Sunday, January 16, 2011

How to Clone a Hard Drive

I just recently realized that my hard drive was going down the road to failure, so I had to clone all the data from the old drive onto a new drive from Newegg. Since I have all the steps fresh in my mind, I figured I'd write a guide on how to clone a hard drive.
For a desktop drive, you'll need:
-A CD-r drive, and a recordable CD
-An internet connection
-A new hard drive, to clone to. It should be larger or equal to the storage size of your old drive. You'll usually have to get a 3.5in. drive, but some Mini-ITX cases use 2.5in. drives.
-An IDE/SATA cable, depending on your type of drive. Make sure that you can plug two drives into your cord. It is also possible to clone an IDE drive to a SATA drive, or vice versa.
For a laptop drive, you'll need:
-A CD-r drive, and a recordable CD
-An internet connection
-A new hard drive, to clone to. It should be larger or equal to the storage size of your old drive. Make sure to get either a 2.5in. or 1.8in. drive, depending on your laptop.
-A USB to IDE/SATA cable. Laptop SATA HDDs use the same kind of port as a desktop SATA HDD, but laptop IDE HDDs use a smaller kind of IDE port that has a built-in power plug, rather than the larger IDE+Molex combination on desktop HDDs. Usually, you can find a USB-SATA/IDE adapter on ebay by searching "USB SATA adapter" or "USB IDE adapter". If you're cloning to a laptop IDE drive, make sure that the adapter you find includes a laptop IDE plug.
1. Download ClonezillaInfrarecorder, and  Easeus Partition Master. This guide was made with version 20100721-lucid of Clonezilla, so download that version from the "oldfiles" folder. If you already have a program that burns CDs, then you don't need Infrarecorder.
2. Put a recordable CD in your CD-r drive.
3. Open up Infrarecorder, and tell it to "Write Image". It will open up an explorer window. Navigate to the folder that contains the Clonezilla ISO image that you downloaded, and open it. Then click "Ok". InfraRecorder will then burn Clonezilla to that CD.
4. When InfraRecorder is finished burning the CD, shut down your computer. Plug the new hard drive into whatever cable you're using for the cloning process.
5. Turn your computer back on, with the Clonezilla CD in your disk drive. If your system automatically boots to the CD, or prompts you to do so, then skip to step 6. If not, then:
     a. Restart your PC and boot into your BIOS. To do this, you'll have to a hit a certain key at bootup, which varies depending on your PC's manufacturer. At bootup, most PCs show an image which will say which key to press. Press that key.
     b. Navigate through your BIOS, and find the setting which determines the boot order. Switch the first boot item to your CD drive, then exit the BIOS, saving your changes.
6. Clonezilla will then start up, looking something like this:
Just press Enter. It will then automatically run at default settings. 
7. You will then be asked which language to run in. If you're reading this, you'll probably want English. ;)
8. Next, you'll be asked about the Keymap. Select "Don't Touch Keymap", or just hit Enter.
9. Clonezilla will then ask you if you want to run in normal or shell mode. Just press Enter.
10. Next, you'll have to select which form of cloning to do, device-image or device-device. Select device-device.
11. Then, you will be asked which mode to run in: beginner or expert. Select beginner. If you think you may want to set special options, then select expert. If you select expert and don't want to change any settings, then just keep hitting Enter.
12. Now you'll be asked what kind of clone you want to do, which will involve local and remote disks. Just hit Enter.
13. Now, you'll have to choose which disk to clone from, and then which disk to clone to. Choose appropriately.
14. You will then be warned two times that the target disk will be overwritten if you clone to it. Type "y" and hit Enter both times. You will also be asked if you want to clone the MBR from the original disk. Once again, just type "y" and hit Enter. Your disk will now clone over. When it is done, you will be given prompts on how to shut down Clonezilla. Follow these prompts. The Clonezilla CD will be ejected , and you will be prompted to hit enter to turn off your computer.
15. After your system shuts down, take out your old hard drive and replace it with the new one. This process will vary, especially with laptops.
16. Turn your computer back on. Then run Partition Master. If your new hard disk has more space than your old one, then you'll see that you're not utilizing all the extra space. Resize the disk's partition accordingly.
17. Defragment your drive. This is optional, but it will improve your computer's speed. I like to defragment using Defraggler.

Congratz, you've just cloned your hard drive. You now probably have more space, and if you cloned because your hard drive was dying, then you no longer have to deal with a feeling of impending doom. :)

Tiny FAQ
Q. A random vague IO error came up during the cloning process. What does this mean?
A. This means that the hard disk you are cloning from has one or more bad sectors. This is a sign of soon-to-come HDD failure, so it's a good thing that you're cloning. If you use Windows, then boot into it and type WindowsKey+R. Then type "cmd". This will bring you into a command line. Type "chkdsk /f". Type "y" and then Enter. Upon reboot, Windows will reallocate any files on your bad sector(s).

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