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  • Pls confirm steps to Clone HDD with Macrium Reflect

    Home Forums AskWoody support PC hardware Questions – Maintenance and backups Pls confirm steps to Clone HDD with Macrium Reflect

    This topic contains 9 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  dg1261 3 weeks, 4 days ago.

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    • #1956134 Reply

      Tex265
      AskWoody Plus

      I am looking to replace my main (C:) hard drive and mirror image Clone its contents to a new hard drive of the same size (both are 1TB).  Maingear desktop computer, Windows 7 Pro x64. Normal single boot set up, standard BIOS.

      The current Disk 0 (MBR – NTFS) shows 4 Partitions: (No letter) 500MB, OS(C:), Recovery(F:), Data(E:) – a Logical Drive

      Need confirmation of my understanding of the process and answers to some questions.

      First install Macrium Reflect Free onto the current Disk 0 and also make a Recover USB, then shut down the computer.

      I have a second hard drive installed for storage. I propose to temporarily uninstall this HDD and install the new HDD target into this bay.

      Question: Does the New HDD need anything done to it via Windows such as initializing, formating, partitioning before it can be recognized and go through the Cloning process?

      I assume I cannot Clone from within the Windows enviroment (Correct?) so Boot system with Recover USB to get into Windows PE.

      Run the Clone process Entire Disk 0 to New HDD.

      Question: Clone using Intelligent Sector Copy? Or Sector by Sector Copy?

      When process complete, shut down system, remove old Disk 0 and remove New HDD and move it to the old Disk 0 drive bay.

      Reinstall the second hard drive back into its original bay.

      Start system which should boot from the New HDD with the same partitions, sizes, drive letters, and contents as the old Disk 0. No need for boot changes in the BIOS.

      And the second drive will automatically re-acquire its original partition letters (K:) (L:) (M) sizes etc.   Or will they be lost due to the New HDD swap process?

      Is this all correct?  Anything else?

      PS: I’m OK with moving the New HDD to the old Disk 0 position to ensure the (C:) drive is recognized, but Macrium info seems to imply that is not necessary for the system to properly boot from the new drive?  Is this possible that it changes something on the drive?

       

      Windows 10 Pro x64 v1803 and Windows 7 Pro SP1 x64
    • #1956232 Reply

      NightOwl
      AskWoody Plus

      @ Tex265

      I just saw your post. I would like to comment on your questions, and outline–but, you have caught me at a moment when I do not have enough free time to formulate my answers for you.

      So, if you do not need to make decisions immediately, and go forward with your plans just yet–I will try to post my input later this afternoon or evening for your consideration.

      NightOwl

      No question is stupid ... but, possibly the answers are 😉 !

    • #1956363 Reply

      dg1261
      AskWoody_MVP

      @tex265, your process should work just fine.

      You only need Intelligent Sector Copy. Sector by Sector is if making a forensic duplicate, where you’re preserving erased space and deleted files.

      FTR, you can make the clone from within Windows, if you wish. That’s because you’re not functionally altering the source disk while copying it to the target disk.

      If it helps, I’ve got a video “work-in-progress” that gives you a background of the process.

      3 users thanked author for this post.
      • #1957575 Reply

        Tex265
        AskWoody Plus

        dg, great video!

        I note in the video you recommend installing the New HDD into the drive bay where it will remain for use prior to Cloning to increase the chance of the Cloning software getting the BCD recorded on the New HDD properly.

        How important is this as I would prefer to fuss with my iffy Old drive as much as possible?

        Have you used Macrium Reflect to Clone? Good Results with the BCD?

        Windows 10 Pro x64 v1803 and Windows 7 Pro SP1 x64
        • #1957595 Reply

          Tex265
          AskWoody Plus

          How important is this as I would prefer to fuss with my iffy Old drive as much as possible?

          Sorry, should say: I would prefer to fuss with my iffy Old drive as little as possible.

          (My Edit time has passed)

          Windows 10 Pro x64 v1803 and Windows 7 Pro SP1 x64
    • #1957062 Reply

      NightOwl
      AskWoody Plus

      @ Tex265

      Back later than expected, but here’s my take on what you have outlined:

      Maingear desktop computer, Windows 7 Pro x64. Normal single boot set up, standard BIOS.

      The current Disk 0 (MBR – NTFS) shows 4 Partitions: (No letter) 500MB, OS(C:), Recovery(F:), Data(E:) – a Logical Drive

      Sounds like a little bit older system with the older style BIOS (not UEFI), and fairly standard Disk layout. Probably SATA Hard Drives (HDD). SSD HDDs or spinning platter HDDs? Are you changing from a spinning HDD to a SSD HDD?

      To your questions and outline:

      First install Macrium Reflect Free onto the current Disk 0 and also make a Recover USB, then shut down the computer.

      Just to be sure, I’m assuming the *Recover USB* is in reference to the Macrium Reflect *Rescue Media*. Before you shut down the computer–do you have a Windows Repair Disc? If not, you really need to create that, as well. Win7 will only create the Repair Disc to a burnable CD or DVD–will not allow to be created to a USB thumb drive.

      After shutting down–test both the Rescue Media and the Repair Disc to be sure you can successfully boot to each. You will want to make sure you can find the *Repair Boot* option on the Windows Repair Disc. You could spend a week looking around the Macrium Rescue Media–you will have time to do that after you test the Windows Repair Disc.

      The most common reported problem after attempting to clone one’s OS to a new HDD is failure of the new HDD to boot. The Windows Repair Disc with the *Repair Boot* menu item can be essential to overcoming that problem.

      Question: Does the New HDD need anything done to it via Windows such as initializing, formating, partitioning before it can be recognized and go through the Cloning process?

      You will risk having all sorts of potential problems if you allow Windows to work on the future destination drive prior to your cloning. (By the way, is this a new HDD that has never been installed on your system before now? Or, has it been used for other purposes previously?) As soon as you *initialize* your future destination HDD, Windows is going to brand that HDD with an identification number, probably assign a drive letter to it, record that information in the Windows Registry, and will try very hard to not let go of that information. And, you will potentially be copying that Registry information about the new HDD to your new HDD which will want to assign that new drive letter to it instead of the drive letter *C:*, which is what you really want. Appropriate *cloning* technique should eliminate those problems, but I just recently worked with someone on the forum that had problems with this issue.

      I assume I cannot Clone from within the Windows enviroment (Correct?) so Boot system with Recover USB to get into Windows PE.

      Maybe, you could do the cloning from within Windows. But there are probably more risks of making a mistake, or having something go wrong than if you boot to the Macrium Rescue Media and do the cloning from there. (This is greatly debated in some circles!)

      Sounds like you want to do Disk to Disk Cloning. Just for the record, I use Disk to Image file creation, and if I have to restore, I then do an Image to Disk Restore. You would have to have either enough space on your second Data Disk for an Image file, or use an external USB HDD to save an Image file to, and then retrieve it from, and Restore it to the new HDD.

      Okay, now shut down and let’s re-arrange the HDDs.

      So, your outline of how to setup the HDDs for cloning is fine. But, if it were me, I would do it slightly differently. I would remove your second Data HDD, switch your current Disk 0 (Source) HDD from its current location to the Data HDD location, and then install the future (Destination) HDD in the now vacant Disk 0 position. (Reasoning–I want to make as few changes as possible for the new HDD–and putting it in its future final location to start with, eliminates one more change it would have to go through.)

      Proceed to boot to the Macrium Rescue Media. You should be able to see both HDDs, and it should be obvious which HDD is which–one should show no partitions (Destination HDD) (unless it has been used before), and one with your four partitions on it (Source HDD). Make sure you’re cloning in the correct direction: Source to Destination. If you go the other direction, you have just wiped out your Source HDD and it’s gone–forever! (That’s why I like to use Image files–it protects my original Source HDD from possible cloning mistakes.)

      After cloning–shut down, remove your original Disk 0 (Source) HDD, and replace with your Data HDD. Reboot.

      If all goes well, you should have a successful reboot to your Windows OS. If there is a boot failure–insert your Windows Repair Disc, and reboot. Attempt the *Boot Repair*, shut down and remove the Disc, and reboot. If you still have a boot failure–repeat booting to your Repair Disc, repeat the *Boot Repair*, and remove the Disc, and attempt to reboot to Windows. If you still get a boot failure–repeat the Repair Disc and *Boot Repair* for a third time. If you still are unable to boot to Windows–remove the New HDD, replace with the old OS HDD. Confirm that you can now boot to Windows, and then return here with the details.

      Start system which should boot from the New HDD with the same partitions, sizes, drive letters, and contents as the old Disk 0. No need for boot changes in the BIOS.

      If everything has gone according to plan, this should be the case.

      And the second drive will automatically re-acquire its original partition letters (K:) (L:) (M) sizes etc.

      This should also be the case.

      PS: I’m OK with moving the New HDD to the old Disk 0 position to ensure the (C:) drive is recognized, but Macrium info seems to imply that is not necessary for the system to properly boot from the new drive? Is this possible that it changes something on the drive?

      It’s the BIOS that is *changing*. Newer BIOS can detect which HDD has an active OS on it, and switches the active first boot device in the BIOS. If you have multiple boot devices, then it might get messy and require manual intervention. In much older systems, you had to have the boot device hooked up to the first channel of the primary HDD controller–so you had to switch the HDD from whichever controller channel you used to clone to, and move it to that first channel of the primary HDD controller.

      I like to put things back in the position they were working okay at, rather than finding out after the fact that my system was not up to working things out that I made changes to–so I would put a cloned new OS HDD in the same position that my old HDD was attached to (unless there were reason(s) to do things differently).

      So, if you run into problems that you do not understand–STOP! Record the problem or error message, and don’t force things. Come back here and ask questions. Then proceed if the answer(s) have helped.

      NightOwl

      No question is stupid ... but, possibly the answers are 😉 !

      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #1957583 Reply

        Tex265
        AskWoody Plus

        NighOwl, thanks

        Sounds like a little bit older system with the older style BIOS (not UEFI), and fairly standard Disk layout. Probably SATA Hard Drives (HDD). SSD HDDs or spinning platter HDDs? Are you changing from a spinning HDD to a SSD HDD?

        System is 8 years old with Legacy BIOS. SATA HDD spinning to New SATA HDD spinning.

        Just to be sure, I’m assuming the *Recover USB* is in reference to the Macrium Reflect *Rescue Media*. Before you shut down the computer–do you have a Windows Repair Disc? If not, you really need to create that, as well. Win7 will only create the Repair Disc to a burnable CD or DVD–will not allow to be created to a USB thumb drive.

        Yes – Macrium Rescue Media and yes do have a Windows 7 Pro Repair CD. System has 2 CD/DVD players on board (the good old days).

        You will risk having all sorts of potential problems if you allow Windows to work on the future destination drive prior to your cloning

        Maybe, you could do the cloning from within Windows. But there are probably more risks of making a mistake, or having something go wrong than if you boot to the Macrium Rescue Media and do the cloning from there

        So I take this to mean Do Nothing to the New bare metal HDD other than install it AND Do Not boot back into Windows off the old HDD? The first boot should be with the Rescue Media?

        Sounds like you want to do Disk to Disk Cloning

        Yes correct unless more problematic than disk to image to disk

        So, your outline of how to setup the HDDs for cloning is fine. But, if it were me, I would do it slightly differently. I would remove your second Data HDD, switch your current Disk 0 (Source) HDD from its current location to the Data HDD location, and then install the future (Destination) HDD in the now vacant Disk 0 position

        Seems logical but how much more risk do I take by leaving it where it is and then swapping it out with the Clone afterwards? – pls see my response to dg above your response.
        Also FMI, if the old Source HDD were moved to the secondary disk bay could the system even boot up from the Source HDD any longer if it had to?

        If all goes well, you should have a successful reboot to your Windows OS. If there is a boot failure–insert your Windows Repair Disc, and reboot. Attempt the *Boot Repair*, shut down and remove the Disc, and reboot

        I assume this problem would be do to the Cloning program not getting the BCD recorded properly and Windows Rescue disk attemping to correct?
        Does Macrium Reflect have a good record for getting this correct?

        Windows 10 Pro x64 v1803 and Windows 7 Pro SP1 x64
    • #1957811 Reply

      GoneToPlaid
      AskWoody Plus

      So I take this to mean Do Nothing to the New bare metal HDD other than install it AND Do Not boot back into Windows off the old HDD? The first boot should be with the Rescue Media?

      Yes. Remember to have Macrium shut down the computer after completing the clone operation. Unplug the computer after Macrium has shut down the computer after completing the clone operation. Then either remove or unplug the old hard drive. Then plug the old hard drive’s SATA cable into the new hard drive. Then plug the computer’s power cord back in. Then start the computer. BIOS will automatically detect the new hard drive. Windows should boot normally and without any issues, except possibly doing the “Installing new hardware” thing for the new hard drive and possibly asking you to reboot. After this, you will be good to go.

      • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 5 days ago by  GoneToPlaid. Reason: edit the instructions
    • #1958041 Reply

      NightOwl
      AskWoody Plus

      @ Tex265

      Good follow up questions—

      So I take this to mean Do Nothing to the New bare metal HDD other than install it AND Do Not boot back into Windows off the old HDD? The first boot should be with the Rescue Media?

      Exactly correct. After confirming that you can boot to the Windows Repair Media, and the Macrium Rescue Media, shut down, move your disks around as needed, and then boot to the Macrium Rescue Media.

      Yes correct unless more problematic than disk to image to disk

      See my comment above:

      Make sure you’re cloning in the correct direction: Source to Destination. If you go the other direction, you have just wiped out your Source HDD and it’s gone–forever! (That’s why I like to use Image files–it protects my original Source HDD from possible cloning mistakes.)

      But, if available drive space to hold an Image file is a problem, then Disk to Disk should be okay–just make sure of your Source and Destination drives.

      Another item I do to help avoid selecting the wrong drive–I label my partitions with unique labels. For instance I label my Win7 OS partition this way: C: Win7 OS, and my two data partitions as: D: and E:. So, I give each partition the labeling of the drive letter I would normally see when booted to normal Windows. Your second data HDD would be the following labels: K: , L: , and M: .

      Do you know how to add Labels to your partitions? If not–ask.

      When you boot to the WinPe for Macrium’s Rescue Media, often the drive letters of the partitions are changed–so having them labeled can be a big help. Just another redundant aid in recognition.

      Seems logical but how much more risk do I take by leaving it where it is and then swapping it out with the Clone afterwards? – pls see my response to dg above your response.

      If you’re that concerned about moving a HDD–hmmm–now I’m worried! One option that I’ve been know to do–I leave my drives mounted in place, and all I do is disconnect the SATA communication data cord, in your case from the Disk 0, and then plug that cord into the New Destination HDD, which I would have sitting on top of the case on a wood board to isolate it from metal case. (I have also piled up a few books next to my tower (dictionaries or whatever thick books I might have), place that piece of board on top, and then the HDD on top of that.) Unplug the data cord from the Data HDD and plug that into the Old Disk 0 (Source HDD). Then get a power cord for the SATA HDD routed to the new Destination HDD–could be unplugged from the Data HDD, or possibly from one of the CD/DVD drives. (In my box of parts, I have some longer than average SATA data cords that allow me to connect to the motherboard SATA ports to a HDD that is external to the tower if necessary. You might not have that option ready at hand, though, and might have to purchase such an item if you want to do something similar.) But, some SATA data cords are already pretty long to begin with. See what options you can use.

      I note in the video you recommend installing the New HDD into the drive bay where it will remain for use prior to Cloning to increase the chance of the Cloning software getting the BCD recorded on the New HDD properly.

      Note!–@ dg1261 recommended the same strategy of putting the New Destination HDD in the final place, and I’m assuming using the same SATA data cable as the previous Disk 0 Source HDD in order to increase the probability of successful booting when done cloning.

      Also FMI, if the old Source HDD were moved to the secondary disk bay could the system even boot up from the Source HDD any longer if it had to?

      Yes, it should boot just fine, unless it has failed because of physically moving it (your concern discussed above!) For the record–after you have successfully booted to your new HDD Windows OS, you can then re-introduce your old Source HDD–just don’t plug it into that Disk 0 SATA data cord. Windows will assign new drive letters to your available partitions and you can access and transfer data from or to that old HDD. (But note: those new drive letter assignments will only be used by your New HDD Windows OS–your old Source HDD will have no knowledge of what your NEW HDD Windows OS is doing.) And, if you shut down, remove your new HDD from the Disk 0 SATA data cord, replace your old HDD to the Disk 0 SATA data cord and put a power cord to the original Source HDD, it should still also boot successfully to Windows.

      I assume this problem would be do (sic) to the Cloning program not getting the BCD recorded properly and Windows Rescue disk attemping to correct?
      Does Macrium Reflect have a good record for getting this correct?

      I have used the *Norton–Ghost 2003* cloning software since 2003, and the Terabyte Image for Linux cloning software for the last 6-7 years. I have installed the Macrium Reflect software to help another person better understand that cloning software. I created a whole disk Image to my USB3 external HDD in Windows. But, I discovered I could not use the Macrium Rescue Media that would not accept creating USB3 drivers for my USB3 controller and USB3 HDD. I have yet to trouble shoot that issue, and to see if I can access the USB3 HDD hooked up to a USB2 controller. So, I do not have personal experience with the cloning of a HDD using the Macrium software, as yet.

      But, in general, I have seen some failures of all the various cloning software regarding successful boots after cloning. But I have seen almost universal success of booting after cloning, and using the Windows Repair Disc, and the Repair Boot procedure, if needed.

      So, I would have high confidence that you will succeed in cloning and using the necessary procedures, as needed, to successfully boot in the end.

      Remember–you will still have that failing HDD (your Source HDD) as a backup still after cloning, if you still are having boot problems–we will just have to sort the problem out. But that is not the likely outcome to expect.

      NightOwl

      No question is stupid ... but, possibly the answers are 😉 !

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #1958046 Reply

      dg1261
      AskWoody_MVP

      Have you used Macrium Reflect to Clone? Good Results with the BCD?

      Yes. Macrium Reflect is my favorite free program. (My overall favorite is Terabyte Image, but it’s not free.)

       

      remove old Disk 0 and remove New HDD and move it to the old Disk 0 drive bay. […] No need for boot changes in the BIOS.

      No BIOS changes required because new HDD is in the same spot as the original was.

       

      I note in the video you recommend installing the New HDD into the drive bay where it will remain for use prior to Cloning to increase the chance of the Cloning software getting the BCD recorded on the New HDD properly. How important is this

      Not important unless you run into failure. In that case, repeat the cloning in a different fashion.

      Note that Macrium (and many other programs) will get it right most of the time, regardless.

      And by “most of the time”, I don’t mean if you try the exact same cloning attempt 100 times it will eventually fail. I mean if you take 100 different scenarios (different partition layouts, OSes, BIOSes, disk technologies, …) there may be a few scenarios a particular program might not handle correctly.  If it works in a particular scenario, it will always work. If it has trouble in a particular scenario, it always will (barring a program fix).

      Most users use straightforward partition scenarios, so for most users many of the alternative programs are equally as good as Macrium Reflect, and cloning is just as reliable as imaging/restoring.

      It’s when using oddball or non-standard configurations that performance differences start to appear — such as multi-boot scenarios, layouts with hidden partitions, and OSes installed in logical partitions. (Note “hidden” means actually hidden from the OS — which is rare, not merely with the drive letter removed — which is more common.)

      For instance, Dell used to include a “DellUtility” partition (which, like XP, was CHS-aligned), even on computers with Win 7 (which by default uses MB-alignment). The mixed alignment of the partitions was definitely non-standard, and most cloning programs mangled the results.

       

      Does the New HDD need anything done to it via Windows such as initializing, formating, partitioning before it can be recognized and go through the Cloning process?

      No. In fact, Macrium Reflect will delete any existing partitions and re-initialize the new HDD if need be, to match the partition table style, partition layout, and partition formatting of the source being cloned or imaged. So doing anything to the new HDD beforehand will just be a waste of time.

       

      I assume I cannot Clone from within the Windows environment

      Not true. It’s true that you cannot overwrite an actively booted OS (e.g., restoring), but you can *read* an actively booted OS to copy it elsewhere. Most cloning/imaging programs make use of VSS (“Volume Shadow Services”), a Windows feature to freeze files in use so they can be copied to the target.

      In fact, I recommend cloning or imaging Win 10 systems from within Windows instead of shutting down and using external boot media. This is because Win 10 often has its “Fast Startup” feature enabled by default, which creates a sort of hybrid hibernation state when the computer is shut down. That hibernated state is what external boot media would be attempting to clone or image, usually with disastrous results.

      When Windows is actively booted, however, hibernation is not in effect, and the cloning programs are able to use VSS just as easily as with they have with earlier Windows versions.

      If you choose to clone or image from a shut down state, it’s wise to (at least temporarily) disable “Fast Boot” (Win 8.x) or “Fast Startup” (Win 10) before shutting down. Note you won’t have this problem with Win 7.

       

      And the second drive will automatically re-acquire its original partition letters (K:) (L:) (M) sizes etc. Or will they be lost due to the New HDD swap process?

      Note the MountedDevices registry key in my video around the 14:30 mark. In your case, the K-L-M drive letters will be defined there. Those partition signatures will be carried over with the registry to the new boot drive during cloning. When you’re done, your second HDD will be unaltered and in the same spot as it was before, so its partitions will still have the same signatures, and thus should keep the previous drive letter assignments.

      That may or may not be true for other partitions (E-F) on the boot drive. Because the boot drive will have been changed, it may get a new DiskID or GUID, resulting in different signatures for those partitions. At worst, you’d have to go into Disk Management and reset the drive letters to what you want.

       

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