Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board




copying hard drive

i have a 30 GB HD in my computer right now.  It has two partitions, 15 GB each.  I have Win2k server on one, and WinXP on the other.  I have one other 80 GB drive with nothing on it. 

I would like to copy both partitions over to the new 80 GB drive.  What program do I need to look at for this?  Ghost?  Partition Magic?  Any freeware utilities that will do this for me?  I have never used Ghost/Partition Magic, and don't want to reinstall my OS's again. 

Thanks.

nathan
Tuesday, December 30, 2003

There may be a simpler way, but Ghost will certainly do it, is not expensive (in the USA at least), and is amazingly useful for doing things like full-image "standalone" backups.

Recommended.

Mitch & Murray (from downtown)
Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Go to the website of your 80 gig drive manufacturer.  They will almost certainly have free software to download and do this.  I have it for Maxtor, Western digital, Seagate, and several of the other drives I have had.

MSHack
Tuesday, December 30, 2003

I agree with MSHack - you should be able to find some no-frills utilities from the drive manufacturers to do what you want.

If you don't mind spending a little money, I'd recommend checking out the tools from Acronis:

http://www.acronis.com

They make a competitor to Ghost that is a little cheaper and has a nicer interface (at least compared to the last time I used Ghost a year or two back)  They also make a utility called "Migrate Easy" that can expand partitions proportionately to fill up a new drive...

Tim Lara
Tuesday, December 30, 2003

I second MSHacks suggestion.  I recently copied a western digital hard drive using a tool from western digital.  Worked like a charm.  Although, Ghost is nice for creating backups of your drive.  So if you're on a tight budget, use the manufacturer tool for simple hard drive copies, but if you have the money, then a tool like Ghost may be worth the investment for the extra backup features.

Cletus
Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Here's the Steve Jones tried and tested backup and recovery policy for stand alone PC's.

Firstly have a separate data partition. On this partition you put my documents, and application data such as your email. So first you create the partition (in your case you simply partition your empty disk using Fdisk) and then you transfer all the documents and application data to it, changing the registry settings if necessary (though for my Documents a simple cut and paste will do the trick). You need to set your email program to store all it's data (.pst files for Outlook, and .dbx files for Outlook Express) in the appropriate folder in the application data folder on your new drive. Check that your Office templates are also kept there.

Now that drive you back up to CD/RW or DVD  write or a network drive or a second hard drive (but make sure you have external storage if you do that because you don't want to lose everythng if somebody burgles your house and runs off with your PC). You can use whatever program you want for that but I would strongly recommend Second Copy from ww.centered.com

Now for the operating system partition (or partitions in that case) you make a cloned image. You can use Ghost for that or you can use Acronis (I have a free copy of Acronis that came with PC Plus). Do check out the version because earlier versions may not be compatible with the XP ( or "K?) NTFS file system (MS changes the specs for NTFS so you get the strange situation that the NT file system cannot be read in NT 3.51 or NT4.0 unless it has service pack 4 installed). When I am installing the OS I make a Ghost clone of the PARTITION as soon as I have the OS, a few small utilities, and all the registry tweaks including the new location for documents and data. This means that if I hose the installation installing programs later in the day I can get back to the earlier version quickly. I then install all the hefty stuff such as Office and Corel Draw and Visual Studio and then, when all is done, make another clone. If I have space I keep this on the same partition as the data, but still make copies to CD as well. Then I get brave and test it on the PARTITION.

Now this means that I don't need to piss around with the Recovery Console if something hoses my OS, as I can just restore the original software. It also means that my data is basically completely independent of the OS and its installation.

One caveat. I have a fairly stable system once I've spent a day or so installing everyting right. If you keep installing lots of different things, then you may consider having a RAID set up as well, so that you can quickly get back to the latest configuration. But I will defend my arrangement as the best for most users.

Stephen Jones
Wednesday, December 31, 2003

> But I will defend my arrangement as the best for most users.

You do realize that what you're suggesting is basically a /home partition?

Portabella
Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Wow, Second Copy looks cool.  Thanks, Stephen!

Do you have a systematic way of updating the registry and finding other dependencies on the OS partition?

I've tried segregating the OS and the data in the past, and though it is extremely helpful when it comes time to move to a new machine and you're trying to back up all your data and hoping you don't forget anything, I've found that I seem to have a ton of trouble with "stubborn" programs that like to install common/shared files on the OS partition, no matter what you tell the installer to do.  This is why I always try to budget a little more space for the OS partition than I think I need.

(Maybe this is what you were referring to when you mention reinstalling the "hefty stuff" like Office, etc...

Tim Lara
Wednesday, December 31, 2003

If you or someone you know has Unix experience,  you can borrow a Linux / BSD / whatever boot disk and run:

dd if=/dev/hda of=/dev/hdb

And that'll copy everything from your first hard drive to your second. Of course, that means you'll still have just the 15 meg partitions on the new drive, but you can use Partition Magic, etc, from that point.

Mike Schiraldi
Wednesday, December 31, 2003

---"You do realize that what you're suggesting is basically a /home partition? "---

Of course; if you dual boot with Linux and make the data partition FAT32 then you actually set it up as the /home partition for Linux, so you are accessing the same data from both OSes.

Stephen Jones
Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Tim, you only keep user data on the "home" partition. Basically that is my docs and application data, cookies and word templates and favorites.. I just move the folders over.

The two registry keys are H_KEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\ShellFolders and ...\UserShellfolders.

When you change the Personal folder path, all windows compliant programs will use that path for storing documents, or the subfolders my pictures and my music for those kind of files. You change the location of cookies and favorites using the same keys. Templates you change through Tools\Options in Word, and your email repository using the program, whether Outlook or Outlook Express.

Note that you are not changing the default place for installation of programs. All your programs are going to be installed on your OS partition which is why you  make a Ghost clone after you have installed the programs. Now when you restore the Ghost clone of the OS partition you will not have installed any programs you installed after making the clone, but you will still save a load of time compared to reinstalling the OS and programs from scratch.

Note also that if you move to a machine with very different hardware the Ghost clone may not boot - my system is more of a quick restore - but you can use the utiiltiy that comes with XP for that.

Incidentally I just got my second Primary Hard disk failure message an hour ago. Unscrewing the case and pulling the cables in and out made it go away (the Primary HD is the newest component on the machine so I am sure the fault is not there) but having this backup system in place does help the blood pressure.

Stephen Jones
Wednesday, December 31, 2003

That makes sense.  My problems must have stemmed from trying to "force" programs to install on a non-OS partition.  Doing so seems to create more trouble than it's worth because if any "common files" end up on the OS partition while other program files are on a different partition, you run the risk of getting things out of sync if either side changes...

Tim Lara
Wednesday, December 31, 2003

I was able to download a nifty little program from Western Digital to copy my harddrive.  The C: drive is win2k Server, the D: drive is XP.  I copied some important stuff from C: onto D: and would like to just copy over my XP partition to the new 80 GB drive.

I used the Western Dig tool and copied my drive, then rebooted w/ that drive.  I got an error message saying that NTLoader was missing.  Ok, so I copied a bunch of files from my C: drive over to the new drive (NTLDR, DOS.SYS, Boot.ini, etc) I changed the boot.ini on the new drive (80 GB) to look at the appropriate place when the new disk is the only one in there w/ one partition, and then my computer won't boot at all.

It says something like my drive is not ATAPI compatible and I get a blinking cursor forever.  So now I've put my old drive back in, and I'm somewhat at a loss.  Where do I go from here?  What files need to be on the new drive to make it bootable?

Also, my startup screen (where it does the memory check) is shifted to the left about 6 spaces.  This means I can't see what's before the blinking cursor.  Never worried about it before, Windows isn't shifted & neither is the BIOS.  Any ideas?

Thanks

nathan
Thursday, January 01, 2004

You say you've copied the drive over and then you start talking about just copying one partition. Which have you done?

Have you gone into the recovery console and typed fix /mbr?

Stephen Jones
Thursday, January 01, 2004

I was going to copy the entire drive, both partitions, but then I realized I didn't use the first partition anyway.  So I just saved some of my important files and copied the second partition over to the new drive.

nathan
Thursday, January 01, 2004

I suspect that is where the problem has come from.

If you've got a copy of Partition Magic, or feel up to using a free partition manager such as Ransih, copy over the whole drive and then delete all files on the C partition and merge the two partitions. If necessary go to the recovery console and type fix /mbr at the command prompt.

Stephen Jones
Thursday, January 01, 2004

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home