Novice needs advice on cloning

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by Baz63, Apr 16, 2006.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Baz63

    Baz63 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2005
    Posts:
    24
    Location:
    England
    I've bought and downloaded Acronis True image and Acronis Disk director. The plan is to copy the whole of my hardrive onto another to protect against a catastrophic malfunction of the HD. I'm a complete novice at this so forgive the basic questions.

    I have created an emergency bootable disc and a secure zone.

    I've read the relevant parts of the users guide and FAQ and had a trawl of the forum. One or two things need clarifying.

    1) Am I right in assuming it's the 'clone disk' feature I use to replicate the whole of my hardrive, rather than 'add new disk'? I read some criticisms of the clone feature on some of the threads advising using the back up feature if you want to copy the hardrive.

    2) When a back up archive is created is it created on the same hardrive? I don't understand how you can protect yourself by backing up stuff on the same hardrive because you will lose it should the HD suffer a catastrophic break down.

    3) I have bought an identical hardrive to clone my current HD onto. I've no idea what I do with it . I'm assuming I will have to make the new HD a slave before I can clone my current HD. Is that right? Will I have to do anything to the new hardrive before I use it as the clone? Will I have to install it or do anything to the new hardrive before I clone my current HD onto it? I can't find info in the Acronis literature on how to set up the new hardrive with a view to using it as the clone. I need to know where I plug things in.

    4) Intend to partition my current hardrive (98 gb of photos videos etc). Am I right in assuming I should clone it first and then partition it? Sounds the best thing to do in case the partitioning goes wrong.
     
  2. Chutsman

    Chutsman Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2005
    Posts:
    1,181
    Location:
    Brandon, Florida, USA
    There are basically two ways of saving the contents of your *ENTIRE* hard drive. 1. Cloning, 2. Image Backup

    When you Clone the original drive to a second drive, you would disconnect the original, connect the Clone in its place and you would have what should be an identical bootable drive as was the original.

    When you use the Image backup feature, this is a compressed file of the entire hard drive, which must be Restored to another drive before it can be made into a bootable drive like the original. It is an extra step, but has a greater chance of success than the Clone feature and also requires somewhere to store the Image.

    And you are right in that you would not want to store the backup image on the original drive. The Secure Zone feature is useful IF you have only one hard drive. Nowadays, most people have at least two.

    Your #2: TI will let you store a backup Image on a second hard drive, be it internal or a usb external.

    Your #3: Since you have a second drive equal in size to the original, a Clone should be successful here. Install it as Slave, boot with the TI CD and try the Clone feature. With the latest build, I'm not sure, but you may NOT have to format it at all. If the bootable CD does not list the second drive in its dialog windows, then you will have to go Back and use the Add New Drive feature.

    Your #4: If you are using Partition Magic to do the partitioning, chances are slim that something will go wrong. That is one of the best pieces of software ever. But for peace of mind, you can always Clone first, then Partition, then re-Clone.

    BTW, be absolutely sure to boot with the Clone to make sure it works. Let us know how it goes.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2006
  3. Menorcaman

    Menorcaman Retired Moderator

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2004
    Posts:
    4,661
    Location:
    Menorca (Balearic Islands) Spain
    Hi there Chutsman,

    As Baz63 has just paid out good money for Acronis Disk Director Suite 10, I can confirm that he is unlikely to encounter problems with that either (I used PM in the past but now rely solely on DDS 10) :).

    Regards
     
  4. Chutsman

    Chutsman Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2005
    Posts:
    1,181
    Location:
    Brandon, Florida, USA
    There you go Baz ... a very good testimonial for DDS 10. :D
     
  5. Baz63

    Baz63 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2005
    Posts:
    24
    Location:
    England
    Thanks for the reply.

    Tomorrow I'll be installing athe second HD and cloning my current HD onto it using Acronis. Done some more reading. The plan is to have an exact replica and update it every month or whenever something major is done. My hardrive died 2 years ago and the time has come to get completely secure. I'll just swap the cloned HD wity the dead HD should I have another disaster.

    Once my old HD is cloned I'll partition it (the old HD) and then clone it again onto the back up HD. That's the plan. So the plan is to have a partitioned cloned HD but to do it oin two stages.

    1) Clone teh old HD;
    2) Partitionteh old HD and then clone the newly partitioned old HD onto the newly cloned HD

    Does that make sense. I don't want to to partition my old HD without backing it up first. Sounds sensible. Am i being overcautious?

    Any potential problems?

    I'm assuming it will be easy enough to clone a newly partitioned old HD onto the second (slave?) HD. I'm assuming once my old HD is partitioned I simply follow the prompts on Acronis to TI to clone it again. Am I right?

    Do people leave the cloned HD in their PC or do they remove it after cloning?
     
  6. Chutsman

    Chutsman Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2005
    Posts:
    1,181
    Location:
    Brandon, Florida, USA
    You didn't mention one thing ... and that is once the clone is made, shut down the system, remove or disconnect the original and put the clone in its place to test that it works. It is imperative that you test it.

    As to whether to keep the clone in the system or not, some will say that the computer will not work with both hard drives in the computer because WinXP does not like to see two identical hard drives. I've never tested this since with my way of cloning this is never a problem. However another reason for keeping the clone separate is in case of a mains power surge or other glitches which might affect both drives.
     
  7. bVolk

    bVolk Registered Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2005
    Posts:
    954
    Baz63,

    Except for a business setup, where down time is critical, having the second disc dedicated to hold a single image of the system drive (what you do by cloning), is a waste of ressources in my opinion.

    If you adopt the imageing strategy, you'll be able to store several images on the second drive to restore from instead of just one. Creating up to date images will be an easier task than recloning (no drive-switching) and you will be able to create incremental or differential backups, manage the images, deleting or keeping the ones you choose, maybe copying some to DVDs. Then, there is scheduling - I don't like it, but you might.

    And, last but not least, you will be able to put the pagefile on the second drive, speeding up your system. This benefit is often overlooked, when comparing cloning to imageing.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2006
  8. Baz63

    Baz63 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2005
    Posts:
    24
    Location:
    England
    Thanks for the replies and tips. After more reading I have gleaned the following principles:

    1) Cloning is best suited for immediate installation of new disk. So if I suspected my HD was about to die I would clone it and use the new HD with the cloned image;
    2) I'm aware of the extra difficulties in cloning-may have to use microsoft system prep tool -mustn't reboot with two drives-must ensure the clone works before deleting or destroying the original
    3) For back up, imaging is best - it's quicker and takes up less space.
    4) You can have an image file on an external HD so you can restore the whole HD should the old HD fail (which is my prime concern).

    However, i'm not clear on some issues.

    1) I will be backing up my entire system disk onto an external HD using image back up. But would I need to create an image back up file of my disk on my current HD? Would you do both? Are there any benefits to having both? Would I put that back up image in a secure zone?
    2) Regarding Microsoft System Restore. In what circumstances would you disable it when using TI? Does TI replace system restore and if it does in what circumstances.
    3) If my HD fails completely would I simply connect my second drive with the back up image and restore the image on the second hardrive? Is this when I would use the boot cd?
    4) In what circumstances would I use the boot cd? Is it the same as the 'bootable rescue media'? Why have it?
    5) I'm planning to partition my HD. Would you recommend I do an image back up first before partitioning? Am I right in assuming I could:
    (i) do an image back up of my entire disk on my current HD, (would that be in the secure zone?)
    (ii) then do the partitioning,
    (iii) then image back up the newly partitioned HD onto my external HD
    (iv) and then delete the system disk back up now the disk has been partitioned.

    And the most important question:
    6. Concerning the second HD on which I plan to store the back up image of my entire system disk.
    i) Do I have to install Windows on it?
    ii) Do I have to prepare it in anyway before I put the back up image on it? Is there anything I need to configure? I'm assuming it will need installing on my PC: will that be as a slave?
    iii) How do I connect it to my pC to perform the back up? Do I connect it as a slave drive?


    I want the image back up of my entire system on a second HD in case my first completely fails. I'm assumimg I will be able to restore the back up image on my second HD on that second hard drive. I'm also assuming I should I don't know if my assumptions are correct.

    Thanks for your time
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2006
  9. mark3

    mark3 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2006
    Posts:
    188
    Here is my 2c worth, others, more proficient on TI, might disagree/clarify some of the points.

    No, No, No.

    Regarding the secure zone, a previous poster has already mentioned that it is designed more for users who have only one HD. However other posters might have a different point of view.

    You do not need to disbale it.
    TI does not replace system restore rather it compliments it. If you get in a state of bother then the quickest way to rectify the problem is to use system restore. However, if that does not work, then you have your TI as a backup.

    If your HD fails completely then you need to purchase another HD and restore the image from your second HD onto this new drive. You might be able to restore the image onto your second drive if your partitions are identical in both drives and you have taken an image of your first partition on your first drive and placed it on your second partition of your second drive.
    Yes

    I'll leave that to others to answer.

    Yes
    (i) yes - I would suggest that for the time being, do not enable the secure zone (learn one thing at a time).
    (ii) yes
    (iii) yes
    (iv)pardon?

    i) No
    ii)Connect it as a slave, check to see whether it can be seen by Windows, format it, partiton it and it's ready to go.
    iii)As a slave if it is directly connected to PC or master if it is in a USB housing.

    As I said earlier, if your first HD COMPLETELY fails then the only recourse is to buy another HD and restore the image to it.
    The whole purpose of imaging is to restore your system without resorting to a clean install if your OS becomes corrupted or infected with a virus that you cannot get rid of.
     
  10. bVolk

    bVolk Registered Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2005
    Posts:
    954
    Hi Baz63,

    This describes my own setup. I'll start from bottom.

    6) Install drive 2 as a slave, create a single partition and format it (NTFS). Don't install Windows here, just redirect the pagefile to this second drive. That's all. This drive will stay permanently in the computer functioning primarily as the storage place for images of the system drive (your drive 1, already installed). You won't need a third external drive and you won't need Secure Zone anywhere.

    1) When creating images of your system disk (drive 1), you will select drive 2 as destination for the image files. You won't be storing images elsewere, except for copying the occasional image from drive 2 to DVD before deleting old image files from drive 2 to make place for fresh images that you will create.

    2) I didn't disable System Restore, but set it's dedicated space to the minimal 200 MB. This way the images don't get unnecessarily large, but I have a few restore points at disposal. System Restore will make a restore point automatically before any major installation, but it will backup only the registry, not all the data on disk, as TI does.

    3) If Windows crashes or you get an infection, you boot from the Rescue CD and restore a previous image stored on drive 2, to drive 1. If drive 1 breaks down phisically, you buy a new drive, replace the bad drive 1 with the new one and do the same restore procedure. Drive 2 stays put.

    4) You must create a bootable rescue medium. Could also be floppies, but usually it's a boot CD, called Rescue CD. You need it to restore a system disk, as said above.

    5) I wouldn't rush with repartitioning drive 1. Get the feel of TI first. But then yes, you will create an image of drive 1, repartition and format it and then restore partition C: from the image previously taken, but without restoring the MBR, I think. The new TI build 3567 allows that. Mind, I never did it, so you'll need some more help on this point.

    top 2) System Preparation must be performed before transfering the system disk image to the main drive of a new computer with hardware that doesn't match the old system's hardware, be it done by restoring an image or by cloning. SysPrep's results my not be satisfactory, so in such a case a fresh install of Windows and applications is a better option. As long as you stay with the same computer, you don't need SysPrep, even if you have to replace the system drive.
     
  11. mark3

    mark3 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2006
    Posts:
    188
    Further to BVolk's suggestions, regarding your second drive. I would create a small partition of about 2GB and put an extra page file there equal in size to the one already on C drive. Ensure that the maximum and minimum are the same, and equal to the suggested maximum. XP will determine which parts of the page file it will use.

    As for System Restore, keep it only for C Drive and not for any other partitions.

    The above two suggestions will ensure that XP runs efficiently.
     
  12. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2005
    Posts:
    4,751
    You might want to go into the System Restore Settings and limit the amount of space it is taking for Restore Points. I think the default is around 10% and that can cause your C partition images to grow considerably as you create more and more Restore Points!
     
  13. Baz63

    Baz63 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2005
    Posts:
    24
    Location:
    England
    Thanks for all your replies. This sort of experience and information can't be readily found in the guides. Very helpful indeed. I've been lurking since jan 2005 and have gained a lot of technical know-how since then but still very much a novice in most areas.

    I've succesfully done a full back up onto disk 2. Set it up as a slave etc

    Next weekend I'll partition disk 1 (at long last!) using Acronis and then do a complete back up of it on disk 2 and delete my current image. The finished product will be a partitioned and completely cleaned up disk 1 with a mirror image of it on disk 2.

    Setting up disc 2 was easier than I thought. I used the HD's own installation software and it was a breeze.

    Acronis was easy to use. Great interface and the manual was a great help. I can't believe how easy it was .
    If I'd known it was this easy (famous last words) I would have done this ages ago. I lost my HD when it broke down a couple of years ago. Managed to retieve some stuff but not a lot.

    I'm planning to build my own PC next month. Been researching about the technical difficulties of transferring a HD into a different system. Not pretty!

    Anyway-thanks again. Acronis TI - an impressive product IMO.

    No doubt see some of you on the directors suite forum next week when I start on the partitioning adventure.

    Cheers.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.