Cloning a ThinkPad drive

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by wsussky, Jun 9, 2009.

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  1. wsussky

    wsussky Registered Member

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    I have a new Lenovo ThinkPad T500 with XPPro and a docking station with an identical hard drive. Periodically, I want to clone the hard drive -- an EXACT copy -- so that, if the laptop's hard drive crashes, I can just swap in the cloned drive and be up and running. I understand ThinkPad's have "magic" stuff that isn't copied by some cloning applications.

    My question: Will Acronis True Image clone THE ENTIRE DRIVE, sector by sector, including any software unique to ThinkPad so that I can swap out the laptop drive? And can I run this from within Windows XPPro?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. snifferpro

    snifferpro Registered Member

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    My preference would be to do a full backup and then a full restore.

    To do this you will need either another internal hard drive or an external hard drive to backup to.

    Once you have a full backup, you should use the Rescue CD to restore to the drive you want.

    Then immediately boot from the new drive to see if it is bootable and contains all Thinkpad specific data.
     
  3. wsussky

    wsussky Registered Member

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    Thanks for the feedback.

    I do have a second internal drive -- in the docking station. I want to clone the laptop's internal drive to the dock's. Then, in a catastrophe, I can just move the dock's to the laptop's (which is actually very easy on the ThinkPad), and this will work regardless of the condition of the laptop's drive.

    I've been trying Lenovo's proprietary backup application which does something like what you describe but "appears" to work only part of the time and does not create a *cloned* drive.

    So I'd still like to know if TI will do what I want.
     
  4. GroverH

    GroverH Registered Member

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    Clone or Restore using Resize comparison
    https://www.wilderssecurity.com/showpost.php?p=1299861&postcount=9

    Most likely your Thinkpad has a 240 head geometry (do a search) that will require you perform what is referenced as a reverse clone.

    1. Put the source in the docking station.
    2. Put the new blank drive in its intended boot position
    3. Boot from the TI Rescue CD and perform clone.
    4. Shutdown and disconnect docking unit.
    5. Reboot with only the new drive attached.

    I prefer using the Restore Image method as opposed to cloning. Note my link above.

    Also note post #16 and #18 on link below.
    https://www.wilderssecurity.com/showthread.php?t=244056
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2009
  5. jonyjoe81

    jonyjoe81 Registered Member

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  6. wsussky

    wsussky Registered Member

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    It appears I had some serious misconceptions about this. First, I was ignorant of two critical issues:

    A. The original disk can be corrupted during the cloning process, and

    B. You can not simply “clone” a disk as I was planning to and insert it into a ThinkPad and boot it up, because it would not be IDENTICAL to the original as I thought.

    (I would appreciate someone confirming these for me.)

    As I understand it now, the better procedure is to use THREE disks: [1] the laptop original, [2] another in the dock with a TI IMAGE copy of the original, and [3] a third in reserve in case of a catastrophe with the first. Then the recovery process becomes:

    1. Replace the crashed laptop disk [1] with the one held in reserve [3].
    2. Boot the laptop from the recovery CD/DVD(s).
    3. “Restore” the reserve disk now in the laptop [3] to bootable, recovering the SYSTEM AND APPLICATIONS from the disk in the dock [2].
    4. Recover the latest copies of various data files from off-system backups I make frequently.

    This scenario appears to be what the ThinkPad’s proprietary backup application supports, but it’s been crashing periodically as I try to use it, and it does NOT seem to make an image of the whole disk including applications – only the “system” (the space used on disk [2] is only 13GB).

    Finally, would it be plausible to go through this four-step process NOW (well, when I have the third disk)? Then, in a future crisis, I can just go directly to Step #3 to restore the current image and #4 for the latest data.

    THANK YOU to everyone, especially GroverH and jonyjoe81 and the links.

    Could someone please confirm that I finally have this right? (I hope all this detail here helps anyone else trying the same thing.)
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2009
  7. GroverH

    GroverH Registered Member

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    If you follow the instructions in post #4, the clone should boot and should contain all the same data as the old disk.
    1. Put the source in the docking station.
    2. Put the new blank drive in its intended boot position
    3. Boot from the TI Rescue CD and perform clone.
    4. Shutdown and disconnect docking unit.
    5. Reboot with only the new drive attached.​
    You can also achieve an identical(?) duplication via by restoring a disk option backup. Remember, a disk option backup is one which includes all partitions (everything) on the system disk. This will be close enough to identical that it will boot and will contain all your files. Normally, a disk option restore is to a replacement disk of the same size. If a different size is used, then the restore must be in two parts. First restore is to restore all single partitions and the second restore is to restore both the Track 0 and the Disk signature.
    I do not see how this possible. Why not look into using the Xpilot procedures as listed below.

    Xpilot backup procedure
    An improved method to backup a PC by Xpilot
    https://www.wilderssecurity.com/showthread.php?t=136754

    Post #7
    https://www.wilderssecurity.com/showpost.php?p=1414684&postcount=7

    Post #221
    https://www.wilderssecurity.com/showpost.php?p=1272558&postcount=221

    As for size of backup file, multiply all your used space on the system disk "X" 65% as a good approximation.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2009
  8. wsussky

    wsussky Registered Member

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    Yes, I see (now) that the key is “cloning” TO the laptop. My original plan would not create an “identical” disk because I planned to clone to the disk on the docking station.

    My remark about “system and applications” came from my not being sure that the ThinkPad Rescue and Recovery Backup includes the many applications on the source disk. I may still be missing something, because you seem to say that “recovering the system and applications from the disk in the dock” isn’t “possible” – and yet that seems (to me) to be exactly what Xpilot proposes in Post #7. In fact, I think Post #7 is exactly what I tried to describe after “Finally” in my last message.

    So, while my confidence in what I know about all this remains shaky, I think I’m okay with moving forward. Perhaps I need to “just do it”. I’ll get a third disk of the same manufacturer and model as the one in the laptop and follow Xpilot’s protocol in Post #7.

    Thank you, GroverH (and Xpilot) for your help.
     
  9. GroverH

    GroverH Registered Member

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    My point about “system and applications” was that you could not limit the restore to those items. If you want it bootable, a restore would include everything on the partition being restored. An alternate restore of files and folders is not bootable.
     
  10. wsussky

    wsussky Registered Member

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    I am making serious progress, but I'm not there yet.

    I downloaded and used Acronis TI to make an image backup of the laptop HDD to the dock HDD. I obtained another HDD, swapped it into the laptop, and used the Acronis Rescue Disk to restore the (new) laptop HDD from the image backup on the dock. All of this was wonderfully transparent and fast! Acronis is much better than the Rescue and Recovery software that came on the ThinkPad. Thanks again to GroverH and Xpilot.

    HOWEVER, there are several gaps on the "new" (restored) disk. It appears all of XPPro and the applications are intact and fully functional, but several drives (notably the ATI video) and several ThinkPad proprietary applets or other parts of the "factory installation" are missing or not functioning.

    *Should I use the ThinkPad Recovery Media I created when the laptop arrived two weeks ago to "restore" the disk before doing the Acronis restore?

    In other words:

    1. Install new disk in laptop
    2. Restore using ThinkPad RnR disks
    3. Install Acronis TI on laptop
    4. Restore from docking-station disk with Acronis.

    ...the theory being Step #2 will return the laptop to "factory status" and then Acronis will bring it current. I think answering this will require some specific familiarity with ThinkPad configurations.
     
  11. GroverH

    GroverH Registered Member

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    A restore of a TrueImage backup will overwrite everything on the partition and undo any Thinkpad restore you are contemplating. A TI restore cannot be used to supplement any existing data on the disk. It's either one or the other.

    This thread has covered a lot of options. Can you clarify what you type of restore you performed? Note particularly my post #7.
    Did you perform a disk option restore (disk option checked) or did you perform a System only partition restore?
    If you performed a system partition only restore, did you make the 2nd pass and restore the MBR & disk signature ID?

    If your programs were workable prior to doing the disk option backup, they should be workable after doing a disk option restore.
     
  12. wsussky

    wsussky Registered Member

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    Sorry. I wasn't sure into how much detail to go. I pretty much just did a default.
    1. Manage and restore
    2. F:\MyBackup.tip (only one)
    3. Clicked Restore
    4. Restore whole disks and partitions
    5. Checked Disk 1: NTFS C:; MBR and Track 0; FAT32 (SERVICEV001)
    6. Disk 1 (as Destination)
    7. I do not remember whether I checked Restore disk signature. I think I did.

    Again, the restore to build the new disk from scratch basically worked well! I was very impressed with TI. The new/restored disk booted without any problems.

    There are dozens of applications on this drive; I checked several but not all, and all the ones I checked worked fine. BUT I was surprised that the ATI video driver and some others were apparently not restored, and some of the ThinkPad configuration (Presentation Manager, Power Manager, etc.) did not have current settings.

    Again, this is WAY better than Lenovo Rescue and Recovery, and perhaps the speed and efficiency of the restore offsets the grunt work necessary to reconfigure after restoring. I was just surprised and wondered if there was something I did not understand (likely).

    Thanks for the quick feedback. I've learned a lot (though surely not as much as I think!)
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2009
  13. GroverH

    GroverH Registered Member

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    Your problems should not be occurring on a disk option backup being restored via a disk option restore to the same size disk. At this point, my only suggestion would have you consider performing another disk option restore and make sure that you check the disk signature checkpoint. This option is located on the next screen after you checkmark the disk option as the restore method. If when you get to the proceed screen and you have not check the disk signature option, then click the Cancel button and start over again until you find it. Some of your messed up info may be coming from the recovery partition or from the use of file exclusion.

    A disk option backup/restore should put this partition back in the same place and at the same size. The disk signature is being used by more programs to positively identify their programs. Whether it will help you or not, I do not know. If the second restore comes out the same as the first, then something else must be wrong in the backup creation. The file exclusion can cause some of the grief you are experiencing by not including all files within the backup. Do you recall invoking that option? You might want to simulate a backup and look again at some of the exclusion options. You can click the cancel button if you do not want to perform an actual backup.
     
  14. wsussky

    wsussky Registered Member

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    I'm pretty sure I checked Restore disk signature but unsure enough that I will definitely retry the restore. I AM certain I did not exclude anything.

    I'll report the results, because if this works seamlessly, it will be an excellent resolution (though not what I envisioned in the beginning) and a benefit to anyone in my situation. Thanks for your help!
     
  15. GroverH

    GroverH Registered Member

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    You could open Windows Disk Management and look at both drives. They both should match in appearance and size since both are the same size. When creating a backup, look carefully at the exclusions. Some may be checked without you doing anything. What build of True Image are you using?
     
  16. wsussky

    wsussky Registered Member

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    I did and they were or appeared to be, though I did not compare folder-by-folder and file-by-file.

    I will perform the restore WITH Restore disk signature later and report the results.

    BTW, I am confused about "adding to existing archives" and "incremental" backups. I would like to have ONE image of the two partitions ("C:" and the hidden one) and yet perform the backup "incrementally" to save the lengthy copying of files already in the image and unchanged since. Can you tell me which options to check for what I want? Does what I want reveal my ignorance (again)? Do you have a different suggestion?
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2009
  17. GroverH

    GroverH Registered Member

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    Another option might be to wait and download/install the new upcoming build for TI 2009--due within the next few days.

    You could then re-attach your old drive back into its original boot position and
    1. Perform a new disk option backup which would include all partitions on your hard drive (everything). This backup would be created using the new build of 2009.
    2. Remove the original and attach the new drive in its intended boot position.
    3. Boot from the newly created new build Rescue CD
    4. Perform a disk option restore (plus check the Disk signature) to the destination drive
    5. Shutdown and disconnect docking unit before bootup.
    6. Reboot with only the new drive attached.

    As I have stated before for your XP Pro system, a disk option restore of a disk option backup should produce a new disk which would contain the same partitions and data as the old disk (basically a duplicate).

    What build of True Image do you have installed on your computer and does your Rescue CD contain the same build?

    If you do update to a newer build, I would suggest you make a new backup of your current system(before update) so you could restore that backup if the new build should not properly work on your system.

    No time now. Maybe later.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2009
  18. wsussky

    wsussky Registered Member

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    IT WORKED! Actually, it worked several days ago, but I didn't realize it... because there's something unique about the ThinkPad Advanced Docking Station!

    Once again, rebooting after the restore "found" new hardware and reinstalling the ATI video drivers failed. Since I'd begun to suspect something about the dock connection, I undocked the laptop, and -- TA-DUH! -- everything, and I mean everything, came up fine. I redocked, and everything's running perfectly.

    It appears the docked laptop does not properly recognize the ATI video after the restore while still docked.

    Here's the key for ThinkPad users restoring from a disk on the Advanced Dock: Immediately after restoring, shut down, undock, and boot the laptop undocked and shut down again. Then, when you redock, you shouldn't have any problems.

    Thanks one last time to GroverH and Xpilot; you were spot on. I'm outta here (a happy camper and Acronis devotee),
     
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