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How to clone a hard drive?

Discussion in 'Storage' started by OrbitzXT, Jul 25, 2011.

  1. OrbitzXT

    OrbitzXT New Member

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    In my office at work we have typical HDD's, I convinced them to upgrade to SSDs and am wondering if there's a way to clone the hard drive to the new one I'm going to install, instead of having to go and reinstalling Windows and all of the applications all over again. I'm pretty sure I've heard people talk about something like this, but I've never actually done it myself.
     
  2. cheesy999

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  3. lilhasselhoffer

    lilhasselhoffer

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    There are several options, but you need to decide what you really want. In addition, what environment are you running in now? Windows xp has plenty of copying solutions, windows 7 has fewer and less robust solutions, and Linux has its own built-in commands.

    1) Clone one hard drive image, then roll it out on several computers. This method requires volume licensing (which your business might have), and will be the fastest deployment. Conversely, it also requires the most rigid image (everyone gets everything basic, then has to install their own specific stuff).

    2) Everyone gets their current HDD cloned to a new SSD. This will be a time sink for your IT. It also has the potential to be problematic if you are using older hardware that doesn't support write levelling algorithms.

    3) Fresh installs all the way around. This would be the most time consuming solution. On the other hand, it would allow for the fastest computer speeds (fresh installs always do) and force people to clean up their information. A little bit of cleaning, with the old HDDs kept for a few months to prevent data losses, might be a smart decision.

    If you're going for 1, the best solution is probably Norton Ghost. They do large roll-out very well, and it won't take IT the better part of a week to do the company if there are more than a dozen computers.
    If you're going for 2 there's quite a few more options. Paragon, as stated by others, is a good cheap option. There are other free options, though their compatability with windows 7 is sketchy at best.
    3 is a tricky solution. You lose time from the installs, but one computer a night and the working hours lost will be negligible. It really depends on how much time your company is willing to invest in this project.


    No matter what you decide, best of luck. SSDs may be faster and more durable, but they have their own down-sides...
     
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  4. AsRock

    AsRock TPU addict

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  5. FreedomEclipse

    FreedomEclipse ~Technological Technocrat~

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    +1 for Acronis. I use it myself
     
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  6. DanTheBanjoman Señor Moderator

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    Out of curiosity. Why did they have to upgrade to SSD's?
     
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  7. OrbitzXT

    OrbitzXT New Member

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    I ordered three SSDs for three different PCs in the office. All are Windows 7, one is 64-bit and the other 2 are 32-bit if that makes a difference. Each PC is used by a different person in the office who fulfills different duties around here, so the software installed on each PC is fairly different. I suppose I would need either option 2 or 3 based off of lilhasselhoffer's post. Also I'm curious, what're the downsides of SSDs? Cost per GB isn't really an issue for what I'm doing, and now that SSD's have TRIM support I'm not aware of any downsides. I've been using an SSD on my personal computer at home now for a couple of years and I can still remember how pleased I was when I made the switch.

    They didn't have to, I just saw some good ones on sale at NewEgg and thought it couldn't hurt. Plus one of the computers actually needed a new hard drive, and since we don't need a ton of capacity I thought an SSD would be an improvement.

    Also, with regards to Acronis, can it ONLY be cloned if you're using WD hard drives? The PC I use at work, which is getting an SSD, has a Western Digital Caviar in it. I need to check the other two though.
     
  8. qubit

    qubit Overclocked quantum bit

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  9. dr emulator (madmax)

    dr emulator (madmax)

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    ye that's good software but i had problems with certain games refusing to boot, but since OrbitzXT is using it in an office enviroment i don't see a problem ;)

    let us know what you used and how it's going, and any problems you run into, as i'm kinda curious as to how ssd's will act ;)
     
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  10. cheesy999

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    i used it to transfer my machine to a new harddrive a few weeks ago (i upgraded to 1TB) and it worked well for me then
     
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  11. OrbitzXT

    OrbitzXT New Member

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    What're the limitations of the free version of Paragon? Also, how exactly do I do this? Do I simply boot into Windows with both hard drives plugged in, run the software and it'll copy it over to the new hard drive? Or is this something that needs to be done outside of Windows?
     
  12. AsRock

    AsRock TPU addict

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    Well i use it to clone my raided SSD's to a WD drive which is split into 2 partions one being for my games and never had a issue.

    Maybe your not getting the drive letters right for the games and fails to match whats in the registry.
     
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  13. digibucc

    digibucc

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    depending on the software it is possible to do in windows, but it requires shadow volume copying, which is normally not available in free versions of imaging software.

    the safest, fastest, most stable bet is to burn to a disk and boot into a dos-like environment. that way windows files aren't being used and can be copied easier and with less errors, and free software can do it.
     
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  14. OrbitzXT

    OrbitzXT New Member

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    Does the Paragon software have an option to burn a bootable disc? If not, how do I go about doing that?
     
  15. digibucc

    digibucc

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    i've actually not used paragon, so idk.

    i believe hiren's boot cd has imaging utilities on it. in the past I have just searched "bootable disk imaging" or "hdd image boot disk" , but now i use Norton Ghost (the only good piece of norton software imo :) ).
     
  16. OrbitzXT

    OrbitzXT New Member

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    Is there a particular guide to using any of the recommended software in this thread? I'm admittedly a little confused since 3-4 different programs have been recommended, none of which I'm familiar with using =/ Sorry for being a noob! =)
     
  17. qubit

    qubit Overclocked quantum bit

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    I don't know of any particular guides, so google is your friend, as ever. :) And don't worry about being a n00b, we all started from the beginning! :toast:
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2011
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  18. AsRock

    AsRock TPU addict

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    Well with Acronis True Image you just add the extra HDD you want to clone too and tell it the source and designation and it's pretty much done.

    Just remember to make sure the new hdd is not being booted from.
     
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  19. 95Viper

    95Viper

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    στο άλφα έως ωμέγα
  20. OrbitzXT

    OrbitzXT New Member

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    I'm a little confused about one thing with this guide.

    If my existing HDD is unplugged, and the only thing plugged in is my new, blank, SSD...where is the system image being stored for Windows to restore from?

    Edit: I missed the part where it says you'll need an extra HDD to do this, my bad. Do you know if an external HDD would work to store the system image on?
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2011
  21. xBruce88x

    xBruce88x

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    should be able to use an external HDD, but may take longer through USB. (unless its e-sata or usb 3.0) I've used an external with Acronis before just fine, but it was very slow through USB 2.0 compared to using the sata ports. as an example, when i was copying the backup of my Steam folder to my new raid config via an external 250gb hdd i was seeing at best 25-30mb/sec transfer, i took the external out of the enclosure and hooked it up to the sata ports and got 70mb/sec transfer.
     
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  22. cool_recep

    cool_recep

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    CasperXP is what I use...
     
  23. Batou1986

    Batou1986

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    Just grab norton ghost burn to cd pop it in then do drive to drive image and your done

    Last time I needed to do this i used norton ghost on Hirens BCD worked excellent, also was used for cloning office machines.
     
  24. xBruce88x

    xBruce88x

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    yea norton ghost is great too. i used it a lot back when i worked for the school system. (100's of comps, no way in hell i'm sitting through the windows install screens for that!). I liked that i could push one image to multiple computers at once through the network :) oh and we also had it set up so on login to the "update" server it would automatically run and install all updates (flash, java, adobe, etc, etc) unattended.
     
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  25. Widjaja

    Widjaja

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    I have used:-
    Norton ghost 6.0 and 14.0
    Acronis True Image Home 11
    Acronis True Image Seagate Edition a.k.a Seagate Disk Wizard.

    Norton Ghost 14.0 seemed to be a hit or miss as to whether it would successfully clone a drive.

    Acronis Home 11 and Seagate Disk Wizard has always been successful and even clones all partitions so if you are cloning a laptop HDD with a racovery partition it does it correctly.

    I could not get Norton Ghost to clone more than one partition on to a HDD.
     

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