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System Drive Cloning


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I've had this idea for some time to find a way to do maintenance on all the drives in my WHS. In particular I wanted to be able to run SpinRite on them a couple times a year. I've used SR for many years and have never had a drive fail that I maintained with it, not even 1. I kinda look at it like taking my car in for a 50,000 mile overhaul.


Maintaining the pool drives is easy. Just use the Drive Extender feature to remove a drive from the pool, replace it with a spare drive I've already SpinRited, and then put the newly removed drive through SR. Course, I do have to be careful to make sure there's enough room to remove even the largest drive in the pool, but I'm careful about things like that.


The system drive was my real concern. I'd heard stories about problems with drive signatures preventing people from just cloning the system drive and replacing it. I'd also heard stories that easeUS Disk Copy actually copies over the drive signature during cloning, which should overcome the problem. What's more, easeUS Disk Copy is completely free!


Today I decided to test the theory. I backed up my data pool :) then shut down the WHS. I removed the system drive (1TB Caviar Green) and connected it to another system that had a 2nd Caviar Green already installed. I burned a CD of easeUS Disk Copy and booted the system with the 2 drives from the CD. When easeUS started up I told it to copy the disk. On the screen where it asked me to select the source drive I spent more than a minute checking & re-checking to make sure I had the correct drive (the WHS system drive that is) before selecting it. The second (destination) drive then became obvious. I selected the option to verify the data after cloning and, 8.5 hours later, it finished.


I mounted the new clone drive into a drive carrier, slid it into the Acer H340, crossed my fingers, and pressed the power button. Five min. later the icon on my Win7 machine turned green. I logged into the console and everything came up normal. The only thing I noticed was when I used the Advanced Admin Console to go to the desktop. There were 2 notices displayed on the screen, one for Application Event 2003 and one for Application Event 4356. I checked up on these on the MS site; they do not seem to be a problem, nor related to the cloning process. Also, I checked back in the event log and they have both appeared before, i.e. before the disk cloning. They appear to be related to IIS.


So, all in all, it looks like the process worked very well. I'm very happy with the result and will be SpinRiting the old system drive starting tonight.


BTW, I'm well aware this is not a backup strategy; it's strictly preventative maintenance and that's how I'm treating it, so please don't anyone think of it as anything else.

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Great write up on the drive cloning. Not sure I go with spinrite recommendation however but if it works for you that is all that matters. Thanks for the information.

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