cloning a laptop with no diskette drive

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by Strul, Nov 9, 2005.

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  1. Strul

    Strul Registered Member

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    Hi,

    I need to upgrade the harddrive in my laptop.

    I have a 60GB harddrive in the laptop. I have bought a new 80GB harddrive that I want to use instead of the 60GB but I don't want to reinstall all my software/system.

    I have an external USB2 case in which I can place the new 80GB and therefore have it connected when I boot on the internal 60GB (which I want to have replaced).

    I also have a dedicated USB2 harddrive with lots of free space, if needed for the migration.

    Please note that as this is a laptop I cannot have both harddrives "installed" inside the computer at the same time. I can access the new 80GB disk when it's installed in the usb case perfectly (partition, format, access files etc) though.

    This what I had in mind, step by step:

    1. install the new 80GB drive in my external usb case, hook it into the laptop via USB and boot the laptop with its internal 60 GB disk.

    2. Run some kind of migration/clone program that will make the 80GB disk a perfect bootable clone of the internal 60GB disk. I would like the partition on the 80GB disk to become 80 GB (instead of 60GB).

    3. Remove the internal 60GB and replace it with the new cloned 80GB disk.
    I.e. install the new 80GB disk inside the laptop.

    4. Start my laptop with the new 80GB internally and have an identical system as it was before (with the exception that I have a new faster and larger disk).

    I do not have a diskdrive.

    I've tried using Ghost v9 and failed. It never boots with the new drive installed.

    Can I use Acronis Migrate Easy 7.0 or should I use True Image?
    Or something else?

    Or should I do it in some other way then what I suggested?

    I run XP SP2.

    In XP Disk Management, the 60GB disk seems to have 2 partitions. One that is 11 MB and has no unit letter and cannot be given any (at least not in the Disk Management). It's called DELL (yes I have a dell laptop). I have no idea what this is. I cannot access it and never have. The other partition has unit letter C:, and is my main partition where Windows and all my programs and data are installed/placed.
    Is this a problem!?
    I have installed XP on another disk and it had no problem booting etc. So it's not like the computer is dependent on this special partition, but perhaps my installation that I want to clone is!?!?

    Thanks!
     
  2. bobdat

    bobdat Registered Member

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    1) Buy TrueImage8, if you can find it (CompUSA, etc.), register with Acronis and download build 937 if you don't already have it.

    2) Create an Acronis Rescue CD from within build 937.

    3) Leave the original disk in place and use the USB enclosure to temporarily hold your new 80GB drive.

    4) Boot up from the Acronis CD and select the Clone feature. Clone from your old drive to your new one and shut down everything when complete.

    5) Remove the new 80GB drive from its temporary USB enclosure and install it in your laptop.

    6) Restart without having the original 60GB drive connected and you should be fine.

    Later, after you verify that your new 80GB drive is working okay you can restart and press F12 to boot to the Dell diagnostic partition (which is what you asked about) and run the diagnostics to check up on your hardware. It should work fine after cloning.

    Then, if everything is okay, put your old drive in the USB enclosure, connect it to your fully booted pc and immediately format it using the Prepare New Drive feature in TI8 which is on your new hard drive. Create a primary partition and use the external drive for storage, etc.

    I would not use TrueImage 9 for your tasks. It can't be trusted to do what you want it to do. It is almost completely unreliable and unpredictable.
     
  3. Strul

    Strul Registered Member

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    Hi Bobdat and thanks alot for your reply!

    I just wonder what Acronis thinks about _not_ using v9. Have they officially or unofficially confessed that v9 is not working (good enough) for cloning?

    Do you mean that the diagnostic partition also will be cloned when I select Clone Disk (it doesn't simply clone the system partition)?

    - - -

    BTW, I don't fully understand why I would have to boot on a rescue CD when cloning the internal disk. I mean if I would wanted to make a complete backup of the disk, then I wouldn't have had to boot on a rescue CD, right?
    Or isn't the backup as complete as a clone? I mean, can't I restore that backup to a new drive and have it fully bootable etc? If not, then what's the point? I'm just thinking out loud here, but I would like to see a function that would backup my disk 100% so that if my internal main/system drive crashes, I could just buy a new one and restore my back and I would be fully up and running in "no time". Perhaps I'm missing something!? ;-)


    Thanks!
     
  4. Chutsman

    Chutsman Registered Member

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    Those are two different scenarios you are talking about. The first one,cloning, as explained by Bobdat will let you start using your 80 gig with ALL the files and tweaks you had on the 60 gig. Don't let the word "rescue" mislead you. It is simply a bootable CD that has different features on it.

    Backup in True Image terms means making a compressed file of your laptop drive. The advantage here is that it will make a compressed file that you can store for future use - in case your laptop drive goes belly up suddenly. If you get a standard 3.5 inch external hard drive of suitable size, you can create several backups of your laptop drive and keep it on the external drive. Some people like to keep their backups on DVD media.

    Hope that clarifies it a bit.
     
  5. Strul

    Strul Registered Member

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    Well sort of. I thought the backup file was complete disk backup, which could be used to completely restore the disk from scratch (or to a new disk if the disk broke down). Isn't it so??

    If so,
    then I don't understand the technical differencies in making such a file from cloning a disk. I mean from the program's point of view in regards to getting read access to all system files. If the program has full access, then it should be able to clone as well. If it hasn't, then why doesn't the backup require a CD boot as well?

    If not,
    hmm what's the point? I mean, NT backup might not be the best program in the world but it can surely backup files, it's for free and it's been around since like forever. ;-)


    Thanks!
     
  6. bobdat

    bobdat Registered Member

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    When you clone your old drive you will clone the entire drive including the Dell diagnostic partition. A clone is supposed to be an exact copy of the original, right?

    You can always delete the Dell partition after you cloned to the new drive. Or, getting more complicated, you can create an image of the original drive, restore it to the new larger drive, delete the diagnostic partition and either create a new partition in the unused space or stretch the C partition to fill it.

    You have to decide in advance what you want to do and then plot out your course to get there using your available software to accomplish your goal.

    Creating the Acronis CD allows you to create and restore images and to clone from the Acronis Linux environment rather than from within Windows using the drive installed TI program. As an example, I use the TI drive program to create images and to check images but that's all. I use the Acronis CD to restore images and to clone. This is the most efficient and risk free way to restore images or clone in my experience.

    As for your overall strategy, I got the impression you first wanted to move from your 60GB drive to your larger 80GB drive (clone) and later, have a backup strategy such as creating an image of your new 80GB drive and storing it on your old 60GB external USB drive (or CD's) and have your Acronis CD ready in case of disaster so you could boot from the Acronis CD and restore the new image of the new 80GB drive.

    There are lots of ways to do what you want. This is the way I do mine.

    As for the complete undependability of TI9, just read the threads for the past month and form your own opinion as to whether you'd want to trust your data to this program. Scary at best. Someday it may be okay but I continue to use TI8 for everything.
     
  7. bobdat

    bobdat Registered Member

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    Try to grasp a few basic but not well explained concepts about TrueImage software:

    1) Cloning is not migrating files or creating a backup of a hard drive. It is the exact and complete duplication of your original hard drive to (usually) a new larger hard drive. Using the Clone function, you can automatically (or manually) proportionately upsize the existing (smaller) partitions to fill the new larger hard drive. That's very high efficiency from a time perspective.

    2) Creating/restoring images is more of a backup strategy. It has advantages and limitations compared to cloning depending upon what you want as an end result. You can easily create an image of your drive and restore it later either to that drive or to a replacement drive, as long as you selected to create an image of the entire disk and not just a partition(s). As long as you restore the image to a drive in the same or essentially similar hardware, restoring an image is reliable and efficient. There are simple ways to restore the image to dissimilar hardware as well, but I don't like that option.

    I like to think of cloning as moving to a new, larger drive and creating/restoring images as a backup strategy once I moved up.

    The Acronis CD is necessary to recover from an internal drive failure. If you have your image stored on an external drive or CD's, how are you going to boot your computer if the internal drive has failed? Yup, the Acronis Rescue CD.
     
  8. bobdat

    bobdat Registered Member

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    In your early post you mentioned trying to boot from your external USB drive. My many Dell's don't like to do that. Some older Dell's don't even have that capability in BIOS so I think it's always better to boot either from your internal hard drive or from the Acronis CD.

    Here's another way to clone, similar to what you first envisioned:

    Install the new hard drive in your laptop. Put the original internal drive in your external USB enclosure. Boot up from the Acronis CD and clone from your USB to your new blank internal drive. Eject the Acronis CD, shut down, disconnect the external USB drive, restart and run happily ever after.

    Later, wipe the old drive and use it for storage.
     
  9. tachyon42

    tachyon42 Registered Member

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    Another couple of comments on cloning vs imaging:

    Cloning produces a bit by bit copy from one disk to another. It's normally used to duplicate a disk.

    Imaging is essentially for backup and recovery purposes.
    Imaging creates an image file which is just like any other file to the OS.
    This file contains data from either the whole disk or selected whole partitions on a disk as well as user comments and other information relating to the image creation. TI9 has also introduced the ability to user select any folders/files so a subset of a partition can be stored in an image file.
    You can also create an image file with various degrees of compression.
    There are additional types of imaging 'incremental' and in TI9 'differential'.
    An image file can be stored on various media such as hard disk, CD, DVD.
    A partition from an image file can also be loaded in Windows as a virtual drive and explored (read only) just like any logical drive.
    An image file can also be used to restore any partition back to the state it was in when the image was created. Other partitions on the target disk are unaffected by this restoration.

    On a machine such as a DELL which has special Recovery and/or Diagnostic partitions it would be a good idea to create an image which contained all partitions. This should be a one time event since the special partitions don't change. Then on a regular basis just create an image of any other partitions for backup/recovery purposes.
     
  10. bobdat

    bobdat Registered Member

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    Just to clarify the Dell hard drive situation:

    1) If a Dell drive has a Diagnostic partition, doing something that causes the MBR to change does not usually "break" the function of being able to boot into the Diagnostic partition (F12 on startup).

    2) If the Dell drive has a Restore partition, any change to the original MBR will "break" the function of being able to restore to the factory configuration (CTL + F11 on boot up).

    Although it may be possible to repair the broken restore function by rebuilding the MBR to its original state, that is a time consuming and difficult process and doesn't work 100% of the time.

    Creating an image of anything other than the entire disk, or restoring anything other than the entire disk image will change the MBR and render the Restore partition useless. So will resizing a partition.

    In order to keep the Dell Restore partition alive, you can only create and restore images of the entire hard disk with an unmodified original partition structure and MBR. However, you can clone to a new disk and have the Restore partition still function even if the partitions expand to fill available space on a larger disk drive.
     
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