What is DISK CLONING? It's a LIVE copy of your entire hard drive. Not a backup. So if your machine crashes, you just reboot from the USB external hard drive CLONE you made, using some utility like my all-time favorite, Macrium Reflect 5 Pro. Happily, last night I decided to clone. Takes an hour, whether 35-65GB. You can remind yourself to clone by putting a reminder in Scheduled Tasks, in XP. You can't automate the cloning process, because you have to select the external drive to which you clone.
The other advantage is that you can take that drive and boot from any other PC you have. There might be driver issues, but if the OS is the same and the hardware is similar, it will likely work. In Macrium you also have the option to restore to dissimilar hardware, but that is not the same as cloning. To Windows, the clone looks the same as the real computer. (Again, if the hardware is too different, Windows' built-in paranoia might suspect piracy, and beat you up for reactivation by phone.)
So, here's what happened today: while I awaited download, I came here to PC World to read; suddenly, just after my post on yet another claim about Win7 superiority (NOT!), then clicking on the next file to download -- my machine suddenly rebooted. Turned out Norton's GoBack (for Win95 through XP), had disabled my system; because, it detected an 'instability'. So the system kept on rebooting, because GoBack was still enabled, and of course its own cache didn't clear. At the time, I didn't know that was the problem. All I knew was that I had a 5pm deadline and an endlessly rebooting drive. Even PE Recovery wouldn't work, even when I restored the MBR from my clone drive. Dang thing kept rebooting endlessly, even after that.
So, finally, I resolved to boot from the clone I'd made from my Macrium Reflect 5 Pro last night (whew), and just use it. But, when trying to do that, it wouldn't run; BSoD said it was because GoBack2k.sys was in the bootloader. Oh. So then I renamed that file on the clone drive, rebooted using it, and got a slightly different BSoD. Which of course, I've no idea how to interpret. But at least the endless rebooting, stopped. I unplugged.
So then I booted from the supposedly-failed hard drive, and when GoBack's familiar fleeting blue progress bar showed, I hit the Space bar and disabled GoBack. Then it booted from my supposedly-dead drive, just fine. But THEN -- and this is important, folks -- I went to my trusty TuneUp Utilities 2011 and selected Disk Doctor. That's the ONLY way I can get chkdsk /f to work on my root drive. So, TuneUp bid me reboot, and for the next two hours it fixed one error after the next on the hard drive. Then booted fine.
Dare I say that I was trying to download a Windows iso file when the problem began? Not burning, download.
So here's the message: 1) Disable GoBack before you clone your drive, so you can just plug it in and boot; 2) if GoBack was enabled when your drive died, on reboot you have to disable GoBack. You can always re-enable it from Norton System Works, later.
That clone thingy is great, just boot from the USB and your whole computer is in that external drive, no problems. BUT if you use GoBack like I do, it has to be disabled, at boot time.
This post has been edited by brainout: 05 September 2012 - 02:55 PM