Strange (?) Disk Cloning Problem

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by Reed_Richards, Jun 14, 2008.

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  1. Reed_Richards

    Reed_Richards Registered Member

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    I just tried for many a "happy" hour to clone a disk from an HP Pavilion Computer. An unusual feature of the disk is that the first partition is a recovery partition then Windows is installed on the second partition. The other complicating factor is that the disk I was cloning to was larger than the old one. I thought I could take the disk I wanted to clone out of the Pavilion and install it as a seconary drive in my computer running True Image (10). But that did not work. The cloned disk would not boot. I just got a flashing cursor on a black background and no attempt to start Windows. I tried making an image of the old disk and writing it to the new one. Didn't work. I tried again. Didn't work. I tried connecting both disks and cloning one directly to the other. Didn't work.

    Finally, I (temporarily) installed True Image to the Pavilion and cloned the disk. THAT WORKED. But then I had to go to the trouble of removing True Image from the cloned disk and the original one. Can anyone explain why I could only clone a disk when it was installed in the computer it "belonged" to?
     
  2. jonyjoe81

    jonyjoe81 Registered Member

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    Are you trying to clone a hard drive from a different computer (computer A) and restoring it on another computer (computer B) ?

    That usually won't work, not with the basic true image. The only way it would work is if both computers were identical in hardware.
     
  3. Reed_Richards

    Reed_Richards Registered Member

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    I was trying to clone a drive from Computer A to a larger drive to be installed in Computer A. I tried to do this using Computer B because Computer B had True Image installed on it and Computer A did not. It didn't work.

    ONLY when I (temporarily) installed True Image on Computer A could I make a successful clone of its hard drive.

    Why?

    P.S. What I tried and failed to do this time, I have managed successfully in the past on other hard drives from other computers.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2008
  4. DwnNdrty

    DwnNdrty Registered Member

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    Next time make the bootable True Image Rescue Media cd, boot with it and do your Clone (or Backup or Recovery) from it. The cd works on any computer. What version and build of TI are you using?

    You should make this cd anyway since you will need it in case your drive suddenly dies.
     
  5. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    The most-likely reason is a BIOS geometry issue. I have a ThinkPad laptop that has the same issue. It uses 240-head geometry, so it is necessary to always create the source image while the disk is installed in the Thinkpad, and to write the destination image (substitute "clone" if you want) to the disk while it is installed internally. Here is a reference if you want the background details.

    Your previous cloning efforts succeeded using your method because both the source and destination PCs probably used the standard 255-head BIOS geometry.
     
  6. Xpilot

    Xpilot Registered Member

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    I am not a great fan of cloning because it does have several pit-falls. However if you really must clone in preference to making an image and then restoring it to the new drive the reverse clone method is the way to go. This avoids many of the potential problems.

    The destination drive is installed in the computer in place of the donor drive. Do not boot into windows yet. The donor drive can be placed as a secondary drive or in an external housing. Boot from the TI recovery CD and perform the clone.
    When the cloning finishes do not boot into Windows until the donor drive has been safely disconnected.

    Xpilot
     
  7. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    Precisely, Xpilot - that method works whether the PC uses standard or nonstandard BIOS geometry; it completely avoids the issue. It is the best way to go.
     
  8. CorkyG

    CorkyG Registered Member

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    My advice, based on 10+ years of cloning experience, is NEVER CLONE FROM WITHIN WINDOWS!

    Always use the TI prepared Rescue CDR. You can use that on any computer you have - TI need not be installed except on the one used to make the Rescue CDR.

    Cloning from within Windows is really silly - it has to reboot and use the scuzzy command screen anyway. When you use the Bootable Rescue CDR, you get the job done all the way with a much better and more accurate GUI than the scuzzy Windows command prompt.

    Other wise practices:

    1. Use MANUAL method to select source and target drives.

    2. Optimize the source drive before cloning.

    3. If the target drive is used, DELETE PARTITIONS on that drive.

    4. KEEP DATA on Source drive. That is your fallback incase anything goes wrong.

    5. If the drives are the same size, use the AS IS transfer option.

    6. When finished, disconnect power from source drive and boot from newly cloned target. In most cases, new hardware will be found, and a reboot will be necessary. Combine that with an offline defrag so that the HFT (NTFS) Zone and Metadata files are placed properly on the drive. (TI places them improperly during the clone process.)

    As far as cloning vs. backup and restore - that depends on the objective. The purpose of cloning is to create a duplicate drive with everything on it (including hidden Thinkpad partitions). This is called a reserve drive and is immediately available for use should anything happen to the main drive. I normally leave that drive installed and cable connected with the power Molex disconnected.

    I regularly clone my Lenovo Thinkpad drive to an external eSATA drive. Then I swap the Thinkpad drive with another, and clone from the eSATA to the Thinkpad. That always works with Vista using the TI 11 Rescue Media.

    BTW - eSATA is much faster than USB for that purpose.

    Bottom line . . . my T60 Thinkpad has two duplicate drives always ready to go.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2008
  9. Reed_Richards

    Reed_Richards Registered Member

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    Thank you to everyone who replied. I have never tried cloning or imaging using the Rescue CD so I think I had a bit of a blind spot there. I now realise it would have been the best and simplest way to solve my problem.

    I cannot understand the difference between Xpilot's reverse cloning and normal cloning, if you follow his instructions. I can understand there might be an advantage in making the drive you are cloning to the boot drive if you accidentally start Windows without first removing the drive you are cloning from.

    And thanks to k0lo, who made the best attempt to answer my question about why the original methods I tried had failed.
     
  10. shieber

    shieber Registered Member

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    I think it helps to avoid possible drive letter assignment issues too.

     
  11. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    The most important difference is that the new/destination drive is installed into its final position before the cloning takes place. This lets the computer "see" the drive as it will see it when booting and running from it. If the computer uses a non-standard disk geometry, doing a reverse clone allows the computer to see the drive with the correct geometry prior to (and during) the cloning.
     
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