Disk clone questions

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by giomach, Mar 19, 2009.

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  1. giomach

    giomach Registered Member

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    I'm still only a prospective user of ATI, but I would like to know a few things about the Disk Clone tool.

    Does it copy sector-by-sector or file-by-file or is there a choice between the two?

    If sector-by-sector, then two further questions:
    1. Does it exclude from the copy disk space which is not allocated to files?
    2. If it includes unallocated space in the copy, will the copy fail if the target disk's total size is even a few bytes smaller than the source disk's total size, even if the source disk is mostly empty?

    If file-by-file, one further question:
    does ATI have some way to overcome the problem (under Vista, at least) when you try to copy a bunch of system files using Windows' own file-copying methods: many of the files are being written by Windows and cannot be copied.

    Thanks for any info.
     
  2. jmk94903

    jmk94903 Registered Member

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    A clone is a full copy of a drive to another drive. You can only clone whole drives, not individual partitions. The target drive needs to be large enough for all the used space on the source drive plus a fair amount of free space. In most cases, you can clone a drive to a smaller drive.

    Cloning is not file-by-file. It is a sector copy of the used sectors to the new drive. There is no problem with operating system files that are in use.

    Why do you want to clone to a smaller drive? Usually, people clone to replace a small drive with a larger one or a failing drive with a good one.

    The alternative to cloning is to make a backup image. That image can be restored to any hard drive with enough space for the used space on the original drive plus some free space. A backup image can be restored to a brand new drive or a used drive with no preparation.
     
  3. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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    Hello giomach,

    Thank you for your interesting in Acronis True Image

    I would recommend you cloning the drive under Acronis bootable disc, not from Windows itself. Acronis bootable disc is independent from any software installed on your system and will help you avoid any possible issues with system transfer on new drive.

    You can create Acronis bootable disc by means of the program Tools -> Media Builder. See user guide for more information.

    Best regards,
    --
    Dmitry Nikolaev
     
  4. giomach

    giomach Registered Member

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    Thanks for all replies.

    My aim is to maintain an up-to-date copy of my system drive, as an insurance against failure of the system drive. If the system drive fails, I want to be able to boot up right away from the copy. My two drives will have the same nominal size, but we regularly find more than a few bytes' difference between drives of the same nominal size. If my target happens to be a mite smaller than my source, and if the copying program copies everything including unused areas, there could be trouble. I know of one program which copies EVERY sector of the source and just stops copying when it has filled the target drive, but from what you have said ATI Disk Clone is OK.

    I'm including ATI Disk Clone in a survey of programs which could possibly help me in the above aim. I prefer a clone to an image, because you can bootup directly from it. I figure I don't need images because I only need to keep one security copy of the system disk, I don't need it compressed, I want incremental updating of it. Also I can use a clone to restore individual files if the need arises, directly from Windows.

    I like programs which clone on the *file-by-file* level, like XXCOPY and XXCLONE, because (eg) the copy is automatically defragmented. But they seem to have problems, especially under Vista; in particular, many system files do not get copied because Vista has them open for writing and won't share them. That is why I am now having to consider sector-by-sector cloning programs.

    May I further ask about ATI Disk Clone:
    • Does it verify the clone?
    • Does it support incremental updating of the clone?
    • Is the clone readable by the Windows file system (eg. to restore a file)?
    • Can you boot from the clone?
    Notice how obvious the answers are for file-level cloning ;)
     
  5. jonyjoe81

    jonyjoe81 Registered Member

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    1. you don't need to verify a clone, it either works or it doesn't. The only way to verify it is to install the clone and boot up with it.
    2. You can not do incremental's on a clone. You can only do incrementals on full image backups.
    3. If you put your clone on an external drive, windows will be able to read the files in it, just like any data hard drive. (just don't boot up your computer with the source and clone drive installed at the same time). It can cause problems if you try to bootup with 2 identical boot drives.
    4. A clone is an exact copy of your original source windows drive. If the original source drive was bootable your clone will also be bootable.

    Finally for vista, make sure you have the vista installation dvd available (in case you need to do repairs on the clone) and if you will be cloning laptops, use the "reverse clone" method.
     
  6. Tatou

    Tatou Registered Member

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  7. GroverH

    GroverH Registered Member

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  8. giomach

    giomach Registered Member

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    Thanks to everyone who took the trouble to reply. Your help is appreciated.
     
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