Is it okay to clone to a smaller HD?

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by RknRusty, Mar 12, 2009.

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  1. RknRusty

    RknRusty Registered Member

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    I originally planned to schedule data backups to my DVD+RW, but after the backup job successfully completes, they will not verify. I have read that this is not uncommon, so I'll just settle for the 2 step backup with zip files. But, since I can't do that automatically, I figured I should make a clone automatically, once a week or so.

    Until I get a new larger external drive, I want to make a clone of my drive onto my old internal 160gb HD. My main drive is a 320gb drive with 2 partitions (one is a small backup partition from the manufacturer, eMachines), but it only has about 70 gb on it. Would that be a problem going in either direction?

    Thanks,
    Rusty
     
  2. Rykks

    Rykks Registered Member

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    Going to a smaller drive works pretty well. At least with Windows single partition. Let Acro autoresize the partitions you have. Shouldn't be a problam as long as none is too close to full.

    Going from smaller to larger is a little different. You need to do the partitions one at a time rather than just selecting the whole drive and all its partitions. On the second partition, you need to drag the partition size all the way out to the right so that you don't end up with a bunch of unallocated space and effectively turn your big drive into a smaller one.

    I might add, too, that I've found I have less trouble if I first make a Full Backup and then do a "Restore" of that onto the new drive. But mostly cloning is just a headache with Linux drive images and Windows/NTFS should be ok.

    Why not just use the extra drive to store a Full Backup? Thats what I do. I have a separate drive on my rig and make a new full backup of my working drive periodically and then delete the earlier backup. I then Restore to a couple of sets of drives every now and then and store them (I have a 2-disk RAID 0 setup) just in case something catastrophic ever happens.

    Rick
     
  3. dwalby

    dwalby Registered Member

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    Depending on your terminology the answer will vary. I'm not sure if you really meant to say backup, or really intend on using the clone operation.

    A 'clone' is a literal sector-by-sector copy from one disk to another, including all unused sectors, so the bigger partitions will not fit onto the smaller disk.

    Restoring a backup image file to another disk only requires enough free space on the target partition to fit the used data requirement of the source partition. There is one caveat to that statement as well, if the files are scattered over the full address space of the larger source partition, the restore may not be successful on a smaller target partition. Defragging the source partition will help keep the files packed tighter together. If you want to restore a 320GB partition to the 160GB drive, this strategy would apply.

    If all you want to do is backup your 320GB partitions to your 160GB drive, for the purpose of restoring them back to the 320GB drive if necessary, then a different set of conditions apply. The compressed files will typically be about half the size of the used data on the partition, unless you have JPGs and other compressed files on the source partition. So based on that metric you should be able to figure out how many separate backups you can fit on the 160GB drive. Restoring them back to the 320GB drive is simple.

     
  4. RknRusty

    RknRusty Registered Member

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    Okay, that's what I was hoping to hear. One partition on my system drive is the 3gb manufacturer's restore files, [d:], the other is 70gb of operating system and data, [C:]. Maybe I can just skip cloning that old [D:] restore partition (if it gives me that option). I don't really need it since I have Acronis now anyway.

    Tell me if I'm reading you right; As long as my drive is neat and defragged, cloning to the smaller drive will automatically shrink the partition to fit. I will end up with an exact copy, indistinguishable from the main system drive. If I wanted to check it, I could boot it and it would look the same. Are we on the same page so far?

    That makes sense, if you're saying to drag out the target drive as wide as it will go, then it will be ready to recieve the clone I'm sending up from the small drive. Have I got that right so far?


    I'm running XP, so I don't need to worry about that, right?

    Are you talking about starting here?
    backup wizard.jpg

    If I understand what you're saying, I would really rather have a clone, so I can occasionally drag and drop a few files when I don't really need to run a backup job.

    In my writing above can you tell if I'm using the correct terminology?

    That makes sense, I remember reading about needing to defrag in the help files.

    Yes, I've got that much figured out.

    Sorry about all of these questions, it's just that right now there is a good working copy of my main drive on the small drive, and I don't want to hose it. Otherwise, I would do what I prefer anyway; that would be to dive in and just do it.

    Thanks for the replies. If y'all think I'm hoplessly off base, just tell me and I'll go ahead and figure it out by trial and error. If I totally hose it while trying, then making a plain old data backup isn't a problem for me. I don't even need Acronis just to drag and drop 70gigs of files.
     
  5. GroverH

    GroverH Registered Member

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

    Acronis cloning can only be done at disk level. It cannot clone a single partitions when multiple partitioons exist. If cloning, you will need to choose the manual cloning option so as to keep the recovery partition the same size.

    If looks as if imaging would be a better solution. Once you have created a backup image, you can either mount or choose the explore option which will enable you to drag files from the backup without restoring the full backup.

    If moving to a smaller disk, one option would be a full disk option backup of all your partitions (including the recovery or hidden) and then restore the entire backup onto a smaller disk--choosing the restore with resize as illustrated in my guides listed on line 3 of my signature below. Resizing needed to keep the recovery partition its original size.
     
  6. RknRusty

    RknRusty Registered Member

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    Thanks Grover, I'll study up on it. Now that I've been tinkering with TI, I need to go back and re-read everything, plus your links too. That's better than burning up the forums with foolish questions.

    I'm pretty safe now anyway, because I've made some data backups of my critical files and stored it on DVDs. I have it in both zip and tib files, plus made my rescue media.

    Thanks,
    Rusty
     
  7. RknRusty

    RknRusty Registered Member

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    Thanks to those of you who suggested creating a backup image. I now have a full "My Computer" backup of my main partition stored on the old smaller drive, which is now unplugged and out of the loop until I decide it's time to do it again. It's set as an unscheduled task, so I can run it next time and I believe it will give me a differential backup as I selected.

    That is what I needed; I just didn't know it.
    Thanks,
    Rusty
     
  8. dwalby

    dwalby Registered Member

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    Yep, that's what you needed, it just took a few posts to get the terminology and process straightened out. Here's a few more suggestions for how to better manage things now that you understand the workflow.

    1. make sure you can restore the image file you have on your smaller disk, if you can't restore it then its not worth anything. To do that, insert the boot disk (the install disk if you bought the boxed version). If you downloaded Acronis then you can make your own boot disk from the pulldown menu. After booting from the disk follow the prompts until you reach the last window that will have a 'proceed' button, then hit CANCEL instead of proceed. This will also get you familiar with the restore process steps as well.

    2. Unless you have a lot of applications installed 70GB sounds like a large system partition. Consider moving all but your program installations to another partition. This will make the .tib file for your system backup much smaller, reducing the backup time and allowing you to save more backup versions on your smaller drive. The real value of Acronis is the ability to restore your system partition, and as you said before you can simply copy data files to another drive with your OS copy command (I think it actually works faster than Acronis in that mode anyway).

    3. Based on what I read on this forum you can't always count on the differential backups being significantly smaller than full backups. And you then run the risk of having problems later doing a restore if the main image is somehow corrupted when you try to restore it. Full backups are the most reliable, if one is somehow corrupt then you should have at least one good one to fall back on if you have to restore.

    4. I've found that because its so easy to restore my system drive I do it more often than I originally expected. I've never had a drive fail, but some s/w installations produce weird results, so rather than try to figure out what happened I just roll back to the pre-installation state. The whole process takes about 15 minutes, so its faster than trying to figure out what went wrong.
     
  9. RknRusty

    RknRusty Registered Member

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    1. Good idea. I was less than 100% trusting that the successful validation was the final word on that. I will definitely confirm that with the boot disk. I have both the box disk and the rescue disk that I made.

    2. I wish I had divided up the partitions like that when I set up this drive. That's a topic for another thread, because I have some gaps in knowlege about both creating an additional partition and how to keep data seperate. I spend a lot of time at bleepingcomputer.com, which is where I can learn all that stuff. That's a good forum as long as you don't exercise a sense of humor.:blink:

    3. Very good point. I will go back to full backup every time. And self verify as we discussed earlier.

    4. Yeah, I might get lazy. I do learn a lot from figuring out what's wrong, but it's more of a hobbyish game for me. I'm not on company time.

    Until I get confused again,
    Rusty
     
  10. GroverH

    GroverH Registered Member

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    Nice post dwalby. My preference is to retain my program files folder on the C drive but I do have all my personal files on another partition. My personal files are larger than the system drive so that arrangement works out fairly well.

    There have been numerous postings about the personal preferences of putting files on different partitions. You might want to do some searching.

    Do suggest you read some the threads found in the sticky on the first line of my signature. If you have extra time, you mght find the threads below of interest.

    My backup strategy Escalader
    https://www.wilderssecurity.com/showthread.php?t=159177

    Best way for making functioning images
    https://www.wilderssecurity.com/showthread.php?p=1047306

    Backups
    https://www.wilderssecurity.com/showthread.php?p=1036066#29

    SAVE MY MUSIC COLLECTION! PLEASE (29 replies --2 pages)
    https://www.wilderssecurity.com/showthread.php?t=167710

    Recommend backup scheme for photos, music 32 replies--2 pages
    https://www.wilderssecurity.com/showthread.php?t=164175

    Backups
    https://www.wilderssecurity.com/showthread.php?p=1036066#29
     
  11. RknRusty

    RknRusty Registered Member

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    I did as you suggested dwalby, and booted the rescue CD, browsed to the backup and it went through the whole sequence, minus the Proceed button. It worked fine as well for the mail backup I did this evening. All seems well.

    I've been perusing Grover's reading list, so I knew what was going on when the drive letters were different from the Windows assignments.

    One question: Would mounting the archive and then exploring it confirm its viability as well?
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2009
  12. GroverH

    GroverH Registered Member

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    This posting by Tatou is also quite informtive.
    https://www.wilderssecurity.com/showpost.php?p=1383642&postcount=13

    You cannot assume that mounting or exploring an image is a restorable image.

    After you have had some successful restores (with no failures) of your archives perhaps then you can make such an assumption but you really do not know until you test it via a real restore--perhaps to a test disk.
     
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