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  1. #1
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    Imaging a hard drive again (and again)

    Hi,

    I say 'again' because I am still fighting this dragon.

    And I'm not too proud to admit it -- now; (---there just comes a time .... <g>).

    I have been trying for many years now -- starting with very early Acronis True Images(versions 2/3, 4, 8, 10 ? -- I forgot). I know I bought several though the years. None worked for me at all.

    Recently I made more determined, valiant tries again; this time trying Easeus and Macrium etc. Even bought one (!) - Partition Master Pro; but they say (in their support forum) I bought the 'wrong' program, so I didn't even try it. [I think it is a case of them not understanding what I want to do.]

    I tried Easeus ToDo Backup 4.5. It did something with back up but, with my system of 17 GB, the resultant 'backup' is only 1.9 GB -- that can't be bigger enough. (I didn't try to check it tho.) And no way to send it, directly, to a USB external HD.)

    And Easeus, on system (imaging?), offers only limited 'off system' -- no USB external HD etc..

    I don't want images stored on my HD (seems, to me, not smart), i want them stored 'off system' -- USB SSD, external HD, even DVD, or even bootable CD.

    With Macrium (new v5.0/free), they apparently limit imaging to only CD/DVD.

    So, again, I failed to produce a image (that I can use/test).

    It seems, of late, the 'free' programs are being phased into 'trials' -- a least in Easeus.

    [I have been 'researching' a lot of late too. Including some interesting Lounge
    threads.]

    I realize , with my long history of unsuccessful attempts, that I may have muddied the waters. Meaning: maybe my thinking is somewhat 'tainted'.

    In that case, any 'straightening out' of my thinking, would be appreciated.

    Bottom line -- :

    All I want to do, is image my HDs (both working and 'clean' (and newly setup) systems. I have quite a number of systems, desktops and laptops. And test the resulting images for being valid. Some bootable CD capability.

    I only have limited interest in automatic file backup. (I do it, of course, but using my own methods.)

    Just so readers know, in spite of my earlier ramblingness, I am really a 'computer guy'; in fact, been around computers since they made with discreet transistors -- and that is really old. <G> So it is OK to 'talk turkey' to me.

    It's just that the whole "imaging" arena, as presented to me though the years, leaves me 'in the dust'. And I'm trying to catch up.

    Sorry about overly long post, but it was festering for a long time.

    WillMS

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  3. #2
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    I don't use either Macrium or EaseUS, but I am sure both support full images on external drives. They would be of little use if they didn't.

  4. #3
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    WilMS,

    What Windows version are you using? Always helpeful for us to know this.

    Macrium Reflect Free does support Imaging to a USB hard disk as I have done it.

    Have you tried with either Macrium or Acronis creating the Rescue disks {in the case of Macrium I recommend the Windows PE version} then booting from that disk and creating your images w/o Windows running from your C: drive?
    I use this method exclusively and have never had a problem. I also recommend that you use the Verify Image option which both of these programs support.
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

    VBA Rules!

    My Systems: Desktop Specs
    Laptop Specs


  5. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by WillMS View Post
    It's just that the whole "imaging" arena, as presented to me though the years, leaves me 'in the dust'. And I'm trying to catch up.

    WillMS,
    Hello... Just want to add my 2¢ .... I have used, or at least tried the programs that you have mentioned ... I now use Acronis 2010 V7046, and Macrium Reflect V-5-4620 Both have the Recovery Disk option, and can even do more than you want. ...Bottom line is that they work and have done hundreds of full system Images on XP, Vista , and "7" ( 32 and 64 bit mix)..Also scores of recoveries with each. So don't give up ..there are many at the lounge that can help you get past the "Dragon". Regarding the mix ..I would stick with Macrium Reflect Free ( any of the version 5's ) The older Acronis offerings are "Way Slow" in comparison. Regards Fred

    PS: Here is a link for Macrium Reflect Free download and install... Play around with it, and get familiar with the program ...post back with any questions First Mission ...Burn the "WAIK" version of the recovery disk, and make sure your BIOS is set to boot from a CD\DVD (First in Que) Will test it later...Once your "Up to Speed" with the program
    Last edited by Just Plain Fred; 2012-06-03 at 20:07.
    PlainFred

    None are so hopelessly enslaved as those who falsely believe they are free (J. W. Von Goethe)

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    IreneLinda (2012-06-23)

  7. #5
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    Here is a step-by-step tutorial for creating a Macrium Reflect image.
    Here are two more articles on how to create bootable rescue media.

    Taking the time to read the articles in their entirety prior to doing anything is the only straightening out you need.


    A disk image is
    A Partition is
    Last edited by CLiNT; 2012-06-04 at 00:01.

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    IreneLinda (2012-06-23)

  9. #6
    mart44
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    An option to consider if running Windows 7 is using the included disk imaging function. It is different to operate than other programs but this isn't a disadvantage once used to it. It's possible to:

    * Make multiple images.
    * Access images via a boot disk (if necessary).
    * Back up to a USB drive, partition or second internal disk.

    An image can be attached to the operating system as a virtual hard disk (VHD). When attached, it's possible to:

    * Explore an image and copy files from it to the C: drive, or files from the C: drive to the image.
    * Run programs stored in the image.
    Last edited by mart44; 2012-06-04 at 01:06.

  10. #7
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    With Macrium (new v5.0/free), they apparently limit imaging to only CD/DVD.
    Not true, works fine for me with a USB external drive. In the Macrium program it will only allow for CD/DVD rescue disk creation, but as my
    earlier links allude to, there are easy and workable ways around that aspect of rescue media creation.
    I tried Easeus ToDo Backup 4.5. It did something with back up but, with my system of 17 GB, the resultant 'backup' is only 1.9 GB -- that can't be bigger enough. (I didn't try to check it tho.) And no way to send it, directly, to a USB external HD.)
    It's more likely you selected a non image type of backup. Do try to check it out and confirm this.
    I think all you really need to do is spend more time looking at and reading the documentation of any particular product you've chosen.
    Go for step by step instructions with actual screen shots of the process.
    Last edited by CLiNT; 2012-06-05 at 00:03.

  11. #8
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    Not that it's needed, but I can confirm all that Clint and Fred et al have said about Macrium. I take images on my hard drive and also on an external drive. I have also recovered multiple times from both.
    Read, understand, and then go slay the "dragon."

    Dick
    PS,
    Also, once you've created the image where you want it, BE SURE to test that you can use it to recover.

  12. #9
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    Hi all,

    Wow, I'm simply overwhelmed -- with all the support suggestions and information.

    I'm not wise about the forum's protocol (yet), so i'll try this way to respond (and thank the members along the way). ---- Like does one answer using of bunch individual posts, or is it better to group several similar subjects together (lessen the number of posts)?

    I'm using primarily XP Pro systems, although Windows 7 is rearing its head a bit. I should have mentioned this in my original post. So I used the XP 'subcategory' (if it is a category at all) to post.

    Thanks to : [verifying some things are doable]
    ruirib
    RetiredGeek
    Dick-Y
    mart44 [not using Windows 7, but will in the future]

    With special thanks: [for the several links, and follow up]
    Clint [I have to correct couple statements that I said.]
    Just Plain Fred [did get Macrium free, playing with it]

    After I spend some more time looking into various referrals, I'll single out any responders for any special follow up (after I learn to respond and quote back correctly).

    Also, I'll look at other message threads, for 'how the others do it'.

    Thanks again to all.

    Will

  13. #10
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    I use Easeus ToDo Backup to back up to my external USB hard drive. It works fine. Just plug in the external hard drive and wait for Windows to recognise it before starting Easeus, you will then be able to navigate to it as a destination in Easeus.

    I think the backup size is around 2/3 of the source partition size. The program has a browse backup feature, so you can check what was backed up after you finish.

  14. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by WillMS View Post
    Hi,
    I tried Easeus ToDo Backup 4.5. It did something with back up but, with my system of 17 GB, the resultant 'backup' is only 1.9 GB -- that can't be bigger enough. (I didn't try to check it tho.)
    WillMS
    Very bad mistake if you have 8 GB of Pagefile.sys and 8 GB of Hiberfil.sys as part of your 17 GB system, because an image excludes those two files.

  15. #12
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    Hi WillMS, Just a couple of thoughts- maybe 3.. mostly on ToDo Backup
    a. I find that backing up 90Gb of installed programs + Windows gives an image of some 30+Gb.
    b. As alan.b says, pagefile.sys * hiberfil.sys should be excluded.
    c. Be sure you are selecting disk/partition backup as ToDo first offers File backup. (v4.5's GUI is much better than v4's which I skipped, as v3.5 was much clearer).
    d. You can mount the image file and see what's in it. Have a look.. (ToDo, Home, Tools...)
    e. You can also verify your image file.
    f. Note that from v4, ToDo introduced a (silly- in my opinion) prompt for the default path to store backups. So you may have to specify the USB disk path to save the backup to a (plugged in!) USB disk.
    g. Unlike Acronis TI, ToDo Backup does not scan for an external disk. An incremental backup, e.g. requires the external disk to be allocated the SAME drive letter as when the initial image was created. To do that, I support ToDo with a 3rd party program that assigns the drive letter. Hmm.

  16. #13
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    IMAGE BACKUP OF OS PARTITION: Use PE Boot CD with OS not Booted.

    Useing XP, I have had good results with WinPE boot CDs from Paragon and O&O:
    doing an image backups of a "clean install" after activation, updates, and drivers.
    LinuxPE should also work...have not tried.

    In the PE CD boot system mode the OS system partition is not booted (locked).
    The image of the "clean install" of XP (with update uninstallers deleted and no page-file)
    can be saved to another partition on the same HDD or to a DVD.
    Then use the SAME PE boot CD to format and restort or migrate the OS image.
    This method has worked for a "wiped" HDD with new MBR and a new C:OS partition.
    den
    ************************************************** *******************

  17. #14
    Bronze Lounger DrWho's Avatar
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    Ok, I'm going to toss a cat in the middle of this dog show.

    Regardless of what program you use (I'll get to my own in a moment) there are some basic rules of making backups, some of which I learned many years ago while being a mainframe operator.

    You must back up enough information so that the backup can be used to boot up your system if your main hard drive crashes and has to be replaced with a brand new drive.
    Your Backup/Restore program MUST NOT be on your main drive....it MUST be on some kind of bootable media. I have my own backup program on Floppy Disk, Flash Drive and CD. (and several copies, so if one should get damaged, I have backup copies of my backup program).

    Ok, one other vital step, clean out all the junk on your hard drive before you start a backup. Some backup programs will eliminate your Pagefile by default.
    But, there can be literally thousands of temp files, temporary internet files, .bak and .bac files as well as logs that are kept by AV and AS software, etc., that can easily add up to Gigabytes of just plain JUNK. With a very thorough cleanup, I eliminate over six gig's of junk from my own backups. With Win-8, it gets much worse!
    (it's a jungle in there, or should I spell that "Jumble"?)

    Acronis True Image has been available for free, for years. It used to come on every MaxBlast disk that came with new Maxtor hard drives. It was also available from Seagate in their "Seatools" package that could be downloaded from their website.

    Install ATI and then use it to make the "Recovery CD" and then you can un-install it from the hard drive, to save space. Doing all your backups from a Boot Disk, that totally takes Windows out of the equation, is by far the smartest and safest way to to backups. I did this with ATI when Vista was still the current OS and I was just testing Win-7. It worked just fine, to make Images of the C: drive and store them on an external HD.
    * When you do your backups from a Boot Disk, you can even back up your HD when Windows won't boot it, for data preservation.

    I just couldn't warm up to the UI so never made that my permanent Backup program. Also it didn't allow me to select the amount of compression of the files going into the backup. Bottom line.... It did work 100%, to backup one HD and then restore to another HD. (that's a must!)

    My own Backup program that I've used since it's inception in 1997, is "Ghost". I'm currently using "Ghost 11.5" which will back up every OS from '98 to Win-8, seamlessly. It's a DOS program and runs great from a DOS Boot Disk.
    But, you can't buy it, and Symantec denies that they ever wrote it or marketed it.
    They bought Ghost in 1998 from the originators in New Zealand.

    I boot up my system with my DOS Ghost disk and do my backups from there. While in DOS I can run a sequence of batch files that delete all the junk, including the Pagefile and old Restore Points, from the C: drive. On my XP drive, which is still in FAT-32 format, I can do all my cleanup in DOS.
    However, with any NTFS formatted drive, like Win7 or Win8, I run a little app in Dos called NTFS4DOS which opens up NTFS for access in DOS and then I just go ahead and do my cleanup before actually running Ghost to do my backup.
    It's just so slick, so easy and so very Professional.

    After a backup, I do an immediate "Check" of the backup file(s) to make sure they are restore'able. Then I take one more step to validate that backup file....I do a Restore. That rewrites my entire C: drive (data area) and re-organizes the files, with no space between them and of course....NO FRAGMENTATION. I call it the "World's best Defrag".
    It's how I used to defrag the mainframe I ran for the county, years ago.

    Transistors? How about Vacc. Tubes? Been there, done all that. Got the B+ burns on my fingers to prove it.
    But once hard drives were invented, backups have not changed much.
    The theory and process are pretty much the same...only the backup media has really changed.

    I even have a 16 gig Flash Drive mounted permanently on my main PC, for daily data-file backups.
    Using XCOPY, in a batch file, with the proper switches, the backup takes only a few seconds, backing up only files that are new, or ones that have been changed, since the last backup.
    Whole drive backups are done weekly (not weakly ) with Ghost 11.5. To: an Internal Backup drive, external USB drive or even to DVD's.

    Doing whole drive backups can seem like a very daunting topic, but once you nail down the basics, it gets pretty simple.

    I should copy-write this, "The only bad backup is the one you decided NOT to make". *

    * I will never argue with anyone who has found a backup program that works for them. The important thing is to DO YOUR BACKUPS, at least weekly, not what program you use.

    Cheers Mates!
    The Doctor

    PS: There is nothing any more disheartening to a Computer Tech, than going to someone's home or office on a service call, to find out that the hard drive has totally CRASHED and there are NO backups. That really sux!
    Last edited by DrWho; 2012-06-07 at 09:58.
    Experience is truly the best teacher.

    Backup! Backup! Backup! GHOST Rocks!

  18. #15
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    Thanks to the OP for asking this question as I have had similar experiences over the years. I have looked at various times at "imaging" programs and as far as I can tell they fail two of my criteria.
    I want to image a hard drive. I don't care if it has multiple partitions, although none of mine do, I want an image of whats there, excluding the unused space of course. I do not have the hidden partition on my C drive.
    Second, I want to be able to restore the image to a smaller drive.

    The issue with the first criteria may be my inability to decipher the documentation, but the second is because none if the software that I looked at allows putting the image to a smaller drive. I would like to do this so I can try an SSD as my boot drive. The second reason is because my C drive is currently a terabyte drive and I am using less than 200 GB of it. I would like to turn it into a data disk and put the OS on a smaller drive.

    I'm using Win 7 Pro X64 and have a bag full of smaller drives to experiment with. Also, most of my data is stored on the D drive.

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