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Windows 7: Paragon/Ghost: Bootable clone between HDDs, different size & sector sz

21 Dec 2011   #1

Windows 7 Pro 64bit
Paragon/Ghost: Bootable clone between HDDs, different size & sector sz

I've been web-researching backup options in the past few days and want to settle on a solution of either Paragon freeware or Ghost (I know the latter meets the needs, but I wonder if the former can do with with reasonable ease for a newbie). Here is the scenario:

My current Toshiba Satellite A660 (model PSAW3C-047017) runs Windows 7 Professional 64-bit. The HDD is Toshiba MK6465GSX HDD (Toshiba SDD - Product Detail). I bought a smaller (500GB) Seagate Momentus XT, which apparently has Advanced Format. I am assuming that the Toshiba HDD has 512 bytes/sector because nothing comes up in a web search for Advanced Format for that HDD.

I would like to use the Momentus XT to create a bootable clone of my Toshiba HDD. The Momentus XT will be in a enclosure that interfaces to the laptop via eSATA. After cloning to the Momentus XT, I would like to replace my Toshiba HDD in the laptop with the Momentus XT because of its higher performance. The Toshiba HDD will then become my auxiliary HDD (in the external enclosure) for weekly cloning. If anything ever happens to the Momentus XT in the laptop, I can then take the Toshiba HDD out of the enclosure and drop it into the laptop. However, this manner of usage means that I have to be able to initially clone from Toshiba HDD to Momentus XL, then clone in the opposite direction thereafter.

I've read plenty about alignment issues that need to be tended to, but not having imaged, cloned, or formatted a hard disk before (aside from blindly obeying tech support), I'm foggy on the understanding. Seagate has announced their SmartAlign technology, but there is no corroboration on its efficacy, and no info as to which HDD models have it. Since Windows 7 is described as AF-aware, I assume that many of the issues targeted by SmartAlign are nonissues for me.

My concern is whether there are any other pitfalls due to the nonmatching HDD sizes and sectors sizes that could create problems for the cloning process, both from the Toshiba HDD to the Momentus XT and vice-versa. Consequences (and solutions) that I'm trawling for are the inability to create a bootable clone, the completeness and accessibility of the clone contents, and alignment issues that impact performance (apart from those avoided by virtue of using Windows 7).

From a friend, I know that Ghost will properly handle the HDD and sector size differences gracefully, avoiding the above consequences. I was wondering if Paragon freeware will handle this scenario as well. Paragon is free, but aside from functional suitability, I would also consider the ease-of-use in order to make a decision on the two.

Thanks for any feedback on the ability of Paragon freeware to handle this scenario, the comparative ease-of-use of Paragon & Ghost for this scenario, and any other considerations that you think are relevant in choosing between them for my scenario.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Dec 2011   #2

Windows 7 Pro 64bit

By the way, is there a standard way to test disk performance? It'd be nice to know whether I avoided all the pitfalls.

I'm going to boot from the Momentus XT while it is still in the external closure, connected to the laptop by eSATA. If it works, it means I am free to so all the diagnostics/formatting on the resident HDD that I have to (that's what sparked my interest in cloning -- Tech Support said that the best diagnostics that can be done for boot failures was to format the HDD). I don't want to stick the Momentus XT into the laptop right away because if the resident HDD is bad, it can be replaced under warranty (which I don't want to void by replacing the HDD).
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Paragon/Ghost: Bootable clone between HDDs, different size & sector sz

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