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Cloning a Hard Drive with Casper

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Experience Level: Beginner
5:23
Joe Winograd, EE MVE 2015&2016
50+ yrs in computer industry. Everything from programming to sales. OS kernel dev on mainframes. CIO. Document imaging. EE MVE 2015 & 2016.
This video Micro Tutorial explains how to clone a hard drive using a commercial software product for Windows systems called Casper from Future Systems Solutions (FSS). Cloning makes an exact, complete copy of one hard disk drive (HDD) onto another drive, thereby providing an excellent backup function, as well as the ability to upgrade drives, such as going to a higher capacity drive and/or from an HDD to a solid state drive (SSD) or solid state hybrid drive (SSHD).

Video Steps

1. Download the Trial Edition


Visit the Casper website at:

https://www.fssdev.com/products/casper/trial/

Click one of the download links:

download links

2. Install casper_se_trial_setup.exe

After downloading, run the installer. FSS offers a free 30-day trial, but keep in mind that the trial edition does not have the volume resizing feature. The licensed product does have it, meaning Casper can clone to the same size drive or to a larger one or even to a smaller one, as long as there is enough space on the smaller one to house the used (non-free) space from the larger one. The licensed product is not free, but is reasonably priced, in my opinion:

http://www.fssdev.com/shop/

3. Run Casper and click on the Copy Drive icon

This performs the cloning operation.
copy drive

4. Select the drive you want to copy

Casper will display a list of all drives on the system:
source drivesSelect the source drive, that is, the one you want to clone, and click the Next button.

5. Select the destination drive

Casper will display a list of the drives on the system that are capable of housing the clone:
destination driveSelect the destination drive, that is, the one you want to receive the clone, and click the Next button.

6. Confirm the overwrite warning

Casper will warn you that the destination disk contains data (unless it's a new drive):
overwrite warningClick the Next button to confirm that you want to overwrite the data.

7. Specify the partition size on the destination drive

Casper will ask you to specify the size for each partition on the destination drive:
partition sizeThe default is to allocate the partition sizes proportionally, but you may manually override that to create whatever sizes you want on the destination drive (of course, a partition needs to be big enough to house the used space from the source partition).

8. Schedule the clone

Casper will provide options on when to run the clone:
schedule cloneYou may either do it now or schedule it for later, which Casper does by utilizing the Windows Task Scheduler.

9. Casper will perform the clone

When it is done, it will show the transfer rate and how long it took:
clone reportIt also creates an activity report with a lot more information about the cloning operation. Click the link to view the report or click the Close button.

That's it - you're done! If you find this video to be helpful, please click the thumbs-up icon below. Thank you for watching, Joe
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36 Comments
 
LVL 30

Expert Comment

by:Thomas Zucker-Scharff
Joe,

This is a really good resource - thank you for creating it.
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LVL 55

Author Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE 2015&2016
Tom,
Thanks for the compliment — and the Helpful vote — both truly appreciated! Regards, Joe
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LVL 30

Expert Comment

by:Thomas Zucker-Scharff
You're welcome.  I did 12 of them before the launch.  I had several ideas for some helpful ones, but I think I may add one on using Paragon premium for P2V.  I will see.
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LVL 1

Expert Comment

by:Blinkr
Have you tried using Casper with an external HDD docking station? I use a StarTech eSATA docking station that supports 2 drives to clone an old drive over to a new drive with both drives installed in docking station. Do you know if Casper will support this type of cloning??
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LVL 55

Author Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE 2015&2016
Hi Blinkr,

Yes, it supports that. I don't have the StarTech model, but I do have the Thermaltake BlacX Duet eSATA USB Dual Hard Drives Docking Station model ST0014U (which is very similar to the StarTech one):

http://www.amazon.com/Thermaltake-Drives-Docking-Station-ST0014U/dp/B002MUYOLW/

I have used Casper on it many times to clone, including very recently to clone a 320GB HDD to a 250GB SSD. Regards, Joe
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Expert Comment

by:Stardotstar
Thanks this was very well done.
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LVL 55

Author Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE 2015&2016
You're welcome. And thanks to you for the compliment and the Helpful vote — I really appreciate it!
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LVL 7

Expert Comment

by:Yashwant Vishwakarma
Very helpful article for a Computer professional in daily life he or she needs stuff like that.

Voted Yes :)

Regards,
Yashwant Vishwakarma
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LVL 55

Author Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE 2015&2016
Hi Yashwant,
Thank you for the kind words and the upvote — much appreciated! Regards, Joe
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LVL 1

Expert Comment

by:snoopaloop
Thanks Joe!
We bought the home edition of Casper 8.0 and created a startup disk CD.   It's in the middle copying the source hard drive that is beginning to fail on to the new drive.  Can I reuse the CD on another computer with a similar situation?
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Author Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE 2015&2016
You're welcome, snoopaloop. Glad to hear that you caught the hard drive before it failed totally.

Regarding using the Startup Disk on another computer, the answer is YES from a technical perspective, but NO from a licensing perspective (unless you purchased the Family Value Pack, which allows use on three household PCs). When you think about it, this makes perfect sense — otherwise, you would be able to run the software on an unlimited number of PCs by using the Startup Disk.

Note that the website says this:
Casper is licensed per computer. A separate license is required for each computer for which Casper will be used.
It also provides these additional details:
PERSONAL-USE LICENSE You may install and use this software on one computer system for each license acquired. Once this software has been installed and used on a computer, it may not be transferred to another computer unless the transfer occurs to a computer acquired as a replacement for that computer. For additional details, please consult the License Agreement that accompanies the software.
I captured the License Agreement (via a copy/paste when installing the software) and attached it to this post. Regards, Joe
Casper-EULA-Future-Systems-Solutions.pdf
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Expert Comment

by:Lester Davis
What about cloning from a 1 TB to a 2 TB with Casper? Anything different I need to know? Will it be bootable? Thanks.
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LVL 55

Author Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE 2015&2016
> What about cloning from a 1 TB to a 2 TB with Casper? Anything different I need to know?

No problem. It can clone to the same size drive or to a larger one or even to a smaller one, as long as there is enough space on the smaller one to house the used (non-free) space from the larger one (however, the 30-day free trial does not support volume resizing). You may let Casper resize the partitions proportionally (the default) or you may resize them yourself manually to any sizes you want (of course, each partition must be sized large enough on the destination drive to house the used space on the source drive).

> Will it be bootable?

Yes. Every time I've used it (many, many times!), Windows was bootable and even remained activated.

Regards, Joe
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LVL 93

Expert Comment

by:nobus
joe, if you have some time to look at my Casper problem?
here the link :  http://www.experts-exchange.com/questions/28910441/casper-8-0.html
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LVL 55

Author Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE 2015&2016
Hi nobus,
Sorry I didn't get to it today. I'll look at it tomorrow for sure. Regards, Joe
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LVL 93

Expert Comment

by:nobus
no problem, Joe
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LVL 30

Expert Comment

by:Thomas Zucker-Scharff
I was just going to suggest that Joe might have some good input.  Although I think you also have to look at hardware problems as well.
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LVL 26

Expert Comment

by:EddieShipman
If you use the trial and clone to a bigger hard drive, can you then resize the volume using Windows Disk Management to add the unpartitioned space?
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LVL 55

Author Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE 2015&2016
Hi Eddie,

Yes, and it's legal, as far as I can tell. I suppose it's not in the spirit of what FSS had in mind with the free trial, but I don't see anything in the End User License Agreement (EULA) that prohibits it (although you should read it carefully yourself to form your own opinion).

Btw, if you can't achieve the resizing with Windows Disk Management, one of the free partition managers out there should be able to do it, such as MiniTool Partition Wizard Free Edition:
http://www.partitionwizard.com/free-partition-manager.html

It is an excellent product that I've been using for many years. You didn't say what OS you're running, but I'm sure you'll be fine, since it supports all editions of XP, Vista, W7, W8, and W10, both 32-bit and 64-bit for all.

Here are other free products that should also be able to do it. I haven't used any, since I'm very happy with Partition Wizard, but I've been on many threads here at EE where experts have recommended them highly:

EaseUS Partition Master Free
http://www.easeus.com/partition-manager/comparison/epm-free.html

GNOME Partition Editor (GParted)
http://gparted.org/

Paragon Partition Manager 14 Free Edition
http://www.paragon-software.com/home/pm-express/

The "free" aspect may vary by product (such as "for personal use only"), so you'll need to check the licensing terms. Regards, Joe
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LVL 3

Expert Comment

by:Abraham Deutsch
Can this run on a schedule for example every night should it clone my hard drive to another hard drive (don't mind if it rewrites the old one since I have backups)
will this clash with other backups?
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LVL 3

Expert Comment

by:Wells Anderson
Casper has an excellent feature for updating an existing clone. It is extremely fast and can be scheduled. But here is what I don't know and have not yet had the time to try:

Let's say the drive with the clone is a second internal drive. So there will be two identical drives each with a bootable system partition. Will that cause problems for Windows when the machine is booted?
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Expert Comment

by:Abraham Deutsch
Should not you can have 2 boot drives on one PC and you will have the option to one the default but still can choose to boot from the second.
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LVL 55

Author Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE 2015&2016
Hi Abraham and Wells,
Thanks for your comments. I'll address your questions here:

> Can this run on a schedule for example every night should it clone my hard drive to another hard drive (don't mind if it rewrites the old one since I have backups)

Yes — that's exactly how I use it. I run it every evening in the wee hours (it utilizes the Windows Task Scheduler to schedule jobs) on several machines to clone the hard drives (a mix of HDD, SSD, and hybrid). It has an intelligent cloning mechanism so that it copies only the necessary tracks. The first run takes a while, but after that, it's extremely fast. They call this their SmartClone™ technology, which you may read about here:
https://www.fssdev.com/products/casperte/smartclone.aspx

Btw, Casper can clone to the same size drive or to a larger one or even to a smaller one, as long as there is enough space on the smaller one to house the used (non-free) space from the larger one.

> will this clash with other backups?

I suppose it could. Casper uses the Volume Shadow Copy Service when cloning. I don't know what would happen if another backup that also uses the Volume Shadow Copy Service runs at the same time. I use different (file-based, not clone-based) backup software during the day (SyncBackPro from 2BrightSparks), which, of course, does not clash with my Casper cloning. The latter runs during the wee hours and I prefer that nothing else is running at the same time.

> Casper has an excellent feature for updating an existing clone. It is extremely fast and can be scheduled.

Yes, this is SmartClone™, as mentioned above, and when a Casper job is scheduled via the Task Scheduler, it automatically detects whether or not it can utilize SmartClone™ for that run (it should be able to do that, except for the first time).

> So there will be two identical drives each with a bootable system partition. Will that cause problems for Windows when the machine is booted?

Depends on the boot order in your BIOS. If the primary hard drive is higher in the boot order than the USB/dock/secondary drives, then no problem. For example, I alternate clones to two different drives (using each one every other day, so that I'm protected in case the most recent clone has a problem). One is a USB drive, the other is in a docking station, and both are lower in the boot order than my primary drive, so the primary drive always boots.

Btw, one issue with cloning is that Windows defaults to creating drive letters for all partitions. It is easy to gobble up letters quickly, so I use Disk Management to remove the drive letters of the cloned disks — you need to do that just once for each drive and Windows will remember. This EE article explains how to remove drive letters:
Running Out of Drive Letters?

Regards, Joe
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Expert Comment

by:Abraham Deutsch
Any idea if it works with server?
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LVL 55

Author Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE 2015&2016
> Any idea if it works with server?

Yes, Casper works on Windows Server platforms — there is a Server Edition for that very purpose:
https://www.fssdev.com/products/caspersvr/

Regards, Joe
0
 
LVL 3

Expert Comment

by:Abraham Deutsch
I did a test cloned a drive. then boot it in an other machine. the OS booted fine but with application licences I got a issue, for example Microsoft office. I am not sure but think when I did a restore with one of the backup software I did not have the issue.

In a server environment the issue my not be as applicable as its not common to have other software installed

Please advice
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LVL 55

Author Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE 2015&2016
Hi Abraham,
I am not an expert on Microsoft licensing and cannot advise you on it. Microsoft has many licensing arrangements for its many products, and it is even possible for organizations to have custom licensing/purchasing contracts with Microsoft. I recommend that you contact the legal and/or purchasing folks in your company to make sure that all your software is in license compliance. I cannot provide advice beyond that on this issue. Regards, Joe
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Expert Comment

by:Abraham Deutsch
Dear joe I highly appreciate your help and have yet another question

In the documentation I see the following to restore the Windows system disk from a restore-point backup, you must boot the computer from a Casper Startup Disk. Alternatively, when the Casper Startup and Recovery Environment has been added to the backup device, you can boot the computer directly from the backup device to perform the restore. In most instances, Casper’s SmartRestore™ technology will fully automate the restoration process.

1-      I was not successful to find a download Casper Startup Disk?
2-      How to I add the Startup and Recovery Environment to the backup device?
3-      Is this Startup Disk for extra protection as in most instances, Casper’s SmartRestore™ technology will fully automate the restoration process?
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LVL 55

Author Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE 2015&2016
Hi Abraham,
To begin with, I must say that I've never used the Server Edition. So my knowledge of it would come from reading the documentation — same as you're doing. That said, I have used the Casper Startup Disk on my non-server edition, going back for many versions, including 6, 7, 8, and 10, which is the latest at the time of writing this post (there was not a version 9, AFAIK). The Startup Disk has always worked well for me.

In terms of finding the Casper Startup Disk download, it is not available (AFAIK) as a separate download. When you install Casper 8.0 (which seems to be the latest version for the Server Edition — the non-server edition is currently at 10.0), it creates a shortcut in the Casper 8.0 program group to a program called Casper 8.0 Startup Disk Creator. Running that in the non-server edition creates the Casper Startup Disk and I presume that it does in the Server Edition, too. Regards, Joe
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Expert Comment

by:Abraham Deutsch
I figured it out see image
1.JPG
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Expert Comment

by:Abraham Deutsch
What I found a limitation, it cannot backup two drives in one job.
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LVL 55

Author Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE 2015&2016
> I figured it out see image

Is that the Server Edition? The reason I ask is that the website shows Casper 8 as the latest version for the Server Edition, whereas the screenshot you posted is for Casper 10, which the website shows as the latest version for the standard (non-server) edition.

> What I found a limitation, it cannot backup two drives in one job.

I've never wanted to clone more than one disk at a time, so I was unaware of that (needless to say, it can clone multiple partitions/volumes on a single disk). Of course, there can be only one Windows system disk. Are you saying that you want to clone both the Windows system disk and other disks in the same run? If so, I guess you'll have to run N jobs for N disks, which doesn't seem like a problem to me, or find a product that can process multiple disks in the same run, if that's an important feature for you. Regards, Joe
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LVL 3

Expert Comment

by:Wells Anderson
Joe, thanks for all the information on Casper. It is a fine product. I have a related questions that I'll post now.
0
 
LVL 55

Author Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE 2015&2016
Hi Wells,
You're welcome. Please post links to your related questions here and I'll be happy to take a look at them. Regards, Joe
0
 
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Expert Comment

by:Abraham Deutsch
Its the standard (non-server) edition
When a restore is need I would like to get back the entire computer, even if for performance purposes I would split the OS (SSD) and files on two disks but for backup, I would expect that one disk (SATA) should be enough. especially when recommended to have to copy's of each backup. Just my opinion.
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LVL 55

Author Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE 2015&2016
Hi Abraham,
If I'm understanding it right, you want to backup two separate disks (one with the OS, one with data) onto a single backup disk that can house multiple backups (you said, "to copy's of each backup", by which I assume you meant "two copies of each backup"). You can't do that with cloning, which, by its very nature, makes an exact copy of one disk (all partitions/volumes) onto another disk. For your requirement, I recommend imaging, not cloning. Run a job that makes an image for the OS disk and run another job that makes an image for the data disk. Store all of the images on your single backup disk, which, as you said, should be large enough to house multiple images. I have a client who does this on an 8TB NAS (4TB available — it is mirrored). Works very well! Regards, Joe
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