Hard drive Imaging

March 10, 2015
Imaging hard drives is one of those things, it either works or it doesn't. I have always tried different tools to find something that would hopefully just work, but as you will see here, it's not that simple no matter how simple you keep things. I installed this windows operating system and wanted to image it because it literally takes two days just for all the updates to get done and well, that gets old very quick. I am aware of the more common paid version of this type of software, but I like to test other tools too. I like to do this because it takes a lot of time and when you're working, this is something I try not to do because my hands are usually full doing other things and this is something that helps immensely when you have your hands full. Here I'm using Clonezilla- Live version 2.3.2-22-amd64.

 So this is the system. One 500Gb drive and cd rom. Nothing special. I finally got a new motherboard and moved the older one here which now gave me enough sata ports to use the front esata port. This machine only has usb 2 ports so the sata definitely came in handy for this. The board does not have usb 3 headers so the esata is all I got which I'm fine since it should be faster than the usb.

 I decided to test the built in windows 7 tools. This was taking forever so I cancelled it. I let it go for over 40 minutes since I was doing something else.

 I got the ubuntu 14.2 cd out and loaded that up.

 Well, it didn't do so well. I could barely even get this thing booted up with that OS. So I also tried the 12.0 lts version and was still not having luck. I also tried opensuse and still not luck trying to image this drive with DD. So I thought the cable that came with the dock was bad. Got a new cable that went from sata to esata which basically bypassed both the cable that came with the dock and the internal sata cable. I still had no luck. I finally swapped to the clonzilla and was finally able to boot up.

 Unfortunately even with the new cable and boot up disk, this thing still died on me with these errors. Keep in mind that I'm doing hard drive to hard drive imaging so it's not going over a network or to the nas.

In the end I booted windows up and scanned and fixed the internal hard drive. No bad sectors or problems found...hmmm. I plugged in the esata and did the same thing. Hey, the new cable works just fine. I then changed to the original cable and the drive comes right up too...ahhhh.

 So the next obvious step was to get the other external 500Gb hard drive I have and try that. Here is a different usb drive I just tried with the same results.

So I'm still getting the same problem. I am using all defaults on the system and just trying to copy drive to drive, but still no go. I have other software I can try but I think this one would be faster.  So now I'm back scratching my head because I have gotten this to work in the past. But the last two copies I have tried, today and not long ago have always given me problems. I have this other computer I want to also image so I don't have to start from way back.

The next task is to log into sourceforge and ask questions in the forums. Unfortunately this is what I get. I'm not sure why this is but I don't use the sourceforge forums to begin with so now I'm stuck a bit. Man they don't make it any easy to find things nowadays...okay so I have to close and start over, now I can post...phew...

Okay, I decided to give up on this windows computer for now and though I try to image the Ubuntu machine. Here's what it is. Two drives in the same computer, no esata or usb compnents.
 I put the 1TB drive in the cage next to the Ubuntu drive to test imaging here.

 I got the same errors at the beginning, or similar errors.

 So far so good.


The good news is that the image got created without any problems this way on this other computer. So either the boot cd is not picking up the esata and usb for whatever reason which is the reason that's not working. Well that's my guess anyway since that's the way I tested this. Of course this defeats the purpose with other drives since you have to take the hard drive out of the computer before you can image it. Hopefully they can fix the esata and usb issue or if they let me know how to get working I'll be sure to add it here.

This is the forum if you want to give them some feedback and let them know about your tests.

I just tried imaging the windows drive in this other machine and got the same bad sector errors. I have another 100Gb drive that I can install windows in, so I'll do that and try my test from the esata or usb again to see how it goes. If it's the hard drive that is bad I guess it will just halt any image tries. I don't do this often so I can't say, but from my current tests, it looks like it. So I'll finish this test for a complete example. Here goes another two days of updates...

March 11, 2015
 I finally got Windows installed on the smaller hard drive and got the updates installed. Unfortunately when I tried to boot up again, I did the ctrl-l-Del to restart since I am using a kvm switch and it was on the wrong computer. I'm not sure if that or an update did this, but It stopped on me again. I then went and booted normally and got a chance to do a restore which did its thing and I was then able to boot up normally again.

 I rebooted and tried imaging the drive again to the 1TB drive on the esata.

 Here's the setup.

The imaging finally went through. So my esata cable/setup is working fine. Apparently if clonezilla detects bad sectors on a drive, it won't allow it to image. I didn't even know that this drive had bad sectors as it's been working fine.That's the good thing, the bad thing is you don't know which drive it is since I checked all the drives and none said they had any problems under windows. But through deduction and making the changes I can say that if it stops on you like it did on me, then most likely it is the drive you are trying to image from. Assuming that you have tested your external equipment. There are drive tools to check this, but I haven't played with them lately since I haven't had the need, but I guess this is a good time as any to do that for this one drive now. I found the tools a bit too old and didn't work well for me. So hopefully there are newer versions to test hard drives better. Well, I hope this helps. Next I may try to go to the nas and see how that is working now that I know this. It should now work fine there too. That was more of a connection issue before, so we'll see.

Update April 3, 2017
I finally have the new nas setup running so I thought I back up my desktop since I also installed a new ssd on this old machine. I figured this would be a good test straight to the nas and an ssd drive back up.

 I used the latest stable version at the time of this posting which is version 2.5.0-25 and after figuring out the folder to send the image to, I was able to send this straight to an smb share which I had problems doing in the past. So it may have been the old nas, who knows but it's nice to be able to do this now.

 So far it seems to have gone without any problem even though this was an ssd hard drive. I should note that at home this is almost not necessary since by the time you every even look at the image again, you may be installing a new updated operating system. But it won't hurt doing this just in case of a hardware problem or if you're the type of person that likes to click on just about anything, then you should backup your drive because it's only a matter of time before you may be re-installing your machine again.

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