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Dangers of cloning

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Beginner
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Some of the material I was referred to from my last post indicated the possible corruption of the source drive during a clone. As I have several spare drives it is easier for me to clone and just swap drives if I have to.

From the Acronis web site  "because Acronis True Image does not alter the original disk and data stored on it during cloning".  Is there something I'm missing the could cause a problem with the source drive?  If so do newer releases solve this problem??

Thanks - Marty

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Legend
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#1

Martin, there should not be any changes made to the source drive when performing a clone <<< BUT >>> this depends on some other factors than can trigger changes!

If a clone is started from within Windows, then Acronis will change the BCD configuration on the source drive in order to redirect the subsequent boot to do so from a temporary Linux environment which is used to launch the offline ATI application to perform the clone.  So, yes, the BCD gets changed.  The issue here is if those BCD changes do not get removed and the user is left unable to boot into Windows!  This is why the recommendation has traditionally been to perform cloning after booting from the Acronis Rescue Media, not from within Windows.

Note: with ATI 2018 & later versions, there is the option to use Active Cloning, which performs the clone from within Windows without needing to reboot the computer.  This method uses the Microsoft VSS snapshot service to capture locked OS data etc.  The only downside to Active Cloning is that it can still need to do a restart and modify the BCD is ATI detects an active Windows OS on the target drive for the clone.  This can be avoided by wiping the target drive first by using the 'Add new disk' option, before starting the clone.

Another source of potential issues can arise depending on how cloning is performed, i.e. using a USB - SATA adapter with the target drive connected via that adapter can cause Acronis to install new device drivers (via using Universal Restore) to the target drive, which then cause issues when that drive is used to replace the source drive.  This can be avoided by having the target drive installed in place of the source drive, and connecting the source drive by the adapter, but this requires using the Acronis rescue media to boot and perform the clone.

One final potential area for issues is when cloning between fixed drives, i.e. two internal drives connected directly via SATA, where the BCD on the source drive might be updated to reflect the OS cloned on to the second drive, then the latter fail to boot if the source drive is removed!
The best method of avoiding this is to put the target drive in place of the source, and connect the source drive externally for the purpose of the clone.

To my knowledge there are no direct changes in the latest versions of ATI to address these issues and they have been present for all recent versions to some degree.

Beginner
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#2

Steve - thanks for the input - from what I understand the safest way to clone would be to "to perform cloning after booting from the Acronis Rescue Media"  and by "by having the target drive installed in place of the source drive, and connecting the source drive by the adapter" - is that correct - Marty

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#3

Your understanding is correct. You can follow that approach either by doing a clone, or alternatively creating a backup and restoring it. Whichever way you go abundant caution dictates making a full backup of the disk before doing the clone.

Ian

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#4

Ditto to Ian.

Beginner
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#5

Appreciate the input - will do full backups before cloning - one last question - would the "safe" cloning also work if the target drive as well as the source drive is connected via USB???

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#6

Yes, that is not an issued. 

Beginner
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#7

Always one more question - can backups be safely done in Windows or should they be done via the Acronis Rescue Media?

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#8

Yes, you can safely create backups in Windows. Some folders are excluded (in particular OneDrive) as they case Acronis to have a hissy-fit (due to the way files on demand is implemented); for similar reason I understand that outlook files (*.ost and *.pst) are also excluded. I have a dim recollection that the outlook files are included if you use the recovery media (but I could well be wrong about that).

I create my backups from within Windows - I have a separate backup solution for my Outlook files.

Ian

Beginner
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#9

Thanks for the guidance - everything worked properly