11612: Why would anyone clone onto an external hard drive?

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James Brennan
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I have been searching these forums for over an hour (lots of great info) to try an understand why I couldn't clone my Windows Vista from my primary internal drive to my new 1TB external drive. I found lots of great suggestions such as "try cloning from the rescue disk instead of Windows" or "try creating partitions (which I did - I created a 200GB and 800GB partition - my plan was to use smaller partition for Windows Vista and larger partition for backup images) and then restore your image onto smaller partition."

I'm paraphrasing, of course, but they seemed like really great suggestions to others with the same issue, as I have seen so many other people posting on this forum trying to accomplish something similar. I have a rather small (about 74GB) primary hard drive. I have a larger 200GB internal drive that I only use for storing projects, videos, downloads, stuff like that, but I needed something big for backups. So I purchased a Western Digital 1TB My Book Home Edition (which I love) and the Acronis True Image Home 2010 (which I also love). Then I came up with a rather unoriginal idea (as I found this out by reading these forums) that I would partition the external HD into a smaller 200GB and larger 800GB partition. The smaller I could install a whole new Windows OS (another Vista Ultimate x64 or Windows 7, although I haven't yet purchased Windows 7, it was just an idea) and the larger partition would just be for backup images using Acronis True Image 2010.

I thought it was a great idea. Wow, my own virtual world that I could destroy if I wanted because it was not real! My real windows would still be on my smaller 74GB primary HD. I guess I thought I could create my own virtual playground where anything goes. First I tried installing Windows Vista from my installation disk and was told "Cannot be installed onto a USB or IEEE 1394 hard drive." Then I thought, "What if I used Acronis to create a clone disk onto my external drive that I could boot from?" If I wanted to later upgrade to Windows 7, I could do so as now I am working from my external HD - my virtual playground!

To my dismay I find out that cloning wipes out all my previously created partitions on my external HD. This includes my backup partition. I was eager to try this so I went ahead with it, and thank God I didn't do any damage to my primary HD, because the clone didn't work. I tried it 3 times, each time it got to about 75 or 77% completion before the PC tried to reboot and I saw nothing but a flashing cursor and a black screen. I rebooted again and was relieved to find out that my Windows had not been destroyed (especially considering the fact that I just wiped out all my backups). I tried this 3 times with the same result. Again I am so lucky I didn't destroy everything!

Then I recently read the words which should be posted everywhere in CAPS for retards like myself that say, "YOU CANNOT BOOT WINDOWS FROM AN EXTERNAL HARD DRIVE!!!" My God, do you know how many people, including myself, do not know this?! Then why would you even be given the option of cloning onto an external HD? Why, in my case, did the progress only get to about 77% and then reboot? Isn't the whole point of cloning so that you CAN boot from the destination? You are basically moving info from the source to the destination so that you can now boot windows directly from desired destination, right?

I guess I would like to finish by asking, "Was my idea totally crazy, and if not, why can't we do it?"

MudCrab
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You have two problems.

TI should have been able to do the Clone to the external drive. Data is data and it shouldn't matter what OS (if any) is being copied. Apparently, there was an error or other problem. When you tried this, were you using TI in Windows or were you booted to the TI CD?

Windows can boot and run from a USB drive (some versions more easily than others). It's not a crazy idea and a lot of people want to do it. The problem is that Windows can't do it without being tweaked (often a complicated process). Microsoft designed Windows to be unable to boot and run from USB drives. People have figured ways around most of the problems. In addition, running from a USB drive is often much, much slower than from an internal drive, especially if the USB drive is a flashdrive.

For what you tried, the cloning should have worked and the booting should have failed.

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James Brennan
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I thoroughly enjoyed your stuff, but you kept talking about creating a bootable usb drive for TI. I couldn't find any of your writings about creating a bootable usb drive for windows installation. Thank you for agreeing with my idea. So to answer your question, I was using TI in windows. I have read, however, (probably from your writings or that of GroverH) that it is better to try this from the TI CD.

Now that I have one of the main men on the subject, I will ask just a few questions of my own. Let's say I do try to clone Windows Vista Ultimate x64 again onto my external HD. Is there a way to do so without wiping out all my partitions? Remember, my 800GB partition contains my backups, and unfortunately, I don't have room on my storage disk (2nd internal HD) to move them, or even one, for that matter. My idea was to somehow restore my C: Drive backup image onto my fairly newly created 200GB primary partition (this is, of course, part of my 1TB external hard drive).

So, I have 2 problems, and I am asking for 2 solutions, if possible. One, is it possible and would it be a better idea to restore my backup (located on my 800GB partition) onto my 200GB primary partition (both partitions part of external HD), or on the contrary, would it be better to try to clone using the TI bootable CD, and two, can I create a bootable windows, and if so, do you have any writings explaining the process of creating a bootable windows installation on an external HD? I had a feeling this was so hard to find because it is a touchy subject as it goes against Microsoft's design. Sorry, that was much more that 2 question.

I know it would run slower. I am actually using a firewire instead of a USB connection (which is only slightly faster), but I still expect this virtual playground would move rather slowly considering the Intel Processor now has to travel via a much slower connection. I just have recently taken a keen interest in this stuff and would love to read a great step by step instructional guide on this matter. I guess if it's possible, and I have the time, I would love to try it out. Can you help a brutha out?

James Brennan
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Sorry, I know I can ramble, but I'm still curious. In summary, if this is what you were trying to accomplish, would you recommend cloning or restoring a backup image? To me, restoring a backup seems safer, as you are not messing with the current OS, only an image or copy of it. I am looking to work on this little project in a secure and safe environment. Also, if I do this onto an external HD, how can I boot windows? That is all I am trying to do.

MudCrab
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I would recommend that you Restore an image to the partition on the external drive. You can't Clone a partition, only a drive (which wipes out any existing partitions on the destination drive).

I would have to see if I could find anything on booting Vista from a FireWire drive. I think everything I've seen was USB. Because of how the system need to be setup, I doubt the same steps would work. I have only done XP on a USB drive (not manually). From what I've read, Vista and Windows 7 are more difficult.

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James Brennan
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I really do appreciate that. I have the ability to connect My Book external HD via a USB or FireWire, so if need be, I can always use USB instead. I just figured FireWire was faster, and since my computer had the adapter build into the motherboard, I figured why not? I didn't know that they were that much different, I just thought the one was faster than the other. So I'm with you as far as restoring an image to the partition on the external drive. Now I just need to see if booting is a possibility. If so, I will give it a try this weekend. Thank you.

I know this is unconventional, but I'm really only trying to create a bootable space from my external HD using a legal Windows Vista installation. I am not trying to pirate Windows, as I think this is why no one wants to talk about it. Believe me, I would not go through all this time and expense just to hand my work off to someone else.

James Brennan
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Now I really am frustrated. I was just checking my BIOS to see if my external was recognized as a bootable drive. I went into the boot category and took a look at my hard drives. I recognized my primary 74GB internal HD, my secondary 200GB internal HD, and it even recognized my 8GB flashdrive that I had plugged in through a USB port as a possible hard drive! This gets better. I checked out my other bootable parameters. My BIOS shows my floppy, my 2 optic drives, and (this one took me a while to figure out) my ATAPI CD-ROM drive all as bootable. This last one is my virtual drive I created using "Virtual CloneDrive" (this one really got me thinking - could I just create an iso image and boot from that)! So let me get this straight. I can boot from my floppy, my CD/DVD reader, my CD/DVD writer, and my 2 internal hard drives. Even my flashdisk and my virtual cd drive is bootable, but not my external HD containing 1 TB of space which is connected through a IEEE 1394 wire.

First, why is this not recognized? I'm guessing it's because I don't have it connected via a USB port. I can't blame the motherboard, because she is a very new model and was actually installed only 6 months ago. It is an ASUS (I am looking it up now) P5QL/EPU. I don't believe the motherboard is the issue.

Maybe I can just try connecting my external via USB port to see what happens, but then I thought, why am I wasting all this time with an external hard drive that isn't even seen in my BIOS. I enjoy a challenge, but seeing this is not recognized by my BIOS I now see this as an impossibility (I even went into My Computer icon, right clicked and selected Manage, and went into Disk Management making sure my external HD partition was not only primary but also active). Wouldn't doing this on my secondary internal HD make more sense. I know this will require a lot of moving data around as I have this disk drive filled with nearly 200GB of data, but wouldn't this be easier than all this other nonsense?

Please advise...

MudCrab
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I would guess the drive's not being seen as bootable because it's not connected via USB.

If you want a "usable" Vista installation, I would definately recommend putting it on an internal drive. If you don't want to mess with a boot manager, you can set it up so you can select which drive to boot (use the BIOS boot menu [should be F8 on an ASUS]).

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James Brennan
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OK, I will try to clone primary onto secondary internal hard drive. My guess is that clone would be best for this if I want to create two bootable hard drives. Is this correct? I will clone the 74GB onto 2nd HD and then use extra space for space. Which option should I use? Automatic, manual? Which is the best. It will be a while before I begin so any answer will be appreciated.

MudCrab
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Remember that cloning will remove any existing partitions on the destination drive. It may be better to make a backup image of the Vista partition and restore that to the secondary drive (leaving the remainder of the drive as it is).

If you Clone, I would recommend doing a Manual Clone. This gives you more control. The Automatic mode will probably resize the Vista partition to use the entire drive.

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James Brennan
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I think I will try restoring the backup first. Thank you!

James Brennan
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Thanks for your help MudCrab. I moved all my data off the secondary internal HD, reformatted, and restored backup to that drive. It was actually much easier than I thought, and I'm not limited in speed by a USB wire as I would with an external HD. I now have a separate fully functioning operational system on my PC. Thanks MudCrab!

Oh, and I did stick with your restoring backup technique over cloning. This is much more flexible. You definitely know your stuff.

James Brennan
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Quick questions for MudCrab, or anyone for that matter. One, why would I ever use cloning over restoring a backup, as this method suggested by MudCrab seems superior in every way, and two, if I do decide to install Windows 7, will I have any problems with TI version 10?

MudCrab
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From what I've seen, most people that use cloning do so because they want an instant restore. They want to just switch drives and boot the computer. Laptop users may keep a clone backup handy to allow them to switch drives quickly if it fails on the road, for example.

TI 10 should work for backing up and restoring Windows 7 as long as you either generalize the BCD or do only Entire Disk Image backups/restores. Also, it's probably best not to install TI 10 in Windows 7. While it can be done, there may be problems later on.

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James Brennan
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I'm confused. How can I restore Windows 7 using TI 10 unless I first installed TI 10 into Windows 7 and then backed it up. Now that I am working on other HD, I plan to install whole new system. That way, I still have Vista (I just have to change boot order in BIOS) in other HD. This way, I can slowly install programs and move files from one HD to another, and if there is a compatibility issue with a current program, I just go back to Vista to use it (until I can find a more current or better program). Eventually I plan on getting rid of Vista, but this slowly allows me to build my system the way I want it.

So yes, I do want to install TI 10 onto Windows 7 as I will be using a clean install of the OS and one of the first programs I want to install will be this one, as I have learned that backups are the most important thing you can do, especially when building from a clean, new environment like a fresh installment of a new OS.

If this will be an issue, when will TI be compatible? Is there a TI 11?

Gary Darsey
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You should be running off bootable media - this way is OS independent. TI 10 does not support Win 7.

James Brennan
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Absolutely. If media, or hard drive, was not bootable then I would not install a new installation system. It is however, completely bootable, and ready for new installation of Windows 7 when the time comes. So my question again (as just asked above), does TI 10 not support Win 7?

Gary Darsey
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TI 10 (installed as a Windows application running under Windows) does not support Win 7. You should be running TI 10 only from bootable media(i.e., recovery CD), not running under Windows.

MudCrab
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Perhaps the confusion here is that you actually mean TI 2010 and not TI 10. TI 2010 does support Windows 7. TI 10 (released in Fall 2006) does not.

TI versions: ... 8, 9, 10, 11, 2009, 2010

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James Brennan
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OMG! Again MudCrab, you read my mind. First when Gary recommended bootable media he was talking about a bootable cd, and I was thinking about my hard drive. I do have a recovery cd in case Windows goes down. The nice thing about the Acronis installation disk is it actually works also as a recovery disk, but I still have the option of making another if needed. This confusion was very stupid on my part, and yes, I really believed 2010 was the same as 10. I recently purchased Acronis True Image 2010 (I believed TI 10 was the short way of saying it - now I know better) and hoped to be using it to back up my new installation of Windows 7 (once purchased). My first task was to create another bootable source. I finally decided to use my secondary internal HD (thanks to your help) by restoring a backup image from my external HD onto this HD. Now I can boot into 2 separate drives by just changing the BIOS settings and boot order.

Thank you Acronis. Thank you forum. Thank you MudCrab. Soon I will have Vista and Win 7 and the ability to run from either application while still moving files from one drive to the next. You have all been a great help, and MudCrab, you should really look into those mind reading skills. Perhaps you are a Jedi!

GroverH
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James,
As the proverbial saying "you hit the nail on the head". Yes, MudCrab is a very very skilled troubleshooter. He has seen the effects of many errors and thus able to anticipate what might have happened. The forum members are very lucky to have a volunteer with such excellent trouble shooting skills.

Robert Matthew
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My computer has 4 internal drives. Two of these drives (Velociraptor 256 GB) are configured using RAID 0 into one 512 GB drive which contains a small system reserved partition and my main C: Boot Partition. Two other 1 TB drives are configured using RAID 0 into 1 - 2 TB drive which is partitioned into D:, E:, and F: Logical Drives). I also have 2 external USB drives (2 TB each). I would like to simultaneously clone BOTH internal drives to just ONE of the external usb drives in such a way that would allow me to clone them back onto freshly installed clean drives using the bootable CD. I don't care if the cloning back has to be done in two steps or one, but since cloning destroys anything on the backup disk, I assume that the original cloning of the 2 internal drives will have to be done in one continuous operation.

Is what I want to do even possible, or should I be looking at some other backup process to accomplish what I need to do? My ultimate goal is to have a total backup of EVERYTHING on my computer (both internal drives) which can be restored to clean hardware using the TI boot disk. My other goal is to be able to alternate total computer backups between the 2 external usb drives so that I will always have a viable backup if something happens during the backup process itself. I would also like to be able to recover individual files/folders from the backup if I so chose.

Incidentally, my computer uses Windows 7 Pro (64-bit) and I have TI 2011 installed with the latest updates. Can anyone help me???

Matt