Cloning Hard Drive With Acronis True Image

  thegreypanther 12:15 28 Dec 08
Locked

I have a copy of Acronis True Image Home 2009, and would like to make sure that I have an exact copy of my hard drive.
If I choose to clone the hard drive to an external drive, is the copy on this external drive one which could be transferred to a replacement hard drive in the event of failure and thereby enable instant recovery of my PC?

May sound a bit of a "newbie" question, but I would like to make sure that loss of my hard drive doesn't result in me spending several days restoring programs and data.

  Taff™ 12:44 28 Dec 08

Basically Yes. It takes a snapshot of your entire drive and you can restore this exact image to a new drive or restore your HDD to this snapshot. Make sure you do incremental backups regularly though. I do a full backup of the system monthly with weekly incrementals.

  johndrew 12:51 28 Dec 08

Yes, cloning a hard drive will give you an exact copy of the drive you copy from. This is usually used where you want to change your drive as a result of size or whatever, not for backup purposes. On completion of a cloning, the PC will restart from the `new` drive unless you specifically stop it. Cloned drives are generally internal to the PC case and not external units.

If this copy is purely for backup in the event of failure/corrupt data/security I would suggest you use the backup feature of ATI wich you could update quicker than cloning and on a regular basis. This will also give an `instant` recovery to the point the backup was made - as would the cloned copy. However you may be no quicker in transferring (cloning) the data back to the `new` HDD as speed will be restricted by the USB connection. In fact the ATI backup function is specifically designed to cater for the HDD failure case you mention in your last paragraph.

  johndrew 12:55 28 Dec 08

You cannot do incremental or differential backups for a cloned copy of the drive only for a backup copy.

  Taff™ 13:01 28 Dec 08

I must be confused! I have ATI 10 and I was of course referring to the Backup routine. I refer to this as a cloned copy of the entire drive - am I wrong?

  Technotiger 13:57 28 Dec 08

Yes - Cloning and Backing-up are two different things, though basically with a similar result.

Cloning is for when you wish to transfer everything to a larger capacity hard drive which you would then use instead of the smaller drive - but only in the same computer.

A full back-up will save everything, just as a Clone will do, but the back-up is for restoring a corrupted System to enable a full recovery back to the point of when the back-up was made - on the same/original hard drive.

  thegreypanther 16:49 28 Dec 08

Many thanks Tecnotiger and johndrew.
I shall be doing a full backup to an external (USB) drive, rather than cloning the drive.
The only slight snag with Acronis True Image is that the manual runs to 137 pages, - absolutely great if you are in a mood to study every page, but if you're impatient and want to get on and do a job quickly a concise guide would be a boon.

Fingers crossed that the backup will never be needed in earnest!

  Pineman100 17:06 28 Dec 08

Good advice above from emnic and Technotiger - you need to backup (sometimes called 'imaging') your drive.

One additional comment, that may prompt disagreement from others! I'm not a fan of incremental or differential backups. They do save space on your backup drive, but in my view they also increase the risk that some small corruption could ruin your entire backup 'set'.

Personally I run a full disk image every time, which I regard as safer. I keep three consecutive images on my external drive, add a fourth one and then delete the oldest.

At ATI's standard level of compression, I find that my images never exceed a total of 200GB, so I aways have plenty of space available on my 320GB external drive.

  Pineman100 17:07 28 Dec 08

First line of my post above, I meant johndrew and Technotiger.

Sorry johndrew!

  Batch 17:22 28 Dec 08

I'm with Pineman100. I never do incrementals, always full images. Not only does this reduce the risk that Pineman100 mentions but also avoids any chance that the software gets its knickers in a twist during the backup / restore (e.g doesn't sort out the right bits for / from the various increments).

A full image has everything for a complete restore in a single image and so avoids any such risk.

  Technotiger 18:00 28 Dec 08

Ditto Pineman100 and Batch, I too do full backups, on a fortnightly basis. I used to do differentials, but really found that a waste of time. I always check the integrity of the backup by Validating it.

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