if you have the space or to a USB external drive. When adding programs and updates create a new disk image. The imaging program will allow you to create a bootable CD or USB flash drive that would let you restore to a new drive or the same drive should it not boot due to a malware infection or file system corruption.

 

Some free programs that will let you do this

 

Macrium Free

Aomei Backupper Standard

Easeus Todo Backup Free

 

Aomei and Easeus allow you to also do folder and file backups both incremental and differential with Easeus being the most intuitive on file backups. All the above programs also allow you to create a base disk image and then add incremental or differential images to the base image to keep your image sizes small.

 

Note: When cloning it doesn't make a difference what SATA port your target or source drive are connected to. The one thing to watch is do not boot after cloning. Remove or detach the cloned drive before booting the computer.


Edited by JohnC_21, 11 October 2017 - 06:32 PM.


#3 RolandJS

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Posted 11 October 2017 - 08:53 PM

Does this C-drive also contain your data folders and files?  If yes, consider making routine twice or thrice weekly backup images onto any affordable reliable external media.  If no, same advice for your Data partition.


"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 (sevenforums)

Clone or Image often! Backup, backup, backup, backup... -- RockE (Windows Secrets Lounge)


#4 flobiwan

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Posted 11 October 2017 - 09:39 PM

It doesn't contain my data folders and files.  That's why i want to have a clone on hand so i can just swap it out with no problems. 

 

I do backup my data 5 days a week on an external drive but i'm just asking about the C drive right now.

 

I'm more comfortable having a drive that is an exact duplicate of my C drive so that if there is any problem, the solution is easy.



#5 visaonlinevietnam

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 05:10 AM

Thanks Brothers, I have the same mistake,



#6 RolandJS

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 11:24 AM

...I'm more comfortable having a drive that is an exact duplicate of my C drive so that if there is any problem, the solution is easy.

I wanted to do that one day, but decided on making full images instead.  If/when you have to pull out that external clone out of the closet and put it into the computer, please report back on the easiness of the process, and if you ran into any minor hiccups, thanks!


Edited by RolandJS, 12 October 2017 - 11:24 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 (sevenforums)

Clone or Image often! Backup, backup, backup, backup... -- RockE (Windows Secrets Lounge)


#7 flobiwan

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Posted 13 October 2017 - 06:53 PM

Hopefully i'll never have to find out but i'm happy to report back if i do.  So does anyone have any input on my idea of hooking up a spare SATA cable to the MB permanently and feeding it through a hole in the side of the PC case for easy temporary hookups? Could that cause any damage down the road?



#8 JohnC_21

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Posted 13 October 2017 - 08:02 PM

Hopefully i'll never have to find out but i'm happy to report back if i do.  So does anyone have any input on my idea of hooking up a spare SATA cable to the MB permanently and feeding it through a hole in the side of the PC case for easy temporary hookups? Could that cause any damage down the road?

If the adapter you intend to power the drive with works then I don't see a problem drilling a hole in the side of the computer case but this is something I would not do considering how easy it is to pull the case off. Why not attach the drive you want to clone to using a USB adapter similar to one of these. It includes the power brick for 3.5 drives and all necessary cables. When attached the drive will get a letter assigned where you can clone to it.

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/New-USB-2-0-to-IDE-SATA-S-ATA-2-5-3-5-Hard-Drive-HD-HDD-Converter-Adapter-Cable-/131139498971

 

Edit: Or you can purchase a USB enclosure or docking station for the hard drive.

 

3.5 SATA

 

2.5 SATA


Edited by JohnC_21, 13 October 2017 - 08:16 PM.


#9 flobiwan

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Posted 13 October 2017 - 08:45 PM

I was thinking about that.  I actually have a USB enclosure but i would get much better speed from a MB connection.  That's the main reason.  How long do you think it would take to clone a HD with about 650GB through USB?

 

Also, since i'm cloning the drive with Windows on it, the PC would need to reboot into DOS.  Would the USB drivers still work? 



#10 Havachat

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Posted 14 October 2017 - 05:06 AM

USB ? They should but not something i would count on  , and 650 gig could / should / would possibly take 3-4 hrs or longer depending on the software.

If you are backing up personal data externally then why have data on the C:Drive ?

Just have as you stated in first Post / Windows / Software / Updates and your looking at 30 - 50 gig and that takes 10-15 min from an Image to reload.

 

I use Macrium Reflect and Acronis and both have Boot Discs { Created } to boot from when needed , before reloading an Image.



#11 JohnC_21

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Posted 14 October 2017 - 08:03 AM

I was thinking about that.  I actually have a USB enclosure but i would get much better speed from a MB connection.  That's the main reason.  How long do you think it would take to clone a HD with about 650GB through USB?

 

Also, since i'm cloning the drive with Windows on it, the PC would need to reboot into DOS.  Would the USB drivers still work? 

That's a very good point that I forgot about. You would need USB 3 to make it practical and it's not something normally done when cloning as you pointed out. It's best clone with both drives attached to the motherboard. That is why I think for your purposes you should do images and not bother with clones. Cloning is a one and done, from a HDD to a SSD or from a smaller HDD to a larger HDD. Per your initial post it seems you are wanting to clone on a regular basis to the same drive.

 

Edit: In regards to 650GB is this the amount of data on the drive you are cloning because in post #4 you stated there are no data folders on the drive. Most cloning software has intelligent cloning that will only clone sectors that have data which will reduce your cloning time.

 

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


Edited by JohnC_21, 14 October 2017 - 08:29 AM.


#12 flobiwan

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Posted 14 October 2017 - 10:16 AM

The reason i like a clone is that if my C drive fails, i unplug it and plug in the clone and i'm off and running again in minutes.  

 

650GB is the size of Windows plus program files plus probably a lot of temp files and detritus.  And maybe some old data/videos that i forgot about but nothing important.

 

I went ahead and cloned the drive last night using the MB connection and Macrium Reflect.  To my amazement, even though i was cloning the C drive, it didn't have to reboot into DOS.  I don't know how that works - cloning Windows from Windows but i booted from the clone this AM and it seems fine.

 

The reason i wanted to drill a hole in the PC is that i'm always nervous about opening it up.  Afraid i'll crack the MB or break something or somehow cause a short with static eletricity etc.  Part of my natural paranoia.  However, i realized when i was hooking up the HD that i have a 5.25" drive bay free under my DVD drive that i can access from the outside via the door on the front.  So when unhooked the clone, i duct-taped the end of the sata cable to the inside of that bay.  Now, i can just pull it out from the front when i want to hook up a drive temporarily.  

 

Now that i think about it, they should make some external drives with a SATA connection and then design PCs with a SATA outlet or two on the rear of the PC so they could be plugged into that and run faster..  

 

I'm only looking to update the clone maybe once every 6 months or so or whenever i make a major addition or program change.


Edited by flobiwan, 14 October 2017 - 10:25 AM.


#13 JohnC_21

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Posted 14 October 2017 - 11:09 AM

I would really avoid drilling a hole especially if your computer has a metal case. Metal shavings and electronics do no get along very well even though the problem would be small as you are doing this after removing the side panel. At least you found a workaround. 

 

Edit: I do think you are being a little too paranoid on opening the case. As long as you are careful and ground yourself on some bare metal of the case before touching anything I doubt you would ever have a problem.

 

Edit Edit: Macrium is able to clone within Windows because it uses the Windows VSS service.


Edited by JohnC_21, 14 October 2017 - 11:14 AM.


#14 flobiwan

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Posted 14 October 2017 - 12:15 PM

I"m sure you're right. i've been replacing HDs, PSUs, memory etc for years without an issue.  Still, i can't help getting nervous.  I'm glad i don't have to drill a hole, though since i found that empty bay.  Plus it's a lot quicker to just pull the SATA cable out of it's hiding place and plug it into a drive than to open up the machine and set things up that way.  






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