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How do I clone a hard drive without losing data?

WhiteFlame0
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Go to solution Solved by mortino,

I think what you want is to clone the drive. I can't recall if it is possible to clone to a partition rather than a drive but you are better off just copying over everything important to you and just doing a fresh OS install and dealing with reinstalling programs and drivers, steam games and such can easily be backed up to the external drive through their respective platforms so no worries about that.

As a note on safely backing up your drive, it doesn't exist, the sheer act of stressing a failing drive to try and save the data will likely cause a catastrophic failure, this is why raid 5 sucks. I would move your most important files first, then proceed with the data that can be replaced followed by data that can be easily replaced. Between bitrot, read andwrite errors and total drive failure you rarely save 100% of a dying drive but that doesn't mean you can't maximize the chances of saving the data that matters.

The hard drive in my laptop is failing but the drive still under warranty (I've replaced it before). I'm going to mail it to Seagate and request a replacement. I want to back up the drive to an external USB HDD by Western Digital, but the external drive already has data stored on it, and I don't want to delete any of the data. How can I safely back up the data from my failing laptop SSHD (Model #: ST1000LM014) to the external drive? I need to be able to move the data back to the replacement drive in a couple of weeks. Thank you!

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you should be able to just make a folder and drag and drop whatever it is you'd like to save. that's at least the safest route without putting any data at risk by trying to partition the usb drive.

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1 minute ago, emosun said:

you should be able to just make a folder and drag and drop whatever it is you'd like to save.

Will that work with hidden folders like %appdata% though?

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I think what you want is to clone the drive. I can't recall if it is possible to clone to a partition rather than a drive but you are better off just copying over everything important to you and just doing a fresh OS install and dealing with reinstalling programs and drivers, steam games and such can easily be backed up to the external drive through their respective platforms so no worries about that.

As a note on safely backing up your drive, it doesn't exist, the sheer act of stressing a failing drive to try and save the data will likely cause a catastrophic failure, this is why raid 5 sucks. I would move your most important files first, then proceed with the data that can be replaced followed by data that can be easily replaced. Between bitrot, read andwrite errors and total drive failure you rarely save 100% of a dying drive but that doesn't mean you can't maximize the chances of saving the data that matters.

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Just now, WhiteFlame0 said:

Will that work with hidden folders like %appdata% though?

That folder is only hidden if you have it set to be hidden, it's just /users/username/appdata

 

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I really would love to move things manually like you both said; I'm just worried about the appdata folder etc. My drive is normally at 100% usage in task manager and it failed a test that I downloaded from the Seagate website.

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To do this, you would need to clone the hard drive with software like "HDD Raw Copy". However, you need to boot the system up on a drive that isn't the drive you are cloning, because it needs direct access to the data.

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2 minutes ago, mortino said:

you are better off just copying over everything important to you and just doing a fresh OS install and dealing with reinstalling programs and drivers

yeah , just copy the standard files you want to keep and do an os reinstall

its the safest way to keep the usb drive and os drive from risk of loosing anything. that way you don't have to mess with the usb drive at all

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2 minutes ago, WhiteFlame0 said:

I really would love to move things manually like you both said; I'm just worried about the appdata folder etc. My drive is normally at 100% usage in task manager and it failed a test that I downloaded from the Seagate website.

What is it in appdata you are so concerned about, it is mostly just proliferay files for installed programs.

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I think I'll just move my files over by hand and do an OS reinstall, then. I already have a USB to SATA cable so it won't be that hard. Thank you!

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Just now, WhiteFlame0 said:

I think I'll just move my files over by hand and do an OS reinstall, then. I already have a USB to SATA cable so it won't be that hard. Thank you!

Smart just to be on the safe side, you can save what is most important first in case that drive dies completely while trying to back up the whole thing.

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Just now, mortino said:

What is it in appdata you are so concerned about, it is mostly just proliferay files for installed programs.

I know my old Minecraft saves are there so I'm nervous about other games keeping random things inside it. I think I accidentally deleted my Minecraft saves the last time my drive failed, and I have a lot of good memories there.

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Just now, WhiteFlame0 said:

I know my old Minecraft saves are there so I'm nervous about other games keeping random things inside it. I think I accidentally deleted my Minecraft saves the last time my drive failed, and I have a lot of good memories there.

You can just drag over your entire username folder, my downloads are on a separate drive and my folder is only 16gb after 2 years in January since the last fresh install, not unreasonable to back up just in case and that will also backup your documents folder which also houses some saved games.

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I wish it would all just be kept in the program files, and saves should be in a folder called "saves".

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Just now, WhiteFlame0 said:

I wish it would all just be kept in the program files, and saves should be in a folder called "saves".

I agree that started pissing me of like 10 maybe 15 years ago when the saves stopped being saved in the installation folder of the game in a folder called saved games.

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There should be an option to save certain things somewhere else though. I wouldn't want to have a game on an SSD save screenshots to the base folder all the time.

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