Microsoft

How do I clone a hard drive with Clonezilla?

With Clonezilla you can clone a single drive or even a single partition within a drive and then recover that drive later. Jack Wallen shows you how.

How many times have you wished you had an image of that now-defunct PC? At least with an image you could easily restore that system once the dead hardware was replaced. Only problem is that most cloning software is either too expensive to own or too difficult to use. So wouldn't it be great if there was a free and easy-to-use cloning application? Good news...there is.

Clonezilla is a free, disaster-recovery software developed by the National Center for High-Performance Computing (NCHC) software labs in Taiwan. With Clonezilla you can clone a single drive or even a single partition within a drive and then recover that drive later. The cloned data can be stored as an image file or as a duplicate copy of the data. That cloned partition (or drive) can then be stored on an internal drive, an external USB drive, a CD/DVD drive, or a networked drive (using Samba, SSH, or NFS). Clonezilla can be run from its own bootable environment from a CD/DVD or from a USB flash drive.

For a review, check out "Product Spotlight: Clonezilla System Imaging." This blog post is also available in PDF format in a free TechRepublic download.

Now, unlike some of its competition, Clonezilla does not have a fancy GUI. Clonezilla is a curses-based tool that is basically text-based. But that doesn't mean it's difficult to use. In fact, Clonezilla is remarkably easy to use, considering the complexity of the task at hand. And in this blog, I am going to illustrate to you just how simple this task is with Clonezilla.

Step 1

The first step is to download the ISO image from the Clonezilla Web site. Make sure you download a stable version of this tool. Once you have the file downloaded, you need to burn it onto a disk. NOTE: If you want to use it on a USB drive, use a tool like UNetbootin to make this process simple. After you have burned your media, you are almost ready.

Step 2

Attach your external drive (or, if you are using a USB, insert a burnable CD/DVD) and then insert your Clonezilla media.

Step 3

Reboot. You have to boot from the Clonezilla media for this to work. What you will see is the Clonzilla boot screen (Figure A). For the task of creating an image, you will want to select Clonzezilla Live (Default settings) and press Enter. You will now see a Debian boot sequence appear.

Figure A

You can select a resolution to better suit your monitor from this menu.

Step 4

Choose your language. From the language screen, you need to select the language you want to use for the process. This step should be fairly self-explanatory.

Step 5

Choose your keyboard layout. You have four options:

  • Select Keyboard from arch list
  • Don't touch my keymap
  • Keep kernel keymap
  • Select keymap from full list

Most likely the Don't Touch My Keymap setting will work just fine. I have used this option for both workstations and laptops without issue.

Step 6

Start Clonezilla. At this step you can either drop into a console or start Clonezilla. You don't want to monkey with console here, unless you are a seasoned Clonezilla veteran.

Step 7

Choose your device image. In this step you are going to choose between creating an image or doing a direct, device-to-device copy. Creating an image is always best, especially for a first-time clone or backup. Since we are creating an image of our drive, select the first option (Figure B) and tab down to OK.

Figure B

Both methods do clone/restore, but only one method creates an image of your drive.

Step 8

Where do you want to put the image? In this step you need to tell Clonezilla where the image should be saved. You have six choices:

  • Local Device
  • SSH server
  • Samba server
  • NFS Server
  • Enter shell
  • Skip
For an external or USB drive, you will want to select local_dev (Figure C). This destination is also the easiest, as you do not have to worry about setting up SSH, Samba, or NFS. Just remember that these images can get VERY large, so you will want to have an external drive that is greater than or equal to the drive you are imaging.

Figure C

Choose a destination, but local_dev is the most likely choice.

Step 9

Select the repository that will hold your image. This is where you need to be very careful. If you are in a Linux environment you can almost be sure that you do NOT want to select the drive labeled like hda. You will want to look for an hdb or hdd (or sdb, sdd, etc). If you choose the "a" partition, you run the risk of overwriting your current working drive.

Step 10

Name the image. All you do here is give the image a name. You might want to include the date in your image name so that you know what the most recent image file is.

Step 11

Watch the process happen. Although Clonezilla is pretty snappy (for an imaging tool), you can expect anywhere from 30 minutes to three hours, depending on the size of the partition or drive you are imaging. I recently did a clone of a 160GB drive in just under two hours.

Once the image has written to the device, you can then reboot your machine, knowing you have a backup in case of disaster.

Final thoughts

Although Clonezilla might not have all the bells and whistles of tools like Acronis, it is an outstanding solution for those on a budget or for fans of open source software. It's worth a look for personal use as well as for SMB usage.

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About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

77 comments
jacksonam
jacksonam

you've bought a new hard disk that is faster and of much higher capacity than your current system disk, so it???s quite natural you start thinking about transferring your data, operating system and installed applications over to the new hard drive. To do this, free disk partition software ??? Aomei Partition Assistant Home Edition can help you clone old hard drive to new without losing data and ensure system bootable. http://www.extend-partition.com/resource/clone-hard-drive.html

manuhanda
manuhanda

I have an experience using Power Quest which now taken over by Norton. This is smart tool where you can create and restore images and can mount to vm's. Another ranking#2 I will give to Acronis, another smart tool which I agree with everyone up the list's conversation. Rank#3 Clonezilla, as said it works best for its worth. it's free. Thanks http://www.pc-guruz.com

DARTCYproductions
DARTCYproductions

A customer of Western Digital: "I didn't know FolderClone, but I recently bought a western digital drive of 1 terra (mypassport SE or something), and the software that comes with these new drives is really poor. The software with their previous drives was ok, because you could determine which files & folders you wanted to be backup'd. But now they have added something 'automatic' that back's up your 'data'. But this is only photo's, music, documents, mail, .. but I need full control, so I can add binaries and just any file, even hidden ones. Some poor copy of Apple's Timemachine ... but they better hadn't tried to copy this :-) So I calles their support, telling them I was not satisfied, and the friendly guy recommended your software. FolderClone was exactly what I was looking for!" so.. have you tried FolderClone yet? What is your experience?

jgking
jgking

For a very reasonable (aka low) price the Terabyte image products: Image for DOS, Image for Windows, Image for Linux can be yours. They are very robust and usable from either the GUI or command line. They permit extraction of individual files or folders from the image. Check them out at: http://www.terabyteunlimited.com/index.htm

MaeIstrom
MaeIstrom

OK so you've reiterated the features blurb and explained some self-explanatory menu options. How about mentioning if someone actually follows your half-assed advice their computer will never boot again? That is unless they have the technical knowledge to fix the mbr problems this causes with windows. Easy enough to google unless your only computer is in a non-functional state. All care taken but no responsibility right?

fwbrown
fwbrown

Worked great, but I was not able to expand the partition to use all of a larger drive when I cloned a disk to disk

blockhart329
blockhart329

I have successfully used Clonezilla to restore a Motion Computing tablet PC. They can be real buggers to restore properly. I had a unit with a fresh install of the OS. I cloned the HD to an external drive with Casper XP. I then used Clonezilla Live to clone the external drive to the internal HD on the second tablet. It works like a charm. It was really quick, about 10-15 minutes. I had 7 of these to do, so it saved me a lot of time.

cdstendel
cdstendel

Clonezilla rocks- been using for at least a year- it's really good. I used acronis before clonezilla and about 25% of the time, there was something wrong with the image- it would install, but it was innaccurate and this thing or the other wouldn't work properly. I trust it to work, but always try to have the original available to make another copy before reformatting it- habit because of acronis. (this is my experience with acronis- no flames) I highly recommend it

byates29
byates29

Does it work with Vista enterprise and or Windows 7 also?

jdumont
jdumont

One of the Four Agreements is to never assume. The article is missing a crtical step and that is to test the image, clone etc.

cashley
cashley

How difficult is it to restore? Do you start with a blank drive, boot with the CD/DVD, and hope your external USB drive is recognized. Can you do a partial restore from the image?

mike_patburgess
mike_patburgess

You know what really bothers me about this "freeware". 1) It comes with no warranty, or guarantees.. what did you expect for free. 2) I comes from off shore and I am not sure what else it is doing besides cloning a disk drive. Someone just might want to check.

jonathanwood27
jonathanwood27

I've been using clonezilla for a while now and it's awsome, does every os i've thrown at it so far, also great for building vm's. was able to clone a linux server stight to a wndows share on my lappy - awsome for those late night fixes

Technous285
Technous285

P.I.N.G. or Partimage Is Not Ghost from: http://ping.windowsdream.com/ping.html (registering to be able to download from them is something new since I got PING last time). It has served me wonders since I started using it, having used to to clone a XP partition on a pre-built machine before I upgraded the 80GB drive to a 200GB so I had space for a second OS and a shared Data partition. I've also used it to clone the OS of my laptop before rebuilding part of it to dual-boot with Mepis 8 in the past. I've found it best to do the backups to an external drive and de-power any internal drives you don't want to clone and backup so it's easier to tell PING what you do or don't want to clone in a particular boot session.

theta-max
theta-max

I had read about Clonezilla several months ago and I was interested to try it. After several tests it seemed like a suitable solution. Last week I finally had a chance to try it for real. A hard drive in one of our workstation needed to be upgraded to a larger drive. Using Clonezilla I cloned all of the information from the old drive to the new drive. After the cloning was done I booted to a Linux Live CD and used Qtparted to re-size the cloned partition to match the size of the drive. I removed the old drive and booted it up and everything worked great. I think I'll keep Clonezilla in my toolkit for a while.

Ron K.
Ron K.

I'm responsible for our home network consisting of 6 PCs. Three computers use Acronis Home 2010 PC Backup and Recovery Plus Pack, one uses Norton's Ghost and the last two use Cobian Backup. Cobian Backup and Norton are on the computers used the least. The other three have full backups weekly to large secondary drives.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

What application do you use for disaster recovery? How often to do you make disk images?

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

Well you are entitled to believe this but none the less your preferred Products cost money, where as Clonezilla is free and works well. ;) Col

RipVan
RipVan

I thought that your post was a good example of why one trick pony types suck. If you know one operating system, and one only, you might have some kind of title, but that title should probably have "Windows" in it, rather than "IT" or "tech."

coloncm
coloncm

I agree that that the tideous process of starting the app live is not very intuitive unless you're used to Linux. I just cloned my OS drive unto another usb drive over the weekend using this and found that my BIOS got fooled somehow and thought there wasn't a windows OS with an NTBLdr after restarting my computer with both drives. So, I had to change BIOS boot sequence to get it working again (wierd).

RipVan
RipVan

I don't know what you are using for partitioning, but I used PartImage. Go into your partitioning utility and shrink the OS by a little, any amount will do. Try maybe 10 megs. Then go in again and add it back. You should see and manipulate the whole drive after that. I hope it works for you as it did for me. And if it does, it's no weirder than some of the strange fixes in Windows.

bigbootyjj
bigbootyjj

Does this clone all the programs or just files (pictures, videos, music)?

yvogeens
yvogeens

OS doesn't matter. Clonezilla copies only used sectors for file-systems supported by the Linux it runs on. For unsupported OS's it copies all sectors. (big images !!) I love it because it's very fast and free. The server version can also be used to broadcast the image to several PC's at once. I installed 16 Vista machines with > 20 Gb of data all at once in under 10 mins.

cdstendel
cdstendel

The operating system doesn't matter. It doesn't run inside windows- it runs via a bootable CD. I've used it on XP,Vista, 7, AND- linux. I had a dual boot laptop that I wanted to upgrade to a 7200rpm drive. Ran 'zilla and all was well.

sammy.mah
sammy.mah

Can Clonezilla image a hardware raid system? How does one do this? I've got systems running RAID1, and RAID5.

markpowers80
markpowers80

Clonezilla will restore a single partition. If that partition was one of several partitions in a disk image, then you can consider that a partial restore. No file or folder restores.

saghaulor
saghaulor

I'm sure if you'll take the time to read the EULA or contract of just about any software on the market, they rarely accept liability. There's too many variables involved. However,I can certainly understand why the lack of warranty bothers you. And, if you're worried about the code having some hidden back door or the like, I encourage you to review the Open Sourced code behind the software. Rather than making baseless claims, do some homework.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Read the license on the next piece of proprietary software you buy. You'll find it isn't warranted or guaranteed either. Not all freeware comes from offshore. Besides, the term 'offshore' is relative; 'offshore' from who?

glnz
glnz

Mr. jonathanwood27 - how exactly do you use Cz to make a VM? I tried and I couldn't get it to work. But them again, I'm a non-techy and know nothing about Linux. Any place to go for a tutorial? Thanks.

wsmith8122
wsmith8122

Works inside Windows. You can schedule image backups (incremental or full), you explore image files for file and folder restores, you can convert to VHD for Hyper-V, VirtualBox or VirtualPC. Paid version ($40) adds some additional features. I have used Acronis, Ghost and Windows imaging within Vista, Win7 and Server 2008 also. But the best for home use IMHO is Macrium Reflect.

bhall
bhall

We actually use the Clonezilla SE for all of our imaging needs. We've been using it for about a year now, and it's done everything we've needed it to. The only drawback with other imaging solutions is that it's hardware specific, so you need a separate image for each model of machine (at least as far as I know). Being a Dell shop, we don't have too many models anyway. The setup is easy, took me about an hour and a half, b/c i screwed up the install the first time. And even the SE is free. :-)

Jackmagurn
Jackmagurn

Hi, do you use this after you restored the image to the new drive.

Larbakium
Larbakium

what do you think of ImageX from MS. Able to do an full image of an OS, Edit changes and be able to deploy to several clients on several HD. you can even make an VHD for virtual and physical use. Later apply it remotly and turn into the boot this for this PC.. I think seems to be good idea even if its not clonning and Backup solution.

Angel_Tech
Angel_Tech

for what I read in this article (well explained btw) this seems like a good tool for personal use or maybe single images of each computer/tablet/notebook.. I guess that's why it's called CLONEzilla.. it creates a clone of a hard drive... I was reading the multicast feature in clonezilla and sadly doesnt make it any easier if you have to reimage 40 machines or more.. I use Ghost, personal use and also at work, which makes it simple when reimaging many computers at the same time.. I guess the feature I wanted to see it might work for me was the way how clonezilla handles naming a PC and joining it to a network.. which the website refers to use DRBl-winroll which is not any easier than sysprep in a Windows environment.. maybe Im wrong.. it's just my personal opinion... I still think it's a great tool for personal use.. cheers :)

ghbgiest
ghbgiest

I have used the Paragon Drive Image software to clone Windows XP from one machine to another but it that can't be used for Vista or 7. Any Image from a Linux based backup whether Paragon or I would bet Clonzilla won't completely restore Vista or 7 because of the Vista and 7 vastly new and quicker(but not improved for cloning) boot mechanisms. But they would work wonderfully for XP or Linux machines.

jmorgan75149
jmorgan75149

I use ShadowProtect and I love it. Also use the IT Edition at my job which is very useful since I can backup any machine I need to.

TheOnlyRick
TheOnlyRick

XXClone is a little-known app that simply copies folders and their files from one disc to another. It can then make the second disc bootable, and give it the same signature as the first. Then, when you boot to it, Windows loads up happy as Larry, oblivious to the fact it's on a different disc. Advantages: It's free, quick and easy. Disadvantages: The copy has to be on the same hardware. If you put it into a different machine, it would (surely?) BSOD within seconds - or at least demand MS Activation. I have a cloned install XP that I am keeping for DR (and BC). Anyone else heard of it (and use it)?

Snuffy09
Snuffy09

clonezilla is a much better alternative! anything norton has too much bloat clonezilla does just what you need it to do nothing more! i recently cloned my primary HD to an external, then tucked the external away for my next crash.

HextWO
HextWO

I use DriveImage XML. The way I protect my computer is to make an image of the HD every few months and then make backups everyday. If a HD goes down I restore the image and then the latest backups. But the main purpose of DI XML is to make images of my customer's HD. I can't tell you how many times this has saved my bacon. Also, DI XML can be used to recover individual files.

normanspeight
normanspeight

Don't waste your time with any other. I've used Paragon for years and years. I still use the very earliest version (Paragon 7 - don't know what happened to the numbers before that). Dead easy to use. To clone one drive to another, (1) click on the icon (2)delete tyhe partition in the target (3) click on the source disk (4)click on the target (5)Apply Computer will restart and it will do its thing. WARNING: Your target (the clone) will be absolutely indistinguishable from the original, you won't know which one you are working with so make a desktop icon and name it something that gives this away. I've NEVER had a failure with this in many many years of usage - honestly. I've used all the others as well, wouldn't give you 2 cents for any alternative.

BuckRogers
BuckRogers

One of the features I like about TrueImage or ShadowProtect is the ability to mount the image and pull off files without having to restore the entire image. That is the main reason I haven't used Clonezilla I haven't found a way to do that.

thoenny
thoenny

I use snapshot (http://www.drivesnapshot.de/) It's a real cool, tiny, fast and overall affordable solution for imaging. It works while Windows is running, so I take snapshots of the Servers every night.

Justin James
Justin James

... they bundled Acronis Home for $4.99. It is a MILLION times easier to use than Clonezilla is, according to this article. Being too cheap to spend $5 isn' worth it, in this case. Many motherboards or hard drives include similar utilities, all much easier to use than what was described here, for free. I'm not sure why I'd beat myself in the head with this complex looking app when I can have a better one for free or next to it. J.Ja

MaeIstrom
MaeIstrom

Actually I've been using linux as my primary OS for over 10 years now and if there's an OS that leaves me dazed and confused these days it would be windows. But hey rather than take Mr. Wallen to task for providing lazy and dangerous advice why not shoot the messenger and stay in our cozy little world where there's no such thing as dysfunctional, over-hyped and inadequately documented software - only st00pid lusers who should've known that you need to spend hours upon hours researching before attempting to use your computer to do something. So I'm curious, do you actually know how to use clonezilla to install a windows OS *without* using a rescue CD afterwards?

Larbakium
Larbakium

1. Aren?t all the images you build hardware specific? What it does is a entire copy of and HD or partition. Therefore all the drivers are kept within the image file. Or am I wrong? Actually when you restore an image you need to do it to an HDD with the same size as the original where you backup it from. 2. Does clonezilla work as a Server to push images over to a machine on the network and do a remote restore? I think acronis does that. The same with file backups. Clonezilla does not seem to do backup. Only the full image or clone..

theta-max
theta-max

I used the disk to disk option in Clonezilla.

bobp
bobp

Have a copy around here somewhere, but use MaxBlast 4 when the machine I am copying from is running fine. XXCopy, when running from a separate disk is great when Windows won't boot. I usually use a Linux live distro disk and just drag the files to the backup disk. Sometimes the Linux live CD won't boot though. XXCopy or Clonezilla is the way to go then.

mullinjf
mullinjf

Per home desktop is over $50 and then you need suppport for upgrades. For businesses versions a copy for one workstation is over $100, server over $1200 and then in the for central managment and enterprise alot. Its a great product but to say anyone using Clonezilla is being cheap, is not fair to state.

RipVan
RipVan

is that you were too lazy to look up something for yourself (like a WINDOWS clerk) , so you LAZILY asked someone else to do your legwork, and criticized the fact that you were led to a place you might not only be able to look up the answer, but also possibly talk to the developer. You have now added "defensive," and "childish" to your original insecurity.

MaeIstrom
MaeIstrom

How are you arguing with me if you're "not sure" what my point is? Are you an AI bot programmed to do that? There's clearly a formula here - you say something, I refute it, you go on to say you never cared about your original point or it's no big deal. I guess the only thing left to do is to note that you are clearly worse than Hitler and see what comes out.

RipVan
RipVan

I work for a living. (I support the Swiss cheese of operating systems.) I was not personally picking out YOU, but all of the "Windows Specialists" out there. You might be one, you might not be. No big deal. Well, not to me, anyway. To you, obviously it is. And "Classic! What was that about 1-trick ponies again?" means WHAT? I use the tools allowed in business, and whatever I want at home. So (once again), yes, I use the tool in question and find it powerful, useful and believe it is great as an alternative to the commercially available products. Yes I have also communicated with the developer about it when I had a question. Still, I'm not sure what your point was other than to show how insecure you are.

MaeIstrom
MaeIstrom

So after your erroneous assumption that I am a windows specialist and your juvenile assertion that windows specialists shouldn't be allowed to have I.T in their job title your excuse for not being able to answer the question is "At work, we use approved tools to do everything, and Clonezilla is not one of those tools." Classic! What was that about 1-trick ponies again? And yes of course this problem is mentioned on the clonezilla website, I wasn't asking for help I was genuinely curious as to whether you, or Mr. "Linux is not for novices", or the guy berating his boss for preferring a commercial alternative or indeed any of the blow-hards on this page could actually use this software or whether it was all talk and no walk. The continuing silence speaks volumes.

RipVan
RipVan

Was that message for me? In my world, people don't spend any time researching anything. Especially "Windows techs" at work or home. The ones at work seem to skip that "hours upon hours researching" step, since there are people (okay, PERSON) who will come in AFTER THE FACT, and repair whatever it was they were trying to do while hurrying through their job in order to get to lunch on time. At work, we use approved tools to do everything, and Clonezilla is not one of those tools. At home, I have only one Windows box that doesn't get a lot of use. So I haven't really had a reason to use it on Windows. The Windows I end up having to rescue are from Windows updates, software installations, malware and people trying some OS tweak they heard about. I did post a question about Clonezilla one time at the website and the developer answered! I was a little surprised. I would think they have come across this before and I would think they should have some information about it.

jhuff
jhuff

SPC_TCOL, your last sentence caught my eye... " it's way faster to reimage a full classroom with clonezilla." Can we talk either via email or phone? I need the same function for two classrooms with a total of 16 workstations. John Huff Polk State College

glnz
glnz

Mr. J. Ja - how exactly do you use Windows, Arconis or Cz to make a VM? I tried with Cz and I couldn't get it to work. But them again, I'm a non-techy and know nothing about Linux. Any place to go for a tutorial? Thanks.

glnz
glnz

Mr. mudgie - how exactly do you use Cz or the WD program to make a VM? I tried with Cz and I couldn't get it to work. But them again, I'm a non-techy and know nothing about Linux. Any place to go for a tutorial? Thanks.

SPC_TCOL
SPC_TCOL

At my college it would cost almost $1000 to buy acronis, and I tried clonezilla, it worked very well. The problem is, it's free. They have no problem to buy a software for money, but when it comes to free, they are don't want it. I think they will go with arconis. Even after proofing that it's way faster to reimage a full classroom with clonezilla.

Justin James
Justin James

I agree that an IT pro shouldn't be confused by this. Well, not entirely. A Windows only admin may very well get confused by the Linux-style drive naming (like hda). But one of your points (and my main point) is that an IT pro doesn't need to worry about saving $5 or $30, or even $100 most of the time. The cost to payroll for a sys admin to lose 2 hours of time is $100. That's why I have a company card in my pocket with the instruction to just deal with problems as they come up instead of wasting my time with "cheap" solutions. Same reason when I had to go to headquarters, they fly me instead of having me drive. A plane is cheaper than my time. J.Ja

david.hunt
david.hunt

I don't think that many involved in the technical side of IT would consider the CloneZilla process described in the article as complex. Indeed, isn't the point of the artcle that it is really, really easy. How much simpler can you get than select the disk to clone and then select the destination! I too use Acronis at work, but have struggled sometimes with finding appropriate network drivers. The resolution being to wait till the next release and buy it. For a work situation, the Acronis price is insignificant (even for the full featured version), but CloneZilla sounds like it is a really handy tool to the once in a blue moon home or SOHO needs. I suspect that although not identified here, CloneZilla will have the same driver issues. It will only work with network hardware, for which it has a driver. The issue should only be an issue with new chipsets and maybe you have to wait longer until they get to the supported status.

mudgie
mudgie

WD now uses a stripped down version of Acronis too. I prefer Acronis since I can virtualize the image directly - VMware converter can convert the resulting .tib file. That said, I appreciate the effort that went into clonezilla and this helpful article. There will likely be situations where this is the best tool.

Schweizer
Schweizer

Hi, The "Seagate Disk Wizard" free cloning utility is also a slimmed-down version of Acronis,usable if at least one of your drives is a Seagate. I use a Seagate c: drive and locally clone non-Seagate G: or H: storage drives using this utility. Includes the nice Acronis menu setup.

bhaven23
bhaven23

Thank you all so much for the information. I have a WD 1TB drive arriving today. What luck.

jgrissom21
jgrissom21

let me just run out and buy a new $200.00 motherboard, so I can get that acronis for $5.00. Yea, sounds like a good idea to me. Wow.

soates_cyberlink
soates_cyberlink

There is no need to actually install Acronis to clone drives. With the bootable CD you can clone and restore as many PS's you like. You just lose the auto-scheduled capability of the program. As a service tool it's great.

Justin James
Justin James

You might want to check out the latest crop of drive imaging/backup products. They all (to the best of my knowledge) support mounting or opening the image and extracting a file, directory, etc. Images are much more flexible and useful than they used to be, which is why the latest backup offerings are really just advanced imaging tools. J.Ja

tony
tony

The acronis imaging is free for Seagate/Maxtor Hard disk users (aka Diskwizard or Maxblast). this allows to copy to and from Seagate/Maxtor drives. I believe Western Digital also uses Acronis. Granted these versions are locked to only their respective drives - no imaging from a Seagate to a Hitachi, etc.

Ron K.
Ron K.

I was surprised to find that Norton quit making Ghost. That's okay because Acronis makes backing up easy. I think it's funny how people will spend money on security tools yet won't spend anything to backup their 'irreplaceable' data. Where's the security there? Not my problem. I know that if my two home users get hammered by something it's going to somehow be my fault. I want to be able to restore their hoodehaa easily. Acronis is my solution. Hard drives don't cost much anymore. All of our computers have large secondary drives. I don't have to service them very often to remove old images. When I do get around to it I take a large external USB drive to plug in to make a backup of the backup in case of secondary drive failure. So far so good.

JimboInChi
JimboInChi

Backups are imperative, but don't confuse them with an image. Frankly images are less flexible - they are not for retrieving just a few files. But they absolutely excel at one function: I need this machine running in ALL it's glory, from bare metal in 1 hour (or so). You cannot load the OS, load all the OS patches, and restore all the backups in that short a time. Instead, you clone the drive and then restore the humanly generated stuff [docs, spreadsheets, etc - and this is where your backups pay off]. Believe me, MUCH quicker.

redewenur
redewenur

Agreed. Clonezilla may do the job. If, after reading the instructions, you feel 100% sure you can will be able to use it without error and depend on it, then go ahead. I'll stick with Acronis True Image. I have it set to daily incremental. I've restored images many times over the years. A simple, quick and reliable life-saver. My view is, if you're investing a good deal of money buying a PC, and a good deal of time over the months and years setting up software and using it, then it's a false economy to skimp on this kind of software. This is one case where risk should be minimised.

Justin James
Justin James

Windows backup makes VHDs, Acronis makes drives images, Paragon makes drive images. It's actually insanely useful, because it means that you canr ecover individual files, mount the image in a VM, or blast it onto bare metal. J.Ja

Ron K.
Ron K.

It is a backup utility. I don't make an image of the entire drive, only the C: partition which is about 75GB. My music partition rarely changes so having 2 backups of that onsite and 2 offsite is enough for me. My C: partition doesn't change enough to really justify creating a new image but I do. It doesn't take very long. I do have Acronis scheduled to create an image once every two weeks, after I am normally in bed. I use their Non-Stop backup daily. That's where the user can go back in time to any point in 5 minute increments to recover from an, "Oh s**t!" moment. I haven't had to do that yet. I did have to restore an Acronis image once. Simple. Throw in the boot disk, select the source and target and in what seemed to be only a few minutes, 15 or so, I was back up and running. I've got plenty of space for images so I use it. Different strokes, and all that.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Kinda overkill, ain't it? Have you considered a backup utility, that can be scheduled to run automatically and without requiring rebooting from the imaging media?

Ron K.
Ron K.

I've over 150 programs on this computer, we've thousands of photos that we've taken and we have a music library larger than 300GB-66,000 songs, last I looked. I haven't scrimped to save a few bucks on our ability to back up everything. Besides Acronis we have over 4TB of space, for backups only, including internal secondary drives and external USB drives. Our data is worth much more than all of the hardware on this 6 computer home network so we even have backups of backups.

andrewgauger
andrewgauger

Just found out yesterday that Western Digital includes a link to the full featured Acronis True Image. They don't spell it out as such, but if you purchased a Western Digital hard drive lately, check into it. Also--it won't work unless you are using one of their hard drives. Clonezilla is fine if you don't have the bundle price available. Also had Acronis fail at generating a recovery DVD and used Clonezilla to make the media successfully. It is always great to have an alternative.

Justin James
Justin James

Please re-read what I wrote... Newegg sold me Acronis Home for $4.99 with a motherboard. As in, "less than five dollars". Sure, it was the previous year's version. It cloned my disk just fine. And again, many, if not most hard drives ship with a similar utility (in terms of drive cloning capabilities, they often omit the other backup options). It's really hard to understand why I'd use something that requires a detailed writeup like Jack has here (nothing wrong with the writeup itself, by the way) when you can get a much easier tool for free or next to free. J.Ja