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Acronis Clone Drive never gets beyond the Exclude files stage

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I try to clone mostly full 3TB HD to a new 1 TB SSD.  The HD contains two volumes (C and E, plus some system reserved), C is the Boot drive and is supposed to go to the SSD. E is NOT supposed to be cloned. C is only 300Gig, so there is plenty of space available.

BUT with Clone Drive I never even get to try.  I select manual, and it goes downwards from there. Every single step needs Eons to complete.  Over a minute wait time from source drive to destination drive (should be 2 seconds at best), another 2 minutes before the exclusion screen is there, I select "E" to exclude, and after that it loses it completely.It is in "Processing, please wait" while the disk IO light is near-constantly on and it is heavily hammering my hard drives (WD Reds, they are quite loud and you hear head moving activity). The first time I just killed it after moire than an hour. Now I try again with windows defender disabled, and I am again staring at it for 20 minutes now, with no end in sight. Yes, E is moderately big, 1.7 Gig, 90% full, but RidNacs for example needs less than a minutes to completely read in those ~13,000 directories  and about 130,000 file sizes.  

This is completely ridiculous. What TF is Acronis DOING on that disk so long? Why is this thing slow as molasses?

The OS is windows 7, fully patched. (Its a preparation step for a windows 10 upgrade). The PC is 12 years old, but its an early Core i7 and it has 12 Gig RAM, so its not a matter of lack of computing ressources-

So - what can I do?

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Christoph, sorry but clone is not the best tool to be using for what you are wanting to achieve here!

Use Backup & Recovery for this purpose.

Backup the whole 3TB source drive and exclude the unwanted larger E: partition in the source selection for the backup task, keeping all the required hidden / system partitions needed by Windows.

Create the Acronis bootable rescue media using the 'Simple' option and check the BIOS boot mode used by your PC, i.e. use the msinfo32 command in Windows to see if the BIOS mode is UEFI or Legacy?

Shutdown the PC fully, then swap out the 3TB drive and replace by your smaller 1TB drive.

Boot the PC using the rescue media in the same BIOS boot mode as Win 7, then recover the backup image to the new drive in situ, using the top Disk level option (to save having to configure each individual partition).

See KB 61632: Acronis True Image 2019: how to create bootable media

KB 59877: Acronis True Image: how to distinguish between UEFI and Legacy BIOS boot modes of Acronis Bootable Media

KB 61621: Acronis True Image 2019: How to restore your computer with WinPE-based or WinRE-based media

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I agree with @Steve Smith. I suspect that the exclude option is best used to exclude individual directories. I have used it in that way. The only reason I used clone was because the drive contained Acronis Backups which I wanted and other stuff that I no longer wanted. Using clone reduced the possibility of ATI not finding the backups on the new drive.