What FREE hard drive cloning software would you recommend?

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Sethno
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13 Apr 2016, 3:46 pm

Title says it all.

I want to clone a drive, and would like to know what freeware I should try this time.


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Trogluddite
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13 Apr 2016, 5:17 pm

If you're using a Windows machine, I have found EaseUs Partition Manager Free easy to use and reliable (though note that I haven't tried it on my Win10 machine yet).


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13 Apr 2016, 9:59 pm

It might be a little academic for copying a drive at home but if you're good with computers, linux, and don't mind carefully reading the documentation, clonezilla is a wicked free software.


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Sethno
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13 Apr 2016, 10:11 pm

Trogluddite wrote:
If you're using a Windows machine, I have found EaseUs Partition Manager Free easy to use and reliable (though note that I haven't tried it on my Win10 machine yet).


Does EaseUs Partition Manager actually do cloning, or do you have to use EaseUs Disk Copy too?


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Edenthiel
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13 Apr 2016, 10:13 pm

I usually use clonezilla running from a thumbdrive just out of...I dunno, tradition?
Redo is super easy and has a nice GUI; if all you want to do is image drives and restore them, I recommend it.
If ODIN & Paragon are still around they weren't too bad either.
Mondo rescue is really nice for *nix systems.
If you really want to go hardcore, dd it. Just...don't mistype anything.


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Sethno
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15 Apr 2016, 1:17 pm

I didn't want to start a new thread for this, because it IS related. (Maybe I should have, I dunno.)

The "new" computer came with a 250gb drive with Windows 8. I upgraded it to Windows 8.1, and then cloned it to a 1TB drive. (Used EaseUS Disk Copy and EaseUS Partition Master). It's working fine. I then tried upgrading it to Windows 10 (which was totally successful), but found out that my favorite art/photo software (an old program) won't install. Seemingly it's due to the OS being 64 bit. (I've used the software on 32bit Windows 10 with no problem.)

I turned the computer back to 8.1, and tried to upgrade to Windows 10 again, using a 32bit install disc.

The computer actually told me to remove the 32bit disc and put the 64bit disc back in and try again.

Guess you can't upgrade from a 64bit OS to a 32bit one.

Does anyone have any ideas?

I suppose I could wipe the drive entirely and then try to use the 32bit Windows disc and try for a direct install of 10...

Any suggestions on any of this, including how to wipe a drive that has Windows 10 64bit on it?
(There are other partitions too, one apparently a "recovery partition", the other...I don't know WHAT it is.)


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Edenthiel
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15 Apr 2016, 5:33 pm

Sethno wrote:
Guess you can't upgrade from a 64bit OS to a 32bit one.

Does anyone have any ideas?

I suppose I could wipe the drive entirely and then try to use the 32bit Windows disc and try for a direct install of 10...

Any suggestions on any of this, including how to wipe a drive that has Windows 10 64bit on it?
(There are other partitions too, one apparently a "recovery partition", the other...I don't know WHAT it is.)


Correct; you cannot switch the operating system word size on an upgrade. You would need to do a fresh install.

I'm a little confused as to the x32 vs x63 of each step you went through. Are you saying that the system is now x64 Windows 10 but won't run a x32 application?

Wiping a drive can be done by either installing an OS from disk/thumbdrive and choosing "use entire disk" or if it's windows, choosing "new windows install". Most partition tools can also wipe a drive by removing the unwanted partition(s) and making (+ optionally formatting) new ones.

There are likely one or two several GB recovery partitions (both are necessary if there are two) that contain the files to refresh your windows install to "factory fresh" whatever that may have been. And there is usually a tiny 100MB system partition used to boot into recovery mode (and maybe other functions, too).


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Sethno
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15 Apr 2016, 8:37 pm

Edenthiel wrote:
Sethno wrote:
Guess you can't upgrade from a 64bit OS to a 32bit one.

Does anyone have any ideas?

I suppose I could wipe the drive entirely and then try to use the 32bit Windows disc and try for a direct install of 10...

Any suggestions on any of this, including how to wipe a drive that has Windows 10 64bit on it?
(There are other partitions too, one apparently a "recovery partition", the other...I don't know WHAT it is.)


Correct; you cannot switch the operating system word size on an upgrade. You would need to do a fresh install.

I'm a little confused as to the x32 vs x63 of each step you went through. Are you saying that the system is now x64 Windows 10 but won't run a x32 application?

Wiping a drive can be done by either installing an OS from disk/thumbdrive and choosing "use entire disk" or if it's windows, choosing "new windows install". Most partition tools can also wipe a drive by removing the unwanted partition(s) and making (+ optionally formatting) new ones.

There are likely one or two several GB recovery partitions (both are necessary if there are two) that contain the files to refresh your windows install to "factory fresh" whatever that may have been. And there is usually a tiny 100MB system partition used to boot into recovery mode (and maybe other functions, too).


The computer came with 64bit Windows 8. I updated it to 8.1 and then 10. Naturally, all still 64 bit. Then found out the program wouldn't work.

Someone told me the program is so old, it might even be 16 bit, that a 32 bit OS can handle that, but a 64 bit can't. The program won't just "not run". It won't even install. It can't be a Windows 10 problem, tho', because the program runs on THREE other W10 computers... But they're all 32bit installations.

I copied the whole folder out of "program files" on another computer to a thumbdrive, and dumped it into the 64 bit installation, but when I hit the ".exe" file, it said something about bottlenecking, and wouldn't run.

I'm fine with switching the "new" laptop to a 32bit OS. (It only came with 4 gigs of memory anyway.)

I just literally can't figure out how to wipe the drive to try a clean install of 32bit Windows 10.

I hooked it up thru a USB adapter to another computer, and the WHOLE 1TB drive showed up as a single partition (which I know isn't right), and it said it was a "GPT" drive. I did some research and understand only that it's a new type of format. This scares me for two reasons. I couldn't get it to show up on the other computer with a drive letter, so no chance at formatting it blank. Second, if GPT installations can't be read on another machine, if your computer goes belly up, there's no chance at rescuing your data by plugging in thru a USB adapter to another machine.

I don't think I like this GPT stuff.

Whatever...

I still want to find a way to format this drive and make it totally empty so I can try to install a 32bit version of W10.

Anyone have any ideas?


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mik9
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16 Apr 2016, 7:28 am

Make sure your current 64-bit windows 10 is activated (see link) before you reinstall. You need this step to activate it later.

Then boot from the 32-bit windows dvd/usb stick. It has a tool in the beginning to delete the partitions and create a new big one.

See option one here http://www.howtogeek.com/224342/how-to-clean-install-windows-10/



polarity
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16 Apr 2016, 8:30 am

You could always run your art program inside a virtual machine, to save having to run everything else on an older version of windows.


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Edenthiel
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16 Apr 2016, 1:29 pm

sethno wrote:
I still want to find a way to format this drive and make it totally empty so I can try to install a 32bit version of W10.

Anyone have any ideas?


GPD means GUID Partition Table - it's the EFI/UEFI replacement for the Master Boot Record, or MBR.

I'm guessing you are correct about the program likely has some 16-bit or other deprecated code or libs; that would at least explain why it won't run or even install on x64.

So, you can wipe the drive, set the BIOS to "Legacy", "MBR" or similar and install a 32-bit version of the OS. The BIOS setting is not strictly necessary but it might avoid issues by making the environment more closely match that of the era the program was from. Just in case they did anything...unothodox, like hide a token in the MBR as part of their copy protection (just an example, there used to be accounting software that would do such a thing).

Or you can leave it EFI, install the x64 OS and run a virtual machine. If this is going to be a fairly single-use machine that's less desirable as you are already RAM-limited.

To completely wipe the drive you first need to set the BIOS to MBR or EFI. Then boot from an USB or CD/DVD that contains one of the following:

- The windows setup/install. Start to do a custom setup, go through the partition utility and remove *everything*. Then either create a single partition for Windows, or after the changes are made reboot and just go through a 'typical' / automatic / default install, setup will make whatever partitions it needs.

or,

- A utility like Darik's Nuke and Boot, which will complete wipe everything off the drive, after which you would need to treat it as a blank / new drive and let the install create it's own partitions, etc.. If you go that route (it can be more convenient as you just boot, click okay a few times and walk away for about 30 minutes) do not choose maximium disk wiping or you will be waiting for hours as it writes and re-writes randomness to your drive. Likewise, you can use any of the bootable Linux based partition utilities, burned to to a disk or thumbdrive.


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Last edited by Edenthiel on 16 Apr 2016, 2:40 pm, edited 2 times in total.

AspieUtah
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16 Apr 2016, 1:38 pm

I use HDClone 6 from Miray. Simple enough for me to use. But, I always forget that it won't allow overwriting, so I need to reformat the clone device before creating a new clone.


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Sethno
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17 Apr 2016, 12:01 am

I tried using the Windows 10 32bit install disc, and it wouldn't even START. I got a message on the screen in a small window that literally told me to remove the 32bit disc and replace it with the 64bit one.

That's why I'm trying to figure out how to wipe the drive to start anew. Again, with the GPT format, I can't do ANYTHING with the drive.

I'm not familiar with working with the BIOS or with using DOS windows.

I can barely handle getting into the boot order... :(


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You seem to have both Aspie and neurotypical traits

What would these results mean? Been told here I must be a "half pint".


mik9
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17 Apr 2016, 6:27 am

Okay it seems you have to switch the EFI to legacy/BIOS mode, like Edenthiel wrote.
We might be able to help you find where it is, if you post the model of the laptop.



Edenthiel
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17 Apr 2016, 10:57 am

Sethno wrote:
I tried using the Windows 10 32bit install disc, and it wouldn't even START. I got a message on the screen in a small window that literally told me to remove the 32bit disc and replace it with the 64bit one.

That's why I'm trying to figure out how to wipe the drive to start anew. Again, with the GPT format, I can't do ANYTHING with the drive.

I'm not familiar with working with the BIOS or with using DOS windows.

I can barely handle getting into the boot order... :(

You have to boot from the install disk, you cannot run it from inside the current windows install (mentioning just in case). And, as mik9 said, make sure your BIOS is set to 'Legacy'. In your BIOS change the option "Secure Boot" to "disabled" and/or the "UEFI Boot" to "CSM Boot" (the wording may change slightly by manufacturer).

Also, from MSDN:
Quote:
"While in UEFI mode, the Windows version must match the PC architecture. A 64-bit UEFI PC can only boot 64-bit versions of Windows. A 32-bit PC can only boot 32-bit versions of Windows. In some cases, while in legacy BIOS mode, you may be able to run 32-bit Windows on a 64-bit PC, assuming the manufacturer supports 32-bit legacy BIOS mode on the PC."


And, if you still receive a "windows cannot be installed on this disk. The selected disk is of the GPT partition style" message, it's easiest to wipe the drive using a non-windows utility since windows will immediately try to identify any partitions already created.


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