Best way to clone a Windows Installation?  

  1. Posts : 36

    Best way to clone a Windows Installation?


    I'm not sure if this is the best place to ask, but considering a lot of people have cloned their Windows installations before an upgrade or a clean install, I thought I'd try!

    I noticed that on my 250gb ssd, there are 3 partitions relating to the one Windows installation (I had originally split the drive so the main partition would only be 50gb, but there are hidden partitions (RAW ~ 10gb) and system ~ 350mb. There's currently about 180gb unallocated.

    Rather than save the whole disk as an image, am I able to only save (selected) those relevant partitions? I use Clonezilla. Would Macrium Reflect Free offer this ability? Or would I just need to save those partitions individually?

    Thanks for any help.
      My Computer

  2. Posts : 7,705
    Windows 11 Pro 64 bit

    Use Macrium Reflect Free and select the option Create an image of the partitions required to backup & restore Windows. You can select the option to image individual partitions if you know what you are doing. Imaging is preferred to cloning to avoid having two disks connected to your PC with an identical disk signature.
      My Computers

  3. Posts : 36
    Thread Starter

    Thanks Steve C.

    Guess that's what I was referring to earlier, saving an image to restore later. I assume cloning is used more for disk to disk copy?

    I intend to image the Windows partitions onto an external desktop drive, then restore from image to the same / another SSD.

      My Computer

  4. Posts : 7,705
    Windows 11 Pro 64 bit

    Use my first option to image your system partitions. Create a Macrium Reflect recovery drive. Then install your new drive, boot to the Macrium recovery drive and restore the saved image to your new drive. It's good practice to have only one drive connected when you first boot the new drive to avoid boot configuration problems.

    There are more tips in my guide here which you can adapt for your configuration
      My Computers

  5. Posts : 36
    Windows 10 Pro x64

    Clonezilla works really well.
    Last edited by T0mmy1977; 13 Mar 2017 at 16:52.
      My Computer

  6. Posts : 11,246
    Windows / Linux : Arch Linux

    T0mmy1977 said:
    Clonezilla works really well.
    Hi there.

    Clonezilla works (especially for Linux- although doesn't handle XFS format) - but an advantage with Macrium is that apart from being a zillion times faster is that you can load special drivers - great for a stand alone version if you need to load things like hardware RAID drivers at boot time, you can do windows boot repairs and you can restore to unlike hardware.

    Macrium actually can handle Linux xfs partitions but it takes a longish time as it's a sector by sector copy and you need to CLONE not IMAGE otherwise Linux won't boot until you re-install GRUB2 again and do some other recovery. Windows imaging is fast because Macrium can use "Intelligent copy". I've backed up Windows from internal SSD to external SSD in around 5 - 7 mins --roughly same time to restore -- data transfer rates approaching 1gb/s !!!.

    Note Clonezilla is really only a subset of the Linux DD command wrapped around with a GUI. There are much better ways of copying / imaging partitions than relying on DD which used to be known by Linux admins as "Disk Destroyer" !!.

      My Computer

  7. Posts : 16
    Win 10

    I'm a big fan of the FOG Project. It's been growing leaps and bounds recently for support and features. It does more than just imaging too.
      My Computer


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