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Methods to clone or image a hard drive?

Posted on 2014-09-04
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Last Modified: 2016-10-27
We have five desktop computers with a 200G hard drive each. I understand to clone I can buy an equal or bigger hard drive and run Acronis to do the cloning. But I remember instead of cloning to an individual separate hard drive I can "image" each of five hard drives to, say, one USB hard drive of 4 TB. In case one computer's hard drive broken, I can restore from the image to a new hard drive.
Can you tell me how to do that? and what software do I need?
Thanks.
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Question by:Castlewood
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John Hurst earned 500 total points
ID: 40303881
You can create images on a separate hard drive for as many computers as you have space for. That will work. You can do this with Symantec Ghost and also with Acronis. I use Ghost.

Ghost supplies a method to make a bootable USB key so that you plug in the bootable USB key and the USB hard drive and recover the image to the computer. I have done this.

I expect Acronis has the same. Here is their article to do that.

http://www.acronis.com/en-gb/support/documentation/ATIH2014/index.html#16207.html
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LVL 8

Assisted Solution

by:Ratnesh Mishra
Ratnesh Mishra earned 500 total points
ID: 40303894
If you are Windows user you may use "Disk2vhd" tool which will help you in converting the physical hard disk to vhd. The best part will be that you can mount the .vhd [image disk directly to any windows 7 machine to take the content].
You can download the tool from here :  http://technet.microsoft.com/en-in/sysinternals/ee656415.aspx
In case you feel any discomfort do let me know so that I can setup a test environment and can make a step by step method for the entire process.

The best part will be that you will have a virtual disk in the formet of xxxxx.vhd which you can store on a single large disk and can mount it based on your neccessity, you can use various other tools to convert it in different format such as vmdk or vdi format based on your virtualization environment if you want to use such as hyper-v or vmware or virtualbox and many other.
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LVL 21

Assisted Solution

by:Randy Poole
Randy Poole earned 500 total points
ID: 40303902
Acronis is still your best bet.  All their backup products allow universal restore even with different hardware.
http://www.acronis.com/en-us/business/universal-restore/
For multiple pc's use this product.
http://www.acronis.com/en-us/business/backup/workstation/
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LVL 93

Assisted Solution

by:nobus
nobus earned 500 total points
ID: 40305282
for personal use, you can use the free paragon software: http://www.paragon-software.com/home/br-free/download.html

very easy to use. What i do is create a folder for each image, with identifying data in the name (user, PC model, Date or such) that way, it is easy to find each one later
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LVL 14

Expert Comment

by:Natty Greg
ID: 40309036
You heard what John said I also prefer Norton Ghost
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LVL 98

Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 40323064
@Castlewood  - Thank you and I was happy to help.
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LVL 93

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 40323280
enjoy the free one..
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