Help please on Cloning and or Imaging

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by Speed7, Jun 5, 2008.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Speed7

    Speed7 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2008
    Posts:
    2
    I recently crashed a hd and had to start from scratch to get computer back up. Don't want to do that again! I have installed a new primary drive with windows xp home as the operating system. All is well. I then installed a 2nd hard drive as a slave. I also have a usb external drive with back up files on it.
    What I want to do is: Clone or image my primary drive to the slave drive, so that if my primary drive crashes, I can put my slave drive in its place. Please tell me the easiest way to do this. I do not want to start from scratch again!
    Thanks, Speed
     
  2. jmk94903

    jmk94903 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2004
    Posts:
    3,329
    Location:
    San Rafael, CA
    What I think you should do is make images of your master drive and store them on either or both the slave drive and the external USB drive. You can make images regularly and store quite a few for various points in time. This is far better protection than a cloned drive which is an exact copy of the original, but cannot be updated without cloning again.

    Cloning is for replacing a drive at that time. Imaging is for backing up for protection against viruses, spyware, bad software installations, operator error, just plain weird things that cannot be explained as well as failure of the drive requiring replacement.

    I always make a new image of my master drive before installing any new hardware or software. If the installation goes badly, or if I decide that I made some wrong choices during the installation or that I just don't like the new product, I restore the image I just made and am back where I was at the start. Cloning doesn't offer that sort of service easily, so stick with making backup images.

    OK, I also make only full backups, but you my find it useful to make incremental backups if you want to backup on a daily or weekly basis. Cloning that frequently would be tedious and impractical.

    You should test your backups by restoring an image. Since you have a second hard drive, you can test restoring an image stored on the USB drive to that second hard drive. Do this with your first drive disconnected. Windows does not like to see two identical drives and will make one unbootable. After you have proven that the restore works and the second drive boots the system, you can disconnect it and reattach your master drive. After booting from it once, you can then reconnect the slave drive and reformat it.

    I hope this is useful.
     
  3. Speed7

    Speed7 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2008
    Posts:
    2
    Thanks ,John
    Ron
     
  4. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2004
    Posts:
    25,885
    Hello Speed7,

    Thank you for choosing Acronis Disk Backup Software.

    We are sorry for delayed response.

    Please be aware that there are two approaches available:

    Clone Disk - migrates/copies the entire contents of one disk drive to another;

    Backup - creates a special archive file for backup and disaster recovery purposes;

    Please take a look at this FAQ article explaining the difference between Clone Disk and Backup approaches in more detail.

    Actually, Clone Disk approach is usually used to upgrade the hard drive (e.g. install a larger disk), while Backup approach is basically dedicated for the complete data backup and disaster recovery purposes. Since you are interested in backing up your hard drive for the disaster recovery purposes, we would recommend you to follow Backup approach.

    Moreover, there are several advantages of creating an image over the disk cloning procedure such as: you can create an image without rebooting your PC, image creation can be scheduled for the particular point in time, Acronis True Image allows you to create incremental and differential images, image archive contains only the actual data and so it has a smaller size, images are ordinary files and so they can be stored on any type of the supported media, etc. However, the final choice is always up to your needs.

    You can find more information on how to use Acronis True Image 11 Home in the respective User's Guide.

    Thank you.
    --
    Marat Setdikov
     
  5. David40

    David40 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2005
    Posts:
    18
    I've been using the Cloning method for backups because I like the idea of being able to just swap the drives and continue on like nothing ever happened. But I have a problem now because I'm using a RAID 0 striped array so even though the drives are all the same size the array works out to twice the storage space and True Image will not let me Clone what it sees as a larger disk to a smaller one. This Image method could be the solution for me but I want to be sure it will restore my system completely, without a big hassle. My main concern is the operating system and software because that could take weeks to re-setup. I'm not concerned about the data because that I can backup and restore easily.
    So let me see if I understand this correctly. If I make an Image or if I Clone, the end result is the same ie., I have a completely restored system, data, software, and OS? The difference being, in the case of a drive failure, is that with the Image method I would have the additional step of having to format the new drive, but with the Clone method all I need do is swap them out? I'm not clear about how I would restore from the backup after reformatting. Wouldn't I need to reinstall Windows and True Image in order to do the restore from the Image drive or can that be done with a bootable rescue disk? Now I'm not sure about where the drivers for the RAID array come into play. I don't know if that's added to the motherboard BIOS or is written to the hard drive and accessed during boot up. So if ithe Image can be done from a rescue disk will it see the Raid array? o_O
    Thanks,
    David40
     
  6. jmk94903

    jmk94903 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2004
    Posts:
    3,329
    Location:
    San Rafael, CA
    With RAID 0, the two disks appear as one large one to Windows, so TI can't treat it as half the size.
    I wouldn't express it exactly that way. When you have restored the backup image, your drive will be exactly the way it was when the image was made. In that regard, it's like a clone that was made on the same day as the image.
    Actually, you don't need to partition and format a new, replacement drive. TI will do that when you restore the image. If the new drives are larger than the original RAID 0 drives, you can adjust the size of the partition(s) at the time you do the restore.
    No, you just restore the image and that restores Windows, programs, drivers, data, etc. You can start a restore from within Windows if the RAID drives are still working, but it reboots into the same Linux environment of the TI Rescue CD to restore the boot partition.
    And that's the $64 question. The way to find out is to create a TI Rescue CD and boot your computer with it. If you can see all the drives properly, then the CD has the needed drivers.

    The next step is to validate a backup image stored on your external drive (while booted from the Rescue CD) to confirm that the backup can be read accurately from that drive.

    The only step that will guarantee a successful restore is to do one, but you probably don't want to go that far. A successful validation from the Rescue CD is pretty good proof that the restore will work when needed.
     
  7. David40

    David40 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2005
    Posts:
    18
    Thanks for the info. When I find the time, I'll experiment with that and update this thread with the results.:)
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.