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    Cloning System SSD drive bad idea?
    #1
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    Once I get my system working with all my software installed and working right I physically take out my C:> Samsung EVO SSD and using a hardware clone machine I bit by bit clone it to another physical C:> Samsung EVO SSD. Then I put one back in my computer and save the other in a desk in case I need to swap them out due to a problem. I only do this based on major changes to my system, and not a yearly or monthly scheduled backup.
    But what I am trying to determine is if such hardware cloning from SSD to SSD in some way compromises, slows down or is otherwise a bad idea? Or if software cloning is better?

    On a side note - In a different system I also have a C: that is NMVE and plan to hardware clone it to another NVME (same brand/model) for a backup too.

    My goal is to have a spare physical system drive for each workstation that can be swapped back in, in case something happens I need to quickly get back to where I was and continue working.
    I have so much software with all these licenses and hassles and stuff that a re-installation is a very very long and time costing endeaver.

    Reason I'm asking is I have read that cloning SSDs drives might have issues. Here is some info from a very helpful nice fellow regarding such:

    "The main issue of SSD's is cloning them, and having the support to properly clone in software and with docks due to the possible SSD controller's logics being different, and the mapping to the flash. In other words, you cannot bit-to-bit like you can with HDD. With an SSD you need to treat it as like a physical install of drive, activate/partition, THEN copy the bits over, and set as boot (if it to be boot from). A easier way to mean what I say is that, the interface is a standard but how the flash is communicated with and is handled is not necessarily a standard. This is the FTL-Flash Translation Layer (Flash Translation Layer - an overview | ScienceDirect Topics). So, if the copy was not proper with the translation you will have "malalignment."

    I always read about the controller, make sure it has integrated DRAM for cache (I am not talking about the possible NAND cache set aside) and then make that purchase. This could be one reason as to note a difference in performance. Writes vary with controllers, DRAM or DRAM-less, and NAND cache. Reads should always be basically fast, but based off of channels as in how fast (q.v. USB flash drives). Writes.....that is a weakness of all flash, and technically you want to read more from an SSD than write to it. This is a good read if you have the time and want to learn a bit. I don't think it goes to far over the head: Coding for SSDs Part 3: Pages, Blocks, and the Flash Translation Layer | Code Capsule.

    Perhaps, you may want to look into having a Windows 7 VM? Be able to upgrade to modern HW and SW eco-system, and still keep legacy applications. Your mileage will vary. You do have possible modern options. BTW, in the digital know we call this, and your issue(s) "nesting."

    Edit: With a VM, which is actually free via software or integration within the modern OS, you have the ability to also keep the image of the install!! Easy to back up and easy to copy into the VM managers to operate. This would be a better way to keep the nest, if the favor of the digital god's are with you......"


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    #2
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    Done it numerous times. Usually, refresh my system SSD every six to eight months. It was a common practice in broadcast TV for years with Character Generators and Qantel Paint Boxes. The only problem I found in later days when doing this is that some of my software needs online re-activation. Online activation usually registers your software using the system hard drive ID and the CPU ID. What has happened to me is that I have had to deactivate certain software online and then re-activate it to the new drive as it sees the software as being a new installation on a new system. The only time I have had any local hard drive issues is when a software backup has been faulty. I now only do hardware backups using a dual dock hardware unit which requires no computer intervention whatsoever. You just drop your system drive in the "source" slot and a new blank drive, same size or larger, into the "target" slot and make sure the unit is switched to "clone" and hit the go button. Your average Windows system drive is cloned in about twenty minutes. I won't use NVME drives for my system drives as I haven't yet found a suitable way to do hardware backups offboard of a PC .

    Chris Young
    Last edited by cyvideo; 12-06-2020 at 09:09 PM.


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    #3
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    Thank you cyvideo. I use a standalone dual dock hardware unit that requires no computer intervention also.
    When you encountered license issues, were you cloning to the same brand/model of drive? So far I haven't run into any license breaking issues but that has remained a concern.

    As far as doing NVME drives, the company told me a workaround involving some adapters and using my USB clone device that should work hopefully (I haven't tried it).


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