Cloning SSD to HDD (bootable), leaving data partition on HDD intact


Nov 10, 2013

I own an Ultrabook with a 512GB SSD and Windows 8.1 Pro. I recently bought a 4TB external HDD (USB3). I want to clone the SSD to HDD from time to time, it should be bootable, so in case the SSD dies, I could instantly boot from the HDD and use it until I have the money to buy a new MSATA SSD. And the cloning program shouldn't wipe the complete HDD, as I have a big data partiton on it. It's ok if wiping is necessary the first time, right now I don't have any new data stored on it, but for keeping it up to date, it shouldn't wipe the disk again. And it would be nice, if only incremental changes are applied (not copying the complete disk again every time)
The SSD has 512B sectors and the HDD has 4096B sectors, so most cloning programs won't work.
I would prefer a 1:1 clone I, so that I could transfer it back to SSD anytime, but would also agree to a working system clone and a normal (non-bootable) 1:1 incremental backupper/restorer that compresses the image.
I would prefer free tools, but also might consider to buy a good software, if it's not too expensive

P.S. I would prefer online backup (from a running system), as the ultrabook is running almost all the time.

Zee Kampfusbeke

Jun 25, 2015
I found good reviews of Casper on this forum and installed Casper 8. I made a clone of my disk, leaving the the rest of space unallocated. I created a data partition on it and copied stuff from a HDD in my desktop over FTP for over 3 days (as there was a lot of small files).
Today Casper asked me if I want to update the copy of my disk. I thought, if the data partition should be lost in the process, Casper would warn me. It didn't. It dropped my data partition and resized the main partition (which is also not the last one, but one in the middle of the disk) to all available space. Now I can't undelete the data partition and am making another copy with unallocated space with Casper and am going to need to copy everything back from scratch.

I'm glad, I didn't buy this horrible software, before I tried it and am still waiting for another suggestions.