Cloning C Drive as a Backup Technique

By wlknaack
Apr 18, 2005
  1. I have two 80GB hard drives, and I use Symantec's Ghost to clone the C drive on the D drive. The two drives are "cable select." Both drives are recognized and "Primary" and "Active". The operating system is XP Home. Ghost enables you to make boot disks, which I have done, which enable you to run Ghost in PC Dos in the event of a failure which prevents you from booting to Windows. There are two failure scenarios I want to consider:

    1) In the event of a "corruption" problem on the C drive, I plan re-partition and/or re-format the C, and clone the D back to the C, using Ghost in PC DOS mode.

    2) In the event of a "catastrophic" failure to the C drive, I plan to physically switch the two hard drives, making the D the C, and the C the D, expecting that I could then start-up and boot directly into Windows.

    Are there any problems in my doing either of the above procedures? For example: Does Ghost clone all the boot and start sequence in the root of the C drive, so that putting the D drive in the C position would enable me to boot directly to Windows?

    I appreciate any help anyone can provide. This drive setup configuration is my backup scheme, so if it doesn't work, I'll be in deep vanilla yogurt if something goes wrong with the C drive.
  2. triplate

    triplate TS Rookie Posts: 134

    Norton Ghost is the least desirable way known to back up anything...its bloated and will fail when you need it most...there are better altenatives...use Google or burn your important stuff.
  3. patio

    patio TS Maniac Posts: 482

    The .gho images are exact clones of all the info on the drive. Used properly they get you back to the point you created the image.
    However there are a few things to consider. Are the drives the same manufacturer ? ? Also have you tried removing C: hooking up D: as master and booted successfully from that drive? ?
    If it has worked so far then you are doing everything correct.
    If not then we need more info.
    Another option to consider which would give you an extra layer of protection would be to burn your .gho images to CD/DVD as well. This way you would be able to recover no matter what using the boot disks.

    A good spot with lot's of in depth info can be found Here...

    But i would try that dry run with your latest image on D: just for peace of mind.
    p.s. Which version of Ghost ? ?

    patio. :cool:
  4. wlknaack

    wlknaack TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 143

    Reply to Patio

    The drives are not the same manufacturer. I think, but do not know absolutely, that the difference in manufacturer will not matter as long as they are set (by jumper) correctly for "cable select" operation. But it is something to consider, and the proof would be for me to switch C and D, and see if I can boot from the D drive in the C position, as you suggested.

    Ghost is part of SystemWorks, so I cannot tell its version, but I think it is v2003 since it has a Windows interface and automatically boots into PC DOS to perform the cloning operation.

    Thanks for the direction to the "Radified" web site. It is informative and very useful.
  5. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    Ghost is rather smart - it can handle different disk and partition sizes with no problems.
    As long as you told Ghost that it should clone the disk and not only the partition then the boot code should be OK too but of course the best way to find out is to test it.

    BTW in the case of Bad Luck Scenario 1 you don't have to do any of the partitioning/formatting prior to cloning.
  6. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +7

    try to keep your OS and user data completely seperate. Yes, Norton Ghost / Drive Image the OS partition, but backup your user data with some other means.
  7. patio

    patio TS Maniac Posts: 482

    The reason i inquired about the version is all my .gho backups and experience were from an "Enterprise" edition that was Dos based, about 640k in size, and would do everything from a bootable floppy. This left room for some other disk utils, XTree file manager, CD/mouse drivers and a AV scanner, all on one floppy and very handy.
    Using this and command line switches for Ghost i could either back up a drive to one archive and save it to any partition/drive (except the one being cloned); or burn it to CD with spanning if the image was greater than 650MG.
    Very handy and i got used to it doing bi- weekly backups with a monthly archive burned to CD. I was never further than 2 weeks from a working configuration and back running from disaster in about 1/2 hour.
    I have since switched to Acronis True Image and i use that almost exclusively...
    But Ghost is still only a step away for those real nasty conundrums.

    I suggested the D: drive test set as master only for the peace of mind if C: were to completely fail and you needed to get up and running right away.
    I'd try it though, maybe an hours work at best.
    Glad i could help.

    patio. :cool:
  8. wlknaack

    wlknaack TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 143

    Patio: Some more information

    I did some more research before I test the D drive in the C slot.

    I read in a forum thread linked at "Radified" that when you reboot from DOS to Windows, after cloning C to D, Windows sees two bootable drives and assigns a new volume identification to D, which makes D not bootable.

    It goes further and explains that you should shut the computer off via the power switch after DOS cloning is complete, disconnect C, and power-up, thereby making D bootable. However, the implication is clear, you could then only use D as the bootable drive in another computer of the same configuration, or replace C with D, and remove C from the system. You could not leave both C and D in the computer because at next boot, D would be made non-bootable.

    If this is true, then D cannot be a replacement for C in my "Scenario 2" as proposed in the original post.

    Can anyone verify that this is true? Are there any work-around options? Can the boot.ini be changed to make D part of a dual boot scheme?

    The object here is to have a cloned backup drive (D) which can be used as a source to clone a corrupted system drive (C), or as a direct replacement of a (hardware) failed system drive (C). If D is not bootable, it can only be used as a source for cloning.
  9. wlknaack

    wlknaack TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 143

    Changing the BOOT.INI

    With reference to my previous post: In order to make the D drive permanently bootable, I propose to modify the BOOT.INI as follows:


    [boot loader]
    [operating systems]
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition" /fastdetect


    [boot loader]
    [operating systems]
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition" /fastdetect
    multi(0)disk(1)rdisk(0)partition(1)WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition" /fastdetect

    The only changes are a) the addition of the D drive (disk 1) to the 2nd XP Home Operating System and b) the reduction of the timeout from 30 to 5 seconds so that the "operating system choice screen" which will come up on boot will only last 5 seconds before going to the C drive.

    Questions: Are the proposed changes to the BOOT.INI correct? Will it it work? That is, will the computer boot to C or, if I so choose at the "choice screen," can and will it boot from D? If it works, it seems like a simple solution, but "Am I missing something here?" I welcome any suggestions any of you may have.
  10. Samstoned

    Samstoned TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,018

    keep in mind all your programs set in registry point to some part of your drive on install of program.
    moving to another drive with diff letter changes this
    what I have found is use seagate utlity to copy main drive
    on boot you may have to stop chkdsk it may try to reconfig for 2nd OS
    I have done this about 5 times worked every time
    if you keep both OS's truly seperate
    each drive will have it's own ini boot file and MBR
    forensicly very hard to keep from writing data to any drive on the system that is active
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