Software to clone Windows hard drive from a Mac?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by DarkHeraldMage, Feb 6, 2012.

  1. DarkHeraldMage macrumors 6502a

    DarkHeraldMage

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2007
    Location:
    Fort Worth, TX
    #1
    I primarily run off my iMac and MBP when mobile, but I have an old Windows Vista desktop that I have setup as a guest PC for siblings or guests who are over and wanna get online. Problem is that for some reason the Windows PC has done as they are known to do and started crashing lately; all system restores have mysteriously disappeared, and even Safe Mode works sluggishly. The bootup diagnostics finally pointed to a SMART failure on the hard drive and suggested replacing it. But as we all know it's not easy to duplicate a Windows system over to a new hard drive. What I'm hoping for is some suggestions for how to do so.

    I have the tools to remove the HD and connect it to my Mac, but I really don't want to just manually backup the data and then reinstall the OS to a new hard drive and copy over all the data. Ideally there'd be an application that allows me to clone the connected drive onto an image and then slam the image onto a new drive, all while still being bootable.

    Please say someone out there has an idea or experience with this. Keeping the PC around is pain enough, I don't want to have to a complete new setup. lol
     
  2. Darth.Titan macrumors 68030

    Darth.Titan

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2007
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #2
    You can give WinClone a try. Some people swear by it, but I've personally never been able to get it to work for me.
     
  3. TinHead88 macrumors regular

    TinHead88

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2008
    #3
    Winclone is no longer supported and hasn't worked for me either.

    I ended up using the free Paragon Backup and Recovery software. You'll have to use it under Windows of course, but at least it makes a reliable backup of the drive.
     
  4. DarkHeraldMage thread starter macrumors 6502a

    DarkHeraldMage

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2007
    Location:
    Fort Worth, TX
    #4
    I had used Winclone in the past as well but when I noticed that it wasn't supported anymore I didn't really consider it. As for software that has to be run from Windows, unfortunately that doesn't help me since all my other computers are Mac. May have to just resign myself to the manual backup and reinstall. :(
     
  5. TinHead88 macrumors regular

    TinHead88

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2008
    #5
    You can run the Paragon software on the same system that you're backing up, so it would just be a matter of how well that system is still working.
     
  6. blevins321 macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2010
    Location:
    Winnipeg, MB
    #6
    I haven't actually tried it myself yet but Windows has a built in backup and recovery feature. If memory serves the option to restore is on a booted Windows install DVD. Maybe try researching that?
     
  7. DarkHeraldMage thread starter macrumors 6502a

    DarkHeraldMage

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2007
    Location:
    Fort Worth, TX
    #7
    Unfortunately, barely. lol That's the problem. I can't even get into the computer long enough to back up the data without the OS freezing up and and everything coming to a halt. I'm only hopeful that without the OS running that it'll stay online long enough for a backup.
     
  8. mijail macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2010
    #8
    If you are only cloning the whole drive, that is, not getting fancy with partition work and just copying everything over, then I would just use good old dd on the Mac or any LiveCD/LiveUSB Linux. It simply copies, fast, bit-by-bit. And free.

    And if the original drive is failing, you'll possibly need ddrescue or dd_rescue (similar names but different utilities), which copy the original drive but use some tricks to keep copying even when there are hardware failures. A full copy of a failing drive can take veeeery long (weeks), which is a problem since usually a mechanically failing hard drive will finally die in a matter of hours. So it is a good idea to use a utility which salvages readable data as soon as possible, and only dives into the slowest/more problematic/possibly unreadable sectors when there is nothing else to save. That is the purpose of ddrescue and dd_rescue. The second one was the most powerful the last time I needed them.

    That is the quick summary. Some more details and tricks in my blog: http://hmijailblog.blogspot.com/2011/06/discos-duros-danados-salvar-datos-y.html . It is written in spanish, but right there you have links to Google Translate. And if you can't find anything better, let me know and I'll write an english version.
     
  9. TinHead88 macrumors regular

    TinHead88

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2008
    #9
    In that case you should start over. There's no telling how much corrupted data you'll end up with trying to salvage the information on that drive. A fresh install will save time and frustration in the long run.
     
  10. mijail macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2010
    #10
    Not really. A hard disk with failing hardware can cause minutes-long timeouts, which feel like the computer froze - only that if you wait long enough the computer will unfreeze and try to continue, at which point it might freeze again.

    In my experience some years ago, each time the computer touched a bad sector the timeouts were around 10 minutes long.

    And of course, if one of those sectors were used by the OS, the timeout might be followed by a real freeze, which makes everything more confusing.

    You can use hdparm in Linux to minimize those timeouts, making possible to salvage more data and much faster. As already said, explained in my blog.
     
  11. TinHead88 macrumors regular

    TinHead88

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2008
    #11
    If there is essential data with no backup then it would be necessary to attempt recovery. The OP stated that his reason for wanting to clone is convenience. This leads me to conclude that the best course of action is to start fresh as the recovery runs a high risk of causing problems (system files not user data) and will be much more time consuming.
     
  12. DarkHeraldMage thread starter macrumors 6502a

    DarkHeraldMage

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2007
    Location:
    Fort Worth, TX
    #12
    Thanks for all the input guys! I think I'll do a backup of the data, then attempt the clone just in case in manages to work, but I won't hold my breath. I'll let you know what happens! :cool:
     

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