Thursday, January 29, 2009

On Cloning a Hard-Drive: The Problem

Over the past three years I have had the worst luck with computers: 2 system board crashes due to unknown issues, one system board crash due to an accident involving some water and an ethernet cable, two or three hard-drive failures, wireless drivers that mysteriously stop working and won't allow you to uninstall/reinstall.

The common theme to all of these issues, is that I've almost always lost at least a weeks worth of work trying to get back up to speed, re-installing the OS and software, configuring a development environment, downloading email, etc.

Needless to say, I either need to stop using computers or figure out a backup/cloning strategy.

For now, I chose the latter.

I just finished setting up Ubuntu Intrepid 8.10 on my laptop. I installed Eclipse, MySQL, Tomcat, Java, downloaded email, blah blah blah ...

So now, I want to clone this hard-drive so I can swap in the cloned drive if the first drive ever fails. I will clone the primary drive onto the second drive once a week (or more often if I can find some software to manage it for me).

I currently use Acronis True Image Home 11 for my backups, but for some reason it does not allow me to clone the drive. After contacting Acronis "support" a few times, I have decided to start looking for an open-source solution to the problem.