Drive requirements for Cloning HDD, pls

  AroundAgain 10:40 27 Mar 2015


A stupid question, I think, but can I use an existing External Drive that also has other data on (ie data backup) or does it need to be an 'empty' drive, dedicated for this purpose, please?

I'm planning to re-format my Windows 7 Desktop, probably this weekend and, once it's set up with certain programs, I would like to clone the drive - merely for easy reverting in the future if I need it.

Also, which media is most cost effective for this, ie USB stick, Hard drive, redundant SSD drive since larger SSD installed etc.

Thanks for your advice, as ever

  alanrwood 10:59 27 Mar 2015

There are several programs which will clone a drive but these usually require both drives to be connected at the same time. There is also the option, which I think is what you are referring to, to use a drive imaging program to make a disk image which is different to cloning. A Disk Image is a compressed image of the whole disk which can be restored using the restore facility of the program that made the image in the first place. There are several such free programs if that is your intention.

It is usually impractical to image a drive to anything other than a hard drive due to the large size of the active Windows partition. It is possible but depends on its size and the size of the chosen medium. Bear in mind that restoration usually requires the computer to be booted from a bootable USB or DVD drive which has the imaging program on it.

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 11:30 27 Mar 2015

good advice above

use Macrium reflect free to

  1. make a image of the drive to an external drive
  2. create a rescue CD (in case windows fails to boot / gets a virus)
  3. you can then restore the image to the windows drive.

I make images on a regular basis, have kept original image and last two images of the drive and delete the rest as I go along. Macrium is easy to use.

  AroundAgain 11:53 27 Mar 2015


Thanks very much to you both. It would seem making an image is the bast way to go. I'll get an Ext HD for the purpose and, as you suggest Fruit Bat, keep a previous image too.

I have used EaseUS previously, when upgrading a friend's hard drive in laptop but that seems ages ago and I can't remember how I did it. Am still amazed I did it at all, in fact ;) That was all due to the help from you guys on here too :)

I'll give Macrium reflect a go.

I'll mark this solved but, if further problems, I'll post back but probably in a new thread, so as the topic subject line is relevant

Again, many thanks

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