need some help understanding a few things

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by rbig, Jan 4, 2007.

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  1. rbig

    rbig Registered Member

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    I'm a bit confused, and a newbie at the Acronis stuff.

    What's the difference between cloning a hard drive and making a full hard drive image?

    Will Acronis do both?

    Why are incremental backups to an external USB drive preferred over making successive copies of the whole hard drive content and then deleting previous ones?
     
  2. Johnny Stecchino

    Johnny Stecchino Registered Member

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    Hi,

    Cloning is a self-contained act. It's more than copying the source disk onto the target. With Acronis (when it's working properly...), when you clone a disk, you copy everything, sector-by-sector from the source disk and then Acronis prepares the cloned disk to become the primary master disk. This last little bit is a big thing.

    When you install the cloned disk as the primary master for the first time, it boots-up and sets itself up as the primary master boot disk. That is a big step (that little thing above). Once this step is completed, your cloned disk is exactly that: an exact clone of your previous primary master disk. A note of caution: when you install and boot from the cloned disk for the first time, I strongly urge you to have no other hard disk connected. I made that mistake once: I put the previous primary master into the primary slave slot, then when I booted-up, real subtle disk drive letter swaps happened. The fix was to follow Microsoft's fix exactly as written in: kbenv kbhowtomaster KB223188, link to "http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;223188#XSLTH3140121123120121120120#XSLTH3140121123120121120120".

    I can't tell you about disk image copy - I do not do it and I do not know what it can or cannot do.

    Cheers,
    Johnny.
     
  3. bodgy

    bodgy Registered Member

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    Imaging is where a copy of the used parts of your harddrive are copied into a special file (the image) normally held on another media, internal or external, external being preferable or at least a hard drive that can be removed.

    This allows you to restore the image to a harddrive that is of a different size to your previous one, to update the image on a regular basis by measn of the incremental or differential imaging option, and, to retrieve individual files from the image if needs be.

    The reasons you may want to make incremental or differential or even just full images, is that you keep a copy of your harddrive as it is at any one time.

    Cloning as stated in the post above is a 'sterile' once off. It is designed to make copies of a particular setup - computer manufacturers cloan their machines by having one master copy of their system and then just clone all their machines.

    You can make regular clones of your harddrive of course, but it isn't the most elegant way of making back up copies, it also has less flexibilty, and of course you're not actually making retrievable backups this way. With an image you could have multiple images and then be able to take your machine back to any period in time.

    For example I have a base image of my systems on my backup drive, and then I've also got weekly masters and interim backups, so that any failure or corruption of my hard drive, will result in me losing only one days works. For business use, you'd want to image at least once a day perhaps even twice on crucial systems.

    Colin
     
  4. shieber

    shieber Registered Member

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    The main advantage of cloning is that you can swap in the clone and be up and running after your sys disk fails in the time it takes to open up the PC and do the drive swap and reboot. Cloning copies all of the content of the source to the target just as it is on the source. For one target harddisk, you may have exactly on cloned image; if you clone onto it a second time, the first image is erased and it will cdontain only the content of the second cloning. Also, if cloning a sys drive, you have to remove one of the disks after cloning before you reboot or one of the dirves will be marked by windows as the boot and sys disk and the other marked as not. Unfortunately, sometimes Win marks one as the boot and the other as the sys disk, which makes for a very messy situation for which the fastest recovery is to replace the image onthe desired sys disk with with the image from an image-to-file backup.

    The advantage of doing an image to file is that you copy the content of the source disk to a file and you can usually fit many of these on the target. These means you have several points in time to which you can restore or form which you can recover particular files. You could do this too with cloning if you had lots of target drives to serve as clones. Also, with an image to file, you can do inc or diff files, which under most circumstances are faster than doing full backups or cloning. Also, you can have an image of a sys disk and that image will remain so without requiring you to disconnect the drive from the PC, as you would have to do with a clone drive.
     
  5. rbig

    rbig Registered Member

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    thanks for all the info. I think I'm clearer now than I was.
     
  6. foghorne

    foghorne Registered Member

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    The other advantage of using images of course is that it is relatively easy to make secondary copies if extra backups are needed or if the image needs to be moved elsewhere - it is just a file.

    F.
     
  7. shieber

    shieber Registered Member

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    True enough. although clones aren't hard to make, you just need to have enough of them to lug around ;-) Some folks just clone drives to set up similar PCs with the same image. It depends on whether you have to lug all the disks back and forth. I'd hate to carry around a PC size image on DVDs, so I suspect at least one HD must be carried whether using image-to file or cloning ;-)
     
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