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Author Topic: Product for creating external boot drive for Windows?  (Read 3023 times)
andyptak
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« on: August 12, 2010, 02:22:17 PM »
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I want to create an external boot drive, complete with all of my other applications, settings etc., - the whole thing and I'm not having much luck.

I tried Norton Ghost which came highly recommended and it just messed up my machine - missing winstall.exe and I'm not confidant that the copy it made is any good and I'm too concerned about it to actually try it out. Does anyone have any suggestions?

What I want to accomplish is that if my C drive goes, all I've got to do is reboot and boot from an external instead. I also want that external to have my entire internal C drive on it, so I have no down time, or loss either.

I also looked at Memeo but I'm not sure if it will copy system files and be bootable. Their FAQ is rather thin.

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

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degrub
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« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2010, 02:45:56 PM »
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Have you considered using a raid 1 ? Full mirroring. Works as long as one drive is working.

Most newer motherboards and bios' offer a software version built on the motherboard chipset. Alternatively buy a full hardware raid card and set it up for bootable raid 1.

Use a good UPS with the system so any power droops don't cause problems.

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andyptak
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« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2010, 02:50:15 PM »
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Thanks. I already have a RAID setup on my desktop, but this would be for my laptop while travelling. Just a bit of extra insurance, to sooth my paranoia.
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degrub
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« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2010, 05:01:32 PM »
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Then just ghost (clone) your drive routinely to an external 2.5inch drive.
When the time comes, just swap them out. Be sure to pack the correct screwdriver though Wink

i've used this method before without issue on win and mac based laptops.

It almost sounds like you did a backup. What you want is a drive clone from the C drive to a second drive.

It's easy to test. Clone the drive. Remove it and insert the copy , boot up and verify. No danger of destroying anything.

There are lots of programs to do this other than Ghost if you are not comfortable with it.
« Last Edit: August 12, 2010, 05:05:53 PM by degrub » Logged
John.Murray
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« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2010, 06:10:50 PM »
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If you want to create a full working copy of windows, you'll have to use a hard drive.  Via USB, your only options are via the PE (Portable Executable Environment) - usefull for troubleshooting and recovery purposes only.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/windows-pocket,1113.html
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Raw shooter
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« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2010, 09:19:05 PM »
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If your using Windows 7, it's really very simple.  In Control Panel, click  Backup and Restore.  You can Image your full boot drive (C) to an external HD. This is called a System Image by Windows 7.
I do it quite a bit for various needs, but this works like a charm. 

Now when you want to put the Image back on your laptop - use the command Restore from Image which is the key - and not restore a backup.  Restore from backup looks for certain folders or individual files to restore.

If your worried about a hard drive crash, then you definitely need to create a System Repair Disk (on DVD) first.  You'll need this if your laptop won't boot. Boot from the Repair Disk - then restore the Image (that's on the external HD).  If your System Image is on an external HD, then the Restore is really quite fast.
If you try this method, you will be surprised how simple it is.
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fike
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« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2010, 06:12:18 AM »
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I've had good luck with Acronis.
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Kevin Gallagher
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« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2010, 02:23:41 PM »
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 Shocked Ditto here, saved me twice on my win XP box.
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andyptak
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« Reply #8 on: August 14, 2010, 09:04:22 AM »
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Thanks.

Re Acronis. Which product have you used? I see there is a True Image Plus Pack, which appears to be what I'm looking for.

I'm only double checking because so many times I have purchased software that doesn't live up to it's promise and expectations and it's not just that I've misunderstood, manufacturers go out of their way to be a bit evasive and infer things that are really not qute accurate.
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Kevin Gallagher
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« Reply #9 on: August 15, 2010, 06:50:45 AM »
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 Hi Andy, I used True Image Home. As I said it saved me twice!! My XP box had a large HD partitioned as C: and D: and it was recovered perfectly. They also have a product (they claim) that will let you do what they call a "bare metal restore" that is you could "restore" the image to a PC with different hardware (MOBO, Graphics Card, Etc.) and it would still work. It's academic for me now as I recently went to a Mac, between Time Machine and Super Duper I'm pretty well protected  Grin
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andyptak
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« Reply #10 on: August 15, 2010, 07:34:44 AM »
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Thanks Kevin
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buckshot
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« Reply #11 on: August 15, 2010, 09:48:22 AM »
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Another vote for Acronis. I've used Trueimage http://www.acronis.com/homecomputing/products/trueimage/ for years without a hitch. It'll make a perfect image of your C drive (or wherever), and create a rescue disc specifically for the drive with your OS on, boot sector and all. Get into a situation where you can't boot? If so, fire in the rescue disc, make sure you set your PC to boot from that media in the BIOS, and then it'll power-up and ask for the image of the C drive (which could be on a high capacity flash drive, external hard drive etc.) and within no time your PC will be back on its feet in exactly the same state it was when you made the last image. Alternatively, you can just restore your PC to a prior state from inside Windows any time you like. Lets you do incremental backups as well, so the image is always up to date (i.e. without having to reimage the entire drive), and you can encrypt it too if you keep it on a flash drive. For $30 it's a bargain.
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kpmedia
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« Reply #12 on: August 16, 2010, 08:38:27 AM »
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Buy a second internal hard drive. Clone it from time to time. I have a perfect clone of my main laptop hard drive sitting in a drawer here, and can swap them in 5 minutes, and be back in business. All photos are on an external e-SATA RAID-1 array (mirroring), which also gets monthly scheduled cloning to a local USB2 drive, and quarterly backups to an off-site USB2 drive.

I clone with Acronis.
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