It's been a few years since I did heavy disk imaging on the Windows side, as there were complications in my previous outings. The last go I had with disk cloning showed that companies like Arturia & Paragon would virtualize the file system and that caused me issues with workloads in excess of 90% cpu usage (on dual Xeon rigs and normal multicore installations).
I do know Windows 8 on up have a better HAL, which means it's more agnostic to system changes than it was in the XP & Win7 eras, and it makes migration easier than ever. Windows 10 made this even better in several ways, and much of these changes for Win8/10 are targeting the Enterprise level to make system images a bit more agnostic so hardware can vary more for system image rollout. However this also improved tools like the User State Migration Tool (USMT) which gives end users reduced a feature set version called "Windows Easy Transfer". MS finally has a migration assistant similar to what MacOS has. That's not as important to me, and certainly would NOT migrate the bulk of our Scope configurations, but was interesting to note. I presume with a 'Microsoft login' much of this is synced 'to the cloud' for the average user now anyway (ie, people that never live outside their downloads folder, desktop and documents folder).
In any case, it is my hope that by the time I'm done, I'll also have a process to:
- Migrate/backup/restore my ancient P4 era Xeon rig to an SSD to IDE adapter for the main installation, and an IDE to SDHC adapter for pagefile & temp file usages. Right now the machine is running on 3 10000rpm SCSI drives that I would love to retire (noise & power reasons).
- Have a backup/restore process that's seamless my other custom built machines (of which there are 3). All 3 boot to SSD's, though otherwise have a mixed drive configuration that I eventually need to migrate to a NAS.
- Document this routine well enough that it's simple to deploy new machines for live/stage use, and keep them in a state where there's always a duplicate drive ready for recovery from major issues on the road.
To start this off, my primary goal is to migrate an existing 'prebuilt' machine to an SSD from a 2TB SATA HD. For this machine, I have an off the shelf Alienware (Aurora R7) system here which was a gift, outfitted with an i7-8700, GTX1080, 2TB boot drive + Intel Optane 32GB module (setup in RAID for the Optane to accelerate things), and of course 2 additional SSD's now and an RME HDSPe card. The Optane SSD was supposed to be similar--in theory--to a Fusion drive on a Mac, but I have always had issues with it. When it works, the system feels like any other SSD boot drive based system, but when it doesn't the software that doesn't like it will have issues well beyond what even a standard SATA HD would have (it will sometimes lag Dropbox for MANY minutes, when just trying to bring up the tasktray interface, for instance). I upgraded the Optane NVMe SSD to the largest capacity, and still notice many tools experience issues with it enabled, like dropbox, VLC and even window's own Photo viewer.
So my goal is to not just migrate to a 2TB SSD in the Optane's NVMe spot, it's to create a complete system image so that the SSD has the same system restore & bios functionality the system ships with, and so I can simply image the windows partition BACK to the 2TB SATA spinning drive on a weekly basis. I will also determine if I can do this externally as well as internally...
And of course, I'll update this parent post and the placeholder immediately below to update this process for others to replicate. I am open to the thoughts of our community as well.