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Cloning 2 computers' HDs onto one external HD

by RossChandler / May 21, 2013 2:40 PM PDT

I have two Dell laptops running Windows 7 with Acronis True Image installed and a Seagate 1TB external HD. One of the laptops already has been backed up to the ext. HD. I'd like to do the same for the second laptop. For this, I have partitioned the ext. HD, formatiing it as NTFS. When I tried to clone the second laptop to the ext. HD, Acronis indicated it would erase the partitions — including the data from the first laptop's backup — and format the entire ext. HD. How can I get Acronis to see the new partition and clone the second laptop's HD on it, leaving the original partition and its data safely undisturbed?
Many thanks,

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All Answers

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How I do this with Clonezilla.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / May 21, 2013 2:58 PM PDT

For that I can save the machine's entire hdd to a folder. It's pretty easy to do as it asks me what folder I want my backup to go to.

What you are attempting to do seems to end with copies of partitions and no way to restore to a new blank HDD. Is that your goal?

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Follow up
by RossChandler / May 21, 2013 3:05 PM PDT

Thanks for your reply, Bob. What I'm looking for is a way to save the second laptop with its Windows 7 and other software to an external HD as a hedge against the future. I want to reformat that laptop's HD and install Linux on it. But, just in case there is a need for it in the future, I'd like to be able to re-install the original W7 and other software with minimal fuss or loss.

Thanks again for your willingness to help.

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Make factory discs then use ext. HD
by Willy / May 21, 2013 11:16 PM PDT
In reply to: Follow up

You can do an OEM type backup as for a restore/recovery mode provided by them. Also, because this is Win7 it should be easier than most. Your laptop should provide the details to make restore/recovery discs, check their support website. These discs return the laptop to factory as when you brought i like in day 1. However, this is NOT for a later type restore/recovery as in months of operation, which is what the Acronis s/w should be more capable of doing. The instructions for that is provided by either Acronis support website or manual or laptop vendor for that version. If your laptop has a recovery/restore partition you can also "image" it for yet another method. Unlike cloning, making images for burning, ISO type file will allow you to burn to DVD blank(s) and make sure its bootable in order to restore/recovery that way. If you use Acronis alone, make sure what options you select, as Robert stated, you should direct to "folders" which you already made for easy of operation. The above works and using your ext. HD will be possible. HOWEVER!!! if you plan to continue using your ext. HD for other storage or basically use it, don't count on that a safe haven. An ext. HD is best used as temporary or working storage media rather than anything considered permanent, too many horror stories. So even though you made a back-up, consider CD/DVD/BD or yet more ext. HDs to be really safe.

In your case it may seem to make sense, but you make 2-PCs vulnerable to non-restore/recovery should that ext. HD fail. Again, do what you want to save to ext. HD, but also make true OEM back-up restore/recovery discs for each PC as explained by their support website or manual(print that section out). Once done, then do you require for ext. HD storage.

tada -----Willy Happy

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Follow up
by RossChandler / May 24, 2013 1:06 PM PDT

Thanks for your reply, Willie. It brought up one thing that I completely had not thought of: Having restore/recovery disks prepared for the possibility — or eventuality, maybe I should say — of the laptop's drive crashing. I had not thought about going to Acronis for help with this. I'll check its website this weekend for help. As to using the ext. HD for storage, this one solely was used to hold a backup copy for my original W7 laptop's HD. My plan has been to partition it so it would hold both the original laptop, on which I am keeping W7, and the other laptop, which I want to covert to a Linux machine.

Thanks again to you and Bob for your help with this.


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