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Thread: How to clone a hard drive?

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    Formerly known as Andehh Andeh13's Avatar
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    How to clone a hard drive?

    Hi guys,

    My Samsung 830 256gb SSD arrived yesterday and I spent all evening trying to clone my drive. My laptop came with a 1tb 5400rpm hard drive, which has 110gb worth of games, files, software etc.

    I was hoping to simply clone all of this onto the SSD, and boot from it. Despite two attempts with Nortan Ghost and 1 attempt with Macrovision Reflect (something like that) it wouldn't work.

    The free Reflect software seem to do it, but when I tried to boot from the secondary drive, it said operating system not found.

    Does anyone know what could be causing these problems? Or a decent walk through on how to do it? (stupidly, I didn't write down the error messages and I am at work now... )

    Any suggestions are gratefully received.

    Thanks

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    Laird Of The Glen jimborae's Avatar
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    Re: How to clone a hard drive?

    Well for starters I wouldn't use Ghost, never liked or trusted Norton software. Personally when I've done it I've used Paragon and Acronis cloning software. This version is free: Paragon Backup & Recovery Free 2012

    http://www.paragon-software.com/home/br-free/

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    Re: How to clone a hard drive?

    I use a Linux machine (or boot from a Linux live DVD) and use the dd command - with a large block size. (There are variations of the dd command that will do an md5 hash of the original and the clone to ensure that it has been cloned correctly, or you can do it yourself)
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    Formerly known as Andehh Andeh13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimborae View Post
    Well for starters I wouldn't use Ghost, never liked or trusted Norton software. Personally when I've done it I've used Paragon and Acronis cloning software. This version is free: Paragon Backup & Recovery Free 2012

    http://www.paragon-software.com/home/br-free/
    Thanks mate, I will give that a go when I get back. Is the 100gb on a 1tb drive onto a 256gb drive likely to cause any problems? This was what seemed to be tripping Nortan up.

    Should the SSD be formatted prior to cloning?

    Sounds a bit to advanced for me peterb, I've never touched Linux before! Thanks though.

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    Re: How to clone a hard drive?


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    Re: How to clone a hard drive?

    Quote Originally Posted by MoneyShot239 View Post
    God dammit. Another "guide" which says to turn off Indexing for *no* good reason, along with moving the user profile to another drive.

    You WANT indexing on - it means it doesn't need to keep hammering the disk for the results when it can use the Index.

    It came about after some of the first gen of JMicron SSDs had stuttering when you did small writes to them, but this hasn't been an issue for years. I wish people would just let this myth die.

    How to optimise a SSD: Install Windows 7. Done.

    At most you'll probably want to turn off hibernation and maybe move the swap file to another disk, but these are both for space saving, not 'optimisation'.
    Quote Originally Posted by Saracen View Post
    And by trying to force me to like small pants, they've alienated me.

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    Re: How to clone a hard drive?

    I might be talking nonsense but, Isn't it a good idea to use the windows 7 install disk to format and partition the drive first to get it correctly aligned?

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    Re: How to clone a hard drive?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sputnik View Post
    I might be talking nonsense but, Isn't it a good idea to use the windows 7 install disk to format and partition the drive first to get it correctly aligned?
    Yes it is, as many external apps still don't align that partitions.

    I think I'm going to do a short guide on this at some point. It's been covered in loads of threads on HEXUS but people are still not doing basic searches and spending a bit of time reading
    Quote Originally Posted by Saracen View Post
    And by trying to force me to like small pants, they've alienated me.

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    Formerly known as Andehh Andeh13's Avatar
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    Re: How to clone a hard drive?

    Oh damn, this is all turning out to be more in depth then I realised. I figured it was just a matter of getting both HDDs in the same computer, hitting clone button and then removing the original HDD for a later date!

    So I should put the windows 7 disc in, select the SSD drive and then install Windows 7 to it, then clone the original HDD over the 'new' windows 7 installation?

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    Re: How to clone a hard drive?

    I used Easeus DiskCopy - http://www.easeus.com/disk-copy/

    Burn it to a CD, boot from it and clone the drive. Swap the drives and it should work.

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    Re: How to clone a hard drive?

    Quote Originally Posted by Andehh View Post
    Oh damn, this is all turning out to be more in depth then I realised. I figured it was just a matter of getting both HDDs in the same computer, hitting clone button and then removing the original HDD for a later date!

    So I should put the windows 7 disc in, select the SSD drive and then install Windows 7 to it, then clone the original HDD over the 'new' windows 7 installation?
    You don't have to go as far as installing windows 7. Just as far as getting it to format the SSD. Then you should be able to use Acronis TI to copy from the old drive to the new partitions on the SSD. Does your current install had the 100MB system partition?

    I'm not an expert on these things, I learned the hard way. Afterwards you can check the alignment of the SSD using AS-SSD.

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    Re: How to clone a hard drive?

    Andehh; you do not need to format the SSD - the cloneing will replace what is on the desk so no point...

    Get the correct cloning sw and clone the disk job done; my own choice would be Acronis (btw did your ssd not come with some cloneing sw in the box ?)



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    Re: How to clone a hard drive?

    Quote Originally Posted by Apex View Post
    Andehh; you do not need to format the SSD - the cloneing will replace what is on the desk so no point...
    Aghh, you really should mate. The best way by far is to format the SSD with the Windows 7 disk, and then clone the *data* across. This ensures the partition is aligned and the data fits on the existing partition that Windows has made.

    Some partition cloning tools do not do alignment correctly, however.....

    Quote Originally Posted by Apex View Post
    Get the correct cloning sw and clone the disk job done; my own choice would be Acronis (btw did your ssd not come with some cloneing sw in the box ?)
    AFAIK Acronis is one of the ones that does do alignment properly, so you should be okay with it.

    It's all down to the cloning software, but why risk it for the sake of a few mins with a Windows 7 install disk?
    Quote Originally Posted by Saracen View Post
    And by trying to force me to like small pants, they've alienated me.

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    Re: How to clone a hard drive?

    I'd rather clone it and be done with it - none of this formatting.

    Can you prove what your saying ? not to say it doesn't have a impact but i remain sceptical on this step.

    It seems a pointless step to format the disk then clone it seen as the partition and disklayout is getting zapped by the clone

    Just had a look at the Norton Ghost 15 User Guide

    To copy one hard drive to another hard drive
    1 On the Tools page, click CopyMyHard Drive.
    2 Complete the steps in the wizard to copy the drive.
    The wizard steps you through the process of selecting the right drive to copy,
    selecting the destination drive, and selecting the options for copying the data
    from one drive to another
    ftp://ftp.symantec.com/public/englis...user_guide.pdf

    Chapter 15

    This should be it but i asume that the above is when you have installed the software onto the main disk.
    Last edited by Apex; 17-08-2012 at 03:42 PM.



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    Re: How to clone a hard drive?

    When i have had problems with cloning the windows 7 repair cd has sorted it.

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    Re: How to clone a hard drive?

    Quote Originally Posted by Apex View Post
    Can you prove what your saying ? not to say it doesn't have a impact but i remain sceptical on this step.

    It seems a pointless step to format the disk then clone it seen as the partition and disklayout is getting zapped by the clone
    There isn't really anything to prove, because partition data and actual data are independent. The partition and disk layout isn't zapped if you clone across data, which is what I said. I'm not sure when this idea of data and partition information becoming interwove became popular. They are independent.

    If you need it proving, it's easy: Get a partition which isn't 4K aligned. Clone it using software that doesn't know how to do alignment = bad alignment.

    As I said, some software like Acronis will do it for you. Some, like Paragon didn't / doesn't - although I've no idea if they have updated it.

    But don't take my word for it, loads of info out there: http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1590854

    EASEUS Disk Copy maintained proper partition alignment for me switching back and forth between HDD and SSD several times. They both happened to be 80GB, so I can't provide any insight on how it handles resizing though.

    There have been a number of threads in this section discussing disk utilities that maintain proper alignment.
    I tried many disk cloning programs and found that some will maintain alignment of the first partition on the drive during a clone operation (some can't even do that). Only one would keep alignment of the end of the first partition and start of any subsequent partitions that were on the drive without resorting to a RAW 1:1 sector copy (which is undesirable for a SSD). That program was Clonezilla. It was the only program I found that would maintain exact partition alignment of all partitions when cloning.
    Contrary to most of the claims, nearly all disk cloning program do not bring over partition info and layout from the source without modifying and un-aligning it (regardless of what they claim). Miray HD Clone, Acronis 2011, Acronis V11 all modify (and break) partition alignment unless you do a 1:1 raw sector copy. I tried a few others as well that didn't do what people claim they do. (Some of these have been updated now)
    Note the starting offset and partition length for all the partitions is identical between the two drives. That's the proof.
    I have been using Acronis True Image 2011 (Build 6696, 2-2-2011) with plus pack to transfer images from unaligned disks to SSD successfully. You have to partition (format?) the SSD before you do it or it will not be aligned. The format may not be necessary but it is so quick that I do it anyway. I have played around with Acronis TI 2011 and tried to transfer to an unaligned SSD and it does not align it correctly. But if you partition and format the SSD it will transfer it correctly. And alignment will be correct on the SSD.
    I had trouble cloning a Windows installation with the free version of Acronis that works with WD drives. It wouldn't align the SSD partition properly.
    So in short - format the drive and copy the *data* across, not the partition with information where possible unless you know for certain the tool you're using will align the data correctly as some still have issues.

    edit - Ghost 15 was released well over 2 years ago, when SSDs were only just hitting the market for home users. When you factor in development time, I'd be very surprised if it supported SSDs in the way you're describing. The entire document doesn't mention a SSD once!
    Last edited by Agent; 17-08-2012 at 07:08 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Saracen View Post
    And by trying to force me to like small pants, they've alienated me.

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