can I clone from a spinning drive with 512 byte sectors to a new SSD?

Sep 26, 2018
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Hello, I'm trying to determine whether I can successfully clone between my legacy Seagate hard drive with 512 bytes sectors, and a new Crucial MX500 500GB SATA 2.5-inch 7mm (with 9.5mm adapter) Internal SSD, before I make the purchase. The sales rep from crucial told me that Macrium Reflect free will "just take care of it." The Macrium Reflect knowledge base says that the software won't clone between drives with 512 byte sectors and 4096 byte sectors.
https://knowledgebase.macrium.com/display/KNOW7/Incompatible+Disk+Selected
Making matters even more complicated, further reading about SSD's revealed that they use 1 megabyte blocks.
https://www.oo-software.com/en/docs/whitepaper/whitepaper_ssd.pdf
Will cloning using Macrium Reflect free work in both directions?
My apologies if this is a duplicate, but I think my initial question vaporize while I was trying to create an account.
 

USAFRet

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An easy way around this is with a 3rd drive, and do an Image, not a full clone.

1. Create a Macrium Rescue USB or CD
2. Run Macrium, and create an Image off to the 3rd drive
3. Swap the SSD for the old HDD
4. Boot from the Macrium Rescue thing you created.
5. Tell it where the Image is, and what drive to apply it to.
 

USAFRet

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Mar 16, 2013
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An easy way around this is with a 3rd drive, and do an Image, not a full clone.

1. Create a Macrium Rescue USB or CD
2. Run Macrium, and create an Image off to the 3rd drive
3. Swap the SSD for the old HDD
4. Boot from the Macrium Rescue thing you created.
5. Tell it where the Image is, and what drive to apply it to.
 
Sep 26, 2018
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Would the result from that process be functionally equivalent to a clone? I ultimately care about preserving the relationship between my installed software when backing up, because I have lots of programs that don't play nicely together unless you're very very careful about how you install them. Are the image files that Macrium Reflect creates like Mint iso files, just in a different file format?

 

USAFRet

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No, not the same.
A clone recreates the exact file and sector structure. Which, in your case, is incompatible.
An Image is the whole drive, encapsulated in a single file. xxxx.mrimage. When applied to the new drive, it does not care what the old sector construction was.

And it is the entire drive. The OS and all your applications, just as they are now.

Try it. It costs nothing to try.
 
Sep 26, 2018
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Thanks for clarifying, I really appreciate it! This hard drive upgrade is actually the last step in a convoluted tech journey that started back in late August. I'm definitely going to use the 3 drive shuffle method you described. Last question, in step 2…
2. Run Macrium, and create an Image off to the 3rd drive
Does Drive #3 need to be completely empty, or just have sufficient space to hold the image?



 

USAFRet

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Just needs the free space. the Image, as noted above, is just a very large "file".
xxxx.mrimage.

For instance, the image of my current C drive is a 183.5GB image, saved off on my NAS box.
 

karenjoly

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Apr 13, 2018
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I'm not sure this procedure is necessary.

First, the white paper says an SSD page, which is composed of several memory cells, is usually 4 KB in size and that a block holds 128 pages so a block contains 512 KB. There is no mention of a MB item.

Secondly, modern ssds use the 4K size sector but emulate the 512 byte size for compatibility . That is called a 512e sector. Macrium points that out in the document. The document says the incompatibility arises when going to a larger sector size but that "There are no disks currently available that would cause this issue when connected directly (i.e. not via USB)." That's because 4K disks support Advanced Format 512e and permit directly accessing 512 Bytes of data via emulation.

I have several ssds, 850/860/960 Samsung drives. Looking at them in sys info shows them with 512 sector size. The Macrium document mentions that disks with a physical sector size of 4096 Bytes that implement 512e will show 512 in sys info.
 
Reactions: grfxguy
Sep 26, 2018
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Thanks again. It's nice to know that I have both options (traditional clone, or restore from image). The more I think about it, the more I think the imaging method is better, because it increases redundancy (there are 3 copies at the end) and it significantly decreases the probability of accidentally cloning in the wrong direction. My SSD hasn't come in yet, but my 1 TB external did, and I was practicing with image creation last night. I created a full image, but instead of getting one big file, I got 66 separate 4 GB files. I left all the options at their default, except that I turned on verification, since I was letting it image overnight, and I was not concerned about about the additional time. How do I make it use a single file, for ease of restoration?
 
Sep 26, 2018
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Pretty sure I have the size is set to a limited. But I just did some googling, and by default, the drive is formatted as fat32. I didn't even think to check that before, thought it would ship as NTFS. Thanks, you've saved me some serious head scratching.
 
Sep 26, 2018
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Hello again. I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who contributed their helpful advice to this thread. I am now up and running on my SSD, and everything runs so much smoother. Thank you!
 
Feb 17, 2019
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No, not the same.
A clone recreates the exact file and sector structure. Which, in your case, is incompatible.
An Image is the whole drive, encapsulated in a single file. xxxx.mrimage. When applied to the new drive, it does not care what the old sector construction was.

And it is the entire drive. The OS and all your applications, just as they are now.
I tried to take and image and use it on a Sabrent rocket nvme 1 tb ssd, and it didn't work. Says it's incompatible. It turns out there is a 4096 bytes per sector ssd out there that doesn't use 512e and of course, I found it. Not real sure what to do. Any help from ya'll would be fantastic.
 

USAFRet

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Mar 16, 2013
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I tried to take and image and use it on a Sabrent rocket nvme 1 tb ssd, and it didn't work. Says it's incompatible. It turns out there is a 4096 bytes per sector ssd out there that doesn't use 512e and of course, I found it. Not real sure what to do. Any help from ya'll would be fantastic.
Please start up a new thread for your particular situation.
 
Jul 20, 2019
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I ran into the same 512/4096 sector issue when trying to clone a new Dell HDD to an old crucial M500 SSD. karenjoly actually provided the answer buried in her quote from Macrium, "There are no disks currently available that would cause this issue when connected directly (i.e. not via USB)." After reading that, I reconnected my SSD to one of the onboard SATA ports and had no trouble cloning it with MiniTool Partition Wizard, which had previously refused to do so when the SSD was connected via USB.
 

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