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I'm looking for a software (free if possible) that could do the same as Norton Ghost 2003 Floppy but:

  1. without the big inconveniance of working from a floppy drive
  2. with the possibility of cloning a Hard drive that's runing under Windows XP pro, without having to reboot it (less important option, but could be a bonus...).

Thanks for your advices.

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Are you planning to use the clone to restore your system or would you like it as a "backup" so a virtual hard disk would be good for you too? –  Ivo Flipse Oct 27 '09 at 8:53
Yeah, I'd like to switch harddrives because of bad sectors... I work on the laptop the whole day, that's why I'd like something doing it when the Hard drive is still inside... –  waszkiewicz Oct 27 '09 at 9:16
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7 Answers

up vote 1 down vote accepted

I have good experience with TrueImage. It doesn't require reboot - works on living Windows and for restoring you can either use another OS or boot from CD.

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I used it once for a few years, but do you know if I can make a clone of a living HDD runing Windows on an USB empty HDD? I don't remember it capable of doing so. –  waszkiewicz Oct 27 '09 at 10:57
It can clone system drive to another internal drive. If you want to clone it to external drive, you will need to use CDs - it cannot clone from within Windows on external drive. There is nice guide at brighthub.com/computing/hardware/articles/16043.aspx. –  Josip Medved Oct 27 '09 at 11:42
ok, thanks a lot... I'll have a look. If I can't find anything doing the same for free, I'll buy a True Image licence... –  waszkiewicz Oct 28 '09 at 10:14
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macrium reflect will probably do well enough for backing up a running system and restoring it if the worst happens- the freeware version lacks incremental backups and direct SMB backups (i backup to a share mounted to a drive letter, which works, amusingly enough)

if you want an offline bootable imaging tool, clonezilla live is excellent and should be the closest thing to norton

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Are you planning to use it to restore?

I'd suggest make a Virtual Hard Disk (VHD) of your system with the Sysinternals tool Disk2vhd

You can mount this vhd to manually restore whatever you need or run it in a virtual machine if you're planning to move to Windows 7.

Disk2vhd is a utility that creates VHD (Virtual Hard Disk - Microsoft’s Virtual Machine disk format) versions of physical disks for use in Microsoft Virtual PC or Microsoft Hyper-V virtual machines (VMs). The difference between Disk2vhd and other physical-to-virtual tools is that you can run Disk2vhd on a system that’s online. Disk2vhd uses Windows’ Volume Snapshot capability, introduced in Windows XP, to create consistent point-in-time snapshots of the volumes you want to include in a conversion. You can even have Disk2vhd create the VHDs on local volumes, even ones being converted (though performance is better when the VHD is on a disk different than ones being converted).

The Disk2vhd user interface lists the volumes present on the system.

It will create one VHD for each disk on which selected volumes reside. It preserves the partitioning information of the disk, but only copies the data contents for volumes on the disk that are selected. This enables you to capture just system volumes and exclude data volumes, for example.

To use VHDs produced by Disk2vhd, create a VM with the desired characteristics and add the VHDs to the VM’s configuration as IDE disks. On first boot, a VM booting a captured copy of Windows will detect the VM’s hardware and automatically install drivers, if present in the image. If the required drivers are not present, install them via the Virtual PC or Hyper-V integration components. You can also attach to VHDs using the Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2 Disk Management or Diskpart utilities.

Note: do not attach to VHDs on the same system on which you created them if you plan on booting from them. If you do so, Windows will assign the VHD a new disk signature to avoid a collision with the signature of the VHD’s source disk. Windows references disks in the boot configuration database (BCD) by disk signature, so when that happens Windows booted in a VM will fail to locate the boot disk.

Disk2vhd runs Windows XP SP2, Windows Server 2003 SP1, and higher, including x64 systems.

Here’s a screenshot of a copy of a Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V system running in a virtual machine on top of the system it was made from:

alt text

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Hi! No actually I just want to clone my system drive on a new harddrive (bigger size), cause the old one is getting old (clic, clic, clic...). The best tool is really Floppy Ghost 2k3, but I cant find a floppy drive anymore! Thanks. –  waszkiewicz Oct 27 '09 at 9:10
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ShadowProtect will do this.

Alternatively if you are after a free solution:


This is a script I wrote that takes a snapshot of the disk with volume shadow copy (requires XP or later) and then copies a specified folder to another location. Because it is using shadow copy it can get a consistant image of all the files on the disk, even when they are locked.

If you use it to replicate an entire drive to another disk, then put that disk in another machine and boot to a recovery console and make the new disk bootable then the machine will boot the copy of the OS.

It can also do an "incremental" copy so only the changed files are copied to the destination. I've used it on servers where it has run each day and generally takes less than five minutes to fully synchronise two disks.

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I've uploaded the backup scripts here: drop.io/VSSBackupScripts Please let me know if you find them useful! –  John Sinclair Oct 30 '09 at 4:00
I love ShadowProtect, best backup software I've seen to date for Windows. –  Jeff F. Oct 31 '11 at 20:14
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Also try CloneZilla - totally open and free.

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I'm a big fan of Acronis TrueImage Home. It is really easy to use. Will create a restore CD that you boot from -- if you want. Does incremental imaging, etc..

And it's really inexpensive:

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I've used this several times and it works well. –  Bratch Oct 27 '09 at 14:07
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Also a huge fan of Acronis True Image. It succeeds where others have failed for whatever reason.

I've also had quite a bit of success with CloneZilla. CloneZilla strives to be a free and open-source alternative to Norton Ghost.

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protected by nhinkle Oct 26 '11 at 2:08

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