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This should be elementary for someone who's hammered away on computers as long as I have, but I'm still confused. Somebody please explain the difference between CLONING and IMAGING a hard drive for backup purposes, and why you'd want one method over the other. What I'm trying to do is back up the entire computer to an external HD; then simply load it back on to a new HD in the event of a catastrophic failure, or something like a Cryptolocker takeover.

I had a HD failure 3 years ago; not complete, it just got real noisy. The shop was able to get all the current data from it, and reinstalled it on the new HD - but all the apps were gone. Only the names remained, and they said there's no way around this. Well, what the hell is a CLONE then, if not an exact duplicate of what I'm using right now?

So what's the best way to back up the whole shebang, where I can simply transfer the data back to a new HD if needed, and be back in business? Using W7 Premium.

Thanks...:)
 

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Well, I prefer using macrium reflect to clone so ive got a whole spare hard drive that works.

So macrium reflect is a cloning tool, once you clone your hard drive, you can use the clone as though its your original set up, everything works exactly the same, if the clone is successful. (always check it was dont assume)

You dont lose anything when you clone a hard drive with macrium reflect. Its a free download, just search for it.

So if your original hard drive crashes, or OS gets buggy or infected, whatever, you can just use the clone HD straight up.

If you clone onto a same kind of internal drive as the computer you already have just swap the fubar for the clone HD, or if youve cloned onto an external you can boot and run your computer from it via a cable and not even have the computers original HD in there at all (remove it or choose to not boot it in bios)

Imaging is different in that it bundles the HD contents into one big compressed file (called an image file obviously) , for me its not a guarantee that you will get your computer back when all you have is an image file as a backup. You have to resurrect the file on a new HD and it might not always work out right. So its like zipping it all up into a compressed bag, hoping that when you need to unzip the shit and restore it, its all gonna come back out right.

A clone is an exact working copy, and when you make a clone and boot it up and check it works, you know youve got a working backup incase you need it.

Im sure plenty of people use imaging and dont have an issue with it but I prefer to clone.
 

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Could macrium reflect also be used to swap to a SSD? I want to boot Win 10 and a couple apps from a SSD in addition to keeping my Mechanical HD
 

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I havent done it but I read a bit about it once as I figure eventually I will be moving my stuff to SSD , and apparently it can.

Looked it up again, heres some info.

"You can clone Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008 and later operating systems to a solid state disk (SSD) automatically by following the instructions in Cloning disks and converting disk types."

http://www.macrium.com/help/v5/How_to/Conversions/Convert_to_a_solid_state_disk.htm
 

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Whut?

LOL So what am I accomplishing by using Windows "Backup" to an external hard drive?

A couple of years ago I dropped my laptop while it was running and wiped out the hard drive. Then I came to the realization that I couldn't tune the car without it.:(
 

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Whut?

LOL So what am I accomplishing by using Windows "Backup" to an external hard drive?
Its not a working clone, it compresses the files and needs restoring.

When you actually clone a hard drive, you can swap your original hard drive for the clone and the clone will work like your original HD without doing anything else, they are straight up interchangeable.
 

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Its not a working clone, it compresses the files and needs restoring.

When you actually clone a hard drive, you can swap your original hard drive for the clone and the clone will work like your original HD without doing anything else, they are straight up interchangeable.
I am old and slow so have patience here.

So now I have this external hard drive with monthly back ups on it. What is it used for? Can I recover the data for use in another hard drive if I need a new one again? Can it be used to set up another computer? I lost programs the last time that I had to pay for again, will they be in it?

Thanks for your time.
 

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You can recover it to another hard drive, everything should be as it was in theory, and you should be ok, but ive had image backups fail to restore, and it is, in my opinion, alot more messing around than using a cloning program like macrium reflect if you need to install the backup on a new drive.

Going to a different computer can be problematic as there are different drivers and settings, but ive actually cloned discs before and used them in different computers sucessfully, I had to mess around installing the appropriate drivers for the new computer, which are usually available online, and there are other things that have to be set the same in the replacement computers settings for windows to boot.
 

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What all do you need to back up?

I used dropbox for photos, both tablet and cellphone upload to the PC when within WiFi range, also uploaded to my account. About once a month or so I transfer the pics to a different drive, two externals I have. This then deletes the files on the PC and the cloud. Everything else Windows should be able to recover. Now if you are doing any CAD work or similar, just back up the files weekly to an external drive.
 

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Carbon Copy clone to external HD then weekly updates to the clone, then I have OneDrive + iCloud backups that also keep things safe. A complete backup of my mail is always running in office 365 so I can also restore anything there if needed.
 

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Carbon Copy clone to external HD then weekly updates to the clone, then I have OneDrive + iCloud backups that also keep things safe. A complete backup of my mail is always running in office 365 so I can also restore anything there if needed.
Looks like that is for MAC's?
 

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Could macrium reflect also be used to swap to a SSD? I want to boot Win 10 and a couple apps from a SSD in addition to keeping my Mechanical HD
YEs, Also their is a program Ghost Norton has it now and it can be used to backup and to clone or image a drive.
 

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YEs, Also their is a program Ghost Norton has it now and it can be used to backup and to clone or image a drive.
x2 Ghost is a very good program.

IMO, nothing beats the reliability of a fresh format and install of a clean OEM OS. I personally just keep all important files on my external and if something happens like a virus I just do a clean reformat.
 

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Cloning and Imaging are the same, only difference with imaging is you can save the image to a file on a hard drive or you can image another drive. Most imaging programs and cloning programs will offer the option of creating a clone or an image file. The drive you clone to or image has to be the same size if not larger.

The key is to make sure that the OS that you want to image or clone is clean of any malware or virus and also Defraged ( unless SSD) and run error checking also before running the image program. Also you cannot take that drive after imaging or cloning and install in a different PC as it will have issues with drivers if it works correctly at all.
 

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x2 Ghost is a very good program.

IMO, nothing beats the reliability of a fresh format and install of a clean OEM OS. I personally just keep all important files on my external and if something happens like a virus I just do a clean reformat.

What I do and have for the last 20 years is create an image file of the OS after it is installed and all updates are run than defrag it and run scan disk to clean it up, that way if you get a virus or malware , you can just reimage the drive. I prefer Ghost as it is the first program I really worked with on a daily bases,

I create partitions on the Hard Drive 1 for the OS and 1 for DATA that way the data is on a separate partition from the OS, AS malware will attack the OS same as a virus. Doing it this way all you have to do is reinstall the the OS and point to the data drive for files. takes about 10 minutes to reimage the OS partition also I do it about every year or so so I have a clean OS on the PC's been doing it this way for customers fro years,
 

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I gave up backing up "everything," and by that I mean the sofware and OS. I just back up my files, and in Linux this is easy, because "all my shit" gets dumped (for starters) to folders on the desktop, then moved to a second hard drive in the "swap bay." THEN that stuff gets backed up "as is" to another hard drive.

Usually by the time the main drive OS/ software gives me problems, it's time to upgrade to the new version, anyhow.
 

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Whut?

LOL So what am I accomplishing by using Windows "Backup" to an external hard drive?

A couple of years ago I dropped my laptop while it was running and wiped out the hard drive. Then I came to the realization that I couldn't tune the car without it.:(
Part of the problem with windows backup is that it runs from windows. So if your PC dies, what do you have. Nothing. So you would have to put a new hard drive on there. Install Windows, with the disk that you have lost and the key that you can't find. Then run windows backup and do a restore.
 

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Part of the problem with windows backup is that it runs from windows. So if your PC dies, what do you have. Nothing. So you would have to put a new hard drive on there. Install Windows, with the disk that you have lost and the key that you can't find. Then run windows backup and do a restore.
I think I got this. So as long a I have the key and windows disk I can use the external to restore the programs and information?
 

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...............And with winhozed haight THERE IS NO KEY other than the one "in the OS" No sticker, no certificate, no shit
 

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I have a new hardware box from Startech ( https://www.startech.com/HDD/Duplicators/ ) that is suppose to clone/duplicate a hard drive. While I haven’t tried it yet its suppose to work as long as the target HD is as big or bigger than the original HD. Of course to use it, the drive has to come out and put in the duplicator. I have used Ghost many times, pretty sure the new ghost is not the same product as the old one(boot from floppy/CD). I’ve never used Macrium so I can’t comment on it. One thing that would kill a ghost image was errors on the HD, you should always run a “chkdsk c: /F” first before doing anything….
 
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