Help to Clone hard drives

  JumpingJack 22:48 23 Apr 2008

I have two systems.

The first one is an XP Pro system with two hard drives and two connected, but empty hard drive caddys that I can pop any Sata drives in and copy data to or from. It also has Norton Ghost 14 installed on it

The second system has XP Pro installed on it, a single hard drive and its in pristine condition. I want to take a perfect backup/copy of the hard drive whilst its in this state. I do not have Raid functionality.

I tried taking the hard drive out and putting it into one of the caddys in the first machine and a blank hard drive in the second caddy. I then used Norton Ghost to create an exact copy, but in the process, windows allocated a new volume label to my Pristine hard drive; as a result it no longer works in the second machine and the copy is just as bad since its an exact copy of the corrupted disc!

I have now reinstalled everything and its pristine again, but with so much software and tweaking, I need to try the cloning again. Can I use the first machine to do it or do I need to install Norton on the second machine and do it all on that machine (ideally I dont want to install Norton on the second machine)?

The aim at the end of the day is to be able to create an exact mirror image so that if the hard drive fails I can slide the spare one in which will then boot as though it were the original.

Any ideas how to do it using the first machine and Norton or is there a better way?

  DieSse 23:43 23 Apr 2008

You need to clone in the system it's in. Otherwise, as you have found - putting it in a different system will modify it.

You can use Norton, or Acronis True Image, or free XXClone or possibly Seagate Disk Wizard (which is a modified Acronis).

  JumpingJack 07:24 24 Apr 2008

Thanks Diesse. I was beginning to think that may unfortunately be the answer.

Whilst looking around I have seen a number of hard drive copiers advertised ... they seem to be able to copy/image any hard drive without causing problems, indeed they even claim to be good enough for Forensic work. How do they work? Is it not possible to make something like that?

  JumpingJack 23:14 24 Apr 2008

This is something that would be ideal... how does it work. Do you think this uses the Raid1 function on some micro motherboard?

click here

It must be possible to make something like this or from a more realistic size perspective, something like this one they make:-

click here

How do you think it works?

  DieSse 01:03 25 Apr 2008

These are off-line devices.

The second appears to be for deployments - you're building 100 systems say - so you set up the 100 drives from a single preconfigured master.

The first is a duplicator - but the drive has to come out of the system.

Can we continue this on the other thread please - I think that would be better.

Perhaps instead of asking how to clone a drive, let us know a bit about your setup, and what you want to achieve in terms of security - and a bit about how different are your 6 systems, are they networked, how much you want to spend etc. So that we can appreciate better the parameters for both the task and some suggested solutions.

  JumpingJack 14:21 25 Apr 2008

Hmm I've searched around for another thread but cannot see an active one.

The 6 systems I use all use XP Pro. They include different processors and RAM and motherboards but all perform the same fundamental purpose, namely Sound Composition - I am in a Band.

Each member of the Band has a PC with a Sata Hard Drive installed, plus a caddy to insert hard drives from visting members or other bands. It is these latter hard drive enclosures that we want to use to create images of each Band Members hard drive, so if their original one ceases to work, we can simply pop the clone/imaged one in and they will instantly be back to normal ie the cloned hard drive boots and works/appears to be the orignal machine in every aspect.

We cant leave a disc in the drive permanently in a Raid1 array because other hard drives are always being swapped in and out and there isnt room for additional hard drives in the machines or for extra caddys - due to case limitations.

Every member of the band is also a composer and their work is unique. Backups of their data are held offsite, but its the whole Operating System we want to backup too so that we can just swap, plug and play (and then restore the general music backups we have) should the need arise.

No machines are networked bar access to Broadband.

So the bottom line is, we need to clone an image of each existing hard drive onto a blank hard drive, so that the latter can immediately assume a working role if the original hard drive fails.

I suppose I could buy 6 copies of Ghost but I am loathe to do that.

Price wise, Well I have enough bits and bobs lying around to make a PC that can act as a duplicating system, but clearly Norton has to be installed on each hard drive and I only have one licence, so thats no longer an option. I can visit each member of the band and use their caddy to backup to the spare hard drives I have bought.

I am out of my depth here, or just perceiving something as being harder than it actually is simply because I dont understand what to do for the best.

We are not a rich Band so employign others to do it isnt an option.

  Ditch999 14:58 25 Apr 2008

This is the link to your similar post click here
And that is where I mentioned RAID1.

  Ditch999 15:06 25 Apr 2008

The bands/visiting peoples hard drives must only contain their work and not the OS, as XP will only work on one PC. If this is the case and you want to copy that HDD it would simply be a matter of connecting the 2 HDDs to a PC, booting up and selecting all the data in drive E: say, in Explorer and Paste it on to the new empty drive, say F:. This will give you a copy of their working drive but would not include the OS which must be on a seperate HDD inside the PC.

  Ditch999 15:13 25 Apr 2008

Quote "So the bottom line is, we need to clone an image of each existing hard drive onto a blank hard drive, so that the latter can immediately assume a working role if the original hard drive fails."
I say again, that is the purpose of RAID1 and you say 5 PCs have RAID built in. Add another HDD and enable RAID1. When it has copied the original, shut down, remove the 2nd HDD, put it in a fire safe, sunk into your concrete floor, hidden under the carpet, start your PC, disable RAID in Bios, restart and bingo (maybe)

  JumpingJack 21:52 25 Apr 2008

The hard drives we want to protect are the ones with the OS on and not the removable ones that we take from one house/studio to another - sorry if I failed to make that clear.

I couldnt get the Raid to work for some reason, so i did try the Acronis solution which did the job perfectly.

I'm sure the raid would work if I persevered but running out of time and unlike Ghost 14, the Acronis allowed me to boot from the Cd and create perfect clones.

Thanks for all your help

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