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Send in the clones

Cloning your hard drive is easy thanks to Drive2Drive. Raves – software hed: Send in the clones dek: cloning your hard drive is easy thanks to Drive2Drive. by Joe Farace

Higher Ground Software’s Drive2Drive hard-disk cloning program for Microsoft Windows makes a computer user’s life a little easier.

Recently I was about to move my system and files to a larger hard drive, and was planning on doing it the same old way. You know the drill: Install the new drive as a slave, then install Windows and begin basic housekeeping and preparation. The swap file Windows uses to provide virtual memory must then be manually moved to the new hard drive-otherwise, attempts to copy will abort. This requires that you use first use Fdisk and format the new drive so that Windows will recognize it; otherwise, you can’t copy anything to it. If all goes well, you can drag and drop the C: drive to whatever the new drive calls itself.

Now, there’s a better way. Higher Ground Software offers a fast, easy, three-step process for cloning your hard drive. It’s called Drive2Drive (D2D) and it uses larger-than-DOS memory along with Windows copy conventions in a way DOS-based programs cannot. D2D is a true cloning program that doesn’t use an image file to recreate your old disk, and it works without all the tedious preparation.

D2D is Windows Me-compatible, and is compatible with drives different in size from your old one. All you have to do is install the new hard disk as a master or slave using a second IDE ribbon cable. There-you’re finished. How hard can it be if the manual, complete with illustrations, is only four pages long and the program fits on a floppy disk?

After starting D2D from the floppy disk and clicking the Media button, a window appears offering just two choices-Source or Destination. After selecting the destination, that other choice is grayed out, protecting the source drive from having a big blank space copied onto it. When you click Initiate Copy, all that previous preparation is automatically performed.

D2D works within Windows, and it isn’t slowed to DOS’s 300MB-per-minute transfer rate. Instead, D2D moves files at up to 1.2GB per minute. D2D also isn’t restricted by DOS’s usage of BIOS Interrupt 13, which limits the size of drive partitions. This information is based on information provided by Higher Ground, not on any tests I performed. But my real-world experience is that the program is fast and easy to use, allowing me to get back to using my computer instead of tinkering with it.

Similar programs, such as PowerQuest’s Drive Image and Symantec’s Ghost, can be time savers when your Windows computer crashes and you’re left with only one option–starting over. The time they take is miniscule compared to reinstalling everything and then loading backup data files. (We all do backups faithfully, don’t we?) But most of my drive swapping is quickly and accurately done by dragging and dropping within Windows, and D2D makes that process much easier.

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