A Solution to Quickly Recover From a Master-Drive Failure, while Running Win-XP
Addendum: Clone a Single-drive Notebook HD (25 June 2005)
Update to Acronis 11 (7 Aug. 2008)
Text by jack yeazel

Consider that you have installed two drives of the same size (or a larger slave) in your computer (Master C: and Slave D:).  In order to back up your computer in case of a Master drive failure, with Windows 98 one could simply copy the C: drive to the D: drive, and the D: drive would be able to bootup in case of a C: drive failure.  (This procedure has become known as "cloning" a drive.)

But not so with Windows XP, XP Pro, -and especially with Service Pack 2!  These operating systems seem to record WHICH drive they are installed on, and  XP knows that it has been installed on a different drive from the cloned drive, so it refuses to bootup.

For several years I searched the Internet for a solution, but there wasn't any (that could be afforded) or understood!  Then Kim Komando suggested Acronis and Ghost.  I tried cloning with Ghost 9, but couldn't get XP Pro SP-2 to bootup.  (Some people claim success.)  However, there were many favorable comments on the Internet about Acronis True Image 8.0.

With Acronis, I have finally successfully (and simply) cloned Win XP Pro SP2, Master HD to a Slave drive.  The Slave drive will now bootup with the system files in case of a Master-drive failure.

This is done with Acronis True Image 8.0,  which you can download for $40 from the (SOFTWARE STORE).  From here you have to select the Download version. When installing Acronis, it asks if you want to make a recovery CD.  It's important to create this 17MB CD for situations described below.  If you computer doesn't have a writable CD, install Acronis on a computer where you can write this CD.

A 432KB Features and Technical Description of Acronis is available (HERE), and a 2,097KB Users Manual (HERE).

This program is simple beyond belief (considering the complexity of 'normal' programs).  There is no floppy required like with Ghost.  Just run the program, select the source and target drives, and the program takes over -including rebooting into DOS for the action to take place, and then it reboots your computer back into XP.

It will be necessary to rename the target drive, because it will have the same name as the source drive.  If necessary, the program will change the target's NTFS to  FAT-32 -or vice versa.  I suspect that with cloning, you could have a complete master drive failure and not even know it, unless you looked at the name of the booted drive.

In some computers, the BIOS can be set to boot off the slave drive (drive boot sequence 1,0,2,3 instead of 0,1,2,3).  This is a very handy feature of ONE of my computers, and it allows me to test the cloning without having to change ANYTHING inside the computer.  (Always ask for this feature in the BIOS when purchasing a new computer).

There is one peculiarity.  When booting off the slave (cloned) drive, the computer doesn't recognize the master (source) drive.  However, if TWO cloned drives are put in the computer, either drive will boot up as the System drive (C:), and the other is visible as the Active drive (D:).  However there isn't anything wrong with the source drive, and the target (backup) slave drive can be cloned as may times as you like to keep it up to date.

There is a 'cryptic' instruction from the program that the source drive should be removed.  This may in some way be related to why the source drive isn't visible when booting off the cloned slave.

NOTE: If you use the Cable Select jumper setting on your drives (with the proper drive cable), you never have to change any jumpers no matter where you put the drives.

Cloning a Single-drive Notebook HD:
In the following example, I used a Toshiba Satellite Pro 4600 with a 20GB HD.   The first step was to buy a used external USB 2.0 40GB 3.5" HD to use as an 'intermediary' drive.  Since the notebook has no USB 2.0 port (only USB 1.1), I also had to buy a USB 2.0 PCMCIA Belkin adapter for about $50.

It took Acronis about 40 minutes to clone the external drive.  Then I replaced the 20GB internal drive with a new Hitachi 40GB drive, which cost about $80 (HERE).  (Specify '2.5' or '3.5' in the center box.)  Some drives are shipped free second-day air.

After inserting the Acronis recovery CD, the computer booted off of the CD, because the 40GB internal drive had no operating system installed. (NOTE: I didn't have to format the new HD.)  Acronis could see the new drive, but not the external drive due the new drive not having any drivers to run the USB adapter.  So I unplugged the external drive from the adapter and plugged it into the computer's USB 1.1 port.  Now Acronis could see both drives.  Cloning from the external to the internal drive took about seven hours due to the slower USB speed.

However, "in the morning", the computer booted up in Win-XP with all program and adapters working fine.  I use Jcopy to do incremental backups to the external drive in between cloning sessions, about once a week.  The next step is to buy another internal drive to have on hand, if the NEW drive fails.

NOTE: Some notebooks have a swap-out bay where you can install a second HD.  The 4600 doesn't have this feature, but if you could clone THAT drive, cloning back to a new C: drive would go a lot faster.

Sometime you may want to restore a smaller HD from a larger HD.  Simple cloning in this case won't work.  So, I ran an experiment by first cloning an external 40GB HD from an internal notebook 40GB drive.  There were only about 17GB of actual files, so there was space to also create an IMAGE of the 40GB drive on the external drive.  This is fairly straightforward with Acronis; just give the Image a filename, like "Notebook".  Acronis actually created FIVE Image files of about 4GB each named Notebook-1.tib thru Notebook-5.tib.  (TrueImageBackup, I suppose!).

Then I replaced the 40GB Internal drive with the old 20GB internal drive.  One can't use the Acronis program on the Internal drive; you have to capture the boot process on the notebook (F2 with a Toshiba) and cause it to boot off the Acronis recovery CD by pressing "C".  Here you go through a process to select the Image on the External drive (any of the five images) and the destination drive.  This process is sorta' time consuming with USB 1.1 and requires roughly eight hours to go through all the steps.

Major Restoration Steps:
    "Image Archive Selection" -Select a .tib file from the folder "tree".
    "Partition or Disk to Restore" -Click Disk 1.
    "Analyzing partition C:" -This takes place on the External drive and may require 30 minutes.
    "Restore Hard Disk Drive Location" -Click on Disk-1.  (The source drive is now "Disk-2"!).
    "Next Selection" -No I don't want to restore another partition.
    "Acronis is ready to proceed with restoring your data......
    "Operation 1 of 2, Clearing disk"
    "Operation 2 of 2, Restoring partition".
    "Current operation progress".
        "Analyzing Partition" (on the external drive)
        "Current operation progress" (Bar graph)
        "Total operation progress (Bar graph)
           (The estimated time remaining starts out at about 18 hours, but reduces to about eight hours)
The result is a functioning 20GB internal drive.

So far, Acronis has not failed to do any operation I've asked it to.
Now, there is no excuse for having any EXTENDED downtime from a hard-drive failure!!

Happy (and SAFE) computing,

jack yeazel