Is it possible to clone a win8 machine without creating boot media for the destination?

peterh337

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I don't think this is possible. Well, not unless the destination machine can run a bit of code which takes over at a low (driver) level, receives the HD image data stream from the source, and just writes it to the HD directly, then reboots. This is because you cannot rewrite a partition of the running OS.

I have a 2012 Lenovo Thinkpad Tablet 2, used in a critical application (running some aviation moving map and satellite comms stuff). I bought on Ebay a "new" identical T2.

My Plan was to use the feature in Control Panel (called win7 backup, oddly enough) to make a backup and then restore it onto the new one. Lots of people have been up this road - background here
https://forums.lenovo.com/t5/ThinkPad-Tablets/Is-there-any-way-to-create-boot-media-for-T2-win8/m-p/3398610#M32893
and the current situation is at the end of that thread. I think a recent win8 update has rendered my USB boot media useless... and I cannot get it to boot from anything. So the many times successfully used and trusted Trueimage route (v2014 should support the T2, and making backups with TI is trivial; I have TI2014 installed on the old T2) can't be used either because I cannot get the T2 to boot from a CD drive with a TI boot recovery CD in it.

This incidentally means that I have lost any way to backup the T2... an even better reason for making this clone. I can do backups with TI2014 but have no way to restore them because a TI restore needs the TI boot media.

So I am looking for a direct clone program which can just do it over the LAN.

The issue with the windows product code should be OK because (a) I have extracted the product codes of all MS software from the new T2 (using a little free utility) so can re-enter them (b) the new T2 is all legal (c) I believe that win8 tablets store the codes in the BIOS flash, not in the registry.
 

peterh337

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This issue has been solved

https://forum.acronis.com/forum/126708

It looks like Trueimage simply does not support what it is claimed to support.

What is more bizzare is that, as mentioned previously, I have 2 slightly different boot usb flash sticks, both created from the "windows 7 backup" function, which used to boot the older T2 (I tested them both) but now neither does.

So it looks like some intervening windoze update changed the T2's boot behaviour. It must have happened at least a year ago because I stopped updating the tablet (mission critical, etc).
 

peterh337

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May 5, 2016
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Could you please elaborate?

Restore programs like the Trueimage boot CD contain most of Linux, which comes with enough drivers to do all the stuff needed e.g. restore from an image on a network drive.
 

USAFRet

Splendid
Moderator


What I gathered from your original was that you just wanted to connect both systems to a LAN, and somehow clone directly from one drive to the other, with nothing on the target drive.

Booting from a boot CD of TrueImage or Macrium Reflect, maybe.
 

peterh337

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The target drive has win8 on it, but the partition layout is different from the source. It also has a nonstandard Lenovo recovery partition, so all that has to be overwritten.

What I CAN do is install some suitable software on the target drive.

Obviously one could not clone to a target which has nothing on the HD :) Laplink could do that in the DOS days by sending some characters down an RS232 line which happened to be 80x86 opcodes and this is how it booted a totally blank target, but you can't do that over ethernet.

As I posted above, this target machine doesn't boot any external media. Why, I have no idea.
 

peterh337

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I have tried another method: downloaded Trueimage 2017 (30 day trial). This doesn't do much but it does restores from the .tib file, which I have for the source T2.

The thing about *installing* Trueimage on the target machine is that you don't need to create boot *media* even though it requires a reboot for overwriting the OS partition. It does it by setting up some kind of hook in the windows boot process, and it then starts up some code it has on the HD. So there is less to go wrong.

However, TI 2008, 2010, 2013, 2014 all would not start in this way. The OS (win8) simply booted normally, ignoring the "hook".

But TI 2017 does something different. Some simple text appears on the boot screen, on top of the big Lenovo logo, saying something about "UEFI boot". This disappears after a few seconds, and the USB-attached HD with the .tib file on it starts up and, several hours later, is still whirring... The screen is totally black! I will give it 24hrs and will post an update tomorrow.

The other thing I did was to connect everything on USB (the USB HD, a keyboard, a trackball) via a *powered* USB3 hub.

This "download latest TI trial version" stoopid runaround is a standard way to restore a .tib file for a machine that uses some SATA controller. TI tend to support these about 5 years after each specific chip became mainstream, so installing a trial version is cost effective because the one actually on the machine (which you paid for) does backups OK but cannot restore ;)
 

peterh337

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May 5, 2016
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I left it running for 10 days while I was on holiday and when I came back it still looked the same (blank screen, USB HD light on) so I rebooted it. It just booted back into the existing OS! So nothing worked.

So I am still looking for a win8 clone solution which doesn't need the target to be booted from anything.
 

USAFRet

Splendid
Moderator


From your previous:
As I posted above, this target machine doesn't boot any external media. Why, I have no idea.
Fix this, and all your problems go away.
 

peterh337

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May 5, 2016
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I have just posted this in the (almost dead) Acronis forum...

This is a long story but basically I can have two of these (one 3 years old and one unused) and need to clone the first to the second. Both have legal win8.

I have found only two ways: (1) backup and restore with the "windows 7 backup" feature in Control Panel (yes it is called that even on a win8 machine) and (2) do the same with Trueimage.

I can make TI backups with TI 2010 onwards and get the 32GB .tib file. I can also make the "win7" backups...

The problem is that this tablet will not boot from any external media!

I have disabled the UEFI BIOS in the BIOS options, which should solve the most obvious reason, but still nothing boots. It just boots into the OS. Sometimes it says "computer needs repair" and then boots into the OS.

TI 2015 got closer than most. I got a dark screen, with a little "loading UEFI something" text and it looked like it was restoring from the USB HD (connected via a powered USB hub of course). The screen was all blank but that is a known TI bug (it is apparently sending video to a remote monitor :)). I left it for 2 WEEKS and then rebooted it, only to find it did nothing.

The last option is to physically remove the HD from it, install it in a normal computer, and restore the TI backup onto that. I don't know whether the HD (SSD) is SATA, however. It may use a special connector.

I have spent many days on this and am happy to give 200 bucks or 200 euros to anybody who can restore this image on it. I am in the UK and would just send it airmail - it is worthless as it is.
 

peterh337

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May 5, 2016
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Does anyone know what the SSD in the Tablet 2 looks like, from the SATA point of view?

I could solve this by prizing open the T2 case, extracting it, installing it in another computer, and restoring the Trueimage .tib file onto it.

But if it isn't a normal SATA... are there adaptors?
 

peterh337

Commendable
May 5, 2016
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This issue has been solved

https://forum.acronis.com/forum/126708

It looks like Trueimage simply does not support what it is claimed to support.

What is more bizzare is that, as mentioned previously, I have 2 slightly different boot usb flash sticks, both created from the "windows 7 backup" function, which used to boot the older T2 (I tested them both) but now neither does.

So it looks like some intervening windoze update changed the T2's boot behaviour. It must have happened at least a year ago because I stopped updating the tablet (mission critical, etc).
 
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