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Windows 95/98/Cloning a drive - questions

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Hi Kevin,

I'm really not asking about about any particular version of Windows - I (and my brothers) have systems with XP, Vista, 7, 8, maybe even a real old one with Win98 loaded. I assume my questions (the answers, rather), would be the same for any Windows version.

I just bought (haven't recvd it yet) a contraption that has slots for every possible hard drive - IDE, PATA, *(IDE may = PATA - ?), SATA, SCSI, 2.5", 3.5", etc.

You can put "ANY" of your drives in it's appropriate slot, and (I assume a blank, formatted the same as one you want to clone) hard drive in IT'S appropriate slot, and hit "Go" -  or whatever - to clone.

It says that it will make "an exact, byte-by-byte, (good AND bad sectors) 'CLONE' of the hard drive."

It had around 270 customer ratings with, I believe, a total 4.7 out of 5 stars on Amazon, so it must do what it says.

My question is this: For instance, right now, I'm on a Lenovo T400 with Win 8, 6GB RAM, and a 500GB (SATA / NTFS) hard drive (ab. 70% full).

If I powered this laptop down, pulled out the hard drive ("A"), put IT and a blank (at least 500GB) hard drive, "B", (I guess it would ALSO need to be SATA / formatted w/NTFS) in the other slot, and hit "Go", and it copied my laptop drive "A" 'byte-by-byte', that DOESN'T mean that I could THEN, when it's through copying, put the 'new' drive, "B" into the laptop, boot it up, and I would never know the difference, does it?

I guess I would lose all of my settings, whatever was in the 6GB of RAM, Registry settings, etc..

This is prob. a dumb question, too, but where does the Registry go? Does IT get copied over? (I know that I can backup the Registry, but I don't think that would do me much good, would it, as far as putting DRIVE "B" in, and expecting to resume where I left off when I removed the original drive "A"?

Actually, that's okay. I'm not even trying to make a bootable clone. I mainly just want to know how to make SURE that EVERY single file that I have on my drive "A" is transferred to my drive "B", (even .TMP files, Histories, Temp. Internet Files, 'Recent' files, etc.) and with good integrity - not a bunch of corrupted files (UNLESS the original in drive "A" was corrupted). I don't care what 'structure' that the files are in, as long as they're all there.

So, if I opened Win Explorer - BEFORE removing Drive "A" to copy it, clicked on: 'C: Drive', hit CTRL+A, 'ENTER', selecting all 'C' folders, and getting the 'Properties', and say that I had: 236,913 files -and- 43,520 folders, then took it (Drive 'A') out, and copied it to Drive 'B', should Drive 'B', after the 'cloning', ALSO have: 236,913 files -and- 43,520 folders? IF it didn't, what might NOT be getting copied over??

Last, If, after cloning "A" to "B", I then put the original drive 'A' back into the notebook that it came OUT of, will I have lost things, like 'settings', wallpapers, passwords, etc?

Oh, and if I put the new hard drive "B" into a USB external enclosure, plugged it in to ANY laptop, and explored it, would these "236,913 files/43,520 folders" be in a logical structure, (i.e.
$Recycle Bin
Docs & Settings
Drivers
Intel
Program Files
Users
Windows,
etc.), or would they all be in just a bunch of jumbled, 'Windows-newly-(strangely)-named' directories?

Thank you SO much for your help. I'm a newbie (obviously), & trying to learn how file-systems work. Sorry it's so long, too.  It's really only a few easy questions (for YOU), BUT it was a little hard trying to get my thoughts out - so you knew what I was even talking about. Anyway, Thank you VERY MUCH again, for your time and help!

Luke

PS. (I'll tip you, if you have a PayPal button on your page, or you can give me whatever I need - eml address, etc. - to tip your PayPal acct.)

Answer
Hi Luke,

If you don't mind me asking, what is the device you purchased?

Since you are cloning the entire drive, this should clone the Master Boot Record (aka MBR) along with the Windows Operating System. So I would say yes, it should work if you swap out the original drive with the cloned drive.

What settings are you referring to? The ones you made in Windows and your programs? Those should remain identical to what you had setup originally. Think of this "cloned" drive as your entire drive backup that you can swap out in case your original drive fails.

The registry in Windows is basically .DAT files stored in your local hard drive. I wouldn't worry about this either. Whatever you cloned to the second drive will have this same exact registry at the time you did the clone.

To do what you are asking, I think this device to clone is overkill. The device you bought seems to do a direct clone of the entire hard drive which is really helpful in disastrous cases. For your needs, I think you should be fine using a program like SyncBack. I have used it for years and this program does the job even for a free program (they have a paid version as well if I remember correctly). You can select what you want to backup specifically.

You will have the same exact number of files and folder if that device does a byte by byte clone. I say use SyncBack instead unless you need that hard drive cloning device for some other reasons.

No. Your original drive (and the cloned drive) will work as expected with all the settings, wallpaper, etc. intact exactly as you left it before you shut it down for cloning.

If you used the cloned drive as an "external" hard drive, it will be in the Windows structure. You should see a new drive letter assigned to it and it will show all those folders you mentioned. You can do a direct copy of those files if needed. As simple as that :-)

Donations are completely optional but I do have Paypal donation setup in my page. Feel free to contribute if you like.

Hope that helps. Don't hesitate to ask any other questions you may have.

Kevin.

Windows 95/98

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Kevin

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I`m familiar with Windows 95/98/2K/XP/7 problems and will try my best to assist you. Feel free to ask any software or hardware related questions.

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I started using computers over 10 years ago and have grown to both love and hate it to say the least. I have studied computer programming and graduated with a bachelor's degree in computer science.

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Bachelors in computer information science

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