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Windows 7: Best free cloning software to protect against disaster

25 Feb 2014   #11
mcleod55

Windows 7 Professional x64
 
 

Let me ask this... I did a Windows 7 clean install about a week ago including all windows updates. Since then I've decided to switch from my 500 gb sata HDD to a 120gb SDD. Do I need to clone OR image?


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25 Feb 2014   #12
Mark Phelps

Win7 Pro 32-bit, Win8 Pro 32-bit
 
 

Quote:
Do I need to clone OR image?
If (1) you mean to "clone" the 500GB HDD to the 120GB SSD, obviously, you can not do that because the destination drive is too small.

If (2) you mean to make an image of the 500GB HDD and then restore that to the 120GB SSD, once again, you can't because the destination drive is too small.

You would first need to move files around to shrink the partition(s) on the 500GB that you want to migrate to the SSD to be small enough for them to fit in 120GB.

Then, I would recommend imaging and restoring -- as that is how I migrated my setup from HDD to SSD.
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25 Feb 2014   #13
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by mcleod55 View Post
Let me ask this... I did a Windows 7 clean install about a week ago including all windows updates. Since then I've decided to switch from my 500 gb sata HDD to a 120gb SDD. Do I need to clone OR image?
Easiest would be to use the Paragon Migration Tool. It does the job in 3 clicks (for $19.95 lifetime license).

For free, see my little tutorial:

SSD - Install and Transfer the Operating System
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25 Feb 2014   #14
Lady Fitzgerald

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Mark Phelps View Post
Quote:
Do I need to clone OR image?
...If (2) you mean to make an image of the 500GB HDD and then restore that to the 120GB SSD, once again, you can't because the destination drive is too small...
Actually, it depends on how much of the 500GB HDD has data, etc. on it. If you have less than the formatted size of the 120GB SSD (minus around 20-25%) on the 500GD HDD, the you can use Macrium Reflect to image it and restore the image to the 120GB SSD. Reflect has an option called Intelligent Sector Copy that will image only sectors with data on them. As long as the restored image will be less than the amount of space available on the destination (or target) drive, you will be able to restore the image to the destination drive.

I'm not the OP (Original Poster) understands the difference between cloning and imaging. Cloning creates an exact copy of the source HDD on the target (destination) drive. Because the process is creating an exact duplicate, it will destroy whatever data is on the target drive. Cloning is useful for creating exact duplicates of drives without any intermediate steps. A clone is useable as is. Normally, cloning can not be used to duplicate single partition on a drive; only the entire drive can be cloned. Also, the target drive needs to be the same size as the source drive.

Imaging is more like film photography. An image is like a photo negative. Like a photo negative, an image contains all the data that was on the source drive but cannot be directly used without something to interpret the image. However, one uses restoration software to create an exact copy of the source from the image (often, that software can be used to view and even extract some of that data from the image). The process is a bit more complex than cloning but has several advantages. An image can be compressed, meaning it will take up less room than the data on the source and destination drives, handy especially if storing multiple images. Individual partitions can be imaged and restored. As long as the actual data being transferred is less than the formatted size of the target drive, many, if not most, imaging programs can be used to transfer data from a larger drive to a smaller one.

I suggest the OP read this tutorial on using Macrium Reflect.
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25 Feb 2014   #15
mjf

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1
 
 

This knowledge base from Macrium Reflect might help
v5: How to restore a backup image (Restore, v5)
Look particularly at the "Drag and Drop" description.
Free Macrium Reflect

The Paragon migrate tool mentioned above provides a very simple turnkey solution but knowing about Macrium more generally is worthwhile.
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 Best free cloning software to protect against disaster




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