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Question re cloning for minimum down-time back-up

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This may be a question that has been asked & answered previously - apologies if that is the case.

My question is this: Can I use cloning to make an absolute copy of my C: on a spare same-size & identical SSD without installing & using the new drive? 

In other words, can I create a perfect and exact copy of my C: drive, so that if - read "when" - my existing drive dies, I can immediately plug in the copied/cloned disk and carry on, losing just the 10-15 minutes it takes to swap out a desktop drive, rather than having to go through the entire restore/reinstall process?

Thanks in advance,


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Yes sir.  Only caveat is your clone is an exact moment in time so it won't contain changes since the clone was made.  Clones are a manual process and need to be run manually to keep up (go as long as you feel comfortable between them).

Also, since a clone is an EXACT copy of the source drive - your bios can get confused and do bad things if you keep it connected to the system when the main drive is connected and booting.  Always remove your clone drive from the system (either the original drive is connected or the clone, but not both at the same time)

Last, when you need to swap in the clone, pull the original drive and attach it to the same connector as the original was using.

I'd highly encourage backups though - even before a clone - it is your safety net.  

MVP Steve Smith put this very Cloning guide of do's and don'ts and I'd encourage you to check it out first

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Thanks very much.  I had always been under the impression that once a drive was cloned, that "new" drive was the only version that was bootable. Effectively I want two bootable drives although only one would be connected at any one time, and of course the second one would be quickly outdated - but still much faster to recover from disaster, rather than having to do the full restore routine.

Your advice re backups is already taken to heart, possibly little excessively so.

I use Acronis to backup to a 4-disk Synology raid drive, Dropbox to store (encrypted) data, and Backblaze for off-site backup, as well as another external SSD which I use for data only and backup monthly, and store it in a fireproof safe.

Having lost absolutely everything once, and being entirely paperless, I think overkill (especially since it's all automated) is far better than the opposite.