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how do I go about cloning my hard drive with two partitions?

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Hello all-


OK don't laugh. I still have XP. I still have an old monitor. I still have an old printer. I still have a P4.


Everything still works. Yes I know I should upgrade to Windows 7. I know.


I am not very computer literate. And. . .well. . .everything still works. . .and right now working well.


But I would like to try and clone my hard drive. I have two Partitions C and D. At least I would like to learn how to do this. Is there an easy way? Do I need a blank CD? Do I need a blank DVD?


How do I go about doing this? I have read some of the instructions on a couple of sites and it seems very complicated. I have heard that EaseUs is the best and the easiest to use. Is that correct?


If you can provide me with some good advice or instructions that would be very helpful.


I also learned that you can save a copy on-line. How does one do that? Wouldn't someone else be able to use that if you saved it on-line?


Any assistance would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

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If you have a Western Digital (WDC) hard disk, or a Seagate product (including Maxtor and Samsung), both companies have free versions of Acronis True Image available for download. The program has many features and optiions, including cloning.


(True Image is also a retail product, and the third most recent version and previous are usually very cheap. Having tried a few, I prefer True Image 11 Home from 2007/8 - not to be confused with True image 2011 Home.)


You can create an image of an entire hard disk, then write the image to another disk. Or, you can opt to skip the image creation, and copy an entire hard disk directly to another disk.


In either case, the disk can be copied exactly, so that each partition on the target hard disc will be created at exactly the same size as the source. This means that each drive will have the same capacity, used space, and free space as the originals.


That is generally not what most users want, however, since new hard discs are often acquired for greater storage. Therefore, True Image includes an option to proportionally expand each partition to utilize more of (or all of) the target disc's larger capacity.

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Hello and thank you for your reply. However I am extremely confused. Let's say my Hard Drive goes bad and I need to put in a new hard drive. How do I go about cloning the old hard drive so I can just boot and have the entire system put on the new hard drive?


I was looking at EaseUs but I have no idea what product to choose because they have two of them. They have a back up copy and a disk copy and I have no idea which one I use.


On the new hard drive I already have it partitioned but I don't want to start over installing Windows from the beginning and then installing all the updates which at this time would take 2-3 days including all my programs, especially if the old hard drive I have now goes bad.


So I am confused as to how to do this. If anyone can help that would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

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In your first post of this topic, you asked how to "clone".


Tom provided accurate and excellent information about how to make a "clone" (an identical copy/version of your present existing HD or Partition)

I'll also add my "thumbs-up" for the recommendation of Acronis utility products for use in accomplishing this task.

There are others, but I prefer Acronis and have used most of the recent versions successfully.


If you follow Tom's suggestions, you will end up with two identical Hard Drives, each containing exactly the same OS, applications, configurations, and files/documents. (and as Tom suggests, you can elect to utilize a larger hard drive to give your newly cloned HD more room for work and expansion.



In your second question, you seem to be asking how to create a back-up "image.iso" of your present working HD or partion which is now working the way you want it. You would include an .iso backup in anticipation of catastrophic loss in which your recovery action would be to format your existing and now catastrophically corrupted HD (or a new HD of equal or larger size) upon which you could "in one single operation" Restore the operating system, applications, configurations, and files as they exist on your current HD or partition.


Back-up (using .iso image) for purpose of later Restoring your system if you unfortunately experience catastrophic loss, is an excellent anticipation and safety-net. I have all of my machines back-up up with .iso image back-ups for use in Restoring if I experience catastrophic loss. And I encourage others to do the same. I update my .iso image backups on an irregular basis, usually when I make a major change or have added an important application to my system. Other people make regular scheduled .iso image back-ups, for instance, if they regularly accumulate important business information that is added to on a daily or weekly basis. Creating regularly updated .iso images assures that you will be able to resume with OS, applications, configuration, and files synchronis with the date/time you create the backup. If you created the back-up yesterday, the only information you would loose would be today's work. All else could be Restored up-to-date of yesterday's .iso image.


To create an .iso image, use Acronis back-up or similar there are two steps.


1. Create the .iso image back-up

Specify all of what you want to include in the backup (can include an entire HD if you see fit). And specify a "target" where you wish to save the .iso image back-up. The "target can be a set of CDs or DVDs, but I always use an external HD for convenience.


2. Create a bootable Rescue CD/DVD from which you can boot your failed machine and run the utilities to transfer (Restore) the .iso image back-up that you created in step one. The "bootable Rescue CD/DVD" can be built using utilities in Acronis (or similar) and allows the user to boot a machines whose HD has become corrupted/infected/failed, thus causing catastrophic unbootable loss. The user then specifies the "source" (where you are storing the back-up .iso image) and a "destination" (where you want to bring that system back to life. (either after formatting your old corrupted HD, or installing a fresh new one.


I generally create an .iso image backup and a bootable Rescue CD/DVD for each machine when I first set it up.

I may subsequently create additional .iso backups of my system later as it grows and changes.

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Thank you for all the advice that has been given to me but I would have no idea where to begin. I guess I am going to have to find someone to pay to do all this or just hope my hard drive holds up until I am able to get a Windows 7. I would have no idea how to create a Bootable CD or how to create an .iso back up. I would have no idea how to save the information to an external hard drive. I don't even know how to install an external hard drive. I don't even have the cables to do so.


Computers are too complicated for me! I need to find someone to do this for me and I guess I will have to pay them or else hope the hard drive holds up. I only know how to reformat and reinstall the operating system from scratch. I have a Windows ME bootable CD that I got from Goodwill. I used that to format my current computer.


Thanks again for all the assistance.

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... I would have no idea where to begin. I guess I am going to have to find someone to pay to do all this ...

"Where to begin" — pick the software you want to use, and learn about it. Although True Image has been recommended, EaseUS Todo Backup Free should also be able to do the job, since it too supports resizing a cloned drive. Decide what you'll be using, and step-by-step instructions can be provided.


But first, you need to review the user manual to gain an understanding of the features and procedures relevent to the task. You don't need to learn every function (and shouldn't try to), just get an overview of what's involved. That will go a long way to reducing anxiety, since you'll no longer be in completely unfamiliar territory.


To "install" an external hard disc, just plug in its power supply (if provided; some externals don't use one), and plug in the included USB cable. As for the other end of the USB cable, it's always preferred to connect to a USB port on the computer, not to a USB hub. This direct connection is actually required when the drive doesn't have its own power supply, because most hubs are unpowered.


You probably won't need an external hard disc, however, or have to create a bootable CD, ISO, etc. You WILL need to install the new internal hard disc, though. The details of the physical installation are pretty obvious — just look at your current drive — but the electrical hookup depends on the type of drive. Drives that use 40-pin connectors about 2 inch / 6cm wide are PATA, those with 3/8 inch / 0.8cm connectors are SATA.


Let us know which type of hard disk and which software you'll use, and I'm sure we can walk you through the process.

Edited by TomGL2
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Thank you so much for all the information. What I really should try and find is a computer that has 3GB-4GB of Ram already installed. I have an extra IDE hard drive and an extra video card plus a DVD and a CD-ROM. So all I really need is a computer that has all the rest that I don't have. Plus the OS. I do need a computer that can still take an IDE hard drive. A lot of them seem to just take SATA now. I guess that buying Windows 7 is expensive. I don't know if it is or not.


That way I don't have to worry about XP anymore. But I am afraid the expense might be very high. I just don't have the money. I paid $45 for the computer I have now with the monitor. It has done really well since I reformatted last year (knock on wood). I don't get good internet reception where I live so it would not do me any good to upgrade just for a faster speed. I get the fastest possible and my Apt. Manager states that I will never get any faster speed than the slowest DSL. I still have 24GB free on a 40GB hard drive.


Thanks once again. I really appreciate all of the assistance.

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I have heard that EaseUs is the best and the easiest to use. Is that correct?

Having tested EaseUS Todo Backup Free, I find that I cannot even in the least recommend the program. Every apparently successful attempt to clone and resize partitions resulted in an unbootable drive. Some cloning operations, after completion, reported failure due to "file system errors" on the source drive, but the drive was in fact error-free and completely defragmented.
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Did you make a boot disk with Easus and use it outside of windows, or did you run it from within windows?

Both, and with the same results. Todo Backup failed to copy a partition, reporting file system errors that were undetectable by any utility. To resolve this, I backed up all the files, reformatted the partition, and restored the files. Afterward, Todo Backup eventually completed with no reported errors, but the disc clone was not bootable.


The program froze half the time starting the "calculating" phase.


True Image was entirely successful in copying and expanding both partitions, producing a bootable clone, even before the "errors" were resolved.

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