I'm no hardware genius so I hope I can communicate what I'm wanting to do.

I currently have two HDD on an ASUS P5K SE motherboard and a 500w PSU. I have three partitions on the first (500GB) drive, C: (Win XP Pro), D: (Documents), E: (Somewhere to put stuff).

The second drive (500GB) holds an image (via Clonezilla Live) of the first drive which I update roughly weekly. Between taking images, I unplug both cables to the second drive as I don't want it exposed to the internet (call me paranoid :-)

I'm getting sick of opening the case and connecting/disconnecting the second drive though. Firstly, the connections aren't easy to access, and secondly I'm worried that I may disturb other connections in the case. Like I said, I'm no hardware genius and if I did happen to knock/break something I'm not sure that I could find the problem and correct it.

What I'd LIKE to do is have a switch for the second drive so as that I can simply throw the switch to enable it, turn on PC and boot from Clonezilla CD, image the first drive onto the second, power down, switch second drive OFF, and reboot Windows off the first drive again.

Now, I don't know whether this would be the ideal solution, and I'm open to other suggestions.

My question is:
Is the configuration I've described above (ie two drives with one of them switchable ON/OFF) possible, OR do I need to approach the problem of isolating my second HDD from the internet in another way altogether?

Thanks for taking the time to read my long post and I look forward to reading any replies...


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i think you could just make a image of the drive for when you need to reinstall windows ,and just backup created data on a storage drive ,don't see the need of creating image all the time . fail to see the need for weekly image update

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call me paranoid, your paranoid ! really .
what i would suggest is what i have ,a usb device for the drive and make it external

Would it be better to get an external drive for saving your disk images to, rather than the hassles and risks involved in trying to use your secondary drive?

The advantage with that, is that you could then keep any misc files which you don't need backed up in the basic disk image on the secondary drive (backing those up separately), keeping any image of the primary drive as small as need be. An external drive is also much easier to unplug when not required :)

Hi caperjack and Kaninelupus,

Thanks for the replies.

Please excuse me, but I should have added that I already have an external HDD (WD passport 320GB) and was initially doing as you suggest. However, I only had 250GB of my 500GB drive partitioned and the other 250GB was unused. The imaging process was taking a little over an hour to complete and (at the time) I was happy with that.

Later, I installed the second (internal HDD) for images, and the process completed in a little under 15 minutes (yippee!). It is this time saving that makes the internal HDD for images attractive to me.

I accept that the external HDD is the simplest solution and I connect mine via USB on my PC's front panel. I have 3 front panel USBs. One on a 52-in-1 card reader which seems very slow; and two others with adjacent microphone and speaker plugs. I connect my External HDD to one of latter when taking an image.

If I connected the external HDD to (say) a USB at the REAR of my PC, would that be faster than those on the front panel? (I'm guessing not).

Also, I'm not sure that Clonezilla will image a 500GB drive onto a 320GB.

Correct me if I'm wrong...
I suppose that if I want to image onto the second internal drive then I'll just have to leave it connected permanently. If I decide to go along the External HDD route then I'll have to buy a new 500GB drive?

Thanks again, I appreciate you giving up your time to help.


i think you could just make a image of the drive for when you need to reinstall windows ,and just backup created data on a storage drive ,don't see the need of creating image all the time . fail to see the need for weekly image update

commented: Good asvice and saved me doing unnecessary backups. Cheers >:> +1

Ok caperjack, thanks for your help and I'll try what you suggest.

Best Regards...

If you are paranoid about your data being "exposed to the internet", try encrypting it with TrueCrypt.

As for shutting off a drive, you could hack the molex connector (or get a plug somewhere) and install a breaker switch outside the case. But that seems like overkill.

Jst one last point Bunny - Clonezilla only images used disk space... ie, if there is 200GB of data on said drive, then that is all that will be "cloned"

First of all make sure the old hard drive is set to slave and the new hard drive in the new computer is set to master. Then you can get the files off the old hard drive.