View Full Version : Clone laptop to another laptop
June 13th, 2005, 12:04 PM
I've got alot of time and effort into the configuration and programs on my laptop and I'm trying to figure out a comprehensive backup solution. I'm not just talking about a harddrive backup, but the whole laptop. I would want to be protected if my laptop were stolen, or if it fell in a swimming pool.
I have been using True Image to make hard drive images onto an external drive, but I have never tested the images. I've verified the images, but have never restored onto my working machine (no thank you)... and I don't actually know if, in my moment of crises, these images would work.
So how can I figure out if I'm really covered?
From what I am reading, I would probably have to find an identical laptop in order to be guaranteed that my image will work.
Is this true?
If not exactly true, what are the most important factors.
I have a Presario 2570us. P4 512MB 40 GB Win XP Pro, Integrated wireless.
They are hard to find. There are many different models in the Presario 2500 line. some are athlon some are p4 with bigger drives, etc. It sounds like a change of motherboard or cpu would be unwise. Given that I have a P4, are Athlons M processors and Celerons all unadvised?
What about Windows XP Pro, is that a requirement? My understanding is that the image totally replaces what is on the disk, so I would think that the OS wouldn't matter.
BTW, I am trying to wrap my mind around the whole image thing. How does this work for licenses? I have LOTS of software on my laptop 30-40 different apps I use all the time. If I make an image, could I just run these apps on two machines?
Would all of my settings (Example FTP sites) be in place? Would it be EXACTLY the same?
If that is the case, than imaging is mindblowing to me. THE WORST part of changing machines is the software and time, not the price of the new machine.
I will happily drop $800 on a new laptop (hoepfully a 2570) and clone everything just for the peace of mind that I could be back online in very short order should my current laptop fail... or if I were to drop it in the bathtub, leave it on my car roof, have it stolen, etc.
Anyhow, the question is this: If I were to find another Presario 2570us laptop (eBay), and it had the same processor as my current machine, What are the chances that I could easily restore one of my disk images onto it?
Also, once restored. Would the two machines be indistinguishable, in terms of the programs, settings, etc?
Same files in the same places
Same network setup
Same weird conflicts between my Palm hotsynch and modem
Is this there any other solution that would give me all of that?
Any insights would be very much appreciated.
June 13th, 2005, 02:49 PM
If you run XP, chances are that you'll need to activate (again) because it now runs on different hardware. Doesn't matter if it's the same type of hardware because all the serial numbers for your HD, NIC, etc. are different.
If you're on an OEM license, you're fcuked, so make sure you have a retail or corporate license. Not just for XP, but also for programs like M$ Office.
Any software that relies on the Mac address of your network cards needs to be reconfigured. That includes any routers that your built-in wireless card connects to.
The difficult part will be replacing your lost laptop with an identical copy. Even if you find one, you'll probably want to replace your old laptop with a newer, faster, better, sexier model, which means you'll need to replace all your drivers. If you'll manage to run your new system from your old image in the first place.
It may work, but it's gonna take time. Maybe a lot of time. Maybe it won't work at all. Have a spare laptop ready to test your image before you drop your notebook in the pool.
June 13th, 2005, 03:33 PM
Firstly I've never cloned to a different machine.
I have proved that restoring an image to a new hard drive on the same laptop works so well that I just continued on the new HDD just as I had left things on the old HDD - everything was exactly the same.
Over the years I have used images (never clones of course) to mount onto different machines, (3 different laptops and 3 different desktops), and restore/change data that has become corrupt etc.
Connected to my current machines I have images from numerous old HDD's on different machines and I regularly scavenge from them, this has many times proved to be the saving of the day for me.
June 13th, 2005, 03:38 PM
Eric, a cloned hard disk contains (or should contain!) everything that is on the original with the possible exception of a couple of (usually huge and irrelevant) system files: Windows pagefile, and(?) the Windows hibernation area. Anything else, the operating system, device drivers, your applications, your favourites, settings, desktop colour, timezone, the works, are cloned to the new disk.
The problem with transplanting a cloned disk to a new motherboard is the device drivers. If the new motherboard has a different type of graphics controller, or a new type of disk controller, there is a risk that Windows will freeze, Blue Screen, or worse during the boot process.
Other drivers, like network drivers or sound card drivers, are not that critical. Usually they just show up with big, yellow Alert! in the device manager, but if you get that far in the Windows boot process you can usually just un-install the old drivers and install whatever drivers the new motherboard requires.
But without a functioning graphics driver and disk driver, well.... Then you will not have Windows either.
If you plan on doing such a transplant, there is a Microsoft tool called SysPrep that will "un-configure" the PC, making it ready to be imaged. With no configured device drivers, Windows will (should?) go through the same motions as when you do a clean Windows install: Autodetect the devices, pick a suitable driver from Microsoft standard driver library, etc, etc.
I have never used SysPrep, so I can not comment further on it.
You could try the "light variant": Boot Windows into Safe Mode, uninstall your graphics & disk driver, reboot into Safe Mode again, and install the generic Microsoft SVGA driver and the generic MS IDE driver. They are almost gauranteed to work with the new motherboard. Reboot, check the drivers in Device Manager, and THEN image the system.
June 14th, 2005, 12:39 AM
I have used Sysprep on W2K, albeit to limited degree, and it works great for migrating to a different machine. The main problem you can run into is a different mass storage drive controller, which can prevent you from booting far enough to where you can install correct drivers. Sysprep is easy to use and solves this problem.
Which brings up a point I've been meaning to post somewhere.
A while back I had a mobo failure and had to fall back to using a second "spare tire" computer until I could get the mobo rma'd. I thought, well this will be slick, I'll just take my image that I had made with so much forethought, restore it to a drive, and get the second computer going.
But no, this won't work - the hardware is different, especially the mass storage controller, and in no way would I be able to boot. I wouldn't even be able to use a repair disk to go in to the system files and replace them with the correct ones.
I was stuck - all those installed programs, and I'd have to reinstall and configure them all.
This is when I realized how important it is to have an image of a Syspreped drive.
With an image of a drive that's been syspreped you can restore it to another drive, install the drive on a different computer (and hardware set) and when you start it up Windows automatically detects Plug and Play devices, and Sysprep redetects and reenumerates the devices on the system. This means that Plug and Play devices, such as network adapters, modems, video adapters, and sound cards do not have to be the same on the master and target computers. I've tried it and it really works.
Here are some pages that explain Sysprep in more detail - how to use it and so on. While it's not difficult to use, do a little reading before you use it - there are some caveats.
How to Use Sysprep :
MS - How to use the Sysprep tool to automate successful deployment of WindowsXP
MS Technet - Deploying MS Windows 2000 Professional and MS Office 2000 Using Sysprep (http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;302577)
MS - Using the System Preparation Tool on Dissimilar Computers (http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;216915)
Hardforum.com - How to: Upgrade your motherboard without reinstalling Windows. (http://www.hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=772307&page=1&pp=20)
Windowsitpro.com - Automating Windows 2000 Installations with Sysprep (http://www.windowsitpro.com/Article/ArticleID/8861/8861.html)
AnandTech: How to image your OS with Ghost and Sysprep (http://www.anandtech.com/guides/viewfaq.html?i=115)
Acronis Page - How can I prepare my system for cloning or migrating the data to different hardware (http://www.acronis.com/homecomputing/products/trueimage/faq.html#17)
Support WebCast: Cloning Windows 2000 and Using Sysprep (http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=325554) (a PowerPoint type presentation - webcast link seems to only launch from IE browser)
June 27th, 2005, 01:50 AM
I just noticed this in http://www.winsupersite.com/showcase/windowsxp_home_pro.asp
"Sysprep support - Windows XP Pro will support the System Preparation (Sysprep) utility, while Home Edition will not."
June 27th, 2005, 05:01 PM
Eric, if you simply want to test if your images would actually work, why not buy a laptop harddrive and try it on your existing laptop. A 40 gig laptop drive would probably cost about $60.
Of course if the situation is putting the image on different hardware, then what was previously said by others holds true.
July 1st, 2005, 12:50 AM
After posting my comment above about Windows XP Home not supporting Sysprep - I think this is probably mistaken.
Microsoft's page How to use the Sysprep tool to automate successful deployment of Windows XP (http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;302577) states that it applies to WinXP Home.
There are some slight differences in it's implimentation I believe.
July 1st, 2005, 12:41 PM
Are there steps for this for Windows XP Professional SP2? I've done the steps in http://www.acronis.com/homecomputing/products/trueimage/faq.html#17 ... but only get a blue screen then restarts. I tried doing a chkdsk /r .... but it does nothing. Still blue screen.
July 1st, 2005, 12:47 PM
Thank you for choosing Acronis Disk Backup Software (http://www.acronis.com/homecomputing/products/trueimage/).
Could you please clarify when you get BSOD? Is it when you boot the cloned drive? Also please clarify what was the old and the new hardware? Sometimes you cannot transfer the system to another hardware if it is absolutely different from the initial one and you get BSOD when you boot with the cloned system. This happens because of the lack of drivers for the new hardware in the installed operating system that has only drivers for the old hardware.
July 1st, 2005, 01:02 PM
The old laptop is a Toshiba. 256MB ram, 1.2GHz Celeron. The new laptop is a Dell 512MB Ram, 2GHz P4. Did the steps in the tutorial ... booted with the rescue disk and made an image over my network onto another computer.
Booted into the dell with a rescue disk and restored the image (erasing everything on the HD) over my network and completed sucessfully. Restarted system ... got through post ... then tries to boot from hard drive and does a split second BSOD and restarts. Safe mode doesn't work. Chkdsk /r doesn't work.
July 1st, 2005, 01:17 PM
The two systems you described are really different and that is why you got BSOD after you cloned the drive. The only workaround in your case would be the Repair Installation that is described at Microsoft Knowledge Base article (http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;315341). This should help you to work properly with the new laptop.
July 1st, 2005, 01:53 PM
Indeed the two systems are quite different.
Microsoft cautions (for W2K at least):
"To use Sysprep, your master and target computers must have identical HALs, Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) support, and mass storage controller devices".
For this reason I change the mass storage controller to "Standard Dual Channel IDE controller" before sysprepping. See Anandtechs article in my posts above on June 13th.
I had actually thought it was unnecessary with Sysprep, but do it as a precaution anyway - the mini-setup then detects what controllers it finds.
I would read throught the links I posted above and see if there are any other precautions you need to prepare for in your migration.
July 2nd, 2005, 11:37 AM
Okay, I get the installation started, but stops when installing devices. The screen is still moving with the "New Features" text and the little green boxes in the bottom right corner are still moving. But it just stops.
July 2nd, 2005, 11:55 AM
Have you tried to install Windows to that new laptop? There may be a hardware-related problem that prevents you from proper repairing. Also please try to wait a little bit more, the process of repair installation is rather time-consuming and depends on the performance of the computer as well.
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