So, given my recent motherboard issues I decided to revise my data and hard disk backup plans. First thing I wanted to do was find a way to clone a hard drive. The second thing I wanted to do was find a way to backup my data without having to go through the hassles of setting up an external hard drive and waiting forever to squeeze the huge volume of data through a usb2 cable.
Was it possible? Yep!
Acronis make some nifty software to do just that. One is called ‘True Image’ which handles not only disk cloning but recovery and backups and the other, if all you want to do is go for hard drive cloning, is called ‘Migrate Easy.’
All you need is another hard drive and they are remarkably easy to install, not to mention very cheap at the moment. Seat the drive in the holder, fix it in place, plug your SATA cable into the motherboard and the power cable into the hard drive and you’re good to go. Don’t forget to disconnect your PC from the power supply before you do it, obviously. If you have an IDE drive you need to slave it. All that involves is setting the switch or jumper on the back to ‘slave,’ plugging in the IDE cable instead of a SATA one and you should be good to go. If you can’t tell the difference – an IDE cable is the ribbon type while a SATA one looks more like a USB cable.
Run the Acronis software and use it to add the new hard drive to Windows, give it a reboot just to make sure and you should be ready to clone your old hard drive.
You can read the Acronis forums (hosted on Wilders for some reason) and have a run through all the usual unhelpful ‘don’t do it this way, do it that way’ type posts or you can just run the software and clone your hard drive using the automatic option. Takes a while but at the end of the process you have a perfectly cloned hard drive.
Only thing you have to remember is you need to unplug the old drive and set the new drive up as if it were your old drive if you want to boot straight into Windows. By that I mean switch the cables around.
You might also need to fiddle about a little in BIOS to set the boot configuration but it’s easier than it sounds. [del] key during the early part of the boot sequence normally does the trick to get to the BIOS menu.