Once, many years ago, I gave a marketing manager who worked for me in Taipei grief for packaging the localized version of Lotus Notes in a box with a “friendly robot” theme and name. Apparently, Transformer-like images go over well with Taiwanese buyers. I was wrong; he was right and I learned an important lesson in one of my first Asia-Pacific product launches.
Tonight, I am planning to upgrade my production Windows 7 machine to Windows 8. Update July 31, 2015: just upgraded to Windows 10.
But before I actually boot the new OS and try to install it over my heavily customized Windows 7 installation, I decided I needed to clone the boot disk. So, I searched for an open-source cloning utility and discovered….wait for it…Clonezilla. Apparently, this project hails from Taiwan and its name and splash screen reminded me of those Notes robots descending on the island.
Clonezilla is breeze to use. It’s just the thing you need before you upgrade a running machine to Windows
8 10. I am especially pleased that it can image to CIFS-connected network drives. But it’s actually SO MUCH better with NFS, which any garden variety NAS can do.
I know everyone thinks Norton Ghost is the utility to beat. But I found Clonezilla fun, fast, free and surprisingly easy to use. Just download it, burn it to CD, boot from the CD and be sure to take the “easy path” through the setup. There are two modes: device-to-image (what you want to do when you want to clone to an image file) and device-to-device (to clone a disk).
Some other things to note include making sure to select your wired Ethernet adapter, not the wireless adapter (if you have both on at boot) and knowing the IP address on your LAN of your NAS device. And you will also need the admin credentials of your NAS so Clonezilla can write the image file.
It may seem like common sense to take a full-disk image before upgrading to Windows
8 10. But, ahem, I haven’t always done what seems obvious. And I’ve paid dearly for my hubris. Even if the Windows Upgrade Advisor (built into Windows 8 in this release) tells you that you are good to go for an upgrade, don’t believe it. There’s nothing worse than going through an upgrade to only to discover that one thing you just have to have doesn’t work and the Upgrade Advisor missed it. you don’t have an image to restore.
Without a clone, there’s no way back. But with Clonezilla, there’s no excuse to not have a restorable image.