Cloning Software

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Cloning Software

Postposted on Wed Jul 11, 2012 9:26 am

Anyone have any suggestions on the best software to clone a harddrive. I want to clone my HDD to a SSD and dont want to bother with just reformatting. If their is a free kind that is best but if i gotta pay so be it. Thanks
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Re: Cloning Software

Postposted on Wed Jul 11, 2012 9:49 am

Acronis True Image 2012 is the alpha and omega of cloning. Heck, I use the 2009 version at m job and it is brilliant.

http://www.acronis.com/homecomputing/products/trueimage/?utm_expid=4274314-6&utm_referrer=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.acronis.com%2Fhomecomputing%2F
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Re: Cloning Software

Postposted on Wed Jul 11, 2012 10:10 am

I recommend R-Drive Image over Acronis.
http://www.drive-image.com/

I have this installed on several machines at work - from Windows Server 2003 to Windows XP to Windows 7 - it works on all of them. It's minimal bloat, allows images to be saved over the network, allows specifying number of images to keep, and other stuffs. There's a 14-day trial period if you want to give it a try.

But I haven't tried Acronis in years. Year after year I wasn't satisfied with their product until I just stopped looking. Maybe it is worth another look at this point.
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Re: Cloning Software

Postposted on Wed Jul 11, 2012 11:43 am

I also use r-driveimage and think, one of the best cloners you can use, is it.
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Re: Cloning Software

Postposted on Wed Jul 11, 2012 12:10 pm

flip-mode wrote:I recommend R-Drive Image over Acronis.
http://www.drive-image.com/
I haven't tried that one (yet). If you're using it on a bare drive, will it create the partition with the optimal alignment for SSD? I assume the answer is yes, because competing products like the latest edition of Ghost do so.
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Re: Cloning Software

Postposted on Wed Jul 11, 2012 12:58 pm

flip-mode wrote:I recommend R-Drive Image over Acronis.
http://www.drive-image.com/

I have this installed on several machines at work - from Windows Server 2003 to Windows XP to Windows 7 - it works on all of them. It's minimal bloat, allows images to be saved over the network, allows specifying number of images to keep, and other stuffs. There's a 14-day trial period if you want to give it a try.

But I haven't tried Acronis in years. Year after year I wasn't satisfied with their product until I just stopped looking. Maybe it is worth another look at this point.


14 day trial sounds like the right price for me. Thanks
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Re: Cloning Software

Postposted on Wed Jul 11, 2012 1:38 pm

wingless wrote:Acronis True Image 2012 is the alpha and omega of cloning. Heck, I use the 2009 version at m job and it is brilliant.

http://www.acronis.com/homecomputing/products/trueimage/?utm_expid=4274314-6&utm_referrer=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.acronis.com%2Fhomecomputing%2F

Acronis True Image got very bad over time, the recent versions have many issues - just look at Amazon's reviews and on Acronis' own forums...

As for personal recommendation - I've been using this software recently, so far never had any issues:
http://www.macrium.com/
There's an absolutely free version available here: http://www.macrium.com/reflectfree.aspx though it has some limitations compared to full versions (such as no support for GPT and Dynamic disks).
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Re: Cloning Software

Postposted on Thu Jul 12, 2012 9:42 am

JohnC wrote:There's an absolutely free version available here: http://www.macrium.com/reflectfree.aspx though it has some limitations compared to full versions (such as no support for GPT and Dynamic disks).

Hmm free non-trial even better. Ill download it tonight and mess around with it.
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Re: Cloning Software

Postposted on Thu Jul 12, 2012 11:14 am

tpaulsen wrote:
JohnC wrote:There's an absolutely free version available here: http://www.macrium.com/reflectfree.aspx though it has some limitations compared to full versions (such as no support for GPT and Dynamic disks).
Hmm free non-trial even better. Ill download it tonight and mess around with it.
And it has the requisite settings to align partitions correctly for SSD (see Step 5 here). I'll be giving this a try, thanks.
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Re: Cloning Software

Postposted on Mon Dec 17, 2012 8:51 pm

It now has support for GPT.
http://www.macrium.com/reflectfree.aspx
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Re: Cloning Software

Postposted on Mon Dec 17, 2012 9:29 pm

CloneZilla is also a choice mentioned whenever this question is asked.
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Re: Cloning Software

Postposted on Mon Dec 17, 2012 11:57 pm

Acronis is good, but it installs multiple auto-run services, something I really hate.
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Re: Cloning Software

Postposted on Tue Dec 18, 2012 2:20 am

How's Clonezilla for aligning SSD's and that whole 4kb thing or whatever it was? I like open source stuff generally - but I've found Acronis to be particularly reliable for me.
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Re: Cloning Software

Postposted on Tue Dec 18, 2012 2:28 am

ImageX/DISM free solution that will allow cloning from larger to smaller as well as tackle the alignment issues (albeit indirectly).
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Re: Cloning Software

Postposted on Tue Dec 18, 2012 3:11 am

dd if=/dev/sdx of=/dev/sdy

http://linux.die.net/man/1/dd
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Re: Cloning Software

Postposted on Tue Dec 18, 2012 9:24 am

I still use a older version of Acronis, because I like being able to mount a image in read only.
I made a image of a drive with all my AV media, and then mount the image in Read only for use.

My version only supports XP & Vista, so if anything newer comes along for Win 7/8 that can do that as well as my older version of True Image Echo, please let me know.
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Re: Cloning Software

Postposted on Tue Dec 18, 2012 9:50 am

Like someone said before, I also use Clonezilla, which is a Linux based live cd, totally free software and good enough for my needs.
I did use it while doing a firmware update to my SSD that destroyed the data in it, just to avoid having to reinstall everything from scratch.
You can check it out here : http://clonezilla.org/
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Re: Cloning Software

Postposted on Tue Dec 18, 2012 10:03 am

AbRASiON wrote:How's Clonezilla for aligning SSD's and that whole 4kb thing or whatever it was?


Can anyone answer this?
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Re: Cloning Software

Postposted on Tue Dec 18, 2012 10:29 am

R-Drive Image 4.7 and higher do support 512 KB alignment.

http://forum.r-tt.com/r-drive-image-v4- ... t7813.html

This software has been bullet proof for me and worth the money, although if something free does the job just as well then that's great!

The other phenomenal/amazing/fantastic/wonderful thing about R-Drive Image is that with works with Windows Server editions. $45 for a Windows Server disk imager. Next cheapest solution I could find was in the hundreds-of-dollars price range.
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Re: Cloning Software

Postposted on Tue Dec 18, 2012 10:36 am

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Re: Cloning Software

Postposted on Tue Dec 18, 2012 2:16 pm

I'll add a recommendation for Macrium (which I seem pathologically unable to spell right), per my experience here (in Yet Another thread about cloning HDs to SSDs).
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Re: Cloning Software

Postposted on Tue Dec 18, 2012 4:32 pm

I'm setting up Macrium in a VM now to give it a try.
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Re: Cloning Software

Postposted on Tue Dec 18, 2012 5:27 pm

Can I just say that Windows options for this are OK for every day use but kind of poop at the same time for power users and the anal retentive (I would fall into both categories :lol:) Talking about Windows 8 here...the old 'Windows 7 File Recovery' option for System Image doesn't seem to be an actual drive image. I was having issues with an HP printer that doesn't have Win 8 drivers - turns out that installing the Win 7 drivers in Win 7 compatibility mode and installing just the bare drivers works. Before I figured that out, I got everything set up except for the HP printer (after doing a system reset because the printer drivers borked the first time) and a Canon multifunction printer, created an image with 'Windows 7 File Recovery' for rollback. I installed the HP drivers again, which didn't work right...ok, roll back to the Windows 7 File Recovery system image...let Windows do its thing. Look at the C:\ drive and what do I see? The HP driver install folder! So yeah, it's not an actual disk image, if it was the HP folder wouldn't have been on the C:\ drive because it wasn't there when I imaged the drive.

I always hope that by buying a Windows OS with additional features that it will be a marked improvement where other software may be able to be replaced. Unfortunately MS is still not there with disk imaging imo.

TL;DR - Windows 8 'Windows 7 File Recovery' is not a true disk image. 'Windows Backup' solely for file versions is great. Get another program if you want to do true disk imaging for backup and restore.
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Re: Cloning Software

Postposted on Tue Dec 18, 2012 5:44 pm

Windows 7 File Recovery can do a system backup and restore, include bare metal recovery. It is true disk imaging.

See here for detail.

Alternatively through the Windows AIK or Windows ADK you can do system imaging (i.e. Ghost, Acronis, etc). More ideally the solution is a file image, not a sector image. This is more for mass deployments in a business environment (though can be one off).

File images do not wipe the disk (unless you do so first). It is non-destructive on purpose. This is a desirable outcome for most people as it can prevent lost data.
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Re: Cloning Software

Postposted on Tue Dec 18, 2012 8:56 pm

I'm not sure why you linked that, it's just one of about a million overviews of Windows 8 backup and image features with nothing that addresses the point I made.

Are you saying that a System Image through Windows is NOT supposed to be a frozen-in-time snapshot of a drive? That doesn't seem like an image to me and is unlike any other imaging programs I've used before, file-based or not none of those 'merge' with stuff that was placed on the drive after the image was made. I was expecting that when I restore a *disk image* that all I get afterward is exactly what was on the disk at the time the image was taken, not that plus some folders and other cruft that was loaded afterward - in this case the HP folder which didn't exist in the backup image and was the problem I was specifically troubleshooting. Sure, the printer and its driver wasn't installed, but the software folder and files were still there, if it was something malicious that image might not have done any good.

Maybe I misunderstand the concept of an image and what it means to restore an image...I always though you end up with precisely and solely what was on the drive at the time of the image, not some mishmash of files and folders from the image and from after the image was taken. It might be consumer friendly-er, but it's not an actual disk image to me so calling it that is misleadi, and it's not particularly useful either.
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Re: Cloning Software

Postposted on Tue Dec 18, 2012 9:10 pm

I'm a huge fan of G4U. It is free and it offers FTP backup ability.
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Re: Cloning Software

Postposted on Tue Dec 18, 2012 9:57 pm

MadManOriginal wrote:Can I just say that Windows options for this are OK for every day use but kind of poop at the same time for power users and the anal retentive (I would fall into both categories :lol:)
Absolutely. I don't think Microsoft was aiming to make a power user app, but just wanted to give the basic capability, and I MS has my gratitude for that.

Talking about Windows 8 here...the old 'Windows 7 File Recovery' option for System Image doesn't seem to be an actual drive image. Windows 8 'Windows 7 File Recovery' is not a true disk image. 'Windows Backup' solely for file versions is great. Get another program if you want to do true disk imaging for backup and restore.

Um, I'm not sure because I haven't tried it myself yet - maybe I'll go try it after posting this, but I think you can do a true image with Windows 8. Look at this here, which comes from the link that Ryu posted:
http://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/u ... covery.png
You can see over there on the left that there is the option to "Create a system image". Now, having not played with it myself, I don't know if you have to do this manually every time or if you can make the image a part of the scheduled backup, but regardless, I think the capability to make a true disk image is still there in Windows 8.
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Re: Cloning Software

Postposted on Tue Dec 18, 2012 10:12 pm

Yeah, that's what I used. I was just irked that there were still files and folders on the C:\ drive after using the image that weren't there when the image was created. The computer configuration was correct, the software was no longer listed in add/remove programs and so on, so it seems like it restored the OS just as it was, just not the exact drive image. I don't think I did it wrong :P
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Re: Cloning Software

Postposted on Tue Dec 18, 2012 10:13 pm

flip-mode wrote:
Talking about Windows 8 here...the old 'Windows 7 File Recovery' option for System Image doesn't seem to be an actual drive image. Windows 8 'Windows 7 File Recovery' is not a true disk image. 'Windows Backup' solely for file versions is great. Get another program if you want to do true disk imaging for backup and restore.

Um, I'm not sure because I haven't tried it myself yet - maybe I'll go try it after posting this, but I think you can do a true image with Windows 8. Look at this here, which comes from the link that Ryu posted:
http://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/u ... covery.png
You can see over there on the left that there is the option to "Create a system image". Now, having not played with it myself, I don't know if you have to do this manually every time or if you can make the image a part of the scheduled backup, but regardless, I think the capability to make a true disk image is still there in Windows 8.

I believe that system image option is to create a .vhd file out of that. I don't think it is a sector-by-sector raw image per se.

MadManOriginal wrote:Yeah, that's what I used. I was just irked that there were still files and folders on the C:\ drive after using the image that weren't there when the image was created. The computer configuration was correct, the software was no longer listed in add/remove programs and so on, so it seems like it restored the OS just as it was, just not the exact drive image. I don't think I did it wrong :P
Can just do a quick format on the target partition before applying the "image"?
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Re: Cloning Software

Postposted on Tue Dec 18, 2012 11:28 pm

If I had known, I would have done something like that. :( There's just no way to do so with the various methods MS provides (they're all actually just different ways to do the same thing whether you use desktop or Metro UI). The Recovery Disc method is the same as using Modern UI. So you'd have to boot into some other OS or preinstall environment, wipe the drive, then use the Recovery Disc to start the re-imaging. Kludgy, and you have to know about it, but it would work and be 'free' with the OS. It should just work that way in the first place though. The only thing I can figure is MS streamlined it due to complaints about Win 7 imaging being slow. It does have some nice features for an included free option like incremental imaging and saving over network, but one silly thing is there isn't a good way to manage images, say if you want to delete all those over one month old you have to go all command line to get rid of the references to the images. I agree with the Ars article that Ryu linked in that MS could have made a really good imaging and backup system, and the parts are there, they are just unpolished and cobbled together.

You've made me think of not bothering with other imaging software but I think I'm going to, the MS tools are just a little too clunky versus the other free (or especially versus the moderately priced) options. I was using WHS before the last month or so, if MS just came out with that backup system as part of consumer Windows they'd have a real winner.
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