Question Can you just switch a cloned backup and a main hard drive and still boot?

Petros_K

Distinguished
Jan 14, 2014
62
0
18,640
1
Real fundamental question but I forgot how this works.

My D drive is used only as a backup to periodically clone my C drive. I want to start using my D drive as the main drive and my C drive for future backup after I transfer files.

The way my system runs I set up a boot record using Easy BCD so that I can boot from either drive at startup. I can simply change the order for which hard drive will boot first using EasyBCD to edit the boot record, but then the connection at the motherboard for my default hard drive will not be in the usual 0 position. Does it matter? Is this the best way to do it?

However, was also wondering will I lose my boot record if I just pull out both hard drives and then connect the cloned D drive in the 0 position where my C drive was? I'd like to avoid making a change that will make me lose the boot record. I've done that before and it was real time consuming for me to fix.
 

kanewolf

Titan
Moderator
Real fundamental question but I forgot how this works.

My D drive is used only as a backup to periodically clone my C drive. I want to start using my D drive as the main drive and my C drive for future backup after I transfer files.

The way my system runs I set up a boot record using Easy BCD so that I can boot from either drive at startup. I can simply change the order for which hard drive will boot first using EasyBCD to edit the boot record, but then the connection at the motherboard for my default hard drive will not be in the usual 0 position. Does it matter? Is this the best way to do it?

However, was also wondering will I lose my boot record if I just pull out both hard drives and then connect the cloned D drive in the 0 position where my C drive was? I'd like to avoid making a change that will make me lose the boot record. I've done that before and it was real time consuming for me to fix.
The typical way to "switch" would be in the BIOS.
That boot record has to live on one drive, it might get cloned properly, it might not.
Simplest way would be to power off. Disconnect the data cable to your C drive, power up and select the remaining drive in the BIOS as your boot device. See what happens.
It will either work or fail. Power off and normalize everything. Then continue or fix the problem.
 
My D drive is used only as a backup to periodically clone my C drive.
Just a short mention : this method seems to suggest all the data backup files are available at all times, which also means if you encounter cryptoviruses on the computer, those backups will also be lost.

Questions - do you have a third storage device, and do you mind if all data from your "D-drive" get wiped?

If I was about to do this operation, I'd choose Clonezilla (most familiar with) following this recipe (assume you have an external hdd to store temporary disk image file) (skipped obvious steps such as reboots, etc):
  • Backup any data from your "D-drive"
  • Disconnect the "D-drive"
  • Boot Clonezilla and make a Disk-Image, save disk image to external hdd.
  • Disconnect the "C-drive" and re-connect the "D-drive".
  • Boot Clonezilla and perform a Disk-image-file to harddrive.
  • Disconnect the external hdd and try to boot from the former "D-drive", see if it works.
If you re-connect the former C-drive, then you probably need to check the bios settings to ensure it boot from the former D-drive (because you'll still have boot sector on both hdd's).
 

Petros_K

Distinguished
Jan 14, 2014
62
0
18,640
1
I'm trying to preserve what's on my D drive backup, and save the folders and files on my C drive that weren't backed up yet and move them over to the D drive after making the D drive the drive that boots. So cloning a drive is not an option here, unless I move all the files from C to D first, and then clone the D drive to the C drive. I believe last time I tried to do that I could not boot from the computer (I use Seagate Disc Wizard to clone my hard drive).

The C drive is essentially to become the backup drive, but not until I get the D drive to be the one that boots.

I believe I can do it two ways:

1. Change the boot record that I created with EasyBCD. If you're not familiar with this, you can edit the order of the hard drives and make either one boot first. Thing I was wondering though is if I leave the D drive in it's current connection at the motherboard it's in port 1 and not port 0 like you would normally have your C drive. I do not know if there is some reason not to do it this way with the main hard drive being in port 1 instead of 0.



I just tried this and it works. I can edit the names also to change the name of the Backup drive above to the name of the drive below it and vice versa. But like I said, don't know is there something wrong with the main drive that normally boots not being in port 0 of the motherboard.

2. As suggested above by Kanewolf, just pull out the C drive from port 1 and see if the computer still boots from the remaining D drive. I got two problems with this before I try it:
A. Do I risk losing the MBR?
B. If the D drive still remains in port 1 and the system boots, is there some reason it needs to stay there or can I move it to port 0?
 
Last edited:

Petros_K

Distinguished
Jan 14, 2014
62
0
18,640
1
By doing the first method outlined above (using EasyBCD to alter the boot record), Disk Manager now shows the Backup drive on position 1 at the motherboard as the boot drive:



Disk 0 was my main drive that I want to now only take some folders and files from and place them on the other drive. Then, I will rename the hard drives and Disk 0 becomes the Backup that I will use to periodically clone. Once I make a clone of the Backup drive, and do one more edit to the boot record made with EasyBCD, this will be a dual boot system again, but with my main drive on position 1 at the motherboard instead of 0.

If anyone knows you should not have the main drive at position 1 for some reason please reply. But for now looks like this is a glitch-free way to do it.
 
If anyone knows you should not have the main drive at position 1 for some reason please reply. But for now looks like this is a glitch-free way to do it.
It doesn't matter at all, it's just so you and the bios can tell where a disk is connected.

You should try and disconnect the power (not the data cable because confusing those can cause issues) from one drive at a time to see if they can boot on their own or if the boot loader is only on one of the disks. If this is of any importance to you.
EasyBCD has an option to deploy BCD where you can write an MBR to your disk to make it bootable on its own.
 

Petros_K

Distinguished
Jan 14, 2014
62
0
18,640
1
I just realized after I know the D drive can boot as the default drive in position 1 (and it can after I edited the MBR with Easy BCD). and move the folder and files there, I can clone the D drive to the C drive still in position 0, and then after cloning boot the drive in position 0 and edit the MBR with EasyBCD again changing the name of the drive and making it the default drive again, which would be the config I had originally.

But you know part of my concern to use the D drive as the main drive is because the D drive hardly gets any use and the C drive has been going at least two years. May be a good idea to use the drive with less wear and tear.

One more question:

If I powered down and removed my C drive from position 0 at the motherboard, and moved the data cable for the D drive drive in position 1 to position 0, if the computer would not boot, could could I simply put the hard drives back and it would likely boot? Unless I'm mistaken, something gets stored in a small memory somewhere not on a hard drive that you can lose and the system won;t boot, like when you change the battery.
 

Petros_K

Distinguished
Jan 14, 2014
62
0
18,640
1
Ha! After cloning the D drive in position 1 to the C drive in position 0, the system rebooted from the drive in position 0, I guess because BIOS is set to look there first for a boot record. If the two drives are identical, my guess is I can switch the data connections and it should still work.

I'm not just using the two drives with one as a "backup," though that's what I call it. It a dual boot system that allows me to do the kinds of things I just did.
 

USAFRet

Titan
Moderator
Mar 16, 2013
161,054
13,284
176,090
24,450
Ha! After cloning the D drive in position 1 to the C drive in position 0, the system rebooted from the drive in position 0, I guess because BIOS is set to look there first for a boot record. If the two drives are identical, my guess is I can switch the data connections and it should still work.

I'm not just using the two drives with one as a "backup," though that's what I call it. It a dual boot system that allows me to do the kinds of things I just did.
Terminology is important for clarity and correct procedures and assistance.

Dualboot is completely different than backup is completely different than clone.
 
I guess because BIOS is set to look there first for a boot record. If the two drives are identical, my guess is I can switch the data connections and it should still work.
Yes, you calso just change that setting in bios.
Most bios also have an extra boot menu if you don't want to change this setting permanently, look at the screen while starting up it will probably tell you what to press to get into it.
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY