How do you update a Hard Drive Clone?

Discussion in 'Windows 7 Software' started by Tommer, Mar 14, 2015.

  1. Tommer

    Tommer New Member

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    This is perhaps an advanced question, I'm not really sure where it belongs but I'll ask it here I guess.

    I keep hard drive clones (not quite the same as copy/paste) which are made using macrium reflect - I do this so that when an OS drive eventually fails, I can just slot in this clone and be back up and running fairly fast with only a few files to recover rather than the entire computer.

    Hard drive clones are great, except, all of the software I have tried has a fatal flaw; They require you to format the cloned drive, before you can make a new clone. The problem here arises in the fact that, between the time the hard drive is formatted and the time the new data is written to the cloned drive, there is no 'clone', so if my computer decides that of all times to die it'll die now (which sods law dictates would happen) then I am left with only a half-complete clone and a dead harddrive.

    So, what I'd like to do ideally, is be able to 'update' my clone, in such a way that it doesn't format the data that is already on there, but updates where nessacary, so if it fails halfway through at worst I just have a couple of corrupt files. Does anyone know of any software that can acheive this?
     
  2. patcooke

    patcooke Microsoft MVP
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    To use Macrium to be able to recover your hard drive from one of many possible problem scenarios you should use the backup feature (which is primarily aimed at recovering an image back to the drive from which it was created) rather than cloning (which is intended to create a second copy of a drive to a new one). You may create backup images in one of two main modes:

    1. Creating a new and complete images each time you run the backup.
    2. Creating incremental backups which involves creating an initial image followed by inrementals which simply add changes made since the previous incrementl image.

    Whichever method you choose you should adopt a commonly used backup strategy of maintaining three generations of backup so that if any recovery image fails you can go two generations further back.
     
  3. Tommer

    Tommer New Member

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    Hmm.. so the only way is to make disk images? Disk images are not ideal for me because it means if I just want to fetch an old file out of the drive it is not as simple as being able to just open that drive in explorer. Since the drive being backed up is 1.9tb and the backup drive is of 2.0 capacity, having it just stored as a image on the drive just makes for an inconvenience really.. :|
     
  4. patcooke

    patcooke Microsoft MVP
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    You can use a tool in Macrium Reflect to mount the image as a virtual drive and recover individual files from it.

    A further thought - a 1.9tb system drive suggests that you are storing masses of user data files in there. This is not a recommended practice. You should use the system drive to store only the op sys , associated system files and installed applications programs. All user data files should be stored on a separate drive/partition. My system drive is only 60GB and 20 of that is empty. Unles you have an unusually high level of installed software then your system drive need be no bigger than 100GB. The system drive and the data drive should be backed up by imaging the system drive (probably storing the image on your data drive) and by making a complete straight copy of your data drive to an external drive. That way you have a complete copy of your entire system and data on the one external drive to cover you against your hard drive suffering catastrophic failure.
     
    #4 patcooke, Mar 14, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2015
    Trouble likes this.
  5. Tommer

    Tommer New Member

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    Ah, sorry, I should elaborate abit

    I do have two drives, one being an OS drive and one being a data drive. My OS drive is an SSD at 512gb with about 80gb used, and the drive I am attempting to keep an up to date backup of is a 2tb HDD. The drive I want to backup the data drive to is also a 2tb HDD.

    The reason I wanted to clone is simply because I wanted all the files immediately accessible from the destination backup drive.

    The problem I have with doing a manual full copy and paste as you suggest with the data drive, is because this would overwrite lots of files unnessacarily, right? Simply because the file would already exist in destination.

    What I really want is the destination drive in Sync, eg, any files I delete on my data drive is deleted on the backup drive, and any modified files are updated, but anything that has not changed should not be overwritten 'for the sake of it' -- this backup drive of mine, I only really, ideally want to be plugging in maybe once a month? other than that it sits unplugged in a drawer incase something goes wrong.

    Do you think there is such a software that could handle a sync like this? where I only plug the drive in monthly to sync it up?
     
  6. patcooke

    patcooke Microsoft MVP
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  7. InfoCentral

    InfoCentral New Member

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    I am kinda in the same boat. I use Paragon Hard Disk Manager to create my disk images for restoring. Recently my desktop (Win7 Home Edition) started having problems starting up. Weird things start to happen after prolonged use. So this time when Windows would do its update it wouldn't be able to start up. Then it would go throught a "start up repair" which would fail and then it was off to a previous restort point installation. The system would be up and running now till I shut down and the update would start again and so the cycle.

    I knew it was time to do the disk restore. Problem was that I had added several programs since doing the last image and I don't remember which programs I will need the serial numbers to reinstall. I don't want to loose any of them. So I got this great idea. I went to Fry's and bought my first SSD (120GB). This way I can do the restore on it and compare with the faulty HD for what programs I need to install and also grap the serial numbers from it. So I am now restoring to the new SSD and its been running for over 8 hrs but looks like it is coming to a finish soon.

    Now the problem is that my previous HD was 110GB used and that is exactly what this new one holds. I have a DATA drive but it appears that there are a lot of files that still need to be transfered over to the DATA HD. How do I go about cleaning up the SSD so that it only contains the program files and not all the other associated files? I know the programs need these files and they have to be where they can find them but they are taking up too much room. Thanks.
     
  8. patcooke

    patcooke Microsoft MVP
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    You are right to take care in what you delete from your system drive, basically if in doubt then don't. But your drive is unnecessarily full at 110GB, First of all try running a cleanup of junk files using Ccleaner. Then have a look in your user folder for any downloads and other user data files which you might transfer. As I mentioned in an earlier post, my system drive is assigned only 60GB and 20GB of that is free.
     
  9. InfoCentral

    InfoCentral New Member

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    Well after about 12 hrs it finally completed its restore. Unsuccessfully I might add. It won't boot up so I put the Paragon disk back in and used the Boot Tools. It came back with the error message that it couldn't find a OS and the tool was therefore unavailable. So much for system restore. Now I am going to install Windows from the disk and see if that works. If it boots fine then I actually have a Windows image back-up I'll try next. I don't think it will take 12 hours to complete!
     
  10. patcooke

    patcooke Microsoft MVP
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    Keep us updated please.
     
  11. InfoCentral

    InfoCentral New Member

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    OK, so I loaded the Windows 7 install disk and did the Windows installation. Next step is to tell Win to find, load, and install from the Win Back-Up. So I go to Computer and look at my new drive with Win only installed. Its a 110 gb SSD but it says there is only 11 gigs available. STOP THE TRAIN! Something is definitely wrong here.
     
  12. patcooke

    patcooke Microsoft MVP
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    You may well have an old windows system saved in there. Set you system to show all system files and hidden folders and look to see what is on your system drive.
     
  13. InfoCentral

    InfoCentral New Member

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    Here is what I did. I put the Win Installation disc in and told it to format the SSD. Then told it to reinstall Win. Got an error message and it said it couldn't install. Lovely. Put in the Paragon disc and it told me there was no OS on the disc. I told it to format a new partition. It did but it formatted a FAT32. Put in the Win disc again and it said it couldn't install because it needed a NTSC formatted drive. Since I already had the installation disc running I simply told it to format the SSD. It did and then I told it to install Win. It did and I got back all my space. Now it says my C drive has only used 20 gigs for Windows only. OK now its time to do the disc image. It located it but it won't install it. More error messages. Perhaps its because the image file was from a 500 gig HD and I am trying to install the image to a 120 gig SSD?

    So my next try is to load the Paragon disc back again and this time tell it I want to migrate to a new HD. See if I can get that to work.
     
  14. InfoCentral

    InfoCentral New Member

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    So the Migrate option wasn't viable as it was a copy clone of the entire HD. So now its back to Paragon and this time I told it to just back up the files and not the Root Directory. See if that works. It says 50 mins to complete but it said that last time and it took a whopping 12+ hrs. In the end failed. Having real doubts about all this image and recovery tools.
     
  15. InfoCentral

    InfoCentral New Member

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    I actually thought it was going to install quickly this time. At first it was cranking but not its been 4 hrs and it still has about a third of the way to go. Starting to have bad feelings about this working too.
     
  16. MFPTech

    MFPTech Active Member

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    Sorry if I am repeating something here as the posts are too long to read everything. IMHO you separately back up and restore as needed the HDD 2 with the Data, and the HDD 1 running your OS and Apps. Clone the HDD 1. If HDD 1 failes replace it with the clone and restore HDD 1 back up. If HDD 2 fails replace it with a new one and restore HDD 2 back up. If you cannot wait for a restore then you should use Mirror or RAID 5.
     
    #16 MFPTech, Mar 16, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2015
  17. Trouble

    Trouble Noob Whisperer

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    Your rescue strategy is interesting.
    Why not just invest in a third 2 TB hard drive and be done with it.

    As has already been discussed there are alternatives and options whereby you can employ disk and or partition imaging and keep multiple generations or your system and data on your second hard drive.
    AND
    Potentially, available synchronization software which may and I stress "may" help you accomplish your goals. My personal experience with sync software has not often been satisfactory as you may find yourself resolving sync issues constantly and unless the software is a strong solution supporting one way only synchronization you may find missing files on both your source and destination. Believe me it can happen and can go un-noticed until it's way too late.

    Save yourself some headaches and keep your current practice and just introduce a third hard drive into your solution and resolve your concern.
    I must admit that it may seem a bit of overkill to those of us who commonly use disk imaging for such tasks, but....
    If it is something that you are comfortable with then I won't bother attempting to convince you that some other solution is better.
    With the current pricing of hard disks it seems like a small price to pay for your own peace of mind.
     
  18. InfoCentral

    InfoCentral New Member

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    I am beginning to question that whole image back-up as a viable way. Both the Paragon image and the Win7 image back-ups were a no go. I think now the way to go is just like said, buy another HD and clone it to the first and just keep alternating between the two when things get weird. I am going to go get another HD and try image back-up on that and see if is indeed because I am trying to image to a SSD. Of course the problem with your solution is if your using a SSD as the primary drive. Then you would need 2 SSD's to acomplish the swap method.
     
  19. patcooke

    patcooke Microsoft MVP
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    Totally unnecessary. Proper use of a reliable backup program like Macrium Reflect to implement a properly thought out back up strategy is all that is needed.
     
  20. Robert Miker

    Robert Miker New Member

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    I did not knew about how to update a hard drive clone before reading this thread. Thanks friends!
     

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