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Need to clone SSD C: drive, but it's not recommended

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New PC, Win 10, with twin 1 gig SSDs (one to be a backup in case of emergency) for C: and a much large Raid Mirror for spinning drives for data as D: PC is for engineering, autocad use. User loves the speed of loading windows, and the programs. The SSD for C: is working like a champ, and the other identical SSD has no letter assigned. After a few months, user has loaded all the software he needs on C and it's time to clone or mirror C but leave it without a letter to avoid damage from virus or user, but can be assigned in the case of the other SSD failing. Bought Acronis True Image 2017 and dang, it came with no support from Acronis. Tried to clone and it fails. Yes, it says it needs to boot to do the clone off line, but just comes back with nothing accomplished. Found this forum, and it says not to do the clone. Says do a backup and restore, but it won't lock down C: and while it says newer versions of Acronis can handle everything and the new SSD would be bootable, it doesn't give me that confidence for Acronis for 2017. And 2017 was the most current I found to purchase, just before Christmas. Can someone give me a quick step by step, for my course of action here? Thanks.

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Nathan, welcome to these public User Forums.

Not sure where you were looking when you purchased ATI 2017 as that has been obsolete for over 3 years now?  The current product version being sold via is ATI 2020.

Please see forum topic: [IMPORTANT] CLONING - How NOT to do this - which was written after dealing with many cloning issues in the forums.

The salient points:

Make a full backup of your working SSD BEFORE doing anything else!  This is your safety net in case of any problems arising or mistakes made etc.

Create and test using the Acronis Rescue Media on your computer.  This is how you would recover your computer if you suffer a complete disk failure and have to do a 'bare-metal' type recovery!

See KB 58816: Acronis True Image 2017: Creating Acronis Bootable Media - and KB 59184: Acronis True Image 2017: How to create a WinPE-based bootable media for more information on creating the media.

Do not attempt to boot your computer with both source & cloned drives present & connected!  Windows can get upset and confused by doing so because the act of cloning creates a second disk drive with an identical disk signature to the first.

This means that for your proposed scenario with having 2 SSD's installed but with one having no drive letter assigned, is potentially going to cause problems!

Just because a drive does not have a drive letter does not mean it is not at risk from a virus or other malware / ransomware etc.  To think so is to under estimate the skills of the authors of such software.  If Windows Disk Management can see that drive in order to assign a drive letter to it, then so can other applications or programming methods.

If you want this type of security, then leave the 2nd SSD disconnected which will keep it from being attacked etc.