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What do I need?

By Manikle
Feb 7, 2011
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  1. What hardware/software do I need in order to completely copy a hard drive so that, if my computer's internal HDD dies, I can simply replace the failed drive and easily transfer the contents of the backup drive, including the original OS and all programs to the new HDD?
    Also, would a replacement hard drive have to be the same brand/model/size as the old one?
    I ask because I also have Rosetta Stone software and the software can only be installed on 2 HDDs before they make you purchase another complete copy of the expensive software.
    The simpler the process, the better.
    TIA.
     
  2. LookinAround

    LookinAround TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 8,398   +169

    1) You can consider something like EASUS Disk Copy to create a sector-by-sector image copy of the drive you could copy to another

    2) On the other hand, it doesn't sound like your doing backups yet??? In which case you should use software that provides both a disk image as well as access to file/folder/data backups. EASUS ToDo backup is a good freeware solution

    Tho for flexibility, features, a product that does it all (i use it myself) checkout Acronis True Image Home is about $50USD. Has many useful features. Check it out. Has 14 day free trial, full use too
     
  3. Manikle

    Manikle TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 67

    Basically, I'm clueless

    In other words, I have no idea what it means to "do a backup" versus your suggestion that "you should use software that provides both a disk image as well as access to file/folder/data backups".
    ..and no, I have not been doing backups (foolish, I know).
    I am looking at buying a Western Digital My Book Essential, but I don't know if it will do what I want or not---which is to make a complete copy of everything on the computer's internal HDD and then all I will have to do is to transfer everything to a new internal HDD--no entering software keys, etc.
    Will it?
     
  4. LookinAround

    LookinAround TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 8,398   +169

    you should start by looking at the EASUS link about the two products. YOu can also download each to try it (they're both free from EASUS)
    > yes, DiskCopy meets your immediate need to copy an exact image of the disk to save on the WD external drive (assuming its at least as large as the disk you're copying)

    but IMO you may as well start doing backups of your drive. So not only you have a full image but you can recover individual files/folders for future needs. Start by looking at the product web sites at features
     
  5. Manikle

    Manikle TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 67

    I've looked but still am left wondering

    Thank you very much for your replies.
    I've also been considering upgrading to a 1TB HDD from a 750GB, but it seems as though that adds additional problems.
    In any case, even if I purchase the same brand and same capacity HDD as a backup, it seems likely that certain programs (RS) will "reject" the new disk anyway.
    I wouldn't mind if these particular programs hadn't cost hundreds of dollars each.
    Right after you first posted the links, I did look at the two Easus softwares, though understanding the differences between them is beyond me, due to lack of general knowledge and the fact that I'm fighting illness today, so I'm affected by a bit of "brain fog".
    I see that a shortcoming of the "Disk Copy" program is that copying a 750 GB drive's info to a 1 TB HDD will mean that only 750 GB will be usable on the 1TB drive.
    "Todo" claims it will "migrate a disk or partition to a new one or upgrade disk easily", so I would think that would be a better option, as it does not mention that it would limit the newer, larger HDD to a lesser storage capacity, as the "Disk Copy" program will or whether or not the existing software will accept the new disk--larger or not.
    I'm not averse to buying software when it will make tasks easier, which Acronis True Image Home would do, if it truly did as it claims--but it seems that a add-on purchase is necessary and I still may not be able to use all of my programs.
    In reading a review on the B*st B** site that I've found that an additional $30 needs to be spent on "Acronis True Image Home 2011 Plus Pack" in order to be able to transfer the programs to anything other than the same brand and size HDD--so that seems to be a common shortcoming of these types of programs.

    Without trying a bunch of free trials, how can I determine if any program will allow me to simply transfer the programs and use ALL the programs?
     
  6. LookinAround

    LookinAround TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 8,398   +169

    No worries. I was in that same "brain fog" when i was sick a few weeks ago. Get well soon :)

    As to moving 750GB to 1TB using EASUS Disk Copy (or other tools which will do the same) i'm guessing you're referring to this from the EASUS product page
    That's not a problem. They mean that the copy operation creates a 750GB clone on the 1TB HDD leaving 250GB unallocated. Once you boot from the new HDD you simply install a partition manager (like EASUS Partition Master) to resize the 750GB to 1GB or repartition the HDD space as you want to reclaim all available space

    The Acronis $30 "extras" will do that automatically for you. But it's a very easy step to do yourself after you complete the copy. The Acronis extras aren't really needed
    What makes you think this? There are some (but i think few) installed programs that are actually "disk locked". Typically copying/cloning the drive moves everything "as is" including product keys. Rare that a product wouldn't provide for a disk failure situation (where someone is then forced to put a disk image onto a new disk). So if you really think something would prevent that (?) i'd check with the provider as rare that they wouldn't provide for the condition of needing to move to a new disk
     
  7. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 13,476   +329

    Two commercial products are available to create "mirror image" of an HD
    1. Acronis
    2. Norton Ghost
    Both will take everything, including the MBR. Both will also provide a CD which will boot and allow an image restore;
    ie make the new HD look exactly like the original.

    Caution: on the original HD or the new one, partitions take special care.
    The new HD used as a target will loose everything and become a mirror of the original,
    regardless of any existing partitions on it.

    Also be advised that such an image is frozen in time and if used as a restore, the new HD
    will only be as current as the moment the image was made. As weeks/months pass, your image becomes more and more outdated.
    1. take new images periodical
    2. use a backup tool which supports the differential technique
     
  8. Manikle

    Manikle TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 67

    Thank-you both.
    I truly appreciate the help.
     


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