Understanding the Cloning Process


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capair45
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I have been thinking about cloning the system volume in my Dell 3847 Desktop. I’d like to understand better how the cloning process of MR works and (2) the system volume HD is several years old and it may need to be replaced at some point. I’d like to test the cloning process as I’ve have never cloned a HD before.

I have 2 HD bays in my desktop. Each bay holds a Seagate 3.5” SATA HD. One volume holds my Windows 10 OS and has a total of 7 partitions. The other bay is used for data/document storage only.

I have ordered a new Seagate 3.5’ SATA HD for cloning purposes. All of the drives are the same size (1TB)

I’m wondering if the best way to do this would be to remove the data drive, replace it with the new spare drive, and use the MR cloning procedure. If successful, then I will remove the clone and replace the data drive. I’ve read that there are external USB HD racks available (presumably for this purpose) but that often there is not enough power through the USB cable to clone properly.

Once the cloning process is complete, how do I test the clone to see if it will boot?

Open to any advice and suggestions.

Dave…


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jphughan
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If you have 3.5” drives and want to consider the USB route for convenience, you would need a powered adapter. USB-powered adapters only work for SSDs and 2.5” drives. I have an adapter made by StarTech that can work unpowered for convenience when using 2.5” drives and SSDs, but also includes a power adapter to allow 3.5” drives to be used. There are also “drive docks” that allow you to insert a drive vertically. These devices are typically powered, and they take up more space, but if you plan to have a drive connected via USB frequently and/or will be swapping between various drives often, they might be more convenient than a simple adapter.

But whether you install a drive internally or via USB, the cloning process itself is the same. However, when dealing with an OS disk, be aware that Windows will not boot from a disk attached via USB, so if you perform the clone to a USB-attached disk, you’ll need to install it internally before you can actually boot from it. In order to test that, I would recommend making sure the source disk is disconnected the first time you try to boot the clone target disk. If it doesn’t immediately start, boot into Rescue Media and run the Fix Boot Problems wizard.

In case it’s helpful, this is Macrium’s KB article about cloning a disk. Steps 4 and 5 are useful if you ever find yourself cloning to a larger or smaller disk: link
Edited 12 August 2020 1:57 PM by jphughan
capair45
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jphughan - 12 August 2020 1:56 PM
If you have 3.5” drives and want to consider the USB route for convenience, you would need a powered adapter. USB-powered adapters only work for SSDs and 2.5” drives. I have an adapter made by StarTech that can work unpowered for convenience when using 2.5” drives and SSDs, but also includes a power adapter to allow 3.5” drives to be used. There are also “drive docks” that allow you to insert a drive vertically. These devices are typically powered, and they take up more space, but if you plan to have a drive connected via USB frequently and/or will be swapping between various drives often, they might be more convenient than a simple adapter.

But whether you install a drive internally or via USB, the cloning process itself is the same. However, when dealing with an OS disk, be aware that Windows will not boot from a disk attached via USB, so if you perform the clone to a USB-attached disk, you’ll need to install it internally before you can actually boot from it. In order to test that, I would recommend making sure the source disk is disconnected the first time you try to boot the clone target disk. If it doesn’t immediately start, boot into Rescue Media and run the Fix Boot Problems wizard.

In case it’s helpful, this is Macrium’s KB article about cloning a disk. Steps 4 and 5 are useful if you ever find yourself cloning to a larger or smaller disk: link

Thank you JP!  Sounds like it's not too difficult and the advice about disconnecting the source is good.  Once the spare disk arrives and I dive into this, I may have more questions.  Thanks again!

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Seekforever
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I do my share of images and am familiar with that create/restore process so I never bother cloning. I just make a new or use an existing image of the source drive and restore it to the new drive which can be either internal or externally (USB) accessed. If your drive unexpectedly goes bad you will be restoring an image, not cloning, anyway.
capair45
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Seekforever - 12 August 2020 2:31 PM
I do my share of images and am familiar with that create/restore process so I never bother cloning. I just make a new or use an existing image of the source drive and restore it to the new drive which can be either internal or externally (USB) accessed. If your drive unexpectedly goes bad you will be restoring an image, not cloning, anyway.

So, if I had an external USB HD rack, I could insert my new HD into it, restore a source image to it, mount the drive in the computer, and test it?


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jphughan
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If you have a way to have the source and destination disks attached simultaneously, cloning is faster because it goes straight from source to destination rather than you needing to capture an image to some third location before performing a separate operation to restore that image onto the destination.  But either method will give you the desired end result.

capair45
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I am assuming the partition layout/size will remain the same with either method?  I have no need to change partition size.


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capair45
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Can you recommend one of the vertical drive docks that is AC powered?


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jphughan
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Sure, here’s one that uses USB-C but includes both C to C and C to A cables: https://plugable.com/products/usbc-sata-v/

And here’s another in case one is out of stock. This one uses USB-B “regular USB”, but otherwise it’s essentially the same product: https://www.startech.com/HDD/Docking/usb-3-1-gen-2-sata-dock~SDOCKU313

Either can probably be found on Amazon for less than the vendor advertised price.
capair45
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jphughan - 12 August 2020 5:24 PM
Sure, here’s one that uses USB-C but includes both C to C and C to A cables: https://plugable.com/products/usbc-sata-v/And here’s another in case one is out of stock. This one uses USB-B “regular USB”, but otherwise it’s essentially the same product: https://www.startech.com/HDD/Docking/usb-3-1-gen-2-sata-dock~SDOCKU313Either can probably be found on Amazon for less than the vendor advertised price.

Yes, Amazon is significantly less.


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