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Free, easy to use Imaging software- M.2 Capable?

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TechWizard

Member
Joined
Nov 16, 2004
I don't know if anybody has any experience with imaging an M.2 drive. I just purchased a SAMSUNG 950 PRO M.2 512GB earlier today and it will arrive tomorrow.

I have used Acronis for several years at previous jobs, but I do not want to pay for a license for something I will seldom use. I have boot discs still of the Acronis software, but I do not want to image through bootable media unless I absolutely have to. I am a big fan of easy to use GUIs that'll work within Windows.

I need to be able to create an image from my current boot drive to copy over when my M.2 comes. The only concern I have is that the imaging software will be unable to work with the M.2, so I am hoping someone who sees this has used a piece of free imaging software that is generally easy to use and has the ability to write to an M.2 drive without any issues.

The other thing I am trying to wrap my head around is if it is even possible to clone your boot drive to another drive WHILE you're currently running it. It's been so long since it has been necessary for me to do this for myself that I just don't remember if it is possible. I have been using CloneZilla at work and personally I'm not a fan, but it gets the job done.

Any advice someone could offer though would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

If not, I guess I'll be trying out a few I found through google and will be hoping for the best! :D
 

habbajabba

Member
Joined
Oct 29, 2005
Location
Oregon
I just tried a few. Aoemi Backupper, Macrium Reflect, and Veeam Endpoint Backup, all free. I currently use Drive Image XML on my desktop and have been using clonezilla on my tablet.
Good news! Veeam has been updated since the last time I tried it and now works flawlessly with my tablet. Ntfs SSD to a WD 1TB exfat usb3 drive. If I ever get around to getting a huge sd card, I'm going to try and use that. I have but a 64GB exfat which is mostly full in my tablet but the drivers may or may not function from the boot media.
Veeam is great as it runs a single exe tray icon at boot. You can run a schedule but there really isn't many other options like incremental or differential. It loads drivers (network & disk) with the boot image and also restores them at recovery so you will need separate usb's for each pc. Aomei has a tray icon for scheduling too but I made a backup image only. Macrium has only a gui but does have the cool option of creating a secondary boot menu recovery entry. The hassle is you must first download the Reflect downloader which then has to download more, and to get the recovery boot menu option (win pe 10) is another down from MS through the gui. Macrium has cool options, like differential, but some are not free and are mixed in with the free version gui.
Drive Image has a funky gui and a funkier boot recovery gui. Clonezilla is of course only bootable but did make the smallest backup image.

Clonezilla on my tablet, ~42GB used, takes ~10m for backup or restore. Aomei and Macrium took ~5m to backup, whereas Veeam took ~10m to backup and ~13m to restore using the bootable media (32gb usb3 drive). Veeam automatically throttles itself so you can still use your pc and stays in the tray out of the way! I want to use one product for both my pc's. I'll be updating my desktop tomorrow but I actually need to re-install the OS first. As far as the software seeing the m.2, shouldn't be a problem with veeam as it loads the disk's drivers into the boot media.
Aomei: http://www.backup-utility.com/ 79mb
Macrium Reflect: http://www.macrium.com/reflectfree.aspx a lot
Veeam: https://www.veeam.com/endpoint-backup-free.html 197mb

Paragon Backup and recovery 14 Free- didn't install 370mb
Rescatux 040b9 iso- saved for later 671mb
super_grub2_disk_hybrid_2.02s4 iso- saved for later 13mb not for backup
 
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knoober

Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2015
Would a live linux image and using dd meet your requirements? I believe it will do what you want, but Ive only used it that way for linux machines on a vm. While I think it will work, I wouldnt bet someone elses install on it. Advanced usage of the dd command will let you compress it and make an image as weill, but once again Ive only done it with a vm, and I havent restored it yet so I dont technically have proof it works.
 
OP
TechWizard

TechWizard

Member
Joined
Nov 16, 2004
I downloaded EaseUS last night and I think it will do what I want. I'm going to check out Veeam though for sure. It sounds like that is closest to what I have been trying to describe.

I'd use a linux image like CloneZilla, but I'd really like something with a Windows GUI for simplicity. I don't have enough experience using Linux or executing commands for imaging purposes to feel comfortable doing so. I know I could learn, but I've got enough projects on my hands currently so I'm a bit overwhelmed and just looking for a quick, easy solution.

Thanks for the suggestions! I'll let you guys know how it works out once I get my drive and take the dive!
 

knoober

Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2015
I'd use a linux image like CloneZilla, but I'd really like something with a Windows GUI for simplicity. I don't have enough experience using Linux or executing commands for imaging purposes to feel comfortable doing so. I know I could learn, but I've got enough projects on my hands currently so I'm a bit overwhelmed and just looking for a quick, easy solution.

Well when you decide to learn http://www.thegeekstuff.com/2010/10/dd-command-examples has a good handle on it. It doesnt include how to compress your image in the same command (and I cant find that link right now - but I think you just had to pipe it through gzip) but it still gives a good start. I currently use Easus for Windows and like it quite a bit, but will probably not use it anymore once I get dd mastered. FWIW, installing Easus to a ramdisk (free ones arent hard to find) sped up my backup time by about 1M% :D
 

habbajabba

Member
Joined
Oct 29, 2005
Location
Oregon
Amongst those I mentioned were other options like data syncing, cloning, encryption, creating VHD's from the image, partitioning etc.. They were easy to install and remove. Easus was my first hit but I skipped it-too lazy to input my email. I'll have to try it tomorrow to see how I like the gui. Veeam is just right click and forget, doesn't even need a schedule. DSynchronize, the single exe file syncer, now has 'jobs' built in so you can run multiple folder syncs from a single 500kb exe/ini file.

My tablet's manual says to use windows backup. From a fresh factory install with updates even, it was a complete failure. TG for 3rd party software. If ms had their stuff straight, all pc's would ship with a minimum of 2 physical drives, m.2's preferably. MS never really got into the hardware end of it so a lot of what windows tries to be it can't and is really the definition of bloat. Defender, mail, backup, encryption, formatting, partitioning, theming, firewall, photoviewer, browser, explorer, calculator, etc., are all done better, much better, by others. Linux does it way better even. Windows would crash and explode if you removed all the garbage it carries around.

Update: EasUS is total CRAP. Soft is 32bit, immediately wants to open my browser on install, complains that I wouldn't give it internet access, suggests to put my backups on C (retarded-my wd 1tb was not plugged in), wants a reboot if uninstalled.... The entire install uninstall process was all about "buy me", and when I went to uninstall, it opened my browser AGAIN! as if I needed that AT ALL. Garbage. Veeam is 64bit, doesn't complain about anything, or try to phone home (I gave it lan access only), or suggest stupid backup locations, or try to open browsers that it doesn't need to. Veeam just sits in my tray, runs as a service with an sql server, and does it's job; which is to leave me the hell alone until I need it. Granted I did make an acct with veeam to get it but that is nothing compared to the harassment that easus garbage is.
 
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Chum

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Joined
Aug 11, 2002
Location
St. Louis, Mo. U.S.A.
Just curious if you plan on not using the Free Imaging software download that Samsung says it will provide? I am considering SSD in the future and just wondering if "something is wrong with the free software".
 

LutaWicasa

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Joined
Dec 22, 2000
Location
Huntsville, AL
Just curious if you plan on not using the Free Imaging software download that Samsung says it will provide? I am considering SSD in the future and just wondering if "something is wrong with the free software".

Samsung said:
1. When cloning the content of the source drive (e.g. HDD), all data on the Target Disk (Samsung SSD) will be deleted and is impossible to recover. Therefore, if you have stored any data that you would like to keep on the Target Disk, please back it up in advance.
This software is not a data backup solution.
2. Samsung Electronics assumes no responsibility for any loss of data that may occur on the Target Disk in the course of using this software and will not be held liable for data recovery services. Even if the migration process fails, data contained on the Source Disk is not affected.
 
OP
TechWizard

TechWizard

Member
Joined
Nov 16, 2004
Update: EasUS is total CRAP. Soft is 32bit, immediately wants to open my browser on install, complains that I wouldn't give it internet access, suggests to put my backups on C (retarded-my wd 1tb was not plugged in), wants a reboot if uninstalled.... The entire install uninstall process was all about "buy me", and when I went to uninstall, it opened my browser AGAIN! as if I needed that AT ALL. Garbage. Veeam is 64bit, doesn't complain about anything, or try to phone home (I gave it lan access only), or suggest stupid backup locations, or try to open browsers that it doesn't need to. Veeam just sits in my tray, runs as a service with an sql server, and does it's job; which is to leave me the hell alone until I need it. Granted I did make an acct with veeam to get it but that is nothing compared to the harassment that easus garbage is.

I obtained a full version of the product from a friend. I'll let you know my experience with that, but yeah. If I had gotten the free version and was confronted with the same revelations I'd have dumped it too.


Just curious if you plan on not using the Free Imaging software download that Samsung says it will provide? I am considering SSD in the future and just wondering if "something is wrong with the free software".

I didn't know it came with any. I honestly would never rely on the HD manufacturer for imaging software and it seems rightfully so after what LutaWiscasa posted. I'll be trying out Veema.

Bad news is my drive was scheduled to arrive on Saturday and it never showed. Now the Fedex shipping estimate isn't there so I have no idea when to expect it. Sucks because I live in Chicago and I would have liked to be home to receive such an expensive piece of hardware.
 

habbajabba

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Joined
Oct 29, 2005
Location
Oregon
It'll show one way or the other. As for cloning a new disc -ssd to m.2-, veeam has the option of adding any driver you specify to the boot media. You only need to do this once anyways, it's not like a daily occurrence for the average user. I'd try putting the m.2 in, installing the correct driver/s, then manually noting specifically which ones they are so you can add them, though once installed it may grab them all of its own. My mobo supports nvme because it has the proper bios versioning but all I have is the one empty pci-x slot. One of these days I'm going to replace my 128gb 840 evo msata and use an nmve/m.2 disc, if I ever figure out how to. Though maybe just upgarding to an 850 or whatever might be better, andI can use the slot for something better. Actually, I could use the pci-x for boot and the msata slot for a 'backup' disc, freeing up all my sata ports for regular data discs, and making my backup restore process as quick as possible. Not sure that would actually work out though...
The samsung cloning software does work but you need to, per the directions I read, have a dongle for the new disc to do the actual cloning. As far as I know you can't just put the thing in and run it. maybe maybe not as you have an actual m.2 slot
 
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OP
TechWizard

TechWizard

Member
Joined
Nov 16, 2004
My board supposedly supports nvme through the m.2 slot. I haven't had a chance to check the BIOS and wasn't planning to until I got the drive... I contacted customer supposed at newegg to see if they could do anything about the shipping... it's been sitting 2 hours away in Indianapolis since Friday at 8pm and it's irking the hell out of me. Since it didn't arrive on Saturday as it was scheduled to now it reflects no delivery scheduled.
 

habbajabba

Member
Joined
Oct 29, 2005
Location
Oregon
Support is based on 3.x and above bios versions, that and a spare pci-x high speed slot. Read it somewhere a few months back when Intel announced the 750nvme ssd.

UPDATE on veeam. It does incremental automatically unless you specify Full! Nice.
 
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OP
TechWizard

TechWizard

Member
Joined
Nov 16, 2004
Just curious if you plan on not using the Free Imaging software download that Samsung says it will provide? I am considering SSD in the future and just wondering if "something is wrong with the free software".

I'm going to try it. Looks like the Endpoint Veeam doesn't even have a clone option and the EaseUS software I had doesn't detect the M.2 drive. I'm not about to go downloading every free program and testing them right now. I just want to get this data moved over and be done with it, so here is to hoping it doesn't nuke any data on me. Nothing super important on here, would just suck to have to slipstream the nvme driver into a Win 7 install and start from scratch right now.

--update--

Looks like I need to start from scratch unless I'm missing something. The Samsung Migration Tool works great, but since this Image of windows was installed in ACHI mode it won't boot with my motherboard set in M.2 Mode which I am assuming is what allows me to use NVMe.

Also to note the migration tool DOES NOT delete the data on your other drive. My SSD still shows up as a secondary now with all the original data still on it.

So looks like I'm going to boot up my work laptop so I can inject the NVMe drivers into my Windows 7 installer and hope that it'll detect the M.2 drive for installation.
 
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habbajabba

Member
Joined
Oct 29, 2005
Location
Oregon
Cloning is entirely doable from within a windows session as it implies an image is ready to deploy. If you can successfully install the m.2, then cloning to it should be a piece of cake. I really don't see where you could not use veeam in this scenario as it can extract and use any driver in the process of imaging to any partition you want. It has a Disk Mapping option which I presume would include changing the restore destination to a secondary volume. I can't try it on my desktop as it is messed up atm and my tablet has only a single disc. The trick with cloning is to shut down and remove the original boot disc so that windows does not get confuse. I tried the latest acronis boot disc and it wouldn't even boot to my tablet. I will never use acronis again for anything. Veeam states it will restore to different hardware as I thought.
 
OP
TechWizard

TechWizard

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Joined
Nov 16, 2004
I must be missing something then. The link you posted took me to a piece of software that would only allow me to create back ups, not clone a drive :-/

I already injected the drivers into my Windows 7 install so I'm just going to go that route - I'm guessing a lot of people miss the fact that these migration tools for the most part don't enable your Windows installation to function in M.2 mode - thus forcing your mobo back into SATA mode. I can't boot this M.2 in M.2 mode yet. After the Samsung migration tool migrated my data, it seems to have done it "as is". Hence just going for the full reinstall from scratch. I think I'll have a better overall experience since I format pretty regularly anyways.

--update--

I guess with the Asus Z170 boards you only have to set the configuration ONCE and then the option is reflected as "SATA Express" meaning your ONE NVMe drive is utilizing the PCIe lanes over your SATA devices. That's the impression I'm getting from what I can find through Google. It's pretty poorly documented so I don't know what else to do. Even removing SATA devices and purely using only the m.2 drive still forces the BIOS setting back to SATA Express.
 
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LutaWicasa

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Joined
Dec 22, 2000
Location
Huntsville, AL
I guess with the Asus Z170 boards you only have to set the configuration ONCE and then the option is reflected as "SATA Express" meaning your ONE NVMe drive is utilizing the PCIe lanes over your SATA devices. That's the impression I'm getting from what I can find through Google. It's pretty poorly documented so I don't know what else to do. Even removing SATA devices and purely using only the m.2 drive still forces the BIOS setting back to SATA Express.

In the manual:
[M.2] SATA mode will be switched to M.2. SATA Express can only support PCIE devices.

[SATA Express] SATA mode will be switched to SATA Express. M.2 can only support PCIE devices.


That reads to me as selecting the M.2 option forces the M.2 into SATA mode as opposed to NVME (PCIE)
 
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TechWizard

TechWizard

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Nov 16, 2004
Ah. "Can only support PCIE" I was reading in my head as I needed to get a PCIE adapter card. Gotcha. So I'm all set then. Phew.