Copy vs. Clone -- what's the difference?

Started Jun 10, 2012 | Discussions thread
Jim Cockfield Forum Pro • Posts: 16,342
defrag it later. ;-)

PicOne wrote:

My first impression was that a clone would inherently bring over all fragmentation (and any other kinds of garbage) that may now exist on the old (5-6 yrs data drive), while a copy would not.

Clone it, and if you see files you don't want anymore, just remove them after you clone it. That way, you're not going to miss anything by accident (or because Windows Explorer didn't deal with some files or folders properly, which does happen from time to time) and you'll retain all of the original file attributes.

Then, after you've cloned it and remove any files you don't want anymore, defrag it for faster performance:

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/improve-performance-by-defragmenting-your-hard-disk

If you prefer to copy the files, you may want to consider robocopy. It can do things like retain the original file attributes. More about it here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robocopy

Or, look at something like richcopy instead. See more about it here:

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/magazine/2009.04.utilityspotlight.aspx

But, if you use it's multi-threaded mode, you're still going to want to defrag the drive later (as from what I understand, files may be fragmented on the destination drive that way).

Personally, I'd just clone the drive. That way, you're not going to miss anything by accident or because something in the utility you're using (Windows Explorer, robocopy, richcopy, etc.) didn't handle the copying properly due to something odd (characters in file naming, directory path length, etc.).

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JimC

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