[SOLVED] How to clone OS drive to bootable external hard drive for install on new SSD?

May 27, 2022
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Basically, I want to copy my C drive (128g M.2 SSD) which has my Windows OS, other files, etc. to my external USB hard drive and then restore that onto a new larger 1tb M.2 SSD I recently purchased. My motherboard only has one M.2 slot, I assume I could just copy my C drive (OS) to external drive, install new SSD, then boot from external and restore. I tried using EaseUS disk copy, todo back up, but could not get my external drive to be bootable. (seemed scammy idk) My main problem seems to be that I can't get my external to boot. I am clearly dumb with computers, so laymens terms would be appreciated if possible. Thanks!
 

USAFRet

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Mar 16, 2013
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Do you have some other drive with enough free space to hold the entirety of your current 128GB drive?
If so, this....

----------------------------------------------
1x m.2 slot with an Image

Assuming you have another drive with sufficient free space to hold the entirety of your current m.2 drive:

  1. Download and install Macrium Reflect
  2. Run that, and create a Rescue CD or USB (you'll use this later). "Other Tasks"
  3. In the Macrium client, create an Image to some other drive. External USB HDD, maybe. Select all partitions. This results in a file of xxxx.mrimage
  4. When done, power OFF.
  5. Swap the 2 drives
  6. Boot up from the Rescue USB you created earlier.
  7. Restore (on the toolbar), and tell it where the Image is that you created in step 3, and which drive to apply it to...the new m.2
  8. Go, and wait until it finishes.
  9. That's all...this should work.
 
Reactions: drw9798

USAFRet

Titan
Moderator
Mar 16, 2013
154,750
11,279
176,090
24,155
Do you have some other drive with enough free space to hold the entirety of your current 128GB drive?
If so, this....

----------------------------------------------
1x m.2 slot with an Image

Assuming you have another drive with sufficient free space to hold the entirety of your current m.2 drive:

  1. Download and install Macrium Reflect
  2. Run that, and create a Rescue CD or USB (you'll use this later). "Other Tasks"
  3. In the Macrium client, create an Image to some other drive. External USB HDD, maybe. Select all partitions. This results in a file of xxxx.mrimage
  4. When done, power OFF.
  5. Swap the 2 drives
  6. Boot up from the Rescue USB you created earlier.
  7. Restore (on the toolbar), and tell it where the Image is that you created in step 3, and which drive to apply it to...the new m.2
  8. Go, and wait until it finishes.
  9. That's all...this should work.
 
Reactions: drw9798

Lafong

Respectable
Don't think "clone" or "copy".

Forget making your external bootable.

Think "image and restore that image".

Basic idea:

Make an image file of ALL partitions on your current drive using an application like Macrium Reflect.

Save that image file on your external.

Restore that image file to the new drive, at which point it will be a bootable replica of the old drive. Restore is a formal procedure in Macrium, not simply copying it back to the new drive.

More instructions as you need them.
 
Reactions: drw9798
May 27, 2022
4
1
15
0
Do you have some other drive with enough free space to hold the entirety of your current 128GB drive?
If so, this....

----------------------------------------------
1x m.2 slot with an Image

Assuming you have another drive with sufficient free space to hold the entirety of your current m.2 drive:

  1. Download and install Macrium Reflect
  2. Run that, and create a Rescue CD or USB (you'll use this later). "Other Tasks"
  3. In the Macrium client, create an Image to some other drive. External USB HDD, maybe. Select all partitions. This results in a file of xxxx.mrimage
  4. When done, power OFF.
  5. Swap the 2 drives
  6. Boot up from the Rescue USB you created earlier.
  7. Restore (on the toolbar), and tell it where the Image is that you created in step 3, and which drive to apply it to...the new m.2
  8. Go, and wait until it finishes.
  9. That's all...this should work.
I do have an external USB hard drive with enough space.

I went and installed Macrium Reflect and got to step 2 lol. My external, as well as internal for that matter are both GPT format which it looks like, at least the free version of Macrium, doesn't support. Should I try and reformat the external to MBR format? Or is the free version of Macrium have certain limitations I presume?
 

USAFRet

Titan
Moderator
Mar 16, 2013
154,750
11,279
176,090
24,155
I do have an external USB hard drive with enough space.

I went and installed Macrium Reflect and got to step 2 lol. My external, as well as internal for that matter are both GPT format which it looks like, at least the free version of Macrium, doesn't support. Should I try and reformat the external to MBR format? Or is the free version of Macrium have certain limitations I presume?
For Step 2, you need a small flash drive. 8GB or so.
NOT the external thing you'll use to save the Image to.

Sorry, should have made that more clear in the instructions.
 

Lafong

Respectable
My external, as well as internal for that matter are both GPT format which it looks like, at least the free version of Macrium, doesn't support. Should I try and reformat the external to MBR format? Or is the free version of Macrium have certain limitations I presume?
There are no GPT limitations on the free version as far as I know. Nearly positive. I have the paid version, but used the free version for years.

What leads you to think it does have that limitation? What issue did you encounter?

No, you don't have to reformat the external.......any more than you would have to for a picture of your cat. The image file is just that....a file.

The free version does have some minor limitations that are certainly not necessary for your immediate requirements.

Your image file will be circa 60 percent of the size of the occupied space on the current drive. One big file.

Might take 10 or 40 minutes to make it, depending on your CPU speed and occupied space.

CONFIRM repeat CONFIRM that the USB rescue media flash drive you should have already made will in fact boot your PC.

If it will not, you are dead in the water as you would have no way to boot your PC after removing your existing drive.
 
Last edited:
May 27, 2022
4
1
15
0
For Step 2, you need a small flash drive. 8GB or so.
NOT the external thing you'll use to save the Image to.

Sorry, should have made that more clear in the instructions.
Got it up and running. Thank you for your help. I guess it was confusing using a separate small USB device to use as the emergency disk. I ended up just saving the image to my other internal HD instead of separate external (not sure why I didn't think to do that before oops!) Took a few tries, forgot to add unallocated space to my C drive, but got it all set after the 2nd try. Thanks again, sometimes it's those small details that are missed or overlooked that get you.
 
Reactions: USAFRet
May 27, 2022
4
1
15
0
There are no GPT limitations on the free version as far as I know. Nearly positive. I have the paid version, but used the free version for years.

What leads you to think it does have that limitation? What issue did you encounter?

No, you don't have to reformat the external.......any more than you would have to for a picture of your cat. The image file is just that....a file.

The free version does have some minor limitations that are certainly not necessary for your immediate requirements.

Your image file will be circa 60 percent of the size of the occupied space on the current drive. One big file.

Might take 10 or 40 minutes to make it, depending on your CPU speed and occupied space.

CONFIRM repeat CONFIRM that the USB rescue media flash drive you should have already made will in fact boot your PC.

If it will not, you are dead in the water as you would have no way to boot your PC after removing your existing drive.
I believe I had the issue because for whatever reason, I was trying to create my external hard drive as a bootable/emergency disk instead of just a smaller thumb drive, not sure why my external was giving me issues, but I had a 16g thumb drive laying around and just used that instead and didn't have any issues using that as the emergency disk. We got her up and running now finally haha. I do appreciate your help, I was pulling what little hair I have left out over something I knew was relatively simple to do. Cheers!
 

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