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My laptop runs XP and I have all the op sys discs that came with it. I know I can back up all data and programs with various utilities but can I clone an entire drive, including the op system?

MY plan was to buy a new HD, install the op sys and slap all the data and programs onto it. That way, I have a complete clone ready to go should my current drive crash.

My main question is, does Mircosoft recognize when I reinstall the op system on another drive and thereby prevent me from having it operable on two separate drives? I would not use them both at the same time.

I know I can always just keep the op sys disc ready and install/backup in the event of a crash but I was wondering if a complete cloning is actually possible.

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Are you describing an external HD, connected to the laptop by USB cord? If so, then no, that won't work. But I do recommend an external for file backup. I've survived multiple crashes with mine.

An new internal HD would work, but you would need to physically install it after removing drive #1. But I'm no expert.

Partition D:/ is supposed to have all that on it, but it has never been any help to me. I think you need to boot from D:/ to get anything useful from that.

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My laptop runs XP and I have all the op sys discs that came with it. I know I can back up all data and programs with various utilities but can I clone an entire drive, including the op system?

MY plan was to buy a new HD, install the op sys and slap all the data and programs onto it. That way, I have a complete clone ready to go should my current drive crash.

My main question is, does Mircosoft recognize when I reinstall the op system on another drive and thereby prevent me from having it operable on two separate drives? I would not use them both at the same time.

I know I can always just keep the op sys disc ready and install/backup in the event of a crash but I was wondering if a complete cloning is actually possible.

There are products like Norton Ghost, Genie Backup, and Acronis True Image that seem like they'd do what you're describing.

However, you might consider instead setting up a Virtual PC. With that, you'd have an entire computer operating system, including all of the programs and files that you want, in a single file that you can carry around in a flash drive in your pocket.

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However, you might consider instead setting up a Virtual PC. With that, you'd have an entire computer operating system, including all of the programs and files that you want, in a single file that you can carry around in a flash drive in your pocket.

Can you point me to the web page where that capability is explained? I've at least two applications for such a capability.

Marc

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However, you might consider instead setting up a Virtual PC. With that, you'd have an entire computer operating system, including all of the programs and files that you want, in a single file that you can carry around in a flash drive in your pocket.

Can you point me to the web page where that capability is explained? I've at least two applications for such a capability.

Marc

http://www.microsoft.com/windows/virtual-pc/

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I'm familiar with that page. I don't see where it says that apps can be installed on a flash drive and run from that location via Virtual PC.

Reader Patricia has a question: "Why can't application software be put on USB drives instead of [hard] disks?"

Actually, some software can indeed run from a USB drive (a.k.a. flash drive). And that's mighty handy, as it allows you to carry your favorite programs in your pocket and use them just by plugging the drive into any PC.

But this doesn't work for everything; many programs need to reside on the same physical drive as Windows. Heavy-duty apps like Office and Photoshop, for instance, are inextricably tied to the operating system; you could theoretically install them on your flash drive, but they wouldn't run on any other PC. And you'd run the risk of corrupting both the program and Windows.

Chk out the full article here.

Marc

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I've had the same copy of XP on several machines in the past, I had no problems. Now, Win7 is a different story.

Ben,

Did you have it installed and functioning on more than one machine at the same time?

Yup. In my experience, all MS products will still work, you just get a nag screen saying it's not authorized, blah, blah.

MS is only going to support XP for another few years, meaning no more updates, etc. I highly doubt you have any trouble. Unless the protocol has changed since I was using XP, you shouldn't have trouble using the same serial key on a couple machines.

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I'm familiar with that page. I don't see where it says that apps can be installed on a flash drive and run from that location via Virtual PC.

Reader Patricia has a question: "Why can't application software be put on USB drives instead of [hard] disks?"

Actually, some software can indeed run from a USB drive (a.k.a. flash drive). And that's mighty handy, as it allows you to carry your favorite programs in your pocket and use them just by plugging the drive into any PC.

But this doesn't work for everything; many programs need to reside on the same physical drive as Windows. Heavy-duty apps like Office and Photoshop, for instance, are inextricably tied to the operating system; you could theoretically install them on your flash drive, but they wouldn't run on any other PC. And you'd run the risk of corrupting both the program and Windows.

Chk out the full article here.

Marc

I didn't mean to imply that you could run it from a flash drive, only that you can carry it around on one. You'd have to install the file on a computer that has the virtual PC software already on it.

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OK, different versions of XP will perform differently when you try that, running the same software on two computers. You might run into grief if you try to update a pirate version of XP. XP Professional for several computers maybe no problems, but the Home edition can get cranky. If you don't upload any updates, you could be fine, but vulnerable to the later versions of viruses. If you go online with your backup machine, you could turn off automatic updates. Updating can be done, but you need to take care how you go about it. Or so I'm told. [:)]

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OK, different versions of XP will perform differently when you try that, running the same software on two computers. You might run into grief if you try to update a pirate version of XP. XP Professional for several computers maybe no problems, but the Home edition can get cranky. If you don't upload any updates, you could be fine, but vulnerable to the later versions of viruses. If you go online with your backup machine, you could turn off automatic updates. Updating can be done, but you need to take care how you go about it. Or so I'm told. [:)]

If you're referring to Virtual PC, no, it works fine. The software only "sees" the virtual environment. I've got a virtual PC that I can run on three different machines. My wife keeps a whole bunch of different virtual machines on her work computer so that she can run software in an environment that matches that of the particular customer that she's dealing with at the time.

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OK, different versions of XP will perform differently when you try that, running the same software on two computers. You might run into grief if you try to update a pirate version of XP. XP Professional for several computers maybe no problems, but the Home edition can get cranky. If you don't upload any updates, you could be fine, but vulnerable to the later versions of viruses. If you go online with your backup machine, you could turn off automatic updates. Updating can be done, but you need to take care how you go about it. Or so I'm told. [:)]

If you're referring to Virtual PC, no, it works fine. The software only "sees" the virtual environment. I've got a virtual PC that I can run on three different machines. My wife keeps a whole bunch of different virtual machines on her work computer so that she can run software in an environment that matches that of the particular customer that she's dealing with at the time.

Thanks, I was just going on about routine XP sys use and problems. Virtual PC sounds like a good program.
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