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I have my Windows 8 OS on an mSata SSD and an identical spare SSD mounted in a USB caddy. What is the best way to create a "mirror"/backup so that if my primary SSD fails I can just remove it and replace it with the spare one?

I am running Windows 8 and have Acronis True Image 2013 installed. I looked at the Non-Stop backup in Acronis True Image but it doesn't seem to keep an identical copy of the drive.

The question Disk mirror backup for Windows is marked as a duplicate but the duplicate no longer exists. The accepted Answer simply recommends Acronis True Image. However the continuous backup functionality in Acronis stores back history, rather than an actual mirror image.

There's also the question continuous mirror with external hard disk but this refers to Windows 7 which has Backup and Restore which is not available in Windows 8, which uses file History. File history is not what I want, I need to be able to simply swap the drive in if required. Not recover files

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possible duplicate of Disk mirror backup for Windows also see continuous mirror with external hard disk – Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Feb 9 '13 at 15:16
Are they identical sized drives or is the backup SSD smaller? – Hennes Feb 9 '13 at 15:16
The drives are identical. – openshac Feb 9 '13 at 22:10
up vote 0 down vote accepted

OK so after some digging I managed to work out what I need to do. Basically I needed to clone my SSD (remember I'm trying to do this to protect against a catastrophic SSD failure). I did this using Acronis True Image. Now there are plenty of articles about how you can clone a disk with windows however they all seem to involve restoring images etc. I don't want to do that, I want to simply swap the spare SSD in and for things to work straight away.

Note that the File History functionality in Windows 8 will not do this and the Windows 7 Backup and Restore won't do this either (note you can access this in Windows 8 - it's called Windows 7 File Recovery).

So the next problem was to look at was how I keep an up to date clone of my SSD up to date. This bit is a bit more tricky. Basically there is no functionality to do this since cloning your disk puts it completely out of action while the cloning takes place (and involves a reboot with Acronis), and there's not scheduling in Acronis to do this. So it looks like I shall need to manually clone the disk on a periodic basis (not a big problem). However I have scheduled an incremental disk image backup, which will allow me to bring the cloned SSD up to date with any important OS changes I have made since the last clone. It also give me the added flexibility of reverting my OS should I managed to accidentally screw something up.

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Why not simply install the 2nd SSD internally and mirror it using Windows software? That way, the SSD will be a perfect image of the existing SSD ? Then you won't need to worry about keeping the image up to date. If one drive fails, the other should still boot.

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