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What is difference between System Clone/Migration and Disk Clone?

edited November 2015 in AOMEI Products Support

What is the difference between System Clone/Migration and Disk Clone?

Here is my situation:  I have an important Dell Optiplex 755 PC running Win XP Pro SP3 32-bit, and its hard drive is beginning to fail.  I want to copy everything to a new and larger hard drive in the best way.  I also have Aomei Backupper Professional 2.5 on this machine, and I can make a Bootable Media version of it.

So, what Aomei function should I choose?  System Clone or Disk Clone?

What are the pros and cons?

The old hard drive is a Western Digital Velociraptor WD1600HLFS-75G6U0 (156GB, SATA-II 3.0Gb/s).

The new hard drive will be EITHER (a) a very similar Western Digital Velociraptor that is larger than the existing hard drive OR (b) a Seagate Momentus XT hybrid HD-SSD that we bought in 2011 and never used.

Maybe your answer depends on which one I choose as the new hard drive ?

Please provide lots of detail !!  And any tips on doing this correctly.



  • edited November 2015

    Disk clone copies the entire disk. System clone copies just c:\ and the associated hidden invisible partitions that Windows creates and needs. In your case Disk clone would be appropriate. Anyway, think the soon-be-failing disk is your backup of the new disk (it is not destroyed by cloning).When you take the wrong decision, you may clone again. Disconnect the cable(s) of the soon-be-failing disk, but leave in the chassis until you know.

    Consider, as it is even more appropriate, booting from the bootable emergency disk and doing the Clone operation there.

    For the hybrid disk I can't say, except that when the SSD is transparent, just an internal Cache, it would not matter. If it is two volumes, requires extra drivers, I wouldn't.

  • Peter - Thanks.  Aomei Partition Master Pro 5.6 shows that the old hard drive has two partitions - a hidden partition in FAT16 and the C:\ partition.  The hidden partition has files and folders from Dell.  I do NOT know whether it also has the MBR or other files from Windows.

    Question 1:  What is the actual file name of the MBR?

    Question 2:  If I use System clone, then disconnect the old drive, but the new hard drive does not boot, can I use (a) the Backupper emergency disk or (b) the Partition Master create media disk to recreate the MBR in the new hard drive?

  • edited November 2015

    The hidden partition is usually the Recovery partition and contains the factory reset data. If not, it is a tools partition. When I remember right my Dell laptop of 2003 year had both. Because it is FAT16, it is a tools partition (system test and the like, maybe even used by BIOS tests). Recovery partition would be about 2GB, and tools partition is very small.

    System Clone does not include these manufacturer partitions. I should have written about it but forgot. Therefore use Disk Clone.

    Answer 1: MBR is not a file, but a disk partititioning and booting style. As you have an old Dell with XP, you just don't need to care on this. However the new disk may not contain a MBR. As far as I remember, the initialization command would be fdisk /mbr, but use Disk Clone.

    Answer 2: yes you can try to repair MBR, but anyway System Clone is not right for your situation. Do Disk Clone, because it will include the hidden partition. And again I notice you do have an old system, running XP.

    Come back and ask more questions after you have done Disk Clone.

  • edited November 2015

    I have an even more reasonable advice, instead of using Clone

    - do a disk backup of your old disk, to an external USB disk.

    - recover the disk backup to your new disk.

    Do both operations from the emergency disk.

    I always did it this way when I replaced the disk (mainly swapping a disk for a larger disk, which I did many times on my various laptops)

  • Peter - thanks for both answers.  Is backup and recover better than disk clone?  Why?

  • edited November 2015

    Yes it is better, the old disk is read only once, and you have an image of it at a safe place on the external USB disk. You can then recover as many times as needed. Should all fail, you can "mount" the image on another working computer and access your data files there.

    the backup image (.adi) ist just an ordinary file and can easily be handled.

    Yes it is better to do the operation from the emergency disk, because then the OS is not involved.

    Anyway, it is just 160GB (how much is it filled?) and proceed within a few hours at USB2 speed. If the 160GB disk is nearly full, consider installing a larger disk, perhaps 250GB or 320GB if the computer supports it and you still find such a small disk.

    Another compelling advantage, on laptops, they have just one place for a disk.

  • Which is better emergency disk -

    Aomei Backupper Pro 2.5 from April 2015 Giveaway of the Day, or

    Aomei Backupper Standard 3.2 (Free) that I made October 2015?

  • edited November 2015

    Aomei Backupper Standard 3.2 (Free) that I made October 2015.

    Why? newer is better, even without looking at the differences. And Free has the features needed.

  • Did you clone successfully?

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