What should I use to create an image on a USB drive?

I have a failing SATA drive in a workstation which I want to create an image of and save the image to an external hard drive which is connected via USB.  Then I want to restore the image to a new hard drive.  I'd like to use a boot CD as I think it would have the best chance of success.  Any suggestions?
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You could use an imaging program like acronis or ghost, but if the drive if failing i personally wouldnt suggest taking an image to backup data ( i would not trust the image from a failing hdd as my backup of important data). I would suggest copying the data to the external hdd, then replace the failing drive, Reinstall the os, drivers and programs, then take an image (so you have a known good image to restore to later if anything should happen in the future), Then copy the data from the external hdd, I have seen many issues with restoring images taken from a failing hdds and they usualy end up with a clean reinstall of the os and if the image was the only backup, lost data.
Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
Depending on just how the drive is failing (is this because you're getting S.M.A.R.T. warnings;  or are you experiencing bad sector issues ??) you may or may not be able to do a successful image.  Most imaging programs will fail if they encounter bad sectors => which is good;  you do NOT want to create an image which includes errors (as jamietoner noted).

You can download the free demo copy of Boot-It NG (www.bootitng.com);  create a bootable floppy or CD;  and then use it to create an image as you've suggested.

Do this:

(1)  Download Boot-It
(2)  Extract all the files to a folder
(3)  Double-click on BOOTITNG.exe
(4)  Follow the prompts to create an ISO image
(5)  Burn the CD with any cd writer that can write from an image

Then boot the CD and do this:
(1)  Press CANCEL at the first prompt (you don't want to install this on the disk)
(2)  Press OK to go to Maintenance Mode
(3)  Go to the Settings page and enable USB 2.0 support
(4)  Go to Partition Work and highlight the partition you want to image
(5)  Click on Image and then select Create an Image -> you should not get a "Paste Pending ..." message
(6)  Select where you want the image [click on HD1 on the left; then highlight the partition on that drive where you want to store the image (probably the only partition)
(7)  Click on Paste and follow the prompts

... Done :-)

You simply follow the same procedure to restore the image later => with, of course, slightly different selections (for example, when you click Image, you'll use "Restore ..."


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sc456aAuthor Commented:
Thanks gary - however I do get the "Paste Pending" message (Paste Pending for Image Create to be exact).  What's that about?
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Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
That means it's ready to create the image ==> Now you have to choose the destination for the image (where do you want it stored).   So at that point, you have to do as I said in #6 => choose the destination.   On the left side of the display, you'll see HD-0, HD-1, CD-Z  etc.  (these are the hard drives and optical drive(s) in your system.  Select the one you want to use for the image (if you only have one internal drive and one external drive, that will be HD-1);  then select the partition you want it stored in (in the center of the display => that will probably be the only one on the drive); and then click on Paste.   You'll have to name the image (8-characters, no spaces => old DOS filename restrictions); and then choose the size of the blocks (just use the default); and decide if you want the image verified (doubles the time it takes) ... and then it will create the image.
sc456aAuthor Commented:
The machine just hangs when creating the image, but I suspect it is due to the drive.  Thanks!
Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
Probably so ... but just to be sure:

=> Did you check the USB 2 support box in the Setting?
=> Did the USB drive show up okay in Boot-It (as HD-1)?
=> Did you WAIT for a long time (hour or more) to be sure the little status bar was truly not moving?  (the one thing I don't like about Boot-It is it does not give good "in progress" status -> just that little bar)

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