Clone vs Restore Image for new Drive - Which is better?


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therealhendrix
therealhendrix
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I'm mostly curious when you would use disk cloning vs simply restoring an image to a new hard drive, for example if you are upgrading your OS SSD. If you have a recent full image, you can simply restore it on the new SSD, correct? Is cloning only necessary when you don't already have a full image backup from the old drive? Or is there some other benefit that cloning provides? Also, if you are wanting to use new hardware and thus need Redeploy, does it make a difference if you clone vs restore an image you already have first? I guess I'm mainly curious when you would use the different features and why, as I'm thinking of upgrading my primary SSD soon. Thanks!
jphughan
jphughan
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If you already have an image that matches the current state of your source disk, then an image restore and a clone would get you the same end result.  One of them might be faster depending on the read speed of the clone/image source (assuming that was even the bottleneck), but clones are useful in some cases:
  • If you don't already have an image and have a way to have your source and destination connected simultaneously, then a clone allows you to get data from the source directly to the destination in a single operation.  With an "image backup and restore" process, you need an intermediate device on which to "park" an image, then you have to wait for the image to be captured to that location before you start a SECOND process to restore from that location to the target.  That will take more time and more hardware.
  • If you're trying to keep an emergency spare disk, then cloning is more useful than images.  If you're only capturing image backups to a target, then if your source disk fails, you have to get a replacement disk first, and then restore the image onto the new disk.  By comparison, if you were cloning to your target and your source disk fails, then you can immediately start using that clone target as your replacement disk.  But there are some downsides to using periodic clones as a "backup".  First, you can only store a single "state" on that clone target, rather than multiple backups from multiple points in time.  And second, if the clone operation ever fails partway through, then your destination is left in an unusable, whereas a failed image backup would still leave you with your pre-existing backups.  And if the reason the clone operation failed is because the source disk had a failure in the middle of the clone, then you're left with no source disk and no usable destination disk.  So people who perform regular clones to have an "emergency spare" disk ready to go should still make regular backups.
  • Sort of a variation of the above, I sometimes use cloning to clone my main external hard drive to a backup, almost always offline external hard drive.  The benefit is that the backup external hard drive still has all of my data in "regular", easily accessible format, as opposed to packaged inside Reflect image backup files that would require me to have Reflect installed on whatever PC I wanted to access that data from.
ReDeploy can actually be used even if you haven't performed a clone or image restore at all.  For example, suppose you simply swapped some key hardware in your system and now it won't boot.  You can just boot into Rescue Media and immediately run ReDeploy, no need for a prior clone or image restore.  ReDeploy works with the Windows installation it finds on disk.  It doesn't care when or how or when it got there.


Edited 24 July 2020 4:30 PM by jphughan
therealhendrix
therealhendrix
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Awesome, thanks for the clarification. I'm planning on upgrading my SSD soon and was just curious if cloning or an image restore would work better. I keep my image backups on my rescue media to keep everything in one place. So I would just install the new SSD then boot into my rescue media and perform an image restore directly from there.

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