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Windows 7: Restore from external SATA drive in enclosure with eSATA interface

18 Dec 2011   #11
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

HammerHead, He wants a bootable clone rather than a restorable image. The fine difference is that a clone can be used "as is" from the disc it is stored. An image has to be restored, requiring extra gear.

It is possible to boot from the VHD of an image. For that, however, you need a Windows edition higher than Home Premium. Boot from a VHD using Windows 7

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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18 Dec 2011   #12

Windows 7 Pro 64bit
 
 

Hello, HammerHead,

I didn't quite say that Macrium image isn't quite a clone. The referenced forum group at this site explicitly says that Macrium creates images but not clones.

However, those postings are from 2009. If it is accurate, it means that all of your experience with cloning using Macrium should be within the last 2 years. Is that correct?

As I described, I'm really leaning toward the cloning solution rather than the imaging solution. I was interested in whether there are tradeoffs that would make one software preferrable to another (including the native Windows 7 backup capability) for such a (conceptually) simple operation like cloning (compared to the many options for image creation).

P.S. I just looked at Wikipedia's page for Disk Image, and it's take on the terms "image" and "clone" is the opposite of the gist that I get when web surfing. Wikipedia's "image" *is* a clone, while other means of backup up which doesn't yield an exact physical copy is an "archive". Lord, how the inconsistent proliferation of terminology can make for an interesting crossing of wires. I'd like to adhere to the current prevailing meaning that I get from web surfing. That is, clone differs from image in that it is a sector-by-sectore replica of the HDD (which is bootable, to boot), while image doesn't have to include the unused bytes.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Dec 2011   #13

Windows 7 Pro 64bit
 
 

Hello, whs,

I'm unfamiliar enough with VMware that I'd like to stay with tried-and-true cloning methods for now. A backup isn't something I want to have uncertainty in. Also, from perusing the page for the link on booting from VHD, it seems you have to do it from Windows 7, which might not be accessible after an HDD corruption (correct me if I'm wrong). As well, the page warns that booting from VHD is still buggy. Finally, even though I have Win 7 Pro, it isn't high enough grade to boot from VHD (Pro is actually higher than I need -- I got it to access old apps via XP Mode, but it turns out that I don't need to).
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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18 Dec 2011   #14
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

I think I understand what you are trying to do - a safe backup with the least gear and fastest recovery. I am sorry I threw in that VHD monkey wrench.

That gets me to another idea. It should be possible to define two identical primary partitions on the same drive. Install in partition A which will your active partition at that time and clone to Partition B. If your active system on A goes on the blink, deactivat A and activate B (e.g. with the bootable CD of Partition Wizard) and then boot from B.

But I really do not know whether the bootmgr will work. And, of course, it does not help if the HDD goes bust (which fortunately does not happen often). But for any other situation (system failure, Virus, etc.) it would be neat.

I have to try that one day. Have to find a system with a big enough HDD with the OS on it. All my systems run from small SSDs which would not have enough space for 2 partitions.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Dec 2011   #15

Windows 7 Pro 64bit
 
 

Well, I have to admit, I'm brand spanking new to the partitioning game as well. It's a neat thing to explore and learn from, but for me, it has to be a potentially future undertaking. Though I might need to do so earlier than I hoped. The drive I'm looking at for cloning is a Seagate Momentus XT (high performance, SSD cache), but they only come in 500 & 750 GB. To clone my 640GB Toshiba HDD, I need to partition a 750GB Momentus (which is going for an obscene $250 because of the production problems in Thailand). I can then use the Momentus as my resident drive, and relegate the current Toshiba HDD to the external enclosure for backup cloning. Kind of wasteful for the extra cost (not that I ever expect to use more than 75-100GB anyways!).

As an alternative to wasting the top end of the 750GB, I looked around for lower-performance & capacity alternatives carried on the retail shelves in my city (I want to avoid paypal or ordering in general). There are WD Scorpio Blue 640GB with the same seek-times and 5400rpm as the current resident Toshiba HDD. They go for $160-175. However, they are usually the WD6400BPVT variant, which is lauded as "Advance Format" (4KB sectors). I'm not sure if the would cause a problem with cloning. I'm assuming that the Toshiba HDD has 512 byte sectors, since nothing comes up on a saerch for "MKxx65GSX MKxx76GSX advanced-format" (without quotes)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Dec 2011   #16
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

If you only use 100GBs anyhow, I would buy a 120GB SSD which you can get for less than $200 and is 150 times faster than any HDD. I would transfer the current OS partition to there (there are several ways) and use that as my main disk. Then you can put your current HDD into the enclosure.

If that is an option, let us know and we will discuss the details.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Dec 2011   #17

Windows 7 Pro 64bit
 
 

That is extremely tempting. To never again have to wait for disk access.

A few nonidealities come to mind. In Canada, they will range from $130 to $190: Canada Computers | Solid State Drives . (afternote: actually, this is exactly what you said -- less than $200). Might still be worth it, though it's only at a mulling stage for now.

A second factor is that I did some surfing on SSDs and got the impression that long-term stability of data is a problem. This is only from anecdotes posted on the web. However, the article Investigation: Is Your SSD More Reliable Than A Hard Drive? : SSD Reliability: Is Your Data Really Safe? seems to indicate that it isn't a simple thing to determine conclusively.

One thing that stands out is that SSD failures are abrupt compared to more graceful HDD failures. That means I better be very disciplined about backups, and I will certainly lose data after a failure, limited only by how frequently I clone to HDD. Abrupt failures might be regarded as a good thing, since gradual failures might propagate content corruption to my clone.

For the time being, I think I'll spectate on maturation of SSDs. Thanks for the suggestion, though. I'm sort of on the edge about this new take on things.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Dec 2011   #18
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

1. The Canadian prices look good. When you are ready, let's select the right model. I did not see Crucial M4's which would be my number 1 pick for reliability - although I have 2 Intels and 3 OCZs that work very well - some since nearly 4 years. I never lost data. I found that my SSDs are more reliable than the spinners.

2. Don't go by anecdotal sayings. That comes mostely from people who have no own experience or do not know what they are doing. Remember the Vista badmouthing and the Mojave project. Many of the people on this forum have SSDs and they never want to look back. Have a look at this thread: Show us your SSD performance
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Dec 2011   #19

Windows 7 Pro 64bit
 
 

Thanks, whs. Will mull it. Default way forward is to get conventional 512 bytes/sector drive for cloning. Currently surfing for alternative.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Dec 2011   #20

Windows 7 Pro 64bit
 
 

Looks like Seagate has a new SmartAlign algorithm in their firmware to make their Advanced format HDD look like 512 bytes/sector. However, it's not clear what drives contain this algorithm. It relieves alignment problems between the OS & the HDD, but it isn't clear that it does so for cloning (either from the Momentus XL to a 512 bytes/sector HDD or vice-versa -- I'll be doing both).
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Restore from external SATA drive in enclosure with eSATA interface




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