Question Cloning a Windows drive

nickeh1

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Hi,

I have 2 copies of windows installed on 2 drives in one laptop (dual boot).

Each drive has its own windows 10 copy installed.

I recently experienced a problem with one of the windows after a windows update which made it stuck in windows start up recovery screen - I tried EVERYTHING to fix it but had to resort to wiping it and starting again.

To stop this problem occurring again (incase windows messes up again), I would like to take a clone of the drive in its current state.

What would be the best way to do this? I have heard of softwares out there such as Macrium Reflect and AOMEI.
What is the best available free software out there for this? And how should this be achieved?

Can I do this by loading the alternative drive with windows (the one that I don't want to copy), and clone it through the cloning process of one of those apps mentioned above?
Or should I be loaded into the windows of the one that I want to copy, or doesn't it matter as long as I can select the drive that I want to clone and have an external hardrive ready for the clone?

And my final question is.. when I want to recover the clone, how should this be achieved?

Many thanks in advance for the advise you can offer!
 

USAFRet

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I use Macrium Reflect for this.
And for this use, you want to make an Image, not a full clone. An Image results in just a large file, and allows you to use the whole rest of the drive as desired.

To recover, you create a Macrium Rescue USB.
When needed, boot from that Rescue USB, tell it where the source Image is, and what target drive to apply it to.
Click Go...
It works.
 

USAFRet

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@USAFRet What is the difference with making a clone and making an image?
A clone is to use right now, on a different drive.
An Image is a backup, for potential use later. And with an Image, you can create a series of Full or Incremental. Allowing you to recreate the system as it was on some specified day.

This is the folder holding the Images of my C drive.


I could recover the system as it was on any of those days, from 1 Oct to today, 9 Oct.
Today is Wednesday. Lets say something really bad happened on Monday, but I did not notice until today. I could recover the system as it was on the day previous...Sunday.

A clone is a single snapshot of right now, and goes stale quickly.
I have a folder like that for each of the 7 drives in my system, and similar for the other systems in the house.

And all that can be stored on a single physical drive of sufficient size.
 

nickeh1

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Thanks for the information. @USAFRet

When taking a backup (full backup image using MacriumReflect), would it be better to remove the other drive in the laptop which has a different copy of windows?

I usually run dual boot on this laptop but only need to backup one of the drives with windows.


And if i ever need to restore from the backup, how do i do that?
What if windows is stuck on blue screen, can i still recover from that drive without getting into windows? Does it need to be restored with the drive in another computer or loading another copy of windows from different drive than the one i am trying to make the backup from?
 
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USAFRet

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Thanks for the information. @USAFRet

When taking a backup (full backup image using MacriumReflect), would it be better to remove the other drive in the laptop which has a different copy of windows?

I usually run dual boot on this laptop but only need to backup one of the drives with windows.
You can specify exactly which drive to work with.
And do each individually.
 

howtobeironic

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What's good with Macrium Reflect is you can take all the stuff and later on use it as a virtual drive, should you need some data from it.

Short thing on clone vs image: Cloning is (quite literally) writing each bit of data (and empty sectors)to another drive. What you end up in the other drive is an identical copy of the one you cloned. The drive must be bigger than the one you clone and you end up having only that cloned space on the new drive (for example if the drive you clone from is 200 GB and the drive you clone to is 1 TB, you'll only be able to use that 200 GB on the new drive unless you repartition it and delete the clone. It also deletes what was on the drive you cloned to.)

When you image though, first off you'll need space that's a bit bigger than the used capacity of the imaged drive. Backup program does compress it as well. You can choose which drive, which partition -well, even which folders and files- and they are put into one file -or multiple 4 GB files if you are imaging to a FAT format drive- which can be restored, verified, attached as a VHD and files copied, turned into a VM and booted, almost anything you could do as it's like in a PC. The files that were there stay there on the drive you image to, and can be moved around freely. So unless you are a technicial who wants to put the same image on multiple PC's go for imaging.
 

nickeh1

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Hi, Thanks for all your replies. @USAFRet @howtobeironic

Can you please let me know the following questions?

1. If I was to do an image, does it copy eactly everything thats on the drive? Even the recovery and hidden drives?

2. If I was to do an image onto an external hardrive, can I copy multiple images onto that external hardrive and they all sit as one file which are individually recoverable from at any later time?

3. Can the image be used on another pc? Or would the clone method be better? Or is there always going to be complications with copying drives from one to another to use on another laptop?

4. Are there any risks with doing images rather than clones? Such as, later the image isn't fully recoverable for some reason?

5. If I have a drive that has dual boot (two windows installs on two different drives inside one laptop), should I remove the drive which I am not making an image of, so that i only have one drive (the one i want to copy) inside the laptop when making the image, or does it not matter?
 
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USAFRet

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1. Yes. The entire drive, or whichever partitions you chose. Encapsulated in a single file.

2. Yes, sort of. That is specifically how I do my backup routine. Each system gets a Folder, and each drive in that system gets a subfolder. Each of those drive subfolders has a series of Full or Incremental Images as needs dictate.
(screencaps below)

3. Not really. That Image is no different than a clone, or trying to move the actual physical drive to a different system.
Macrium has a function called ReDeploy, which purports to enable this, but I've never tried it.

4. Barring any issues, it should be fully recoverable. I've had to use it exactly like that. Dead SSD, 100% recovered, exactly as it was at 4AM that morning when it ran its nightly Incremental. But this is why you test your backup routine. Nothing is guaranteed 100% perfect for all time.

A clone is for use right now, as in swapping a drive. And it sucks up a whole other drive. An Image is a backup, to be stored for possible future use.

5. Doesn't matter. You can select whichever drive you want, and set up each drive on its own schedule.



This is stored on my NAS box, but just as easily could be a regular external drive.

My main system and its multiple drives. Each drive has a Full, and then a series of Incremental images:


My wifes system, with its one C drive and minimal use. Every night gets a Full Image:


I could recover either of those systems, or an individual drive, from whatever day is in that list.
 

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