Drive cloning software…

I recently began to have difficulties with my Windows XP box. For reasons which were not clear (and given XP’s “weld the hood shut” architecture, impossible to diagnose) I could not install Visual C++ on the machine. I realized that over the last couple of years, I had acquired a lot of cruft in my system, so I decided that I would just blow the drive away and do a fresh reinstall.

After killing the better part of a day with the “download patch/driver, restart” cycle, I decided that I should invest some money so that I wouldn’t have to do this again. So, I went out and bought a copy of Acronis True Image version 8, a disk cloning and backup solution. This program allows you to backup your entire system to either another hard drive or removeable media, and then restore it all at once. I have a spare 20gb drive in an external enclosure, which was large enough to hold my newly created barebones distribution. So, I backed it up.

And restored it, in only 28 minutes, without any user intervention (just told it what to restore and hit “go”).

It worked perfectly.

You don’t need anything at all running off the old disk: you can create a boot disk that will allow you to install on completely hosed/new media. It works pretty much as expected. If you value your time, perhaps this program will be useful to you. It seems expensive ($50) for what is probably just a version of dd, but hey, convenience counts for something too.

Epia Information is trying to become the primary source of information on using the EPIA motherboards produced by VIA.

This website currently runs on just such a motherboard, using FreeBSD. They are cool, capable, and run with very little power. All in all, a very good deal.