25522: Can I undo the clone I made that seemingly destroyed all of the other backups and data I had on my external hard drive???

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James Edwards
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I am a neophyte when it comes to backing up and cloning hard drives so please excuse me for asking what may be a dumb question.

I am using Acronis True Image 2011 and did a clone of the C drive of my HP desktop, I am now setting up, to my external 1.5 TB Seagate drive. Now previous backups I had done to that Seagate external hard drive and copies of data I had on a smaller external hard drive that I copied to the Seagate external hard drive, that had my pictures, documents and etc from previous computers, are gone.

I am guessing this is a dumb question but can that cloning action be undone such that all my previous backups and copies of data would be there in the Seagate external hard drive again as they were before I did the clone job?

I did a deep scan with "Recuva" to look at all of the files of the Seagate hard drive. But I am not sure how much good I am going to get out of it. One thing at least I haven't done anything to the Seagate external hard drive, except for scanning with Recuva since doing the ATImage clone.

As I look back I see that at least I could have partitioned the Seagate 1.5 TB external hard drive and put the clone on a part of the hard drive that didn't have anything on it... Too smart too late...haha...

All constructive suggestions and or help is welcomed. I suppose I should welcome the non constructive because I deserve to get some of that too. But I ask your patience with this 80 year old man who almost forgets to get out of bed in the morning...haha...

Thanks

Jim
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GroverH
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James,
As you are only a very few days older than me, we can talk as if we are the same age.

In Acronis terminology, performing a clone procedure is to make the target disk look exactly like the base disk. This means that everything on the Seagate is overwritten with the data from the HPDesktop. You cannot put a clone on part of the disk. The clone take all the disk so you have two identical disks.

Most certainly, it is possible to make a backup of your old computer and put that backup file (*.tib) onto part of any other external disk. As the backup is just a file, you can have many files on the target storage disk. In retrospect, what you needed was to do a backup procedure rather than a clone procedure--or a clone or backup onto a blank disk. Other 3rd party does provide for cloning a single partition but Acronis software does cloning at disk level.

There are some commercial companies which specialize in retrieving this data but the cost would be in the thousands. You may be able to use partitioning software and undo the clone but that still may not make the original data retrievable. If some of the data you want to recover was simple files, there may be a slim hope but attempting to recover large compressed backup files will not be an easy chore--if at all possible. Definitely, do NOT write anything to the Seagate.

I will ask a couple people to look at your situation but the recovery hopes are very slim. Most certainly anyone else that might help should respond into your posting.

If it makes you feel any better, you are not the first (nor will you be the last) to have been burnt by the cloning procedure but usually the mistake is to clone the empty onto the good master rather than correctly cloning the master onto the empty target. No one likes to see such an accident but redundant backups onto different drives can help to recover from such an accident.

James Edwards
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Grover thank you for the wise words and thanks for your help. I still learn things pretty good but forget them in a few days if I am not using them all the time...haha...

If I understand you correctly you are saying that even if I would partitioned my Seagate 1.5 TB external drive and after that petitioning would have tried to clone my HP hard drive to one of those partitions that my Seagate external drive would have still ended up just like it is now, that is, void of all of what had been stored on the Seagate external drive before I did the clone job? WOW that is brutal...haha... As a matter of fact what I did was brutal too.

All help and comments are welcome and thanks

Jim
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GroverH
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Quote:
If I understand you correctly you are saying that even if I would partitioned my Seagate 1.5 TB external drive and after that petitioning would have tried to clone my HP hard drive to one of those partitions that my Seagate external drive would have still ended up just like it is now, that is, void of all of what had been stored on the Seagate external drive before I did the clone job? WOW that is brutal.
Yes, your understanding is correct when using Acronis TrueImage software. The target disk would be a clone of the master and would contain exactly the same data as the master disk.

It is possible to use TrueImage to do what you wanted to do but not using the Clone process. The procedure would have been to create a backup of the HP partition and then use the backup recovery procedure and restore the backup image file into the open partition.

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James,

As Grover has mentioned, your data is now lost, I doubt even one of the forensic recovery places would get much data back to make it worthwhile and it would be expensive.

As Grover mentioned your best bet now is to make complete disk images, which will result in a file containing your PC contents, much like a zip file does but more advanced. This you could put in either a separate folder on your external drive or if you prefer on a separate partititon on the external drive. That would be a good idea because it provides some security to the image surviving some forms of disk corruption.

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Jim,

What size was the original HP drive? What size were the partitions?

TI will only copy the "used" space. For example, if the source drive was 1TB in size, but had only 200GB of data on it, TI would only copy the 200GB of data to the new drive. The remaining areas should be as they were. The smaller the "used" data amount, the greater chance of recovering anything.

If it were me, I would try to recreate the original partition on the Seagate drive (assuming TI didn't replace it exactly) and see if anything showed up. Otherwise, you are left with running data recovery programs. GetDataBack is one that also gets recommended. I would recommend trying at least four different programs (they don't all work the same in each situation). Make sure the correct area of the drive is being scanned -- some may work better scanning unallocated space than a partition.

If the files on the Seagate were fragmented it will make recovery more difficult. Unfragmented files that weren't overwritten could be recovered manually, if it came to that.

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Jim:

Grover asked me to take a look at this thread also. I agree that the only hope that you have is to possibly recover some of the files that were located in places that were not written over by the clone operation. MudCrab's advice is good - try several of the data recovery programs to see if they can find anything.

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GroverH
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Jim,
Here is one program you can try. It is free to start with so a trial use would give an idea as to whether it might help to recover a few of the files. Are you seeing our postings and have you had any successes at all?
http://www.powerdatarecovery.com/power-data-recovery-free-edition.html

James Edwards
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Okay guys I am seeing all of your posts and THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH. I have been super busy but have read the responses at least.

I tried "Recuva" for recovering the files doing a deep scan that took about a day and a half. Not knowing much about these things I would however judge that it did an excellent job of getting files all set up for recovering them although I didn't actually recover any. But I am overwhelmed by the tons of files...haha... I was taking some time to learn all of the functions of this particular program, which by the way looks like a great program, but I got sidetracked by other things that had to take preference in my life at this time.

I HAVE NOT LOADED ANYTHING TO THE SEAGATE EXTERNAL HARD DRIVE THOUGH!!!...haha...

The HP hard drive is a 320 GB drive that comes out at about 298 GB. It was partitioned as HP (C:) 72 GB NTFS, DOS (E:) 1.00 GB FAT32, 215.58 GB unallocated & a Factory Image (D:) 9.51 GB NTFS. The rub of the whole situation started because of the 215.58 GB unallocated partition and I wanted to back up before trying to get the unallocated partition as part of C: drive or at least to a partition where I could use it... Let me please digress a little...haha...

This HP m8300f computer I bought at Fry's some time back and did something I don't usually do and that is I bought a 5 year warranty because I try to make my computers last 5 years. I was having a lot of trouble with the computer after having it for some while and thought it might be virus/malware and so went online and got help. Well in the middle of that help the old HP finally just wouldn't make it anymore like there was a hardware problem so I took it back to fry's and they had to put a new motherboard in it and it had to be the original because for some reason or rather they couldn't make an aftermarket one work. So they restored it like it was when I bought it new and I had to start all over again. Fortunately for me before I took it to Frys I took the hard drive out and backed it up. Anyway when Frys did their work on it the main hard drive came back to me with the 215 GB unallocated partition which wasn't like that when it was new. Originally C drive had all of what wasn't used by the other two small partitions. I wanted that unused part of the hard drive back in use and so thought I had better do a back up before I started fiddling with the partitioning.

I have owned Acronis for over a year and have never used it and when I did I did the wrong thing...haha... So that is kind of where I am at now.

I do have an older 300 GB IDE drive in a external case with fan on it that I used for storing my data in, all done by hand whenever I got around to it. So I still have that info. My story kind of goes on and on so here goes some more. Some time before the HP gave up the ghost there was a terrific sale on an eMachine with Win 7 64bit and I want to try out Win 7 64 bit so I bought it and didn't do much with it but when the HP failed I set up the eMachine with all of my software and used it. Well after about a year it started having problems that again I thought might be virus/malware problems so I went online for help and got some but while in process lo and behold the hard drive crapped out. Windows started a backup but only got about a 1/4 of the way through before it wouldn't go any further. Well the Seagate hard drive was set up to back up automatically but I don't like to leave my external hard drives running all the time but just turn them on when using them and so after some time I just shut them off...haha... Dumb move on my part. When the hard drive failed the newest backup was about a month and half old. Well I was using that back up while setting up the HP which I had just started. After installing a few pieces of software and moving my music to the C drive and while installing another program I got a message that there wasn't enough room on the hard drive. I said heck no that is a 320 GB hard drive and it is a long ways from being full. So I checked it out and C drive only had 72 GB. I said what gives??? I had to get some help to find that 215 GB was unallocated because every way I looked at the capacity it didn't show the 215 GB that was lost to me...

I hope my story wasn't too boring even though I know it was too long but at least it gives you all pretty much the whole picture.

I think I will follow you alls advice and try three or four of the recovery programs but I have a feeling that I am going to be pretty much overwhelmed in trying to get back everything file by file... It will be on a as I can do basis and I will keep all of you good people informed of the results.

If anybody has anymore questions or suggestions they are welcome and I am listening.

Thank you all again so much for you input and help.

Jim
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James Edwards
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Oh one other thing. It was a hot day and hot here in my office/ham shack and my computer sits up on a shelf where it is even hotter than at chair level so when I get most all of the software that I want installed on the HP I will set the eMachine up on the floor beside me or on the desk temporarily and see if I can get anything more out of the hard drive. If I can get it to run enough to get a back up of it that would help GREATLY...haha...

Yes I know I should have my computer installed on the floor or at least lower down but I really don't have any place left it in this tiny room to do that permanently...

Jim
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I forgot to mention the the HP Desktop has two 320 GB hard drives just for your info...

GroverH
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Jim,
keep us posted on your progress. Can you post a screen capture showing the 320 with the unallocated space?

If you need instructions on the upload procedure, click on the first line of my signature below and locate index iteim #1-F and #1-G.

James Edwards
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Here is the attachment, I hope...haha...

Jim
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disk_management_on_my_c_disk__9-30-2011_4-18-45_pm.png 91.08 KB
GroverH
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You have two options which you could choose.
1. Use the unallocated space and create a new additional partition with drive letter F.

or

2. Use the unallocated space to expand the current C partition.

Choice 1 is the easiest but choice 2 is doable with a little extra effort. I can provide instructions--if needed.'

You probably posted this but which version of windows is on the 320 shown in the illustration?

James Edwards
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My HP Desktop with the two 320 GB hard drives is running Win Vista Home Premium.

The way I use my desktop is I usually move the documents, music, downloads and etc to the other 320 hard drive periodically just leaving mostly the operating system and the installed programs on the C drive. If I keep it clean I can easily get by with the 72 GB partition. Ideally I would like unallocated space to be part of C drive. I don't know what I would do with the unallocated space as another drive as I think it would just complicate my pretty simple way of doing things having another drive to think about using.

A friend told me that it would be complicated to join the 215 GB unallocated space to the C drive but could be done just as you have said. I don't know if I am up do doing something too complicated...haha... But maybe I could take a look at what all is involved... I am not exactly computer dumb but if instructions aren't specifically explained and there was any room for mix up I might get mixed up...haha...

I am willing if you think you can instruct this old dawg... Thanks so much for the offer. Lets give it a go if you have the time and are willing. However if I screw up I have to have some way to recover because I absolutely could not lose what I have now on the C drive. I have even added some programs in the last few days that I wouldn't want to have to do over. The biggest thing is my Eudora email programs which has all of my receipts and keys or passwords for software I have bought over time. I managed to get this Eudora stuff reinstalled from the backup that I had but it was a month and a half old from being up to date. Its complicated and very time consuming for me to get all of that data back into the installed programs and that is one of the things I have been doing over the last week or so since my hard drive failed. You see I am old and slow...haha..

You know I am thinking that I had just better take the easy route for the time being until I get all of my current back up problems solved and maybe tackle the choice 2 at a later date if choice 2 can then be accomplished later after doing choice 1

I am willing to listen to your suggestions if you have the time and I thank you.

Jim
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GroverH
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OK. I will prepare the instructions on expanding the size of drive c to include all the unallocated space.

Doing so is not really difficult but most time will be spent in preparation. I am not sure whether I will be able to spend any time on it tonight but we will achieve your goal of expanding the space.

Hopefully, you have a blank CD disk that is available for use?

James Edwards
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I probably didn't say it exactly right but in the next to the last paragraph of the previous post I said that I think I think I should take the easy route (choice 1) for the time being just so I don't screw nothing up right now...haha...

That should be a lot easier for you and for me... OK???

Jim
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GroverH
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If your choice is to make a new partition out of the unallocated space, here are the instructions as to how. However, if you should want to expand drive C in the future, it is much easier now than later the partition is no longer un-allocated.

For now, remove any Flash Drives or cameras or external drive you may have connected. I am assuming that your DVD player is assigned drive letter F and should mean that drive letter G will be assigned to the new partition. Actual format time could be a couple hours.  

If you  should have any questions during the process, choose the cancel option and ask your questions.

Open Windows Disk Management again just like you did when you did the screen capture. That is your beginning location for the instructions.

Correctiion: Windows will assign the next available drive letter and as G is already in use, the next available letter will be H.

James Edwards
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I think you are saying that I if I think I want to make C drive larger that I should do it now rather than later... I think that some time down the line I would like c drive to have what is now the unallocated space added to it. So do you think I should go ahead and do that now??? I just don't want to do any thing to screw up the current C drive.

The attachment is my drive configuration looking at it from PowerDesk Pro.

Jim
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GroverH
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It may take me a couple days but I will put the instructions together and you can look and decide but now is the best time to do expand C if that was your future plans--rather than create a new partition now with a new drive letter. You will need a single blank CD disc for the creation of a special CD disk.

James Edwards
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Grover thanks for your help and for being so patient with this old dawg and for taking my under your wing so to speak. I have disks. I am in no hurry so take your time.
Jim
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James Edwards
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Grover hang tough on doing all the work you would be doing laying it out for me to add the unallocated space to my C drive. I am investigating a software program that says it can do what I want and it is free for the home version. It is called Partition Master. Do you know anything about it? They have said it will do what I want to do.

Please see this post if your are interested. Do you have any wise words for me before I might try to do this with Partition Master Home Free???

http://forum.easeus.com/viewtopic.php?p=39667#39667

Jim
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Jim

I just saw your latest posting but while that program is good and might do the  job, I would prefer you use a Dos type program rather than expand your partitions from within Windows. I believe my recommendation is the safer choice. These are the instructions I just finished.

There are several ways of achieving your goal of utilizing the unallocated space and assigning it to your Drive-C.  Not everyone would necessarily use the same procedure I am suggesting for  you but I want to use a procedure which is as foolproof as possible with the least chance of errors.
Perhaps you have heard the saying "different strokes for different folks."
Step 1:
So, the first step is that we need a partitioning program to move the partitions. You can't expand C until we move the unallocated space so it is adjacent to the drive C. The free MiniTool Partition Wizard v7.0 will do this nicely.

Download from this link and know where you stored the download.  This file is not to be installed so just keep the download file and await further instructions.
http://www.partitionwizard.com/download/pwhe7.iso
-------------------------------------------------------
Step 2:
The above file must be specially burnt to CD as an image file. To do this, there is a good special burn program which is easy to use and free. Download this free file from (or other locations)
http://download.imgburn.com/SetupImgBurn_2.5.6.0.exe

Install this file with the default values EXCEPT FOR  uncheck the options  relating to the Ask Tool Bar which we do NOT need and therefore should not installed.
See image 1--uncheck options
------------------------------------------------------
Step 3:
After installing ImgBurn, insert a blank CD-R into tray.
Using the normal Windows Explorer, open the folder containing the first download  and browse to the pwhe7.iso file.

A. Right Click on the pwhe7.iso file.
B. Click on the option "Burn using ImgBurn"
C. Click on the  Start CD burn option.

During the burn process, the program will open and close the tray during the validation of the burn process.
After completion of the burn and ImgBurn closer, use a Sharpie pen etc and write the name of program (ImgBurn) onto the CD disk.
See image 2--showing ImgBurn CD selection
--------------------------------------------------------
Step 4:
Disconnect any external disks or flash drives connected so only the two 320 disks appear in Partition Wizard program (PW).

A. Boot using the new CD and you should boot into the Partition Wizard program.
Note  the upper left corner of the program. There you have buttons either to  Apply your changes or Cancel your Changes or to Undo your most recent change.  You have not made any changes official until you click the apply button.

B. You will be making two changes. The first change will be applied to the DOS partition which is to  move the partition from the left margin to the right margin boundary.  The second change will be to move the right boundary only of the HP partition to consume all unallocated space.

C. Follow the instructions inside the images. If you  have any questions or doubts as you are progressing, then Cancel and ask your questions.  Good luck.


Image 1


Image 2


Image 3


Image 4


Image 5

Click the OK button to continue.


Image 6


Image 7

Click the OK button to continue.


Image 8

Ignore the drive letters shown in Image 8


Image 9

After you have a chance to look this over and maybe practice and cancel, let me know if you have questions. Your only changes is to the Dos and HP partitions. At no time do you select the unallocated partition for adjustments. I have tried to make the examples as much like your actual as possible but there could be slight size differences in my examples as compared to your actuals.


James Edwards
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Grover what a lot of work for you to get that stuff all organized and then put it in a post. THANKS A LOT FOR ALL YOU HAVE DONE TO HELP ME. I haven't looked it all over yet but I will get at it. I am hoping I don't decide it is too complicated because I want to do as you have suggested.

I am going to back up what I have on my C drive to the second hard drive on this computer (no cloning...haha). Not sure when I will be able to do that. I don't want to touch the Seagate 1.5 TB external hard drive that I did the clone to yet. I have tried two recovery programs and so far they don't help me. It has taken about a day and a half of running for each one of them to do their thing. I have yet to try the recovery program you suggested but that will probably be the next one I try.

Jim
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James Edwards
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Gorver: I did everything instructed to get ready to do this job. I got to step 3 and something did not come up as you instructed. I installed ImgBurn and on the last step of that clicked on the "finish" button and ImgBurn started and came up on the screen. The I used Windows Explorer to go to pwhe7.iso file and I right clicked on it. No where did it give me the option "Burn using ImgBurn." Now what do I do???

Attached are pictures of the ImgBurn on the screen and the picture of the results of right clicking on pwhe7.iso file.

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James Edwards
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I finally found it under "Open With"...
Jim
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James Edwards
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Grover YOU did it. YOU successfully guided me through doing this through your exact instructions. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOU PATIENCE WITH ME!!!

GOD is good and so is Grover...

THANKS!!!

Jim
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GroverH
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Perhaps the difference in instructions was that my instructions were created in Windows XP Pro.

Before we close the door on this space reassignment issue, lets check the value listed for your "Partition  Starting Offset" for your system disk or Disk 0.
This information is available from the System Information option.
Go to
Start/Programs/Accessories/System Tools/System Information
After Window opens,
Double Click on Components; Dbl Click on Storage; Dbl Click on Disk

On my printout, the first 20 lines relate to Disk #0 which is the first disk.
Locate the line which reads "Partition Starting Offset" (maybe line 20) and this will be for the disk which reads Partition  "Disk #0, Partition #0
Does your starting offset read "1,048,576  bytes" ?
As shown in this sample but not specific to your computer.

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No it doesn't...

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GroverH
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Please confirm the type of Windows installed for this drive.

The setting you show is the norm for XP Pro and some versions of Windows 7. Some of the recent installations of Windows 7 come with the offset you show. Unless you plan on installing to a Solid State drive, your setting should not be an issue.

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This HP m8330f desktop is running Win Vista SP2... I think that is what you are asking for when you asked "for the type of Windows installed for this drive."

I bought MS Win 7, some time back, for undating three computers that one of these days I hope to do to this desktop and my laptop which are both running Win Vista. The truth is I don't really see anything wrong with Win Vista even though I have heard lots of people complaining about it

Well I would love to have a solid state drive to speed things up. I might be interested in having a SSD for my C drive but I have no idea how to get the info from the existing C drive to the a new SSD such that I could just change drives and the new SSD would boot up and run everything as it is now. That is if I could get a good buy on a real good SSD...haha... I know some of those drives are better than others but I know not which are which.

Thanks for your help Grover.

Jim
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James Edwards
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I double posted the above somehow or rather

James Edwards
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Ye gads I was looking at Crucial M4 CT128M4SSD2CCA 2.5" 128GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive at Newegg and they were on sale for $199 with a $20 rebate on top of that to make it $179 and while I was looking around at the other SSD's and in a minute or two I returned to the Crucial 128GB and the price had jumped to $227... What gives???...haha...
Jim
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Attached is price history

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crucial_128gb_price_history.jpg 32.53 KB
James Edwards
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I can buy this at B&H for $202. I have been thinking about a SSD and you replanted the seed in my mind... One of the reviewers comments say something about alignment. I am wondering if I could use this drive in my current computer???

Attached are reviewer's comments about alignment.

Jim
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James Edwards
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You have been most helpful Grover so I believe I better just go away...haha...

Thanks again for all of your help my friend.

Jim
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Sometimes on pricing on the web, they cut the price to try and get you to "buy right now". Maybe you can repeat the search and price compare and get the price repeated.

I know "from nothing" about SSD's. They are on my "nice to have" list but not the "have to have" list. I can offer no suggestions about brand.

Yes, I would believe that you could use an SSD with Vista but as part of the transfer process, you would need to correct the alignment. There are several ways to do this. I would assume that you would remove the current 320 and put the SD in its place and then restore a backup of your current configuration. You would need to restore one partition at a time and resize the first partition back near its approximately original size before your fix. The 2nd and 3rd partitions would remain their current size and the c drive could consume all the other space. You would need a current disk option backup of your current fixed 3 partition setup.

As part of the restore of the first partition, you would need to set the "free space before" to 1 mb in order for it to work correctly. The program may or may not allow this setting. If it does not, then we would need to achieve the 1mb setting by other means.

I have some ideas as to how to fix the alignment issues using Vista but we would have to test it first by creating a new partition (any size) on the SSD when the SSD is attached to Vista. We would verify that the offset is correct and if correct, we would then restore the backup onto the SSD and retain the correct offset.

As your original disk would not be attached, there should be no risk to the current 320.

If you decide to purchase, then read all the instructions and get back to me.

MudCrab
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According to Acronis, TI 2011 and TI 2012 should both set the alignment correctly on the SSD. You shouldn't need to do anything special. Check the alignment after restoring/cloning and make sure it's correct.

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James Edwards
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Grover I have given considerable thought to the SSD drive. Even though I would like the speed I am going to wait some more time before making a move to a SSD...

Thank you again my friend for all of your help for without it I would have still been stumbling along like like the olddawg I am... You have went way beyond the call of a volunteer helper and I really appreciate the help you have given me. There are a few people out there like you who give of themselves and they and you are very much appreciated by all of us lessor computer folks...

Jim
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