Need advice regarding the best way to duplicate (clone?) another computer? It's overwhelming the avail.software choices

Archived From: Technology
  • Page :
  • 1
  • Text Only
rated:
Hello my trusted fw friends,
My father passed away  and I need to make a duplicate copy of his computers (desktop-Dell, Laptop-Toshiba, tablet-IpadAir) for my sister who lives in another town.  My goal is to make a working copy so we can access the information, but eliminate the risk of unintentionally "messing it up" (changing data or losing data) when we do. Is it possible to make a "read only" copy?  He has his desktop backed up to a Buffalo HD-LB2.OTu3 .  Can I just copy that backup drive to another computer?  I was thinking I may need to purchase another computer strickly to copy his data too so it doesn't get mixed in with mine.  

Any suggestions will be appreciated as I have have no idea how to accomplish this task.  
Thank you for reading my post.

Member Summary
Staff Summary
Thanks for visiting FatWallet.com. Join for free to remove this ad.

Well as long as you don't need to read special program data (like for example a TurboTax 2005 file). You just copy the entire c:\users directory. You get a full copy of everything important on his email (as well as stuff you really don't need) but you get to hit the big directories, Documents, Downloads, Desktop, Videos, Pictures, Music.

That's the way I backup computers when I know I don't have a specialty program (No I don't count 'word' as a specialty program)

Sorry about your father. That really sucks

External hard drives are cheap these days. Buy one, make a laptop and desktop folder, and copy the data files (c:\users\FathersName\*) from each machine. You can then hook the external up to your PC and get to the data. Buy a second one and do the same thing for your sister. That will let you keep all of the original stuff separate and untouched, just in case something went wrong during the copy or in case you delete something from the backups.

As for what to use for the copy, I'd just drag and drop inside Windows itself. No need for anything special because you'll still have all the original stuff sitting there if there's a problem. If you run into issues / missing data you can always look into something more complex for a second attempt, but chances are that won't be needed.

forbin4040 said:   Well as long as you don't need to read special program data (like for example a TurboTax 2005 file). You just copy the entire c:users directory. You get a full copy of everything important on his email (as well as stuff you really don't need) but you get to hit the big directories, Documents, Downloads, Desktop, Videos, Pictures, Music.

That's the way I backup computers when I know I don't have a specialty program (No I don't count 'word' as a specialty program)

  Thank you for the great suggestion.  I'm glad that your procedure includes copies of his email because I definately want those.  How do I get to the users directory?  Its been a while since I used a windows operating system.  Do go to Run=> c:\users directory   
Thanks again for your helpful reply.

 

minidrag said:   Sorry about your father. That really sucks

External hard drives are cheap these days. Buy one, make a laptop and desktop folder, and copy the data files (c:usersFathersName*) from each machine. You can then hook the external up to your PC and get to the data. Buy a second one and do the same thing for your sister. That will let you keep all of the original stuff separate and untouched, just in case something went wrong during the copy or in case you delete something from the backups.

As for what to use for the copy, I'd just drag and drop inside Windows itself. No need for anything special because you'll still have all the original stuff sitting there if there's a problem. If you run into issues / missing data you can always look into something more complex for a second attempt, but chances are that won't be needed.

Thank you for your most helpful suggestion, and I appreciate your kind words regarding my Dad.  Yes, it totally sucks.  He was my HERO and I miss him so much.  
Do you think 2TB would be a big enough external hard drive to copy both his business and personsl files?  
It's been a while since I've used a windows computer, do I go to RUN then type c:\users\DadsName\*
Then drag and drop into the Laptop and Desktop folders respectively?  
Thank you again for your helpful reply.

heartharlez said:   
forbin4040 said:   Well as long as you don't need to read special program data (like for example a TurboTax 2005 file). You just copy the entire c:users directory. You get a full copy of everything important on his email (as well as stuff you really don't need) but you get to hit the big directories, Documents, Downloads, Desktop, Videos, Pictures, Music.

That's the way I backup computers when I know I don't have a specialty program (No I don't count 'word' as a specialty program)

  Thank you for the great suggestion.  I'm glad that your procedure includes copies of his email because I definately want those.  How do I get to the users directory?  Its been a while since I used a windows operating system.  Do go to Run=> c:users directory   
Thanks again for your helpful reply.

  
The emails should be stored in a .pst file. Search in the box for *.pst and you might find it, if he used outlook. To import the emails in another outlook you would go to file>open/import pst and you would see them there. These are not the exact steps but you can find that information online easily. This is a link to import onto a MAC https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Import-a-pst-file-from-...
To get an exact copy of the drive I would use dd on Knoppix or any other linux CD bootable distro. You can dd an exact copy onto an external drive. It's not an easy procedure, if you're not comfortable with it I would pass. Cloning the drive takes a while, there's a lot of data to be moved. Ask a friend who knows what they're doing to help you out.  

One of things I forgot to mention (or did it slightly)

Emails are not always stored in C:\mY documents It depends on the client, however if you copy the entire c:\users directory, you will get all the emails stored no matter where they are. Now reading them might be fun to find, but you will have a copy even if it is stored in some weird directory.

forbin4040 said:   One of things I forgot to mention (or did it slightly)

Emails are not always stored in C:mY documents It depends on the client, however if you copy the entire c:users directory, you will get all the emails stored no matter where they are. Now reading them might be fun to find, but you will have a copy even if it is stored in some weird directory.
 

Not trying to complicate things here, but unless I'm mistaken, emails can possibly be stored anywhere on the drive and copying the C:\Users directory doesn't guarantee you'll get them.  I know on my machines before I switched to web-based email you wouldn't get them.

I imagine what you're saying is true for default settings, and probably true here, but if it were me, I'd make an image of the entire drive before I did anything at all...

heartharlez said:   
Do you think 2TB would be a big enough external hard drive to copy both his business and personsl files?  
It's been a while since I've used a windows computer, do I go to RUN then type c:usersDadsName*
Then drag and drop into the Laptop and Desktop folders respectively? 
 

  We can't answer the question about size. You'll need to check on the PCs to see how much space is being used.  Just Right Click on the \user\DadsName folder and click on Properties.  It will show the size.

To get to it depends on the version of Windows.  If it's 7 - Click on Start, Computer, C drive, Users and find the DadsName folder.  Right Click on that and drag it to the External, selecting Copy when you let go of the Right Button.

heartharlez said:    I'm glad that your procedure includes copies of his email because I definately want those.
 

  Email varies widely and completely depends on what he was using.  Outlook, Outlook Express, Windows Mail, Thunderbird.. all are different.  And if he was just using webmail, like something Verizon provides, it won't be on his PC at all, just on their web site.

If you're not comfortable doing it, you could also just take the computers to a place that offers tech support (local independent or a big box retailer) and have them transfer the data to external drives for you.  A more expensive option, but they may find files you might otherwise miss?

mikk1 said:   If you're not comfortable doing it, you could also just take the computers to a place that offers tech support (local independent or a big box retailer) and have them transfer the data to external drives for you.  A more expensive option, but they may find files you might otherwise miss?
  Good point.  When I ran my repair shop I did this kind of thing for people all the time.  Usually when they were replacing a PC, but sometimes due to a death in the family.

I know the thread is old but for future reference, I just used Macrium Reflect free version to make a disk image of my laptop.  I also created a bootable CD that allows me to boot from the CD and create an image without booting into Windows.  I had an old version of Acronis True Image that I used to use from a bootable CD but it didn't want to cooperate with newer hardware.  Kept telling me there were no drives available to image.  It would only see the USB drives I had plugged in.

At any rate, I'm happy with Macrium and would recommend it if you're looking for a solid free program to use.



Disclaimer: By providing links to other sites, FatWallet.com does not guarantee, approve or endorse the information or products available at these sites, nor does a link indicate any association with or endorsement by the linked site to FatWallet.com.

Thanks for visiting FatWallet.com. Join for free to remove this ad.

While FatWallet makes every effort to post correct information, offers are subject to change without notice.
Some exclusions may apply based upon merchant policies.
© 1999-2017