Live USB Backup of hard drive?

Discussion in 'Computer Games and General Discussion' started by loco365, Jul 18, 2015.

  1. loco365
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    loco365 GBAtemp Guru

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    So with Windows 10 heading to RTM right away, and because I'm an insider I'll be having first access to the RTM copy of WinX, I wish to back up the entire contents of my hard drive (Approx 450 GB to a 3 TB external drive), and perform a clean installation on my laptop, leaving nothing behind and allowing the computer to breathe freely of all the shit I've put on it over the past few years. There's a few things that I wish to ensure though:

    1. I can do this over a USB 3.0 connection
    2. I can browse the files through Windows Explorer after I've upgraded, as to copy back the files I wish to keep
    3. The backed up files are not in some proprietary format that I cannot access later on

    I'd presume I could possibly do this with a Ubuntu Live CD or USB, but are there any other options?
     
  2. Tom Bombadildo

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    I forgot
    Do you mean just being able to keep all of your programs and settings as they were, and just moving them to the external from the old install and then from the external to the new install? If so, then some programs might work fine, but with most you'll need to backup their registry entries in addition to just backing up the HDD, along with making sure any relevant settings files they may put in the Appdata folder are properly copied.

    You don't really need to do anything special, either, you could just simply copy-paste the contents of your C:\ drive (excluding the Windows folder) to your external drive along with making a registry backup. You could also use Windows Backup and Restore to create a system image of your Windows install, it would just create a virtual HDD that you could mount with Windows 10 (assuming they've kept that feature, but I would imagine they have).
     
  3. loco365
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    loco365 GBAtemp Guru

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    At this point, I'm not even really caring about the registry, since I'll be clean installing anyway. My recovery partition will probably be able to rescue me should anything go wrong. It's just all the files of mine that I'm wanting to keep backed up.

    I'll look into making the VHD image though, that sounds incredibly easy.
     
  4. lampdemon

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  5. Kayot

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    If you want to browse the files, then you could always write down the partition layout, flags, and UUID then copy each partition to a folder on the external disk using an Ubuntu live disk. I've done this before, only I've compressed the data into the folders. The only downside is it corrupts your recycle bin, so don't bother coping that. You can also DD the drive into an image file that you can mount in linux should you need something on it. I suggest defragging the drive (if it's not a SSD) and sdeleting the freespace, then use sparse settings when you copy the data to the drive. Other wise you'll get an exact copy of the drive including the free space garbage from old files.

    Something else to consider, VirtualBox (Don't do red items if your drive is a SSD)
    1. Defrag the Disk, MyDefrag is good at putting all the data together, but you can use Defraggler if you want to.
    2. Download sdelete and tell it to wipe your free space.

    Code:
    sdelete -z C:\
    3. Download and boot into a live linux disc. I like mint with MATE, but you can use whatever.
    a. Update apt-get and install some programs. You'll need VirtualBox and dcfldd.
    Code:
    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get install virtualbox dcfldd
    4. Get your device id. You can do this in Ubuntu with the command:
    Code:
    sudo fdisk -l
    Your decive is the one with the right size and probably two partitions. It'll be something like /dev/sd? where the ? is a letter.
    5. Mount your usb 3.0 device. I mount mine in the /media/ folder, but it really dosne't matter.
    6. Make a raw image
    Code:
    dcfldd if=/dev/sd? of=/media/usb3device/filename.raw
    7. Now turn it into a vdi for Virtualbox.
    Code:
    VBoxManage convertfromraw /media/usb3device/filename.raw /media/usb3device/filename.vdi
    8. You now have a VirtualBox image that you can run in VirtualBox in windows. Remember to tick "Enable IO APIC" under the CPU tab.

    With this, you can run your old os in a VirtualBox. You might have to crack the activation but that's a tutorial for another time.
     
  6. loco365
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    loco365 GBAtemp Guru

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    So I tried doing this today, and it kept failing because of not being able to make shadow copies due to a lack of room. HOWEVER, I did some more looking around, and came across Macrium Reflect Free Edition. I used their application to back up my entire hard drive (The resulting archive was 316GB, probably compressed somehow) and that took about 2 hours. It also has a feature to convert their proprietary format (.mrimg) to VHD as well, which I'm doing right now (Although it's slow as all hell, but has roughly 300GB done, which if memory serves is completely uncompressed, but it's been going for over three hours, so it's probably decompressing the data and writing it to the VHD). It seems to be working nicely, I'll probably browse the VHD after it's done converting and see that everything came out intact.

    Edit: VHD conversion succeeded and it seems to be 100% correct, no errors of any kind.
     
    Last edited by loco365, Jul 27, 2015