28243: Cloning the C: Drive to a External USB drive

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william holets
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After launching the clone disk option and some time later when I assume the operation was completed or nearly completed I got a message that indicated that changes would occur after restarting the system.
I did not want to restart the system at that time because it was getting close to the time that my weekly
Windows7 updates would occur. At that time I decided to remove the USB drive from the system via safely remove USB hardware and removed power from the USB drive so as to not have the clone drive on the system while the updates occurred. The next morning after the updates were installed I powered the system on and a Acronis message occurred stating something about it wanted to perform partition or data checking on the clone USB drive or I could opt out and do a normal boot from the system which is the option I chose because I had work that needed to be done right away and the system booted normally. The clone USB drive still did not have power applied to it from the previous night.

If possible I would now like to resume the cloning process so that it completes properly and I can rely on the clone drive in the future in the event of a catastrophe. I have powered the clone USB drive on and it is recognized by the system. When I try to access the clone it states that this folder is empty which it had stated the night before prior to me removing power to the drive.

Is there a way that I can resume from this point or do I have to start the entire process over again? The clone USB 1.5 TB drive was brand new and was factory formatted NTFS for Windows7. My C: drive is 1.0 TB.
When completed I want to have a bootable clone of my entire C: drive including the D: partition that I can securely store off site.

Thanks for any help I can get.

Bill

Pat L
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Bill,

Why are you cloning to an external USB drive? You will never be able to boot from that drive. If you had to restore your computer, you would have to take the drive out of the USB enclosure and replace the drive on your computer, and it is not sure to work.

If your goal is to be able to restore your compture as it was if your system disk dies or is corrupted, what you want to do is a disk and partition backup, not a clone.
As you set up your disk and partition backup, make sure to include *all* the partitions of your system disk (ATI will show you all of them, select all of them). You will also need an Acronis recovery CD that you have tested: you have booted your computer on it and you have successfully restored a couple of files from the backup above.

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william holets
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I was under the impression that the external USB hard drive would be made bootable (or could be made bootable prior to cloning). If that were to be true and I had a failure of the C: drive then I could select to boot from the clone USB hard drive at the initial boot screen and once booted up perform a cloning operation from the USB hard drive to a replacement C: drive and be back in business quickly and easily. I was planning on performing the cloning on a quarterly basis and storing it off site. I could then do automatic weekly or daily backups to a permanently plugged in USB flash drive to ensure that I would be as up to date as possible.

What I would like to end up with is a automatic, onsite storage, files, (daily backup) using either a permanently installed flash drive (preferable) or external USB hard drive.

In addition I want to have a offsite, (safety deposit box)(catastrophic) quarterly, complete hard drive backup that I will run manually. I realize that I would have to follow a discipline of fetching the off site USB hard drive quarterly.

Someday the C: drive will die. I want to be ready and be able to recover as painlessly as possible.

Your thoughts? Thanks for your previous input!!!

Pat L
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Unfortunately, making a USB disk boot in Windows is close to impossible.

What you would do in case of failure is boot, not from the cloned USB hard drive, but from the Acronis recovery CD, and restore your disk and partition backup (again a backup of this type is as good as a clone and does "the same thing" to the destination drive as cloning back from the USB to the system disk).

If you have a big enough USB "Flash" drive, you could store your disk and partition backup on it AND make it bootable. Or if you have a disk and partition *small* enough to fit on a single DVD, you could as well make this DVD bootable. Both cases are typically unlikely though, although a 32GB USB Flash drive is not that expensive any longer...

Go down the path of doing a disk and partition backup. Use 2 or more USB disks for storing the backups. Assign a fixed drive letter for each of them, and create a task for each of them to backup your entire system disk, with a different name. One task can be the manual one for the safe deposit box, the other one can be the daily one. Store one recovery CD/flash drive in your deposit, keep one at home.

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Dick Walker
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Couldn't Bill clone to an external USB drive, then in the event of a failure put a new HDD in his computer and clone the contents from the USB drive onto the new bootable HDD? Noting that you need to clone back using the bootable ATIH boot CD.

Cheers, Dick

tomf
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Well that might work, but the question would be: why go to that trouble? Just make an image backup to the USB and Restore it to the computer if/when necessary.

Cloning is really meant as a one-time procedure to make an exact duplicate of one drive to another, with the intent of physically replacing the original (now cloned) drive with the new drive, into the same location/position/electrical connection as the original.

Mark Wharton
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Dick:

To add to tomf's comment, an external USB disk can hold only one clone, or it can hold several image backups. The latter is a much more efficient and safer choice because you can keep multiple images of your PC from various dates so that you won't be putting all of your eggs in one basket, so to speak.

For example, on a 1 TB disk you can save forty images of a PC that has about 40 GB of in-use disk space. And if one of these images is defective or was made at a time that your PC was infected by a virus you have many others to choose from.

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william holets
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Thanks Pat L.

I will follow your suggestions. I'm not sure what size USB flash drive I will need to do daily backups. My needs are quite simple. I need to backup Favorites and Bookmarks for sure.

Pat L
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I guess you mean a USB disk (with a spinning SATA disk inside). USB flash drives are these small portable USB things that use flash memory to store information).
Estimating the size of a full backup with normal compression is not easy to do. If you have a lot of compressed files (like MP4, MP3, VOB, AVI, Jpeg, PDF, ZIP, etc) your backup will be about the same size as the data on the disk.
Estimating the size of an incremental backup is even harder since it depends on how many files you changes. The OS itself might generate about 1GB of changes each day.
Finally, you have to decide how many chains you want to keep and how often you want to do a new full backup. Since we are talking about a daily backup, you would do a new full backup every 6 incrementals. If you data is about 500GB, and if you assume you have 2GB per incremental on average you look at 512GB per chain. If you want to keep a month worth of history you would need 4 chains plus the space for a new full backup. That's 4x512GB+500GB. You would buy a 3TB disk. That would be a GPT disk and you would have to buy the Acronis Plus Pack to support it.

To reduce the size of the full backup, many users do the following:
- exclude from the full backup files that don't change often in terms of versions (photos, music, videos, movies),
- backup these files using a synchronization piece of software like Karen's Replicator, SyncToy, Syncback, GoodSync or ATI 2012.

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tomf
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On my main (most critical) PC I have a 32Gb USB3.0 flash drive connected 24/7, and backup all my Files to it on a daily basis (using SyncBack). About once per week I power-up a 2TB USB HDD and make a Full image backup using ATIH.

At worst I can lose a day's worth of work, and if the C: drive goes bad I might have to restore from a week old image and update/reinstall any programs that might have changed during the interim.

Michael D'Amore
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I know this is an old thread but I think this is not good advice. I have booted from various devious other than an internal HDD including USB drives though they were not created with Acronis. Moreover, the idea that Bill has of a bootable USB with which he can boot in case of drive failure and also use to clone to his failed internal HDD is excellent.

And for other folks on this thread, why try to talk him out of it? It's a great idea.

Full disclosure: I am trying to do the same thing and while Acronis reports success it not only copied nothing to my USB, it also dismounted my other internal HDDs.

Mark Wharton
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Michael:

The issue is booting Windows from an external USB drive. Microsoft deliberately designed Windows to prevent that (think licensing issues).

There are ways around this limitation but they are complicated and probably in violation of the Windows licensing agreement.

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Michael D'Amore
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I am familiar with various provisions of MS licensing but am not aware of the issue with external drives. I do know that for Windows 8, MS has something called Windows To Go which is specifically aimed at enabling full OS boots from USB drives but I do not know what the limitations are re XP and W7. I don't want to push the envelope here but I would guess that if the USB drive was used as noted by the original questioner, the fair use doctrine would certainly apply since what we have is basically a backup such that the OS would only ever be used on a single machine. In any case, Acronis surely could not condone or support a violation of the law but enabling someone to clone to a USB drive is not in itself a violation - it's what the user does after that. If one can clone at all then one can make many copy after copy of the OS on internal drives, removing them and using them in other computers and you do allow that.

Oh well, I'll keep trying to get this done anyway.

GroverH
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Michael,
If you are looking for a usb disk to be bootable into TrueImage so you have access to all functions of TrueImge,(while also storing backups), this is easily accomplished.

There are numerous ways to accomplish this. One of the most versatile ways is the make it Grub4Dos bootable.
Clcik on signature link 1 below and check out the items listed in index item #4 (C, D, E) by MVP MudCrab.

Mark Wharton
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Michael:

Windows 8 is the first Windows OS that I'm aware of to allow booting from a USB disk. This feature is only available in the Enterprise edition of Windows 8. Details are discussed here: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh831833.aspx

Earlier versions of Windows could not boot from USB disks because the USB drivers are not loaded early enough in the boot process. If you try to boot from a USB disk, the boot process will fail before it completes.

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