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Windows 7: Safest Way to Clone Windows 7 Volume for Dual Booting

03 Nov 2010   #111
mjf

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by gregrocker View Post
If it fails again, I'd cut my losses and clean reinstall, then be sure to save a backup image after it is set up and running as you like but before corruptions starts creeping in.
SENSIBLE


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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03 Nov 2010   #112
Trailerman

 
 

Agreed.

If the next attempt fails, that's what I'll do.

If anybody could just clarify whether or not I should clone/restore the MBR, and if I should assign a drive letter to the cloned volume (and whether it should be the same as my existing OS volume), I'd be most grateful

Jules
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Nov 2010   #113
GeneO

Windows 10 Pro. EFI boot partition, full EFI boot
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Trailerman View Post
Many thanks Gene - all totally clear and understood.

Can I perhaps beg your help on my other final two queries:

1. I'm working with different hardware of different sizes, and restoring/cloning only 1 partition (the OS partition). I also want to keep both OS volumes in the system in order to dual boot. Should I or should I not clone or restore the MBR?

2. Acronis gives the user the option of selecting the drive letter of the newly created destination partition. Should I leave this blank, should I choose C (my source OS partition letter) or choose a different available drive letter?

I know this has been covered before, but I've never been entirely clear on the best option in this specific scenario.

I have just run chkdsk from a command prompt on the source drive, and it did report something in the MFT, so I am going to try a partition clone again now using Acronis. These are the last two uncertainties before I dive back in.

Jules
Not sure on #1. I have always cloned the whole drive which just does it right. The reason I am not sure is that you indicated there was an option to include the MBR and an option to include the disk-signature. Since the MBR contains the disk signature in it, I am not sure how these options work together (or apart). Question for Acronis I am afraid.

I think the destination drive letter is how it will appear in your current boot so you could not specify C. I think that it will boot up to C when you boot to that device. Again I am unsure of what exactly TIH means in this case. I see if I can find out later.

- Gene
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

03 Nov 2010   #114
mjf

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by mjf View Post
"This quote could be relevant to the discussion:
Source: "Acronis True Image WD Edition", 2000-2010, pp.48

When MBR recovery is chosen, the "Recover disk signature" box will appear in the bottom left corner at the next step. Recovering disk signature may be desirable due to the following reasons:
1. Acronis True Image WD Edition creates scheduled tasks using the signature of the source hard disk. If you recover the same disk signature, you don't need to re-create or edit the tasks created previously.
2. Some installed applications use disk signature for licensing and other purposes.
3. If you use Windows Restore Points, they will be lost when the disk signature is not recovered.
4. In addition, recovering disk signature allows to recover VSS snapshots used by Windows Vista and Windows 7's "Previous Versions" feature.
If the box is unselected, Acronis True Image WD Edition generates a new disk signature for the recovered drive. This may be needed when you use an image backup not for disaster recovery but for cloning your Windows Vista hard drive to another one. Trying to boot Windows after cloning with both drives connected will result in a problem. During Windows booting, its loader checks the disk signatures of all the connected drives, and if it finds two identical disk signatures, the loader changes the signature of the second disk, which would be the clone disk. Once this happens, the clone disk would not be able to boot up independently of the original disk, because the MountedDevices fields in the clone's registry reference the disk signature of the original disk, which will not be available if the original disk is disconnected."

The section of the same reference:
14.3.6 Cloning with Manual Partitions
may also be of interest
My reading of this is that Acronis will allow copying the MBR but recognises the role of the disk signature in a cloning situation and will change it for you.
So you might like(???) to retain the MBR but not the disk signature.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Nov 2010   #115
Night Hawk

W7 Ultimate x64/W10 Pro x64 dual boot main build-remote pc W10 Pro x64 Insider Preview/W7 Pro x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Trailerman View Post
Many thanks Gene - all totally clear and understood.

Can I perhaps beg your help on my other final two queries:

1. I'm working with different hardware of different sizes, and restoring/cloning only 1 partition (the OS partition). I also want to keep both OS volumes in the system in order to dual boot. Should I or should I not clone or restore the MBR?

2. Acronis gives the user the option of selecting the drive letter of the newly created destination partition. Should I leave this blank, should I choose C (my source OS partition letter) or choose a different available drive letter?

I know this has been covered before, but I've never been entirely clear on the best option in this specific scenario.

I have just run chkdsk from a command prompt on the source drive, and it did report something in the MFT, so I am going to try a partition clone again now using Acronis. These are the last two uncertainties before I dive back in.

Jules
To clear some of this up I'll answer your questions here.

1) When performing a direct clone everything was cloned equaling the entire drive and the boot information as well. That's how businesses tend to this. But note they do this across identical hardwares which can make all the difference in seeing working results.

When using the clone option here with the WF freebie that was to the exact make and model which saw immediate results. Once one factor changes the ratio of success rates is lowered to some extent.

2)When going to select the destination Acronis will wipe the entire drive before restoring any image onto it. The cloning option will assume the same that the entire destination drive is available and will be reserved. Between identical drives the cloned partition will take up the same amount of space on the destination drive.

3)The best option was what I was pointing to in the last reply about starting fresh with the new drive due to the differences and seeing images made from that. You wouldn't be running into the same complications working with two identical drives as far as any dual boot setups using anything discussed on this thread.

Besides working with a matched pair you still will want to backup the new main drive from the start. Having the extra drives here is what makes that possible leaving room for multiple drive images.

With the two storage drives each one sees a full image of the main drive here while the second one for storing images is also where the images made by Acronis are kept. So far the images made with the 7 backup feature have been restored numerous times while Acronis saw a few failed restorations on the first attempt.

That was with different images where the second attempt would succeed showing any 3rd party software can still have it's own problems and why the 7 backup option is preferred for maintaining the system. The rest is a gambit! or "great experiment"! and how it has to be treated. But that's how you learn how fast things can trip up on you as well!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Nov 2010   #116
GeneO

Windows 10 Pro. EFI boot partition, full EFI boot
 
 

What do you mean by direct clone? I performed a sector level clone of my entire disk with True Image WD Edition TIH 10 and TIH 2011 and the cloned disk had a different disk signature in each case. TIH cloning probably uses the disk-signature cof the new partition is created for the cloned image.

Jules, please, please check your system disk before creating any more image copies:. In a command window with administrator privilege:

fsutil dirty set C:

Where I assume C: is the drive you are "cloning". Then reboot and let windows check and fix the filesystem with chkdsk as it starts up.

- Gene

- Gene
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Nov 2010   #117
Night Hawk

W7 Ultimate x64/W10 Pro x64 dual boot main build-remote pc W10 Pro x64 Insider Preview/W7 Pro x64
 
 

A direct clone works as far as seeing the second identical drive replace the first source drive as a stand alone device. For setting up a dual boot an image of the first was made by Acronis including the mbr information and restored onto the second. From there the new boot entry could be added into the source drive's BCD store seeing a working dual boot.

When first having restored an image made with the 7 backup option the unique disk id that the MS tool made wouldn't allow for any dual boot. The restored image then became the default single OS making the original installation unbootable. That's why I stated earlier this is all a "trial and error do at your own risk" process. It's nothing recommended for the novice user!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Nov 2010   #118
GeneO

Windows 10 Pro. EFI boot partition, full EFI boot
 
 

Well when I clone my disk image with TIH, and I mean clone as in their lingo and menus, it is NOT an exact image - everything is except the disk signature. It is bootable and everything is identical except for the boot signature. It can replace the first but the signature is different. I can dual boot or BIOS boot the cloned disk with no problem. This says to me that the sector by sector clone is basically the MBR copied except for the disk-signature, which is generated new.

- Gene
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Nov 2010   #119
Night Hawk

W7 Ultimate x64/W10 Pro x64 dual boot main build-remote pc W10 Pro x64 Insider Preview/W7 Pro x64
 
 

With the MS tool in particular and as expected the installation on a particular drive is considered unique and provided a specific id tag for restoration to that same drive. That's how goes since that is a licensed installation being preserved when using the MS option included in 7.

As for 3rd party softwares they are written to be universal except for the free WD and Seagate versions of Acronis being intended for use on one of those two brands of drives in particular and provided free as a custom benefit. But also works for seeing a working dual boot set up with the original drive by not having the same constraints as far as the unique hardware id and won't end up claiming itself as the default and only OS when added into the source drive's boot options.

The testing on this being done here was mainly for seeing which method of backup would prove to be the most reliable as well as whether or not the dual boot idea would work. The practicality however diminishes rather quickly however since you can generally find better uses for the additional drive space once your main drive is backed such as with a full system image.

Dual booting is mostly used for 1)keeping an older version running for older programs that won't run on the newer and 2) for a look at other OSs while still keeping the default OS(Windows 7 naturally ) maintained. The second drive is used mainly for trying out various setups as well as running beta releases until the next version's betas are first seen which will then take up time there.

The one thing to note about dual boots is that they often end up being very temporary to start with. Once you are too accustomed to the main drive's OS the need for the second fades away or you may want something else newer on for a look saying good bye to the present set up.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Nov 2010   #120
GeneO

Windows 10 Pro. EFI boot partition, full EFI boot
 
 

Well I disagree with the usefulness of a dual boot system with the same OS. It is a good warm backup solution. Most people are too narrow minded, don't grasp that or recognize the advantage it has over backups or mirroring, or are not skilled enough to set it up. For those people it fades away. Me, I update my clone OS and other software on it every few weeks and use Microsoft Synctoy to sync my data to it (100s of GB of photo images, etc) as a scheduled task every night. I have been doing this for years and t works well and doesn't have some of the the limitations of raid or backups. My data is also synced periodically to external disks.

And I have cloned a drive with the TIH 10 and 2011 with the same results - the disk signature is the only part of the drive that isn't cloned as far as I can tell.

But this isn't helping Jules.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Safest Way to Clone Windows 7 Volume for Dual Booting




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