Cloning three drives to one portable drive


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jwillyf
jwillyf
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I have a Windows 10 PC containing three SATA hard drives: drive C for the Windows operating system plus downloads, documents etc. The second drive, drive E has flight simulation software installed on it, and the third drive F has scenery files that load onto the flight sim.
I wanted to clone all three drives to a high capacity 2 terabyte Western Digital portable hard drive to make a bootable backup that could install my PC set up exactly as now should the PC fail, either onto the same PC if a failed component were replaced, or on a new PC if the present one was replaced.
I partitioned the portable drive into three new drives, designated G, H and I and fully formatted all three.
I successfully cloned drive C on the PC to drive G on the external portable drive. When I try to clone drive E on the PC to drive H on the portable drive, I receive a warning that drive G on the portable drive will be overwritten.
How can I clone the last two PC drives to the two partitions on the portable drive in addition to the successful clone of drive C.
I will try to enclose a screen shot of the Macrium front page. Apologies for quality but have no photoediting software on this PC
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jphughan
jphughan
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Unfortunately that screenshot is illegible. Try taking it with the very handy Snipping Tool that’s been included in Windows from Win7 onward, and then you can perform basic edits like text/line overlays using Paint, also included with Windows. Additionally, if you choose “Insert Image” here rather than “Add File”, you can embed images into your post that can then be clicked to view in a larger size. Smile

But even without seeing that screenshot clearly, I have a feeling the answer will be that your source disks use a mixture of the MBR and GPT partition layouts, and I don’t think you can clone a partition from an MBR disk to a target that contains GPT partitions or vice versa (although you can restore individual partitions from an IMAGE of an MBR disk onto a GPT disk and vice versa.)

However, even if that weren’t a problem, just backing up C would not always be enough to recover your OS in certain scenarios, such as onto an empty hard drive. If you click “Image the partitions necessary to boot Windows” in the upper-left corner of the interface, the partitions that Reflect pre-selects in the wizard will show you what you really want to back up in order to make sure you can always restore. So even if you had a way around the MBR/GPT mixture issue, you’d want to be cloning more than it sounds like you are.

In terms of a way forward, GPT disks can’t be converted back to MBR without wiping them, and even then, going back to MBR can be undesirable or problematic. MBR disks CAN be converted to GPT in-place, but to do that on a disk you’re booting from (like the disk that contains your C drive, which looks like it’s MBR) involves several extra steps and also requires your system to support UEFI booting, so that may not be feasible for you. So the best option here would be to either use multiple targets for your multiple sources or else perform image backups rather than clones. The latter of course doesn’t give you a drive you can quickly install and immediately boot from, but I wrote a long post about the benefits of imaging vs. cloning a while ago that I’d be happy to find if you’re curious.
Edited 31 December 2017 10:48 PM by jphughan
jphughan
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Just made a few changes to the post above, FYI.
jwillyf
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jwillyf
jwillyf
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Screenshot using the snippet tool. Thanks for the prompt and full reply. If it's not too difficult to find I would appreciate a view of your cloning vs imaging post.
Although I use computers a lot in different ways, I am not acquainted with their technicalities. It took me quite a while to get as far as I did!
It increasingly seems from what you say that achieving a simple backup that will install directly on a new PC is fraught with difficulties. I was aware that it was not simply a question of copying files but thought that something like Macrium would do what is necessary in the background, as it were.
The PC is used for flight simulation only. Although I have all the software, and add-ons either saved on disc, on DVD or available on the web from suppliers, re-installation of the whole works would take many hours and would fill me with dread. This is what I was trying to avoid by investing in a new hard drive and the paid version of Macrium.
I will have a look at 'Image the partitions necessary to boot Windows' option.
Thanks again.
jphughan
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You’re welcome! Smile

Ok, so all of your disks are MBR, no GPT anywhere. In that case it looks like your issue stems from a limitation of the MBR partition layout, namely that MBR disks cannot contain more than 4 primary partitions, and you’ve got 5 source primary partitions you’re trying to clone to a single MBR target disk. MBR does have something called an extended partition that can be used to skirt this limitation. Basically an extended partition can contain multiple volumes, each assigned its own drive letter, while the extended partition itself and everything inside it still counts as just one partition on the disk. However, extended partitions have some quirks and limitations (including that volumes within extended partitions cannot be used for booting), and I don’t know if Reflect even allows cloning a source primary partition into a volume that resides inside an extended partition on the target. But if it does, that actually would allow you to do what you want; it would just require some manual setup of the target disk. I’ll test that setup tonight or tomorrow when I’m in front of a real computer (I’m on my phone now), and if it works, I’ll tell you how to do it.

In the meantime, my post about images vs. clones is here: https://forum.macrium.com/FindPost19894.aspx

Enjoy! Smile
Edited 1 January 2018 12:09 AM by jphughan
jphughan
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Ok, Reflect can indeed clone a source primary partition into a volume of an extended partition on a target, so unless you're bumping up against some other limitation I'm not aware of, I think I've got a solution for you.  The setup is a bit involved, though.  I've written everything up below, but if you have any questions, ask rather than moving forward.  A few notes upfront:

- This procedure will initially wipe the contents of your WD Passport disk, shown as "MBR Disk 4" in your screenshot.

- Since you have more total storage capacity across your 3 source disks than your single destination disk, I've set the destination partition sizing in the commands below to create partition sizes that match the sizes of your Disk 1 partitions, and then I split the remaining destination capacity evenly for the partitions that will be targets of your E and F drives.  If that's not appropriate, adjust as desired, bearing in mind that the size parameter below is in MB, not GB.  However, note that clone jobs where the destination partition is smaller than the source cannot take advantage of Rapid Delta Clone; instead, Reflect will have to perform a full clone every time.  Since your C drive contains the most data and you will presumably want to clone it at least as often as the others, I figured you'd rather have RDC available for that clone job and sacrifice it for the E and F drives, which is why I specified the sizing I just described.

Ok, here goes:

1. Close Reflect.

2. Run Command Prompt as administrator (click Start menu, type "Command Prompt", right-click the result and choose "Run as administrator".)

3. Enter the following commands:
diskpart
list disk (note the number corresponding to your WD Passport disk based on disk size shown; it will probably be 3 since diskpart starts numbering at 0, unlike Reflect which starts at 1.)
select disk X (substitute the number you determined above for X)
clean (this marks the entire disk as empty)
create partition primary size=350 (for clone target of MBR Disk 1, Partition 1)
create partition primary size=953088 (for clone target of MBR Disk 1, Partition 2, rounded up slightly; adjust if desired)
create partition primary size=4095 (for clone target of MBR Disk 1, Partition 3, upsized to take into account that future Windows 10 releases will likely increase the source partition size, and upsizing the destination later wouldn't be easy)
create partition extended (creates the container for the clone targets of your other disks; no size specified because this container will occupy the remainder of the disk capacity)
create partition logical size=521233 (assuming you didn't change the earlier "953088" sizing from 3 lines up, this figure should be about half of the disk's remaining capacity)
create partition logical (no size specified to cause the final volume to occupy the remainder of the extended partition and therefore the disk)

4. Close Command Prompt and now open Reflect.  Verify your WD Passport now shows as having 5 partitions; the first 3 should be blue, and the remaining 2 should be green.  Now set up your clone jobs:
- Select MBR Disk 0 and click "Clone this disk".  Select your WD Passport as the destination, then drag each of the 3 partitions on the source disk down to the first 3 partitions of the destination, working left to right.  You may want to save this job as "OS disk clone" or similar, and I would let it run.
- Select the disk containing your E drive and click "Clone this disk".  Again, select the Passport as your destination, and drag the source's partition into the destination's fourth partition (first green one).  Maybe save this job as "E Drive Clone".
- Finally, repeat the above for the final disk containing your F drive.

Hopefully this works! Smile

Edited 1 January 2018 3:33 AM by jphughan
jwillyf
jwillyf
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Hi, jphughan.
Thanks for the time and effort you have put in to help me out.
I have partitioned my portable drive as you advised and I think it has turned out as you were hoping. As I went through the process I did receive messages that drive G needed formatting before I could use it, and all five partitions currently on the portable drive are labelled as unformatted - see screenshot below. (I did a full format of the three drives that I first partitioned on the portable drive)
I presume I will need to format these before I can use them? Can this be done now or do I have to format the portable drive and then go through the process of partitioning once more? Would a quick format suffice or would it have to be a full one?

jwillyf
jwillyf
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jwillyf - 1 January 2018 3:09 PM
Hi, jphughan.
Thanks for the time and effort you have put in to help me out.
I have partitioned my portable drive as you advised and I think it has turned out as you were hoping. As I went through the process I did receive messages that drive G needed formatting before I could use it, and all five partitions currently on the portable drive are labelled as unformatted - see screenshot below. (I did a full format of the three drives that I first partitioned on the portable drive)
I presume I will need to format these before I can use them? Can this be done now or do I have to format the portable drive and then go through the process of partitioning once more? Would a quick format suffice or would it have to be a full one?
Oh, and Happy New Year!



Edited 1 January 2018 3:13 PM by jwillyf
jphughan
jphughan
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You don't need to format anything since you'll be cloning formatted partitions onto them, so they'll be set up as part of that process.  Good luck, and Happy New Year to you too! Smile

Edited 1 January 2018 3:17 PM by jphughan
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