Jump to content

Using windows 8.1 to create a mirror image of HD


Recommended Posts

I've been using Seagate's 1TB external HD to backup my computer's HD. I followed the instructions in control panel to begin the process of making a mirror image. It said to connect a USB of at least 32GB. I just bought a 128GB Sandisk, brought it home, plugged it in, attempted the mirror image process and got the message "this drive is not formatted for NTSF" (I think those letter are correct).

My question, how do I re-format the USB for that?

Link to comment
Share on other sites


Your USB flash thumb drive is formatted to FAT 32, as they all are. The reasons for that are not important here. What you want to do is reformat the drive and instead of using the default FAT32,or EXFAT, use the drop down menu to select NTFS. I would do a full format not quick but that takes a looooooot longer.


Rather than write out along set of directions, or recommending a particular video, here is a search return for dozens of videos on how to do that easily. Watch a few of these until you have a handle on it and then it is easier than you think.



I just open File explorer after the drive has been inserted, then right click on it as it appear o n the left, then click on properties, then click on Format, then drop down the menu where it now say Fat 32 or EXFAT on the format screen and select NTFS, then start the format.


Last thing is that you can't do a clone or copy of a hard drive on a USB thumb drive. You can reformat it to NTFS and store system images on the thumb drive, or any files or backups.


Let me know if that works for ya!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Let's define terms.


Clone or Mirror image: An exact bit by bit copy of a hard drive on another hard drive that can be swapped with a failed drive and updated with data created since the clone from backups or system images. You cannot clone a hard drive to a USB Flash thumb drive. You can clone a hard drive to another hard drive, or an SSD replacement. Some software will only clone to a larger drive. Software designed to upgrade larger drives to smaller SSD drives is also available. To restore a computer with a cloned driver, you just swap the failed Hard Drive with the coned copy from a previous time. No restore software or boot disks or thumb drives required. You cannot clone a failed drive (too late) or infected drive as it will still be infected if you manage to clone an infected drive, when you install the clone.


System image: A compressed map and data of a drive that can be restored to any drive. This can be made to, and stored on, any medium - DVD, BD, Thumb flash drive, external USB connected Hard drive or SSD connected by drive dock or drive wire, SD Flash cards, or a second drive installed inside the desktop tower computer. However a system image can only be restored to a Hard Drive or SSD installed in the computer. You can copy images but only restore to an installed replacement drive. A replacement drive will not be able to boot so all imaging programs provide software top make a CD/DVD/Thumb Drive bootable disk or stick. It boots the computer into a basic system that allows the restoring of a system image to the new drive.


Data Backups are only your work not your programs. If you have Office docs in a data backup you can copy them directly back to the computer but they will not be accessible until you reload the Office programs they were made with.


Both clones and system images MUST be made in advance. Clones are made on a spare drive kept for emergencies like a failed drive, or unrecoverable infection. System images made to restore to any drive installed in a computer, must be made before replacing any drive or replacing an infected image with a previously made clean system image.


If you make a system image OR clone today, and in three months your drive fails or becomes infected, those clones only contain your system as of today. Anything you make or store on your computer between today and when you need to restore a system is gone. You avoid that problem by making new clones or system images as often as you are willing to lose data. By that I mean are you willing to lose a week's worth of data? A month's?


If you clear the emails from your server and do not save/back up local copies regularly they are lost.


Clones and system images save not only data, but your entire system! Meaning that all your software, all your settings that were there the minute you start a clone or image, will be there when you restore it. Both are hardware specific. In other words if you have two laptops, one an HP, and the other an ASUS, you cannot restore the image from one to the other. The hardware driver are so different it will likely not boot at all.


If you have an infection you can factory restore it to as it was new from the factory, unless you or someone else removed/deleted the recovery partition. Then bring it up to the date of the image. Since you did not have a failed drive you can restore your whole system from a previously made image, to the state of your all your programs and data at the time you made the image.


Both have the disadvantage that they cannot magically bring back data or programs made since the image or clone was made.


Pros and Cons of each:


Clone is fastest for laptops and desktops. Difficult to impossible for the average user for tablets and all in ones. You can remove the bad drive insert the clone and be up and running in my case, in less than ten minutes, the time it takes for me to get the clone from the box it is stored in, uninstall the laptop/desktop drive, then install the cloned drive, power on and it is all back as of the day it was made/last made. You can clone your tablet and all in one drives too with them installed. But removing the old one and installing the new is beyond most and I have not one one yet. I don't know nor have tried to attach an mSATA or tablet drive to clone a system to it. But as with all it can be done. Clones can only be used with the machine it was made from.


System images are used both with clones, and without. They are the fastest to make and restore without removing the old drive. They should be made more often than the clones are redone. System images save your programs and files so no hours of doing program installs and Windows updates from the months between the image and the time you use one. A system image can be restored to a blank new drive provided you made and saved boot media for that program. All of them make boot media that I have used, both free and paid for imaging programs. System images are unknown if you did it right until you need to use it. Most folks will not test them as they are afraid to mess up their system. ( I am too!) But I have no trouble because I do a clone, then the image. Then I can put in a third spare drive removing my good drive I just cloned and imaged, and putting in a test drive. Then I use the boot media, and restore the image. Then I remove the boot media and see if it boots from the test drive. This has the advantage of not risking my current system as the original still working fine drive has been removed, the clone is also not in the computer while experimenting with imaging, boot media, and restoring steps.


If you can't restore an image you just made to a third spare blank drive and have it boot, you will lose all your data if you try to rely on that image. It is best to take a day to try this until you are confidant you can do it. If you did something wrong then figured it out, make notes and store them with the drive.


I have had customers that said there was nothing on their drives they wanted to save, meaning that they were not willing to pay me for my time to save.


Many folks sit around fat dumb and happy with an image yet have never tried to restore it. Then find it does not work only when it is too late. That can be because they selected the wrong settings, or the media the image was stored on corrupted or got infected itself. Most commonly encountered problem I have had? Folks bring their computer to me infected and want me to do a factory restore. I ask if they have the restore disk or made restore media and please bring it. Many folks make boot disks and recovery media then lose it! If the hard drive failed, and you lost the recovery media, there is no

recovery partition to use on the hard drive because it failed!


Make the recovery media disk or USB Flash drive. Make the boot disk which is separate. Label them correctly and store where you can find them again. These do not count as clones or images. They only can factory restore the system to the existing drive if it works to get rid of an infection or corrupted system, or if it failed to the new drive if you did not make a clone. Once you have booted with the boot media, then restored the computer to factory as new you either start to dreadful process of first doing security, then hundreds of Windows updates, then hours days of reloading your programs and Apps, then doing the coppying back all your data from file backups.


Tools needed:

I use Apricorn software and their drive wire, They now also have mSATA (Tablet) Drive wires: http://support.macrium.com/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=4773

Apricorn also has the software to go with them and allow you to clone a larger drive to smaller. For example a 2 TB Hard drive that contains less data than the new drive capacity, and the ability to deselect files that will let it fit. For example: I had my music, over 125GB of mp3 rips of my CDs, Amazon downloads, stored on my laptop a few years ago as it had a 600GB hard drive. When I cloned it to test both Windows 8 and my first SSD a 120 GB Crucial M4, most of the commercial free software like Macrium would not clone a larger disk to a smaller.


I get asked this so I'll repeat. If your new hard drive or SSD you are cloning to is smaller than the drive you are cloning/copying, it must have less GB of data size than the new drive. For example just go to File explorer right click on your main drive now, then click on properties, then look at capacity and amount used amount remaining. assume your new drive or clone will have 10% less space than labeled. For example a 120GB SSD or drive may actually have only 100GB of drive usable when blank. Never mind why, just use that to be safe. So if your 2 TB drive has 95 GB of hard drive space used, you are good to go. If it has 2ooGB of data used, you will need a 256GB drive to be your clone. This different than imaging or cloning programs that will not allow you to clone to a smaller drive. Most driver manufacturers of SSDs provide a package that includes access to a program that will clone to a smaller drive, or include it on a disk.


Before anyone decides this is too difficult to do, do like I do, use the excuse to upgrade to a smaller SSD if your hard drive is mostly empty. If most of your drive is taken up by music or by Photos or both move them to an external hard drive. Just get a spare drive large enough and drag and drop them to the new old blank external storage backup drive.


I use an external dock at each of our desktops, and a third on my workstation desk where I do the tablet laptops images, clones, and backups.


Like these:



I can vouch for these that I own, all are USB 3.0:

Dual cloning docks, I have one at each desktop:



I have a single drive dock Thermaltake:



A combined USB powered 4port hub and drive dock for 2,5" laptop drives only:



I also have the all in one:



The Apricorn drive wire is in the link above for the software.


I have used and restored successfully with Macrium Reflect free and their Windows P&E recovery boot disk environment. However it will not clone from a larger disk to a smaller one.


I have used and restored many times using Acronis to do both clones and images. Acronis like Macrium will only clone to a larger drive, or one the same size.


Here is an Amazon page with lotsofSSD upgrade kits that include the drive wire like Apricorn, and also the Cloningsoftware that will clone to a smaller new drivew:



Intel and other hard drive manufacturers offer free downloadslike this intel page. Scroll down to read what it dues underneath all the downloads: https://downloadcenter.intel.com/download/19324/Intel-Data-Migration-Software#help






Good luck!

Link to comment
Share on other sites



When I make an image ever week of both of our computers on separate HD's it asks me at the end if I want to make a recovery disk. I would like to make a recovery thumb drive but when I try, it will not let me. When I research it, the net only shows me how to do it on 7/8.

How do I make a recovery thumb drive in Windows 10?



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, I had a lot of reading, and I hope I understand some of the information. With Derek's help, I now have a recovery USB drive. I have a Seagate 1TB external drive that I've been using to make a backup of my computer (same size as my C: HD). I would like to know how to eliminate the Seagate software on the HD, and use it to make a mirror image monthly, because when I plug it in, the Seagate software takes over to perform a backup.

Or, is the Seagate software actually performing a mirror image? How do I find out?

Link to comment
Share on other sites



I am guessing you have the Seagate 1TB Backup Plus HD rather than the 1 TB Seagate Expansion HD. I had the same thing and all I did was reformat the Seagate and got rid of all the preloaded Seagate backup software that was loaded on it when I bought it several years ago. When I ordered the 3TB Seagate for the DW's laptop backup I made sure that I ordered the expansion version not the backup plus version. I wanted to use the built in Windows image making software but the Backup Plus software was taking up space so I reformatted the whole HD and it was gone. I make a new image every Saturday of both laptops on each external HD.



Link to comment
Share on other sites


Acronis supplied the clone programs for free use by the hard drive manufacturers.


Ray, bud, get a spare drive and remove your current drive to keep your system safe. Then try to restore the image you made to the blank drive. If by mirror they mean clone, then make it, swap it with your primary drive to make sure it boots and works.


Glad to help.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

This topic is now closed to further replies.
RVers Online University


Our program provides accurate individual wheel weights for your RV, toad, and tow vehicle, and will help you trim the pounds if you need to.

Dish For My RV.

RV Cable Grip

RV Cable Grip

All the water you need...No matter where you go

Rv Share

RV Air.

Find out more or sign up for Escapees RV'ers Bootcamp.

Advertise your product or service here.

The Rvers- Now Streaming

RVTravel.com Logo

  • Create New...