[IMPORTANT] CLONING - How NOT to do this
Acronis True Image products allow Cloning to be started from within the Windows Acronis application but this can result in an unbootable system or worse, a total loss of all data including the Windows OS if certain rules are not followed when doing a Clone operation.
- ALWAYS make a full disk & partitions backup of the source drive to be cloned BEFORE attempting to clone!
If a Clone goes wrong then this is your safety net and the means of recovering your drive / system.
- ALWAYS create and TEST the Acronis bootable Rescue Media to ensure that this will work on your system and will see all of your internal / external disk drives.
NOTE: If the standard Rescue Media (which is based on a Linux Kernel OS) does not boot your computer into the Acronis Recovery environment, then starting a Clone or Recovery from Windows will also not work on your computer as this too uses the same Linux Kernel OS. The Windows PE version of the Rescue Media will be required in this case.
- DO NOT attempt to clone to a drive which has existing data that you wish to keep. ALL DATA on the target drive for a Clone will be wiped!
- DO NOT attempt to boot into Windows with the cloned Source and Target drives both connected. Cloning duplicates the drive signature which will confuse Windows at best and could potentially cause both drives to be corrupted.
- It is Highly Recommended to check both the Source and Target drives for any errors before attempting to clone - any bad sectors can cause the clone to fail. Use CHKDSK /F /R to check NTFS drives. Use a utility program such as Hard Disk Sentinel, Crystal Disk Info or the tools provided by the disk manufacturer such as SeaTools from Seagate etc. Also try to avoid using front USB ports when cloning where possible.
- CHECK if you have any form of disk encryption active / enabled on your system such as BitLocker or any other available encryption product.
- DO NOT attempt to start a clone from within Windows UNLESS ENCRYPTION HAS BEEN DISABLED! You could lose your system if you do so!
NOTE: Acronis True Image running within Windows sees your disk drives are being NOT ENCRYPTED and will back them up as such. Acronis Rescue Media knows nothing of Encryption and cannot backup encrypted data nor restore a backup to an encrypted disk drive. Any backup created in Windows will be restored as unencrypted and the user will need to reactivate / reenable encryption after the restore is complete.
- It is Highly Recommended that any Clone operation should ONLY be attempted when using the Acronis bootable Rescue Media, and should not be started from within Windows.
This is a Safer approach as it does not require that any changes be made to the Windows Boot Loader configuration files, which starting a clone from within Windows makes in order to create the Linux Kernel recovery environment.
- Acronis Backup and Restore is Highly Recommended as a complete alternative to using Cloning - this is safer for a number of reasons:
A Backup can be used multiple times as needed - Cloning is a one-shot at success!
The source drive can be removed and stored safely while a Restore is written to the target drive - Cloning has to involve both source and target drives to work, and can damage/corrupt both when it goes wrong!
Backup and Restore is more flexible in what types of drives can be used, i.e. can backup and recover to Dynamic drives, RAID etc - Cloning can only operate with Basic drives.
- KB documents: 56634: Acronis True Image: Cloning Disks and 1540: Difference between Backup and Disk Clone contain very important information on these subjects and should be read before embarking on these actions.
- KB document: 56619: Acronis True Image: Compatibility with BitLocker deals with the topic of encryption and is equally valid for any other encryption product besides BitLocker.
Acronis Links : Acronis Scheduler Manager : Acronis VSS Doctor : Backup Archive Compatibility : Cleanup Tool (ATIH 2010-2019) : Cloning Disks : Contact Acronis Support : Difference between Backup and Disk Clone : MVP User Tools - Google Drive