cloning my c drive

I'm looking to buy an applicaiton to ghost my laptop's c drive. I've previously used Casper XP and it worked OK but doesn't have any other backup functionality like the ability to backup just parts of my secondary drive.

I'm also looked at Acronis which does a lot more but the cloning section of the manual suggests that it is best to put the copy in situ and have the original in an external drive. This makes no sense if you are attempting to clone your c drive.

Has anyone used Acronis and found it good for this purpose or can anyone suggest a better solution?
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kentgorrellConnect With a Mentor Author Commented:
I went ahead and bought Acronis.

I made a clone on a disk in a usb docking station but haven't tried it out yet.

As you would expect, it shuts down windows to do the copy.

Casper didn't require a shut down of windows and let you keep working althought it did slow the system down quite a bit. In the event of a failure I just swapped the disk and it worked just fine.

Anyhow, I'll make a new clone tonight and then swap it in tomorrow morning to test.

Things I don't like about Acronis -
The clone options do not show the name or drive desibnation of source or destination disks just the capaicty and model so if you have multiple identical disks it's hard to determine which one you want.

It doesn't do incremental clones. Not such a big thing when you do them overnight but -

I think I prefer Casper, no need to shut down windows, does show drive designations and does do incremental clones.
n2fcConnect With a Mentor Commented:
I personally like Acronis as a decent backup solution.  You can either use it as an installed program to create the clone, or you can create a bootable CD, boot from it, and make a backup without engaging the host operating system.  This allows you to also restore to a virgin disk, by booting from the CD you create and then restoring your backup to a fresh hard drive (or even a larger one if need be).

kentgorrellAuthor Commented:
Thanks for you explanation on using the boot cd. That is great for upgrading my drive to a larger one.

but my major purpose is -

I like to clone my c drive once a week to one of two drives, one lives in my safe and the other in my car.
So I don't want to put the clone in the laptop unless I suffer a major catastrophe.

So it does work fine running as an installed app, cloning to an external drive?

I am using Drive Snapshot . You can run it in Windows and create snapshot from your disk.  
Another good product is ShadowProtect Desktop.  I've had to restore from its backups several times and it has been bulletproof to bare metal (using a boot CD which you can create) and also restoring to a virtual machine (quick way to restore if you are waiting for delivery of a new system and a complete failure).

Fred MarshallPrincipalCommented:
I use Acronis fairly regularly.  Usually the motivation is to replace a hard drive on a failed computer.

Here's what I do:

I have a "tool" computer with Acronis installed and with drive cables hanging outside the box.
So, I connect the failing drive to the cables.

Now there are two options:

1) Plug in another drive that is to be the clone

2) Use an external USB hard drive OR the internal OS hard drive.


1) Build the clone directly.

2) Create a disk image on one of the local drives - awaiting creating a clone drive whenever.....

Case 2 works best if there is only one place to plug in another drive.  So you plug in the old one, image it and then plug in the new one and make the clone.

Acronis just works.  I don't find the GUI menu terms very intuitive so you want to figure out what you need to use just a bit.

Of course, if the computer to be cloned is the "tool" computer with Acronis installed, as it appears would be your case, then you might just create an image.  But, note that this isn't as robust as creating the clone right away - as you'd need a working computer to build the clone from the image later on.  

As I recall, in some cases cloning an internal drive instead of image/build may cause the boot to switch to the new drive - under the (unfortunate?) assumption that what you're doing is upgradingi to a bigger drive.
noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
I use Paragon Drive Copy 10 and it does not require shutting down the system for clone operation.
There is special driver that allows online clone operations without restart of Windows in this product.
kentgorrellAuthor Commented:
The first answer by n2fc was the most useful. I ended up having to buy Acronis to try it. The clone funcitonality was not available in the trial.
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