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SettiingIdenticalLaptops.

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Last Modified: 2016-10-27
I have two Windows 2000 laptops: Laptop A and Laptop B were identical 3 years ago.

In the last 3 years Laptop A had a lot of extra software installed and config changes while B did not.

I want to be able to get Laptop A back to how it was years ago using Laptop B.

How can i do that?

Do I need to buy something like Acronis Trueimage or CloneZilla, create an image of the drive C for Laptop B, format disk on Laptop A and restore the image?

Can you explain the steps I need to do to accomplish this. I also need to be able to test this somehow before i format Laptop A to make sure it works.



Thanks,
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Top Expert 2011

Commented:
Both laptops should have the same hardware specs (being the same model helps). If you wanted to test compatibility, you could try putting the hard drive from B to A to see that all works fine.

Using Acronis, you can image A to back it up for archival purposes (for instance, you actually change your mind about this and want to revert back) on to an external drive, server share, etc. Then you can use Acronis to make an image of B to apply to laptop A. Provided that the models and hardware specs match, you should be good to go. If you need to revert back for any reason, use the image of A that you made earlier to reapply back to laptop A.
Top Expert 2011
Commented:
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Author

Commented:
The two machines are identical in model and specs. Don't I need to open the case to swap hard drives to see if it works?

Do i need to buy acronis for one time fee of $75 or the trial can allow you to do that.
 It is one time thing for me.

1) log in to Laptop A. Install acronis. Backup the Disk (C:, D:, etc) to external HD. This will create a backup of Laptop A.
2) Create a bootup disk using Acronis for Laptop A. You need a blank CD for this.
3) Log in to LAptop B. Install acronis. Create an image of Disk on Latop B to external HD.
4) Go to Laptop A. Bootup the machine using the bootup disk in Step #2. Restore image for laptop B on external Disk.
This will format the disk and get Laptop A identical to Laptop B

5) if step 4 does not work. I can use the image i backed up in #1 to restore Laptop A back to how it was.

Are these correct steps based on my understanding? Is it safe to do?
 
Top Expert 2011

Commented:
You would need to open the case (sounds like a desktop system) to get to the hard drive, yes.

I'm not sure if the trial would be sufficient from Acronis, but I would think the trial would be limited. I mean, if it we're to work with the trial version, then you would theoretically be able to use constant trials to get all sorts of work done... and Acronis would not be making any money.

You can find some deals on the software if you shop around (Amazon, deal site liks SlickDeals may help to find better priced options for Acronis).

You have the steps down perfectly. Excellent plan of attack.

Commented:
Install Acronis trial to laptop A then using acronis just clone laptop A drive to the external drive.

Boot laptop B from external drive then clone external drive to laptop B hard drive.

Author

Commented:
Is there any risk of doing this on my working laptop A. I am worried of blowing it and not being able to get back.

Would you recommend buying Acronis for $50 over something free like Clonezilla.

Home verions
http://www.acronis.com/homecomputing/products/trueimage/

http://clonezilla.org/
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Author

Commented:
Are you saying when you install acronis on LAptop B and create a clone for laptop B to external HD it will alow you to bootup for laptopp A. Dont you create a separate bootup disk first for the Laptop A and then after you insert the CDs you hook up the external HD and restore image from external HD to Laptop A.

Commented:
"Are you saying when you install acronis on LAptop B and create a clone for laptop B to external HD it will alow you to bootup for laptopp A"
Yes, as long as the laptop supports booting from a USB connected drive it will work.
Top Expert 2011

Commented:
Same here. Acronis TrueImage has saved me on a few different occasions. Easier to use than others (like Ghost, although is pretty good too). Sorry, I've never used Clonezilla to provide personal recommendations either way.
Top Expert 2011

Commented:
Booting from disc offers you (a user interface for which you have) the ability to choose where to restore from. An attached USB drive would be your choice it sounds like. A network drive is a viable alternative as well.

Author

Commented:
but if i understand it, Acronis would create the bootup CD required. right?

I think the best thing is for me to download the trial software and play with it.
if it is $50 for one time fee (not annually it would not be bad.
Top Expert 2011

Commented:
Right, make sure you create the boot CD using Acronis' available tools. Unless Acronis went the avenue of subscription services, then I believe you still buy the software copy outright. I bought mine years ago, one-time purchase.

As a fundamental IT advisement: hopefully you're creating periodic image backups of your system(s). If you ever experience sudden hardware failure (like I have with hard drives), then an image backup would prove immensely valuable. With this in mind, buying an imaging program for incremental backups should be in your software library.

Author

Commented:
i do mostly file backups using windows but that would not recover a system.

so with image backup i dont have to deal with 2 -3 days installing windows and other software i had on the machine.
Top Expert 2011

Commented:
Right. Create a backup image and if your hard drive goes out (broken read/write arm, etc.) you can be back up and running in an hour or so (after you get a new hard drive, of course).
Top Expert 2011

Commented:
Also, these image backups can connected to if you ever needed to access files. Simply use Acronis to connect to an image backup, map the connection to a drive letter when prompted, and then you can see and access all the files in the backup accordingly.

Author

Commented:
ok, great i assume i must install acronis on both laptops and i can remove that via windows uninstall after i do all the images right. there is not way to do this without installing it on both laptops.
Top Expert 2011

Commented:
Installed on B to make the image. The image backup made from B will have this install. So yes, you would then need to uninstall from both if you didn't want to use this program any longer.

Commented:
You can use acronis recovery manager at the startup and uninstall the actual software from the harddrive. It works great. Whenever you want to restore or create the image , press F11 and it will take you to recovery manager.
There is another option of Acronis Universal restore. It will help you to restore any laptop model to Laptop B with the same data and software :)
You need to update Graphics, NIC & Sound Card driver only :)
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