Clone a disk for use later?

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by sillybilly, Oct 5, 2008.

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  1. sillybilly

    sillybilly Registered Member

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    Hi, I want to clone my hard disk to an external USB drive and keep it safe and ready for use if my laptop hard disk fails.

    But reading the help and instruction manual, I get the bad feeling that once I've cloned the disk, I have to then set it as my primary and install it in the laptop.

    So I know it might seem ridiculous, but could somebody please just reassure me that cloning the disk will leave it unchanged and still functional in its current location, i.e. as my main laptop internal drive?

    Thank you from a TI newbie.
     
  2. DwnNdrty

    DwnNdrty Registered Member

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    For a laptop that is not the recommend use of True Image. It is far better to make a Backup (not Clone) to the external drive. And if the used space on the laptop drive is many times less than the size of the external drive you can save more than one Backup of the laptop at different points in time. With a Clone you can have only one clone per drive.

    Generally when one does a Clone it is the intent to use the newly cloned drive in place of the original. But there is nothing to say that you have to do so. But some users like to rotate drives (in the case of a desktop) constantly so they would do a clone and use the cloned drive while removing the original and keeping it apart from the computer until the next time they want to clone again. I suppose you could do this also with a laptop, but you will need to have another laptop hard drive.

    Backup is also recommended instead of Clone as some users report that their original became unusable after the Clone process - this could be largely due to user error. Backup is far safer to do.

    And don't forget to make the bootable Rescue cd, boot with it and do a "dry run" to see if it will detect your external drive.
     
  3. sillybilly

    sillybilly Registered Member

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    Thank you for such a prompt reply - I had tried searching the forum but couldn't get it to work for me, but have just done the same and loads of matches appeared - doh!

    So I have now tested my rescue bootable CD with the external USB drive that contains my backup and it seems to work just fine. I will keep restore instructions somewhere safe with it.

    As my hard disk is reporting as being condition critical, I will get ordering a replacement!

    Thank you once again.
     
  4. nb47

    nb47 Registered Member

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    I'd put my serial number on Ext HD too! I.E. -everything else you need too!!:)
     
  5. shieber

    shieber Registered Member

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    I don't know what software is reporting your disk as cricitcal but if any sectors are showing up bad, I would stop using it immediately rather than risk things getting wonky as the disk deteriorates. Disks are relatively cheap but you'll have to balance the cost against the value to you of your data and progaram installations.



     
  6. sillybilly

    sillybilly Registered Member

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    HDD Health is reporting the drive status as critical in my laptop (a Seagate 2.5" 40GB ATA) but I have to admit I've had it about four years now and it has been used constantly, so to be expected I suppose!

    No bad sectors showing up - but maybe I'm not using the best software to tell me. Not to worry, I've ordered a replacement Western Digital 80GB.
     
  7. CorkyG

    CorkyG Registered Member

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    That is a rather narrow view of cloning. I clone reserve drives for all my computers including laptops. I always travel with a spare laptop drive, caddy-mounted and ready to go. The process is very simple.

    I have two drives for every laptop. I use an eSATA drive (external) to clone the source drive to. I then remove the #1 source drive and replace it with the #2 drive, and clone that from the external eSATA. Takes only about 15 minutes each way for a 200 GB 7200 RPM drive.

    Cloning is, for me, more reliable than backing up because restoration is not necessary. In my desktops, a duplicate drive resides in a mobile rack - and I can boot with it by turning a key switch. A cloned reserve drive is immediately available whereas a backed up drive has to be restored.
     
  8. sillybilly

    sillybilly Registered Member

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    Wow - that sounds like my sort of plan! I need to keep the laptop going as it is my only PC (I also run Macs) so to follow your example I would need 3 drives. Is it easier to keep them all the same size and type, or will it not make a difference?
     
  9. DwnNdrty

    DwnNdrty Registered Member

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    Because it is another view of how to use True Image doesn't mean it is a narrow view. What works for you may not be the best for someone else. Sorry, I even mentioned it.
     
  10. shieber

    shieber Registered Member

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    There are advantages a nd disadvantages to both methods. With cloning, restoring can be faster (depending on how quickly you can swap out drives). But with backups, you can fit multiple backups on one drive (how many dependisnthe size of the source and target drives, of course) and so have a history -- if your hdrive started going wonky, unbeknownst to you, before the last backup , then an earlier backup could serve you well. On some systems I find it useful to maintain a store of about 30 daily backups. On others I amsatisfied with only a dozen or so. To do this with clones you need a hdisk for each clone, which is much costlier and bulkier. Also, backups usually run a bit faster than cloning, especially if some of the partitions on the hdisk don't change very often and don't need to be backed up as often -- and since backups are made much more often than restores are performed, some folks prefer the time savings on the front end.

    It's not a matter of right vs wrong, it's a matter of what suits your needs and preferences, how much you value your data vs how much you value your time, the cost of drives, etc.

    However, what DwnNdrty described is in fact what most folks do and what Acronis recommends. If you're doing a hdisk replacement, and the cloning doesn't work for some reeason, you can try again and know right away if your backup is sound. With backups, if one is foul for some reason, you can just go to another. I've been in both situations and for a while kept clones and backups and finally settled on just using backups. But that's because it fits my needs and preferences.
     
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