Does anyone know of a utility to create a BOOTABLE clone of a Windows system?

Discussion in 'Paragon Drive Backup Product Line' started by BlackScarletLove, Apr 19, 2015.

  1. BlackScarletLove

    BlackScarletLove Registered Member

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    I want to create a bootable clone of my windows drive. I want to reinstall my whole system then clone it, so the next time I do a clean reinstall I can just go from this clone instead of having to actually reinstall and reconfigure everything. However I do not know of a program that can clone my drive and be bootable. I have tried Acronis true image, I have tried driveimage xml, i have tried paragon and a couple others, but none of them have produced a cloned drive which is BOOTABLE. Boot fails every time, and certain programs like acronis don't even make a cloned drive, they make some proprietary backup file which needs to be decompressed, and therefore is fundamentally useless, since i can't access any of the data without having that original program to decompress it. I want a program that will create an exact copy of my windows drive, so that I, theoretically, can remove my original windows drive from the machine, and still be able to boot from this clone in a perfectly seamless and functional manner.

    Does anyone know of a software which can do this? Thanks!!
     
  2. roger_m

    roger_m Registered Member

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    I take it you want to clone a hard drive to another drive? I which case you can do it with EaseUS Disk Copy which is free.
     
  3. Robin A.

    Robin A. Registered Member

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    Images and copies are different things. For backup purposes, the best route is to create an image of the drive. When you restore it, it will normally boot without problems. Also, image programs have modules or procedures that allow you to extract a particular file from the image. One is to “mount” the image. In Paragon programs, there is also a File Transfer Wizard.

    Normally, you clone a drive as a migration procedure, to boot from the cloned drive right after the copy. Also, I think if you clone the drive, the copied drive won´t be an exact copy of the source, because Windows can´t “see” two such drives at the same time.
     
  4. MisterB

    MisterB Registered Member

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    Boot problems with cloned drives are common. It usually just takes a Windows rescue disk to fix it. Most times it is the cloned system partition not being set active or BCD problems. If all you get is a blinking cursor, it is an MBR problem or lack of active partition. If you get an error message, it is more than likely a BCD issue.
     
  5. BlackScarletLove

    BlackScarletLove Registered Member

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    is this windows rescue disk something I can access from the win 7 installation disk?
     
  6. BlackScarletLove

    BlackScarletLove Registered Member

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    My worry when using a drive image is that it is not actually useable unless I have that original program. so, for example, if I experience a drive error and my drive isn't bootable, having a drive image on some other drive doesn't do me any good if I can't access a program which will allow me to decompress that image. It seems to me to be fundamentally limited as I am dependent on proprietary software to make it work. in terms of windows seeing itself and another drive, i have heard that if a program can "hot image" a drive, it can clone a windows drive by taking a volume shadow copy of it so it is essentially looking at a reflection of itself, and not itself, so an identical clone is possible...?


    That being said, I would be fine with using a separate computer to clone the windows drive while it is not running. As long as when I am done it is bootable, and I can safely keep it tucked away for when i happen to need a bootable "fresh" copy of windows.
     
  7. MisterB

    MisterB Registered Member

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    Yes, a Windows 7 install disk will work too. The rescue disk can be made from the control panel under backup and imaging.
     
  8. wptski

    wptski Registered Member

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    I thought a "cloned" copy is just that, a bit by bit copy. It should be as it can take many hours depending on the HD size.
     
  9. Robin A.

    Robin A. Registered Member

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    Yes, for the user´s data is an exact copy. But in order that the cloned disk be bootable, some minor changes must be made in the boot information, the disk identification, etc. Not very important in practice. Also, I think a copy operation is not always done in a "bit by bit" or "sector by sector way". It can be done also in a "used sectors" way, as in the case of images.
     
  10. wptski

    wptski Registered Member

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    Only did that once on an old laptop, maybe on W95 using Acronis True Image at that time which had no problem booting up but times were simpler then.
     
  11. aigle

    aigle Registered Member

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  12. wptski

    wptski Registered Member

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  13. aigle

    aigle Registered Member

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    Ok, I misunderstood the post. There are many imaging programs that do clone but I never tried any one. Why not to just use simple imaging. I will recommend an image by Macrium Reflect. Even the free version will do the job.
     
  14. BlackScarletLove

    BlackScarletLove Registered Member

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    since it seems that acronis true image has a boot-from-cd option to allow me to restore a backup even upon boot failure, this makes me much less concerned about boot failure and having a useless proprietary backup file with no way to access it. so i have decided to use acronis. How does it make a backup of the C:\ partition while it is running?
     
  15. fireworker

    fireworker Registered Member

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  16. mickiem

    mickiem Registered Member

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    Don't know if the OP still has any interest in this or not -- just stopped by to post a quick ? & thought this *might* help if still interested.

    Basically a restored drive/partition image is good wherever you want to put it -- difference between a restored image & a clone is the data makes a detour to be written to disk as an archive.

    When it comes to partitions with Windows installed, you can easily have 2 or more of what start as identical partitions -- as soon as Windows is fired up of course that partition is no longer identical. To get Windows boot menu squared away most times you can use EasyBCD, though sometimes you'll have to also use the cli BCDEdit, as EasyBCD in my experience can default to std. bios & sometimes you need UEFI.

    One problem with multiple identical partitions is software DRM -- besides Windows maybe needing reactivation, sometimes software can & will detect the difference & lock you out. And by rights you should have a license for each copy of Windows installed, so 2 identical partitions, 2 licenses.

    That said, the only advantage that I can see to having the same partition cloned would be to save however long it took to restore a partition image backup. It's not done too often because that advantage is pretty small, & outweighed by the negatives, like having 2 licenses.

    An example of when/where it can work is when upgrading to a new OS version when you want to keep the old one. You can add a fresh copy of Windows, then add all your software, or you can upgrade, have most everything still there, backup, restore a backup of the original OS, then restore the backup of the new one to a separate partition, fix the boot menu, test, & activate.
     
  17. roger_m

    roger_m Registered Member

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    @mickiem I'm pretty sure that the OP wants the hard drive cloned to another drive, not a new partition on the same drive.
     
  18. mickiem

    mickiem Registered Member

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    Sorry -- tried to be as brief as I could not knowing if posting that was a waste of time or not.

    Generally doesn't matter in a case like this where a partition is, whether it's on the same or a different drive.

    The bios [in the old std or newer UEFI modes] looks at one storage device 1st, & if it doesn't see a compatible boot loader it'll move on to the next device in the list you set in the bios. Additionally many bios let you select the 1st boot device via a menu that's displayed when you press a hot key during boot, or rather post. Once the boot loader's running it will either start an OS, or give you a menu of which OS you want to start.

    So you can control which storage device boots via the bios, &/or you can control which OS on that or a different storage device boots via the boot menu. The main constraint is that the bios will only see one boot loader per device or drive.

    An example that I believe is somewhat common is adding a SSD for your main copy of Windows. The prior hard drive can remain in place, along with the boot files & the original copy of Windows -- just have to edit the boot menu to add & show the copy of Windows you cloned to your new SSD. And should [Heaven Forbid] your new SSD take a nose dive [as can happen sometimes], just have to select the old copy from the boot menu [re-adding it to the boot menu if you removed it] & everything is as it was.

    That said, where it can sometimes get sticky is UEFI vs. std. bios modes. You can have an older bios that only uses std. mode, or you can have a UEFI bios that only uses UEFI, or you can have a UEFI bios that uses both plus has compatibility measures built in. Adding an OS [e.g. Windows] to an existing, working boot menu you need to make your new entry or choice match what the boot loader already uses successfully. When adding a boot loader to another device, from win8-10 you can add both std. & UEFI methods at the same time, so *hopefully* you'll be covered -- it depends on the make/model of your PC/laptop/tablet & the compatibility stuff built into its bios.
     
  19. Robin A.

    Robin A. Registered Member

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    I find this confusing. As I see it, you can have either a UEFI system or a BIOS system. The term "UEFI BIOS" is a misnomer, although it´s frequently used. Now, a UEFI system can operate in legacy mode to be compatible with older BIOS, but it´s still a UEFI system. You can´t have both UEFI and BIOS in the same computer.
     
  20. Mister X

    Mister X Registered Member

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    Yes. Exactly well said.
    Wrongly, many people use the misnomer "UEFI BIOS", guess it's kind of hard to separate both technologies in their minds. :p
     
  21. mickiem

    mickiem Registered Member

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    Maybe this will help?...

    When Robin says that you can have either UEFI or Bios, that's both right & wrong -- the statement simply doesn't go far enough. 1) the bios either runs a UEFI OS or it does not, so to say a bios is either UEFI or not is correct. 2) if the bios is booting the OS in either UEFI or std. mode, you can say whether it's using UEFI or not. 3) the bios exists -- UEFI as something you can hold in your hand does not exist, but is more a description or std. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unified_Extensible_Firmware_Interface "UEFI is meant to replace the Basic Input/Output System (BIOS) firmware interface," It doesn't replace the bios itself but rather the code that was/is flashed to the Bios memory.

    You still have a Bios chip on board handling the same basic functions as the bios on a 286 decades ago. Here's another link http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-8/what-uefi That 2nd link says: "Capability to use BIOS with UEFI hardware.". "UEFI Bios" Is Not a misnomer, nor incorrect -- it's a description.

    At any rate, the bios still does the same basic stuff bios have always done -- UEFI adds capabilities & security wrinkles... Like routers nowadays, it runs an OS, & an OS can be hacked, plus you have Secure Boot implementations to contend with. The reason for the 2 paragraphs above is to try & get folks on the same page, so the next part makes sense -- [don't take my word for it BTW, but please research for yourself].

    Since Microsoft started focusing on UEFI with win7 it's caused more than a few hiccups trying to get drives & storage devices to boot. Most of the time the bios coding includes compatibility features, & those could [sometimes still can] be triggered unexpectedly. Whether the drive is GPT or MBR can trigger it, which when 7 was new, caused all sorts of fun when the install DVD put bios into a std mode that only worked with MBR. Depending on the particular bios you might be able to make some compatibility related settings, &/or turn Secure Boot on/off -- the 2nd can be helpful with boot discs/USB sticks.

    Where it relates to editing the BCD boot menu, is if the current working OS is listed/started as UEFI, you want new entries to also be listed as UEFI -- you want/need whatever you add to match what's there & working. If you're adding the BCD boot loader to another device or drive, you can add both std. & UEFI boot code, or you can add one or the other -- most of the stuff from Microsoft has both. It is possible for the bios to try & load the wrong one, it is possible for the bios to trigger std. or UEFI mode depending on if the drive or device is MBR or GPT, it's possible for the bios to not recognize GPT on a removable drive, it's possible for UEFI bios to not work with an external UEFI bootable drive or device etc... This next link might give a glimpse. https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/hardware/dn898495(v=vs.85).aspx
     
  22. ronald739

    ronald739 Registered Member

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