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Novice with IMG/Clone Recovery Questions


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#1 chiiibill

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Posted 22 June 2018 - 09:37 AM

'Professional Novice' with another question.

 

Had a laptop crash on me a while back with no recent backups....Learned my lesson

 

Now I backup (manually) important files, etc. to external HD and cloud.

 

Currently have a Win 10 laptop with a 500g SSD + 1T HDD

 

I read about Imaging and cloning to have as backup should a crash take place. just slap it on to new HD, same HD, new laptop and your right back inbusiness.

 

But what are the limitations when transferring to different  HD's, SSD to SSD, HDD to SSD, drive sizes, transferring/migrating system (via clone) or installed apps to new pc or dissimilar HD, etc?

 

Create recovery drive? what exactly is that? IMG?

 

Img vs clone?

 

Wiping drive & creating new partitions..

 

I see a lot of apps out there. Just read some things at EaseUS, for example, but all of the above seems pretty overwhelming. Is there a site (or even..... a book) that walks a novice through all of the above?

 

---> Not sure where to begin or what info is needed, what to skip. Would like to know the quickest and easiest way to recover should the worst happen.

 

Thanks


Edited by chiiibill, 22 June 2018 - 10:36 AM.


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#2 RolandJS

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Posted 22 June 2018 - 04:26 PM

We (various BC folks) tackle your questions in bits and pieces.

I will mention that the following utilities make almost-foolproof full images or clones:  Macrium Reflect, EaseUS, Image for Windows / BootIt Bare Metal, Acronis True Image, and so many others, both free and fee.


"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 RolandJS

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Posted 22 June 2018 - 04:29 PM

Cloning, to my understanding, is making an exact copy of hard-drive A onto hard-drive B.  B is exactly like A.

Imaging is making a compressed copy of anything/everything found within a partition OR within designated folders Or of an entire hard-drive.  I think a utility or two can clone a partition -- I don't know how or which utilities.


"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)


#4 RolandJS

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Posted 22 June 2018 - 05:02 PM

"But what are the limitations when transferring to different  HD's, SSD to SSD, HDD to SSD, drive sizes, transferring/migrating system (via clone) or installed apps to new pc or dissimilar HD, etc?"

For me, this is a very broad question set.

Cloning from smaller HD onto larger HD is less trouble than the reverse, after cloning a small onto larger, one can be left with tiny bits and pieces of un-allocated areas, such partitions can be delt with later on.

Transferring/migrating Windows OS from one computer to another sometimes runs afoul of Microsoft license / product key reality, leading to a little tweaking and/or phone calling to reactive Windows on the 2nd computer.

Others here can add more stuff...


"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 ranchhand_

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Posted 23 June 2018 - 08:08 AM

 

Create recovery drive? what exactly is that? IMG?

The answers to all your questions depends on what kind of recovery you want. Also, different products are capable of different things. So.....here is my suggestion, and this assumes that all you are interested in is a rock-solid backup of your existing OS so you can recover in the event of a major failure of your main drive. Nothing fancy and "star-trek" sophistication, just get it done.

> Use Macrium Reflect, free or paid edition, no matter. Free will work famously for the above criteria.

> Make image backups minimally twice monthly, or once weekly if you actively add/delete data or programs. This is where most users' fail. They don't want to bother taking time until a ransomeware infection nukes all their data and then they post here asking for help.

Discussion: While I have nothing against cloning, in your case it is not what you want. Images are complete, compressed, and bullet-proof. That means that you can put several images on one hard drive, whereas with a clone you are merely creating another identical hard drive with your OS. Avoid incidental backups, all you are doing is making a simple job more complex and prone to glitches when restoring. Lots of software out there are great at creating images. If they are going to fail, it is in the crucial restore process after a main drive failure. That is when you sit in front of your computer for hours/days, cursing the product and its vendors. Creating is easy; restoring is the acid test of any backup software, and I have had plenty fail on me through the years.

> Macrium Reflect image backups can be accessed virtually by just clicking on an image. All data and programs (as of the date the image was made) can be accessed and copied if you need older data off an older image. This is a super-great feature. When you are loaded with images, just delete the oldest to make more room on your BU drive. 


Easy: MR images can be created with literally 3 clicks of the mouse. It takes time. What I do is start the backup at night, set it to shut down the computer when finished, and go to bed. In the AM my image is done and the computer shut down. Easy.

> Get an external drive. When not in use, turn it off to disconnect it from the electrical system in the house. Now your image and data is safe. I use a docking station and a 1TB sata drive for all my backups, that way I can use an extra drive for this (I have lots lying around) and I can get 5 or 6 images on one drive. That way I can use various drives for various projects. Hard drives are very inexpensive now with the advent of SSD drives. This is cheaper than dedicated external drives and give you lots more options.
> How to recover in the event of catastrophie: MR will prompt you to make a recovery CD (or DVD) the first time you use it. DO IT. Do not skip this step. It is fast and easy, they do everything for you, including all needed files.

Ok. Now you are set. The impossible happens, there is a major failure of your drive and you lose everything. Ok, get your new drive, install it. Click the ON button on your docking station with your backup drive in it. Put your MR Recovery CD in the drive and reboot the computer. The CD fires up, the computer boots from the CD recovery disk, and the MR recovery screen appears on your monitor. MR goes out there and finds your backup drive, and asks you which image you want to recover from. You pick the latest one (you have been making them religiously, right?), choose your new hard drive, and then go have a cup of coffee while MR works its magic. That's it.

Ok, this post is getting too long. If you have any questions post back. Anyone here will be happy to help you if I am on vacation or something (I LOVE vacations) :cowboy:


Help Requests: If there is no reply after 3 days I remove the thread from my answer list. For further help PM me.


#6 chiiibill

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Posted 25 June 2018 - 02:47 PM

Thanks both for the very helpful information!

 

Will reread it a few times and, being a novice, will familiarize myself with MR.

 

Still a number of novice questions to look into, for example:

 

- MR recommends testing recovery CD to see if it boots up. Can I do this on any working PC? And is this different than an image backup of the drive?

 

- I have an SSD and a HDD in the laptop under discussion. I assume I make an image of each, same them both on my backup drive. I guess I must determine whether I need a new HD or 2 before restoring (say, a virus vs. HD/sector damage?). And when restoring separately, is it always SSD only to SSD and HDD only to HDD?

 

Thanks again!



#7 ranchhand_

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Posted 25 June 2018 - 05:11 PM

 

...recovery CD to see if it boots up. Can I do this on any working PC?

Yes, desktop or laptop. Just make sure that your CD drive is set to CD=1st Boot Device, Hard Drive=2nd boot device in the BIOS screen. If you don't know what that is post back. The reason is that you want your computer to first look for the CD drive for a bootable device, and if no bootable CD is found, then next go to the hard drive to boot Windows normally.

 

 

is this different than an image backup of the drive?

Yes. The image is a compressed duplicate file of your entire C:\ partition, that is why it is called an "image". That is what it exactly is. Example: same thing as when you look in a mirror and see an image/reflection of yourself. Now, what if you had a computer that was wired in to the mirror that would automatically use that image of yourself to create an exact copy of yourself and it stores that copy on the hard drive.  Suddenly you die - kaput. You are permanently gone-dead. The computer uses that saved image from the mirror to create another "you", and you get on with your life as usual, just like you had never died.

The restore disk you make contains the program that the computer uses to transfer that compressed image back on to the hard drive again, and in a few minutes your computer is back up and running Windows just like nothing ever happened. The drive you use to store that image is called a backup drive. This is a separate hard drive (HDD) or SSD drive that is dedicated only to storing that all-important image.

In fact, you can use that image to make as many restores as you like on any hard drive you choose, either HDD or SSD drives, makes no difference. In theory, you could create 100 Windows systems on 100 hard drives and they all would be identical to your Windows drive and they would all boot and run. That is why it offers far more options that a clone, which only makes a one-shot copy to another drive.

I have attached a picture of my Windows 7 Explore screen on my main drive; notice that my Backup drive is running, and in the right column are my backups on that drive: two Windows 7 (May and June) and one for my Windows 10 backup also (I also run W10). When you boot your computer from the restore CD that you make, the restore program will ask you which of these you want to restore to your main drive. You indicate which one, click "go" and the rest is automatic.

Attached File  SNAP.png   32.59KB   0 downloads

Additional thought: Never, ever, make your restore image back to the same drive you are imaging! If that drive fails mechanically, you are up a creek without a paddle, since you will not be able to access your image. Always use a separate drive dedicated to backups only. You can use an external hard drive for this. I prefer a docking station , and then use a dedicated drive for the backups. If you have an extra drive use that one. Not only is it cheaper, you can use multiple hard drive (or SSDs) for various purposes. And...if one backup drive fails, just get another drive and you are back in business. SATA HDs are cheap now.

Hope this helps.


Edited by ranchhand_, 25 June 2018 - 05:18 PM.

Help Requests: If there is no reply after 3 days I remove the thread from my answer list. For further help PM me.


#8 RolandJS

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Posted 25 June 2018 - 05:56 PM

Follow Ranchhand's advice -- you will not go wrong.  All I was going to add is:

A full image of the SSD probably works best being restored to the SSD; the HDD full image probably works best being restored to the HDD.  Of course, a full image of any hard-drive can be restored to any other hard-drive, it's just that quite often little things have to be fixed afterward.


"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)


#9 ranchhand_

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Posted 25 June 2018 - 07:44 PM

When I got my 500gig SSD drive, I used MR to image from the Hard Disk backup drive directly on to the SSD. No problems at all. When I upgraded my wife's computer from her Seagate HDD to an SSD, I imaged her C: drive to her HDD backup, then restored onto her SSD. Again, went smooth as silk.


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#10 chiiibill

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Posted 25 June 2018 - 08:23 PM

Thank you.

 

Finally understand the img file, what it is and what it can do. Will make backup on external HD.

 

Still have novice question re: rescue media - it's purpose allows one to boot into O/S and then what? repair boot issues? Save data? What exactly does it contain? Must it be used to allow bootup prior to restoring a backed up img file? I thought one could boot from the img file...

 

re: recommended order of bootup in BIOS- did you recommend CD be first by default at all times?

 

LOL, your saintly patience it greatly appreciated. thanks



#11 ranchhand_

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Posted 26 June 2018 - 08:30 AM

 

rescue media - it's purpose allows one to boot into O/S

One correction to that question: The restore disk is the operating system. Remember..at this point, your computer cannot boot into any operating system because the drive mechanically failed, or maybe a virus damaged the Windows OS (operating system), or whatever the circumstance.  Your computer is now dead in the water because there is no OS (operating system) to boot into.

 

The Macrium Reflect disk contains a program that actually can boot and run, only it is loaded only into memory (called "virtual") and runs independently of the hard drive. That is called "a bootable CD" in computer lingo. because it loads into the computer's memory and runs from there. As soon as you turn off the computer it disappears harmlessly. But...while it is running...it is programmed to seek out a restore hard drive and search for any Macrium Reflect backup images. This makes it a very powerful tool, indeed!

 

 

I thought one could boot from the img file...

No, image files are not bootable. They are what they are, just a saved copy of your OS. A different program must run to access the image, read it, open it up and install it onto a drive. That is where your restore disk comes in, that is its job. The MR restore program starts running from the DVD player and does that job.

 

 

 

order of bootup in BIOS- did you recommend CD be first by default at all times?

Yes, I do. In fact, when setting up a new computer for someone, I always change the boot order in the BIOS to CD = First Boot Device. It's a generally good thing to do because it saves hassle if you want to boot any virtual program (there are many, especially Linux based programs) from the CD. If there is no CD or DVD in the optical drive the BIOS just moves down to boot from the main drive automatically.

Incidentally, just as a side thought, modern BIOS' now also have the option of setting the boot order to USB=1st Boot Device. Increasingly computer manufacturers are not using optical drives any more, since flash drives are faster and have larger storage capacity than DVD disks. Just a side thought.

 

Another side thought, as long as we are on the subject:

 

rescue media - it's purpose allows one to boot into O/S and then what? repair boot issues? Save data?

Yes to all of the above. Now that you understand what a virtual program is, there are tons of virtual programs that will boot from a thumb drive or optical drive (that is what a CD or DVD player is called because it uses a laser beam) and these distros are used regularly for removing virus infections, reclaiming data off of corrupted OSs that won't boot, etc. You will see responders in this forum referring to these when folks post in trying to get data off of their HDDs that crashed and won't boot anymore.

 

If you have any other questions, don't hesitate to post back. If you need help setting up a backup system we can help. Trust me, once you do it you will see it is very easy.


Help Requests: If there is no reply after 3 days I remove the thread from my answer list. For further help PM me.


#12 chiiibill

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Posted 26 June 2018 - 02:24 PM

I believe that I'm down to my last few questions before diving in.

 

1) Have a multi- terabyte Western Digital backup drive and optical drive on laptop. Is the USB/WD drive preferable to the DVD?

 

2) Should I keep the rescue media and IMG file on same backup drive/DVD? Assume Rescue media is only of the SSD/OS?

 

3) Related to this - As I haven't viewed it yet (could probably figure it out as I go along, I guess) - if both rescue and img will be needed, does that require that both be on same device or do multiple inputs work?  :blink:

 

4) I have an SSD with O/S and a few key apps + a larger HDD with bulk of apps. If O/S won't boot, should I assume that most likely the SSD drive needs the restore and the HDD is probably ok and will sync up after restore?

 

5) If laptop needs junking and a new one is purchased (with O/S pre-installed), should I just do a manual install of all files or use the image on top of the existing (same) O/S?

 

Thanks one more time for the major (!) help/education.


Edited by chiiibill, 27 June 2018 - 09:20 AM.


#13 RolandJS

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Posted 26 June 2018 - 10:39 PM

Ranchhand, you're correct!  Very often, images made from device A restores very nicely onto device B -- I should have indicated such more strongly.  I only mention possible little problems because sometimes - such happens  :)


"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)


#14 ranchhand_

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Posted 28 June 2018 - 11:28 AM

I have attached a pic of your image-creation setup, I hope it will make things clearer to you.

1. As it says, this is your computer, be it desktop, laptop, or notebook. You had MR installed as per normal.

2. As it says, this is your backup drive; in your case you are not using a docking station with a standard drive as I do in the picture, you are going to use your WD external drive and it will be connected via USB cable to your computer.

Attached File  Snap.jpg   140.59KB   0 downloads

 

TO MAKE YOUR FIRST BACKUP:

> Have your setup as pictured. This will never change, creation or restoring.

> Click on the Macrium Reflect shortcut icon on your computer desktop. MR will load and boot up.

> Make sure there are checkmarks in the two entries, Windows 7 NTFS Active, and Windows 7 NTFS Primary.

> At some point you will be prompted to create an emergency restore disk. Have a blank DVD disk ready and do it. Just follow directions, it will take a little time because MR will download files off the internet.

> You will also see your backup drive listed, Disable (clear) the checkbox for it (you don't want to make a backup of your backup, right?).

> Upper left side of the screen; click on backup, then image selected disks. See attached pic.

Attached File  SNAP 1.jpg   81.34KB   0 downloads

 

> Next screen, follow the direction in the next pic:
Attached File  SNAP 2.jpg   320.51KB   0 downloads

 

> Next screen, follow directions:

Attached File  SNAP 3.jpg   108.69KB   0 downloads

 

When restoring, you will boot from the restore CD in your computer's optical drive instead of the Macrium Reflect shortcut on your desktop. In the opening screen, choose the RESTORE tab instead of BACKUP tab.

 

[EDIT]: Sorry, I missed one of your questions.
 

 

4) I have an SSD with O/S and a few key apps + a larger HDD with bulk of apps. If O/S won't boot, should I assume that most likely the SSD drive needs the restore and the HDD is probably ok and will sync up after restore?

You will want to make two separate backups, one of your main Windows drive, and another of your HDD and data files. Since the data drive is far less likely to get a virus or corruption of the OS, it is less critical. HOWEVER...it is not uncommon for a drive to suddenly fail mechanically, and if you haven't backed up your data you could lose everything. And, after all, data is the critical issue and the most important. So data backups are really important.

Just another point: many folks think that because the data and programs have been installed on a different drive from the C:\\ drive all they need to do is backup the data drive. Not so. Windows in the majority of times will install certain critical files on the main (SSD) drive, and if you do not back up both drives you can lose your installed programs also. So...back up both, separately. The backup images themselves can go on your backup drive, just title them so you can tell the difference between the two.


Edited by ranchhand_, 28 June 2018 - 12:39 PM.

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#15 chiiibill

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Posted 28 June 2018 - 02:26 PM

Amazing.

 

Thank you so much for the walkthrough!






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