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Windows 7: Cloning & Back Ups

02 Oct 2010   #1

Win 7 64
Cloning & Back Ups

Hi all,

I have very limited knowledge of the above but following past problems with viruses, hardware malfunctions etc, I am looking at my options for my new system.

So, I have done some research but I am now completely confused!

What I'd LIKE to do is the following;

Have a 500GB drive, 2 partions, one for OS+Programs and the other for User Data

If I understand correctly, this will save me time by only having to defrag that partition that needs doing? It will also mean I can "back-up" one partition easily without having to do the other? For example, I can carry out regular, scheduled backups of the Data partition without the need to backup the OS/Program partition? In addition, the loading of programs MAY be slightly faster as it's only looking at a small area of the disk?

I would also like to create a clone of the OS/Program partition so that if I have any problems with that partition, I can quickly get back up and running.

Now, this is where I need some help /advice......

Ideally, I'd like to use another, identical, internal 500GB HDD partitioned in exactly the same way and the "master" HDD. I would clone the OS/Programs to the appropriate partition when I have everything installed and subsequently when I install any new programs, SP's etc. I would then back-up my data partition on the master to the other partition on the second HDD on a regular basis. Is this possible? Can you clone to a partition on a different internal HDD? Can you do something completely different (ie back-up) to the other partition on that drive or does the clone HDD have to be completely free of anything else?

Another question, I have read somewhere that the clone needs to be the same type and size and the "master" so that clone can just "replace" the master if and when a problem occurs? In this case, how do people clone to an external drive? Surely, when you unplug the master via the SATA and then connect the external via USB/Firewire, the BIOS will see a completely different type of drive?

Lot of questions I know, but any help, advice, suggestions to help enlighten me will be much appreciated!

My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Oct 2010   #2
Bare Foot Kid
Microsoft MVP

W 7 64-bit Ultimate

Hello stranexuk, welcome to Seven Forums!

You can do what you want, there are differences in the terms "clone" used to completely copy the existing OS to a new Hard Disk Drive (HDD) in case of failure of the original HDD; and "image" used to copy the OS to the same HDD to recover from OS problems.

In both cases it is recommended, if not required by the clone/image program to make the backups to another HDD and not the HDD the OS is on.

Have a look at this tutorial at the link below for an excellent program used and recommended by a lot of the members that frequent these forums; be sure to post back with any further questions you may have and to keep us informed.

Imaging with free Macrium
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Oct 2010   #3

Win 7 64

Thanks Bare Foot, have viewed the video and it certainly helped a little.

I am still unsure of a few things though;

1/ What is the difference between "imaging" and "cloning" an OS partition? The vid shows a simple image & recovery of some data but, If I understand correctly, rceovering an image of the OS would not be so simple? Something to do with the need to reinstall product keys etc for the installed programs?

2/ The video does not answer the question as the whether it's possible to "clone" the OS partition and "image" the data partition to similar partitions on a second internal HDD?

3/ How about restoring a "clone" of the OS? Would one go about it in the same way as the video shows? As I understand it, with a clone, you boot from that clone rather than recover the image/clone back to the original location?

Many thanks in advance!
My System SpecsSystem Spec

02 Oct 2010   #4

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit

If you have 2 partitions, 1st for the OS and Programs, second for all DATA files, creating system Images, (backups and restores) will be much more effecient.

As far as the second HD being partitioned, it doesnt need to be, as it will be simply backup storage. 1 single partitioon assigned as backup for Imaging program is perfectly fine.

Your backup Program will keep everything organized for you, So you know what is System Images and what are File/Folder backups.

Imaging and Cloning are somewhat Similar in the sense they make a copy of the drive.
Cloning However, moves the entire partition or disc over to a NEW disc, making it the primary boot disc.
(For example if you just want to move the OS from your 500GB HD to a 1TB HD)

The old drive can then be removed, or used for something else.
The same thing can be achieved with a system Image restore to a new drive as well, But you'll need to format the old drive.

Imaging, creates a Image of the target partition and/or disc and stores it in a seperate location to be restored to the same or different disc in the future.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Oct 2010   #5

Win 7 64

Thanks Wish,

I have just been doing some more research which basically said the same as you wiht regard to differences between cloning and imaging.

Am I right to think then, that if I were to clone my OS partition to a separate internal HDD, then that second HDD would then become the primary disk and would be used for the next boot? In that case, I guess you would have to disconnect the drive after the clone was made in order that the original drive remained as the primary? This would then obviously prevent the second drive as being used for regular images?

Am I also right to think that the MAIN difference between restoring a clone and a image of the OS is that with a clone, it can be used straight away by just removing/disconnecting the original drive, but with a image, you must use the recovery disk and then restore the image to a new drive? Any other problems in that second method with regard to product keys etc, or will the OS and programs work will minimal fuss once restored?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Oct 2010   #6

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit

Cloning, The old drive gets deleted and will be empty when its complete.
The new drive will then be the active/boot drive.

In regards to Image recovery, I am only familiar with Acronis. I think they all work quite similar though.

You can recover from the bootable CD, or from within Windows. Depends on the circumstances.

When recovering to the same drive, you simply open the app, choose recover and select the Image.
You'll then be prompted to reboot, and 10min later (depending on image size) your up and running again.
Or you can do it friom the CD, if for example Windows simply will not boot.

If you were moving to a new drive, its similar.
You just boot from the recovery CD (The one from your imaging program of choice), format the old drive and restore the Image to the new drive or whichever drive you choose & your ready to boot up.

You can also just restore the Image to the new one, and format the old once back in Windows.
You only need to be sure that the New drive is set to 1st boot device in bios.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Oct 2010   #7

Win 7 64

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Wishmaster View Post
Cloning, The old drive gets deleted and will be empty when its complete.
The new drive will then be the active/boot drive.

Really? I don't recall having seen this mentioned anywhere else? If this is true then surely cloning should never be recommended as any kind of emergency "back-up" because it causes the original to get deleted straight away!? In this case, all cloning is good for is to move something to a new disk? That's certainly not the way I understood cloning to work
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Oct 2010   #8

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit

Actually, you do have the option to keep the DATA on the old disc.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Oct 2010   #9

Win 7 64

No problem Wish, just wanted to make sure I understand everything correctly before speccing my system.....I appreciate your help!

So, from what I'm hearing, cloning is not really of any use as an "emergency backup" as it deletes the original in the process?

In that case, I'm better off just imaging the OS/App partition whenever there are new Apps, Service Packs, Updates installed and doing the same for the DATA partition on a regular basis. That way, if the OS ever gets corrupted, or if something happens to that HDD, then I have a "copy" of everything that I can simply restore to a a new that correct? I know I also have to think about the possibility of the 2nd HDD getting damaged/corrupted in the same way the first is and so I'll probably also image to an external drive on a weekly/monthly basis? Is this what you guys would recommend?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Oct 2010   #10

Windows 7 Professional

Yep. Exactly.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

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