How do I easily copy or clone a Windows boot partition onto a new hard drive?
For some background: I have not been making full backups of my OS drives for a very long time. For the longest time it seemed easier to fix things by completely erasing a partition and starting over by installing the OS whenever "things get messy". Plus, I always keep my important data on Dropbox so I never lose my files.
But I'm starting to get tired of the Windows installer trampling all over GRUB and similar issues. I'm starting to want some kind of a "reset button" functionality. After all, I've got all these multi-terabyte hard disks that I'm using for storing media already.
These days the machines I build all have SSD's in them so I imagine this could help backup and restore times greatly as well, especially when good compression is brought into the picture. Two reasons I stopped performing backups were the complexity of the process, and the waiting.
I'm sure that many users out there have backup and disk imaging software that have served them well, so I'd like to compile a list of ones to try out.
I seem to remember most recently having used a tool called Clonezilla. What I didn't like about it was all of the steps it required you to go through each time you run it. I know this is a somewhat silly complaint ("oh but i dont want to read things") but you have to admit that the interface (at least in the version I was using) isn't exactly user friendly.
What I want is a utility that can encapsulate the entire content on a particular hard disk, or entire partitions, in a way that allows me to restore them exactly later on, without any guesswork. It has to just work. Write the same bits back onto this drive. Let me know if the image has been corrupted.