Author Topic: Recommendations for free drive cloning software?  (Read 1715 times)

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Offline deathspeed

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Recommendations for free drive cloning software?
I got a 2 Tb hard drive to replace my 640 Gb drive.  My windows installation is on a separate HDD, but I have FS2, Steam, and other games installed to the 640, as well as all my media and data files.  I would like to clone an image of the 640 onto the 2 Tb, hopefully minimizing the number of programs to reinstall.  I plan on using the 640 in another build, so it will not being staying in this system.

Any suggestions for free cloning software, or other techniques?  What has worked for you all?

Thanks!
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Re: Recommendations for free drive cloning software?
Well, the only thing you would have to do is to connect both drives to your PC and: enter the 640GB drive, press Ctrl+A, Ctrl+C, and then open up your 2TB drive and press Ctrl+V. And then wait about a million hours.

As for data, this is everything. But for installed programs it's a tiny bit more complicated - these guys get their own Windows registry entry pointing to the place they are (or were). For them to work absolutely identical as before, you just need to make sure that the localisation of the programs is just like it was before.

Example:

(640GB drive) -> D:/apps/myprogram
should be copied to
(2TB drive) -> D:/apps/myprogram

I just need to remind it, if both of them are working together in the PC, 640GB drive gets designation D, and the next one (2TB) will be named E (or the other way). And if you disconnect the 640GB one, 2TB will take its letter (and for example, become D). I think drive letters and partitions aren't that hard to understand...
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Offline deathspeed

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Re: Recommendations for free drive cloning software?
Thanks!  I was wondering if I needed to use a cloning program to maintain the localization.  But if copying and making sure the new drive has the same drive letter as the old one (after i remove the old one) will work I'll go that route.
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Re: Recommendations for free drive cloning software?
dd
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Offline karajorma

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Re: Recommendations for free drive cloning software?
You don't need to disconnect the old drive. Just right mouse on This PC / My Computer, choose manage -> Disk Management

Then select your D drive and right mouse again to get the change Drive Letters and Paths. Switch the D drive to something else and then switch the E drive to D. End of problem and you still have the other drive available if you need it.
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Offline deathspeed

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Re: Recommendations for free drive cloning software?
I installed the new drive, made sure it was recognized by the BIOS, then formatted, etc. thru Disk management.  Then I used AOMEI Backupper to clone the old drive to the new one and let it run overnight.  This morning I went back to disk management and juggled drive letters to get the 2 Tb drive letter to be what the 640 was.  I haven't played with it a lot yet, but so far everything has worked.

Thanks for the responses!
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Offline jr2

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Re: Recommendations for free drive cloning software?
I think GParted can clone, right?  And then extend the new partition if necessary.

 

Offline karajorma

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Re: Recommendations for free drive cloning software?
Why would you do it that way though? You'd have to get hold of the software, figure out how to use it and then clone the drive. And then you'd still have to switch the drive letters around. Where as a cut and paste is simple and everyone already knows how to do that.

I just don't see what the advantage would be.
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Offline MP-Ryan

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Re: Recommendations for free drive cloning software?
Why would you do it that way though? You'd have to get hold of the software, figure out how to use it and then clone the drive. And then you'd still have to switch the drive letters around. Where as a cut and paste is simple and everyone already knows how to do that.

I just don't see what the advantage would be.

Cut and paste can stop working.

A better way of "cloning" a non-system partition is using robocopy, which is built into Windows.  Despite being command-line, its absurdly simple to use, can be restarted, and won't modify the properties of the files.  https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc733145(v=ws.11).aspx

Ideal for setting up automated backups too, though it doesn't have a shadow-copy functionality so it can't copy in-use files.
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Offline jr2

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Re: Recommendations for free drive cloning software?
Why would you do it that way though? You'd have to get hold of the software, figure out how to use it and then clone the drive. And then you'd still have to switch the drive letters around. Where as a cut and paste is simple and everyone already knows how to do that.

I just don't see what the advantage would be.

I've never had success cloning a running system without specialized software.  If you want a good specialized software with a GUI for doing that, try Macrium Reflect Free Edition
Features:
Hidden Text: Show
Macrium Fast Imaging               
VSS Support for Data integrity               
Drag and drop user interface               
Reorder & resize partitions               
GPT support               
UEFI Support               
Comment backups               
Differential Images

If you want a GUI for RoboCopy, have a look here: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/2009.04.utilityspotlight.aspx

 

Offline karajorma

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Re: Recommendations for free drive cloning software?
Richcopy supposedly has bugs in it that weren't patched before they discontinued support. That makes me pretty reluctant to use it.
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Offline MP-Ryan

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Re: Recommendations for free drive cloning software?
Yeah, RichCopy hasn't been updated in a decade.  Stick with command line.

jr2, cloning is the wrong word for what deathspeed was after.  In his case, the drive was just a data drive.  Since there was no boot information or OS installed on that disk, a straight copy-across is just fine for that purpose.  You only need to invoke actual disk cloning when you're talking about system partitions.
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Re: Recommendations for free drive cloning software?
Well, I suppose that in this usage a "drive cloning" software is superior to Ctrl+C -> Ctrl+V method only in the case of unfortunate random events interrupting the proccess...
Mito [PL] - Today at 8:52 PM
I was supposed to make a short presentation about basics of optical fibers and here I am, listening to Eurobeat while reading about quantum cryptography.

 
Re: Recommendations for free drive cloning software?
Cloning a system partition seems like a bad idea to me, on the whole. Honestly I have trouble thinking of a situation where drive cloning is really appropriate...
The good Christian should beware of mathematicians, and all those who make empty prophecies. The danger already exists that the mathematicians have made a covenant with the devil to darken the spirit and to confine man in the bonds of Hell.

 

Offline deathspeed

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Re: Recommendations for free drive cloning software?
I've never had much luck cloning a drive with a windows installation.  I used to try it with DriveImage XML but could never get it to boot correctly on the clone. 

I guess as MP-Ryan pointed out, cloning wasn't really what I needed in this case.  It was a data drive that did have most of my games and other software installed (my boot SSD has only 128 Gb), and I didn't know if the games/programs would work with just a straight copy-paste.  AOMEI has several options for backups, disk cloning, and system cloning, but some of the features require the paid version.  The disk clone feature of the free version i used worked perfectly for my purposes.
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Offline Flaser

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Re: Recommendations for free drive cloning software?
The Microsoft approved method of "cloning" systems is DISM (the successor to ImageX).
Unfortunately, the tools have sysops doing mass-installs in mind, not power users moving their system partition.
This means that you can't do direct disk-to-disk cloning, you have to capture a partition (to a file) then deploy it (to a disk).
What sets ImageX/DISM apart from earlier cloning software like (Norton) Ghost or Parted is that it's a *file* based tool, not a *sector* based one, so you won't have to deal with pesky 4K boundary alignment issues. (On the other hand, you have to prepare the partitions first before deploying).
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Offline MP-Ryan

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Re: Recommendations for free drive cloning software?
Cloning a system partition seems like a bad idea to me, on the whole. Honestly I have trouble thinking of a situation where drive cloning is really appropriate...

I've never had much luck cloning a drive with a windows installation.  I used to try it with DriveImage XML but could never get it to boot correctly on the clone. 

Really depends on the software.

I use Macrium Reflect for backups and its really slick.  I was also extremely impressed with the software Samsung included with its SSDs (for migrating your OS from a hard disk to an SSD), but I can't remember the name of it for the life of me.
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Offline jr2

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Re: Recommendations for free drive cloning software?
Yeah, RichCopy hasn't been updated in a decade.  Stick with command line.

jr2, cloning is the wrong word for what deathspeed was after.  In his case, the drive was just a data drive.  Since there was no boot information or OS installed on that disk, a straight copy-across is just fine for that purpose.  You only need to invoke actual disk cloning when you're talking about system partitions.

Oh.  My bad (it was probably mentioned in the OP, wasn't it?).  In that case, last time I did research on this (and, after attaching links, it's still on top), FastCopy was the winner for that (see Raymond.cc for a comprehensive test & review of 15 utilities, including RichCopy, RoboCopy, & a slew of other utilities).

Quote
For pure copying speed you really can’t look past Fast Copy. It won both file copy tests and was a close 3rd in the network test.

EDIT:

Cloning a system partition seems like a bad idea to me, on the whole. Honestly I have trouble thinking of a situation where drive cloning is really appropriate...

I've never had much luck cloning a drive with a windows installation.  I used to try it with DriveImage XML but could never get it to boot correctly on the clone. 

Really depends on the software.

I use Macrium Reflect for backups and its really slick.  I was also extremely impressed with the software Samsung included with its SSDs (for migrating your OS from a hard disk to an SSD), but I can't remember the name of it for the life of me.

Macrium Reflect uses ... Volume Shadow Copy or something system-level like that to get Windows to actually copy in-use system files correctly.  Any cloning software for backing up running systems needs to use something like that to get Windows to cooperate.

A quick Google, and yes, it uses VSS:

http://knowledgebase.macrium.com/display/KNOW/Troubleshooting+Microsoft+VSS+errors

EDIT2: Samsung software was, unimaginatively, "Samsung Data Migration", at least according to the setup file download name
 http://www.samsung.com/global/business/semiconductor/minisite/SSD/M2M/html/support/downloads.html
EDIT3: That was the business software, but the consumer software looks to be 100% the same: http://www.samsung.com/semiconductor/minisite/ssd/download/consumer.html
« Last Edit: May 05, 2017, 04:35:28 pm by jr2 »

 
Re: Recommendations for free drive cloning software?
This wasn't even cloning a system drive, it was cloning an auxiliary data drive. You don't need to **** around trying to find something that can clone in-use files.
The good Christian should beware of mathematicians, and all those who make empty prophecies. The danger already exists that the mathematicians have made a covenant with the devil to darken the spirit and to confine man in the bonds of Hell.

 

Offline deathspeed

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Re: Recommendations for free drive cloning software?
The program I used did not use VSS, but it did warn me that it was going to close any open programs that were installed on the drive being copied, or that if it could not close them it would reboot into safe mode to finish the job.  As far as I cold tell it shut down Steam and Origin, and I let it run overnight.  I rebooted after switching the drive letters around, and everything so far has worked fine from the new drive.
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