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Cloning my office's machines

Posted on 2015-01-10
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Last Modified: 2016-10-27
hi,

I am planning on making a clone all my offices 8 computers.  The intention is to install a older HDD currently just on my shelf doing nothing, and also cloning software.  

then Cloning the drive with the OS, and then simply keeping the cloned drive attached.

In the future, if there is a problem, I would just boot into the " cloned" drive, and then using it to one day replace the image  on to the original drive.

I do not want to buy 8 copies of software, and even if I had to,  should it be the paragon " migrate  OS to an SSD " , or the paragon " Drive Copy Professional "  or " back up and recovery" ?

any comments appreciated...
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Question by:intelogent
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18 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:phil435
ID: 40542435
Do you have windows server? I use WDS which is included in server to accomplish this. The big thing you will want to make sure is that the imaging software strips the SIDS. If it does not then you will have all kinds of issues in your network assuming this is a domain. If all of your machines are OEM then you will need to purchase 1 or 5 volume licenses (depending on your program) to stat legal with Microsoft. The good thing about wds is the fact that you can network boot when recovering.

I think Norton software had an option to remove the ssid's during cloning so other vendors may have this as well.
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Assisted Solution

by:John Hurst
John Hurst earned 100 total points
ID: 40542436
With Windows 8, the language "cloned" can be problematic.  UEFI gets in the way.

If you use newest Ghost (or like software) you can make a backup image of the machines. From there, if a machine has issues you can easily restore the image if you need to.
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Assisted Solution

by:rindi
rindi earned 100 total points
ID: 40542479
If the 2nd disk is at least the same size as the original one, just install it into your PC, then go into diskmanagement and use Windows mirroring to make a mirror of your original disk. Once done, just disconnect the 2nd disk again...
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Assisted Solution

by:garycase
garycase earned 200 total points
ID: 40542498
You don't really need to "clone" your machines -- just make an IMAGE of every machine ... you can store these all on a single large external drive ... and then if you have a problem you just (a) restore the image; and (b) restore the most recent backups of the data for that machine.
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Author Comment

by:intelogent
ID: 40542524
Gary

i thought an image is the clone...   What does clone mean
The machines are peer to peer ,not on a domain.
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 40542535
We usually say "clone" to move an image to another machine or machines.

"Image" normally means a restorable backup as we pointed you to above.

I hope that helps.
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Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 40542558
A clone is an exact copy of a disk on another disk. The clone is immediately usable. An image is when a disk or partition is copied to an image file. The file can't be immediately used, it must first be restored to a new disk before it is usable again. An image is usually also compressed, so the file uses less space than the data used on the original disk. So it is possible to store several disk images on one HD, but only one clone.
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Expert Comment

by:Dave Baldwin
ID: 40542647
I use XXClone http://www.xxclone.com/ to make bootable backups.  It only works with XP, Vista, and Windows 7 though.  Comes in a free and paid versions.
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Assisted Solution

by:Network Zero
Network Zero earned 100 total points
ID: 40542685
I would do this with acronis true image, I've cloned/images hundreds of computers win it you not have to buy the software once. Might want to keep a backup like Storagecraft to keep the data current as well.

Acronis even has the option to make an attempt to make an image out of incompatible hardware which could be a problem if you need to use different or newer models of computers for the restore.

I would recommend using a usb 3.0 external hard drive. if you can save all the files on a file server so don't have to image files and then you would not need a backup. (backups are always a good idea though)
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Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 40542788
sorry >Lee
Both at 39 $ also have the migrate to SSD option, and are made for windows 8 and uefi systems
 :  http://www.paragon-software.com/home/dc-professional/features.html
it looks like the back up version has more options for repairing problems
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Author Comment

by:intelogent
ID: 40543297
so then if I understand what my teaching friends have commented,
1   a cone is a restorable image.  I can use the free paragon back up and recovery  to both create and restore this image which can be stored on a separate external drive.
the paragon software would also make a bootable disk, so that I may restore the image.    However this is only available for free, if for personal use.

2   My original intention to have a duplicate disk ready to go in the machine is not a clone, but rather a mirror.  and the mirror can be created with the disk manager included in windows. However this option will only work if the drive is at least the same size.

3  There is no software that I can that will allow me to install on multiple computers for my purposes.  I need a license for each machine.
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 40543302
3    I need a license for each machine  <--- Yes, at least for Ghost, but licenses are not expensive.
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Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 40543329
You can use CloneZilla, it is OpenSource and free, and you don't need any licenses for it. It can make both clones and images. You just can't run it from within Windows, but will rather have to boot from a CloneZilla Boot CD or USB stick to run it:

http://clonezilla.org
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Expert Comment

by:garycase
ID: 40543348
"... a clone is a restorable image.  " ==> No.    A "clone" generally refers to exactly that ... a CLONE (duplicate) of the current disk.    This disk could, in fact, simply be put in place of the original disk and will boot as is.

An IMAGE is what you're thinking of.    Think of an image as a compressed "picture" of the hard drive using lossless compression ... so the original hard drive can be restored to its exact contents.   Because it's compressed, it is NOT a "clone" (duplicate) of the hard drive;  but it contains all of the information needed to restore the hard drive to the exact state it was in when the image was made.    You can make images using Paragon, DriveImage, Image for DOS, Ghost, etc.

"... My original intention to have a duplicate disk ready to go in the machine is not a clone, but rather a mirror.  and the mirror can be created with the disk manager included in windows. However this option will only work if the drive is at least the same size.  " ==>  This is a bit of semantics, but in general "clone" and "mirror" are two different things.    A clone is something YOU create ... i.e. you use a 3rd party imaging utility to COPY the disk ... and the copy will simply be a clone of the original disk.    Clearly that requires that the destination disk be at least as large as the disk you're cloning.    A mirror generally refers to a disk that's automatically maintained as a duplicate of the original disk ... e.g. a RAID-1 system.   It doesn't require any action on your part.

"... There is no software that I can that will allow me to install on multiple computers for my purposes.  I need a license for each machine ..."  ==>  This depends on the product.   You can sometimes buy "technician" licenses that allow you to use the utility on as many machines as you want (up to some specified limit); and other products simply have quantity discounts when you buy multiple licenses.
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Accepted Solution

by:
garycase earned 200 total points
ID: 40543352
You may want to give DriveImage XML a try -- you could try the free private version to see if it fits your need; and then buy a Commercial license for your office.   A 10-user license is $150, which is all you'd need to buy.

https://www.runtime.org/driveimage-xml.htm

Note:  This program gets very good reviews, but I have no used it in a while (I use Terabyte's Image for DOS and Image for Windows for all of my imaging needs).
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Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 40543454
Just a note, if you break a "mirror" by removing one of the disks from the mirror (which is what I said in my first comment), it won't stay automatically maintained, and that 2nd disk will then be just like a clone.
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Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 40543792
when i want a clone - i use Casper  : http://www.fssdev.com/products/casper/
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