I was wondering how I could make a complete copy of my master drive to a separate drive weather it be internal or external.[preferably external] I need to know this because the drive has a special partition that I need to run my recovery CD. So if my drive fails I would still have an extra drive I could just replace the older one with.[BTW I just had to do a reinstall because the drive came up as an invalid system disk and wouldn't boot the OS so thats why I am trying to figure this out]

I use Acronis True Image software to make clones of my drives. I found the interface and application more reliable than Norton Ghost, and Partition Magic.

However, I did clone of my C: drive for added security; it also contains a “special partition. This partition, in C: drive, is formatted as 8MB FAT and stores system, and diagnostic programs accessible during boot-up. I purchased a Dell and it was preconfigured with this dual partition arrangement: FAT/NTFS

However, I did a C: drive upgrade: from 146GB SCSI to 300GB SCSI. I created a clone from 146GB to my new 300GB SCSI drive, the clone created the 8MB partition in the new drive, but not as a fixed 8MB partition but exponential to the new drive size; in my case it created a 160MB FAT partition to hold less than 8MB of data.

I was not able to resize the partition back to 8MB, and eventually decided to delete the “special diagnostic partition and clone the drive without it: I am petty savvy on system problems and don’t require a tutorial diagnostic tour. There are other tools and disk that you can use if the ‘diagnostic partition is not there.

Alright so what I should do is take my extra drive reformat it to master[has an OS installed currently] stick it into a caddy. Then get one of the programs you suggested make a complete image which should take around 40GB.[got that from the PCs manufacturer]

Then I would like to make daily backups with the another 40 GB of the the drive.Do you have any suggestions for this process?

Then with the remaining space I would like to be able to copy files over just to fill up the remaining space but if I made the drive a master would I still be able to retreive the files.

I am I correct in these processes?

The cloning process will utilize the entire size of the new drive. In other words if your c: drive total capacity is 40GB and the drive you want to clone to is 160GB the process will format and utilize the entire 160GB and clone the files from the C: drive. This process keeps intact all the partition markers that the operating system requires in case you need to swap the C: drive with the Clone drive.

If you try to then partition the clone drive into various logical drives you may loose the clone integrity, for boot-up process. This is controlled by hidden files created by Windows on the master boot sector of the primary boot drive. Restructuring the aggregate capacity of the clone dive can have unexpected results if you ever need to use it as a backup source in case of C: drive failure.

Also if you need to update the clone drive in the near future, due to changes in your C: drive the clone process will override any data and create a exact duplicate of the clone, and not retain any additional partitions you may have created.

A clone is a snapshot of your primary boot drive at a given time interval.

Alright then the cloned drive will take the complete drive space of the disk. So I would assume the PCs manufacturers tech support was wrong when they said the cloned drive wouln't copy over the special partition.

Should I be in the market for another hard drive?[40Gb so the large space of the 120 isn't wasted]