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Migrate programs and OS
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November 29, 2010
3:59 AM
drsolution
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Hi

I have win7 x 64

I am concerned that is HD goes bad , I can reinstall win7 on new HD but what about the installed programs…?

Is there a software that one can use to “backup”/copy/migrate to a different HD and then if “c” fails the backup can be copied to the new HD and bingo , no wasted time reinstalling?

 

Suggestions?

Thanks

s

November 29, 2010
9:44 AM
normofthenorth
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The quickest and simplest way to make the new HDD work exactly like the old one (except not “gone bad”, and maybe a week or two out-of-date) is to make regular IMAGE backups and restore the latest one to the new HDD. My fave free SW is Macrium Reflect Free. Dottech has done a comparative review of several, as I recall, and Macrium came out near the top in most categories, and it works pretty well for me.

Basically, you initially use the image-backup SW (like Macrium) to make a Recovery CD. And test it, i.e., reboot with it and make sure your computer can “see” the drive where you're planning to store your backups. Then you make your regular backups, e.g. to an external HDD or a networked drive. If your HDD dies, you just install the new one, then boot the CD and restore your latest backup. (A similar operation is sometimes called “cloning”, but in this case the SW wouldn't know that it's a new HDD, because you're running from the CD. So a simple “restore” will make the new HDD exactly like the old one — as long as the new one is big enough to hold everything in the image, which seems likely these days.)

I also used the best-reviewed commercial image SW — Acronis True Image Home, maybe version 11? Not 2011 — for a few years, after I found a deep online discount, down to US$10. But it created a corruption in my file system that eventually became impossible to live with (WXP SP3, IBM/Lenovo T40). Apparently, I THINK, some of the FAT filenames had errors introduced in the CASE of some letters in the filenames, during a complete “restore” from the saved image.

The symptoms were that:

  1. Many files, from little saved HTML files up to AUTOEXEC.BAT, appeared as duplicates.
  2. One file of each pair had the correct filename but was inaccessible to DOS (WXP SP3). I couldn't rename it or delete it of anything else. I tried 2 or 3 different 3rd-party programs that were supposed to delete corrupt files that DOS couldn't, all with no joy.
  3. The second file of each pair was accessible but renamed, with a long gobbledygook addition to its extension. So the new version of AUTOEXEC.BAT might be named “AUTOEXEC.BAT~35yidgj” or some such.
  4. Every time I restarted Windows, it would DETECT the FAT problem and run CHKDSK (unless I stopped it), but CHKDSK never changed anything, and never touched this problem. (MS has a KB article about this problem. They recommend making a complete backup, reformatting the HDD, then restoring everything EXCEPT the corrupt files! I had 300 of 'em, so THAT would have been fun!!Yell)
  5. That computer's whole system gradually went downhill, and eventually would become unstable and have to be restarted after 10 or 12 hours of operation. I don't know if the problems that the Acronis restore created contributed to that problem — hugely, tiny, not at all? — but I didn't want to use it to restore to an earlier image, because of that file-corruption problem.
  6. It's conceivable that newer versions of ATI are free from this problem, though I've seen it flagged online for different versions than the one I used. It's even conceivable that Macrium or other programs would produce similar problems, for reasons I don't understand — the only time I've ever RESTORED an image is that once, with ATI.

The good news is that restoring my good image — I did it after I messed up by installing bad software I couldn't get rid of — was quick and easy. The bad news was that the restored image — that time, that system, using Acronis TI — was corrupt in a way that was a major nuisance. And ATI was feature-rich and a pleasure to use, apart from that.

My response is to dump ATI and switch to Macrium Reflect Free. It's less feature-rich, but it does what I need, and it's pretty quick and successful — at least when I frequently BACKUP and never RESTORE!Wink

NB that this way of replacing or cloning HDDs will even make old GiveawayOfTheDay programs work, because EVERYTHING is duplicated, including whatever registry tricks make those programs “legit”.

November 29, 2010
6:26 PM
Gvape
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I personally prefer Clonezilla. It’s an imaging software that you can boot from a CD, so it’s OS independent. Works perfectly on Windows 7, as I used it before I switched over to Linux. You can find Clonezilla at

Guh-vah-pay
November 30, 2010
7:30 PM
Pwnana
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I can find clonezilla at where? Wink

 

I like Macrium Reflect because it is pretty fast, and even more so if you have enough space to backup to that you don't need compression.  I've been using it for all my backup needs, and I think the best feature over clonezilla is that you can keep using Windows while it is running.  

 

You might wanna check out Ashraf's article on the subject.

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