Question NVMe cloning / backup software - but running outside operating system

Jan 28, 2021
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Hi


I have just built a new PC: for the first time with the operating system set on a M.2 NVMe drive

On my previous machine I had my OS placed on a SSD - and in order to secure it I was using Acronis True Image available in the restored section of the Hiren's Boot CD 15.2 [Restored Edition 1.1.]. This meant that I could do whatever I wanted within the operating system, even to the point of completely braking it - and still have the comfort of being able to restore a version of it that was A-OK from an image, because that CD was a bootable one. But that old Acronis does not handle NVMe drives - while the new Hiren's Boot CD PE x64 1.0.1 has a version of it that [if I remember correctly] cannot create a new image [plus it takes forever to boot from because of some issues]


Thus I need a replacement. I need a software that creates images of whole volumes / drives to an image and restores them to the same and other drives - but is not run from the level of operating system. Such software has to be available in a form of a bootable CD and see all of the files and preferably on all kind of drives [or at least HDDs, SSDs and NVMe connected in all of the available ways]. Because how will I perform a restoration process if I cannot run the software because the operating system [for whatever reason] will not allow me to do it; or the coping process will leave out hidden / system files?


Unfortunately all I can find is some outdated stuff without support for NVMe drives and / or runs when executed from an operating system
 

USAFRet

Titan
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Mar 16, 2013
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Macrium Reflect can do exactly this.

Either from within the running OS, or a bootable Rescue USB or CD.

This the entire basis of my backup routine, across all my systems in the house.
Images of every system, every physical drive, daily or weekly as warranted.
A Full image, followed by a rolling series of Incremental or Differential.

 
Jan 28, 2021
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So the function I should be after is called The Macrium Rescue Environment


From the help webpage https://knowledgebase.macrium.com/display/KNOW72/Rescue+Environment :

[...]
Macrium Reflect rescue media on CD, DVD, or USB stick
[...]
It contains a bootable, lightweight version of Windows and a full version of Macrium Reflect.
[...]
You have the option of restoring to a new system or virtual machine using Macrium ReDeploy to reconfigure your Windows installation for the new hardware.
[...]
The Macrium Rescue Environment needs to include support for your hardware such as USB ports, network interfaces, and in particular for your storage device if for example you use RAID disks.
[...]
When Macrium Reflect creates a rescue CD or USB, it analyses your system hardware and tries to locate drivers for unsupported devices by looking on your system. If it can't find appropriate drivers, Macrium Reflect prompts you to provide drivers
[...]
Booting using a USB stick is a good workaround in this case as all USB 2/3 interfaces are supported by default.
[...]



From that what I understand is this


It works by creating a strip down version of the Windows that I am using. So I should have all of my hardware setup completed before making even the first image? Because if I add new disks, which will most likely hold copies of my images of system, there might be a problem with them being detected? Or as long it is nothing fancy [just some SSDs and HDDs that will be connected later on either via SATA or USB] I should be fine? Will inserting a different drive in place of the current one holding the operating system be doable - will I be able to write the imaged system to it and from then run it?

Right now I have a bare Windows 10 x64 on a NVMe drive with a second one added but not even initialized in the Disk Management - and the new machine is kept offline for now. What happens if in the future my system breaks down at the same time when for example my CPU and graphics cards breaks down - and I replace them with different models, after which I recreate my stem from an image? Will it work? [And yes- this has happened to me; last year to be precise: simultaneously a had to physically replace video card with a new model and restore my old OS]


And so- the very first piece of software I should install on this new machine is Macrium Reflect? Because I cannot create a bootable CD / DVD on my old Windows 10 machine? Because it has drivers and configurations for whatever hardware and settings I am using on this old machine right now [some of which will not be present on the new machine] - and does not have hardware / drivers from the new machine?
 
Last edited:

USAFRet

Titan
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Mar 16, 2013
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For all my systems, I do a Day 1 and Day 2 image.
Day 1 = just the bare OS
Day 2 = OS, all the existing updates, and my basic load of applications.
After that, a rolling series of Full/Incremental/Differential images. Nightly or weekly as the system warrants. Keep for <some time period>.
I have never needed to use the Day 1 or Day 2 images. They quickly become outdated. But they are there.

For instance, my main system gets an Incremental every night, all drives individually. Keep for a rolling 30 days.
My HTPC gets a Full image once a week, keep for 4 weeks.
My wifes system gets a Full image every night, keep for 2 weeks.

I also do a full C drive image before any major OS update. The semi annual Windows, for instance. Just so I have a fallback position, in case it goes wrong.

I have had to use an image fo one of the other drives after the sudden death of an SSD. Click click in Macrium...all 605GB data on it recovered, exactly as it was at 4AM when it ran its nightly Imcremental.
This was a secondary drive, and Macrium was just invoked from the actual application.
If it were a dead C drive, or corrupted OS...that would have been invoked from the RescueUSB.
I keep a couple of Rescue USBs in the bottom of the PC case, just sitting there. One in mine, one is a different system. That way, they won't get lost, or I won't accidentally overwrite them.

In my main system, each of the 7 physical drives gets its own 30 minute time slot. Midnight, 1230, 0100, 0130, etc.
If I add in another new drive in any of these systems, simply set up another schedule for that particular drive.

For dead parts that are replaced?
A new CPU or GPU will not need a new OS install, and the current backup routine is not affected.
A new motherboard almost always needs a fresh OS install.
 
Jan 28, 2021
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But do I have to create a bootable media on the particular machine? If yes- then it kind of beats the [initial] purpose

Because I installed it on the old machine- and trying to make Build informs me of the need to download a 1GB from Microsoft. So I would have to connect it to the Internet first. So I would have to install my Firewall software first. So I would have to block Windows' telemetry first. And that is just too many firsts for me in order to make an image of a clean Windows of that new machine
 

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