The White Whale: I give up on Aomeitech Backupper
I wasted an entire day yesterday trying to upgrade my hard drive from an 500gb SSD to a 1TB SSD. So I give up on this @#$@#$@ software. I finally got the system working today by using linux and plain ole dd. Before that I tried--really, really tried--hard to make this software work.
I'll detail what I did and why I tried it in case some other person can learn from this experience. But the bottom line is (for at least version 2.1.0 purchased about a 13 months ago) don't buy this software if you're trying to clone your system drive. It isn't worth it. It isn't reliable.
Okay here's my story:
I originally purchased AOMEI Backupper to switch a mail server data drive to a larger drive. Here it worked just fine, and I was pleased with it. But yesterday, I decided I needed to update my workstation hard drive.
I've updated hard drives before. My usual approach is to boot up a Linux Live CD (I generally use Ubuntu), hook up a dual bay USB drive, and just dd from one to another. It works well. But this time, I considered that it was a 500GB drive, that my USB docking bay is version 2.0 (48 MB/s one way, about 24 MB/s read->write) or about 6 hours to clone. But I considered that my workstation has two SATA docking bays built into the case--and THAT should give me about 480 MB/s one way... about 30 minutes to clone. Cool. I put in my Linux Live USB thumb drive, booted it up and tried a dd. Crap! The motherboard was incompatible--after fiddling with it a bit, I managed to boot into text mode but a dd had a miseable throughput of 1.1 MB/s. Searching for drivers in the hope that I'll hit on something that works did not appeal to me. At that rate it would take about 4 days to clone the hard drive. That was a non-starter.
Ah. Then I remembered I had AOMEI Backupper. Hey that ought to work!
And imagine how happy I was when it was indicated that it can actually clone the System hard drive while you're using it(!)
So I installed AOMEI and bada-bing. It cloned the hard drive in 30 minutes. I thought I had a winner.
Then I tried to boot the clone drive. It didn't boot--complaining that a hardware change probably nixed the disk and that I should try to use my original installtion disk. So I tried the Win 7 "Repair disk" utility as recommended, and afterward the system would boot to the "Starting Windows" then blue screen of death.
Maybe sector-by-sector? Same thing.
Maybe "clone System"? Same thing.
Maybe the problem was the source drive was live? So I made an AOMEI usb boot disk, pulled the drive, put it in the SATA bays, booted AOMEI and cloned. Same thing--clone won't boot.
(note: I checked obvious things like making sure that both drives were set for GPT, that the patitions looked identical in layout, etc.)
By then, more than 10 hours of fiddling have gone by. But I'm gonna kill this white whale.
I installed Windows 7 from scratch. Then tried to use System clone to clone just the system drive. Same thing, drive wouldn't boot.
I fiddled with it some more trying various types of cloning (clone drive, clone partition, clone system) all to no avail.
I need my computer on Monday. So I gave up. This morning, since I had opened the case anyway, I booted Linux live on my laptop, hooked up my dual bay USB drive, and DD'd the drive. A rough calculation: 6 hours to dupe it. So I wnet to Church... ate lunch, when I got home it was all done.
Booted up with no problems at all..
Verdict: AOMEI sucks. Don't buy it. Linux is free.
(1) If it worked as intended, I think AOMEI would have been my go-to software.
(2) I AM using a 13 month old license. I could have bought an upgrade, but looking at the release notes, nothing seemed to indicate addressing this problem... and I wouldn't buy an upgrade if there were no guarantee it would work.