Home Forums SharewareOnSale Deals Discussion DoYourClone / Feb 6 2023 Reply To: DoYourClone / Feb 6 2023

#20818026 Quote
Peter Blaise

In response to [ @David] “… Thanks, Peter – I continue to love you and your reviews. In this case, I’ve never cloned a hard disk before, but now for the first time in my life I do have an external hard disk with lots and lots on it (mostly family, nature, and traveling pictures), and I do want to make a copy of it (I bought a second external hard disk), if only for feeling secure about not losing my data. Is this the kind of program I need to use, to clone the one disk onto the other? Letting it take a long time is no special problem for me. As one who’s never done this sort of thing, is the UI simple enough for me to know what I have to do? …”

Thanks, I hope I help make SharewareOnSale a functional place to share.

On either of those two external drives, you don’t boot from the operating system, and you don’t run software that is installed on those external drives, they are just data.

DATA does not need to be ‘cloned’ – it can be copied, and it will be readable no matter where it’s copied.

The reason to clone is to copy installed programs and bootable operating systems that will not work if they are merely copied, so, to get a copy of an Operating System or copies of installed programs, they must be installed . . . or cloned.

But not data, data can simply be copied.

Copying is FREE.

To copy data in Windows, just drag-and-drop from the contents of one drive to the other drive.


The first time.


– – – – –

But later, after the first copy, as you add stuff to one drive, how do you eventually make sure the second drive is updated?

How do you drag just new stuff?

You can’t.

You drag-and-drop everything.

And then, drag-and-drop would have endless requests for permission to overwrite stuff that already exists on the target drive from the past copy.

After the first copy, you’d just want new stuff, not everything over and over again..

How do you find new stuff only?


Let the computer find it for you.


Instead of cloning software, Microsoft programmers use XCopy or RoboCopy, both are installed FREE with Windows.


Say you have USB drive E: and USB drive F: …

At a DOS prompt or [ Run ] command or when making a batch file, type:

… for XCopy:

xcopy e:\ f:\ /s /d /f /r /h /i /c /y

… where:
… /s = get subdirectories
… /d = by date, only overwrite with newer versions of any existing files
… /f = full display, show what’s happening
… /r = get read-only files
… /h = get hidden and system files
… /i = initialize new directories on the target if needed
… /c = continue past errors
… /y = answer yes to any questions

… for RoboCopy:

robocopy e:\ f:\ /s /xo /xj /w:0 /r:0 /eta /v

… where:
… /s = get subdirectories
… /xo = exclude older files that are already on the target drive
… /xj = exclude junctions, the place-holder folders that Microsoft sometimes builds. this avoids endless loops
… /w:0 = wait zero, that is, do not wait, act immediately
… /r:0 = retry zero, that is, do not retry on error, such as if a file is open and in use
… /eta = estimate the time of arrival, show how long each file is taking
… /v = verbose, show what’s happening

Those single-line commands run from a DOS prompt, or put one of those lines in a batch file with:
… as the second line, and it will wait when done, showing you the total of all the work it just did for you.

– – – – –

If you must drag-and-drop, be ready the second time to answer any ‘overwrite?’ questions – I wedge a paperclip holding down the [ C ] key for ‘continue’, and I go away while it copies everything.

I use FREE TeraCopy v2.3 for smarter drag-and-drop, where I can quickly tell it to overwrite, skip, or rename duplicate files, then I go away while it works.

– – – – –

In theory, we could ‘copy’ our operating system and installed files and Windows registry, but there are many details to preparing a target, partitioning, formatting, editing boot instructions, and so on, hence cloning software just bypasses all that and make a, well, a clone, with all those setting included.

But cloning wipes the target, and that’s wrong for iterative, incremental data backup over time.

So just copy, leaving existing files in place on the target, files that were copied there before.

I have one drive I walk to each computer and I run that RoboCopy line from C:\ to F:\ from each computer to the backup drive, and all it does is copy over new data from each computer, ignoring any existing stuff already on the backup drive, and from the second time I run RoboCopy, it goes rather more quickly, only scanning the target backup drive and finding what’s missing to be copied over, not having to copy everything over and over again, which cloning would have to do in order to get everything.

I can’t boot from the backup drive, but it at least has copies of all my data.

Copy can be told to get only new stuff the first time it’s run, of course, but more importantly, it also can be told to only get new stuff from the second time it’s run, so that makes sense for data backup.

From a DOS prompt, type /? after a command to learn more, and web-search to see how others use that command.

DoYourClone would be distracting overkill, but maybe OK to copy a drive once, say, if you’re going to send a copy of the drive to someone and then never update that drive again <– and THAT makes this post all about DoYourClone! ;-)


Thanks, Asharaf, for letting us explore this and share.