reply about Casper (cloning & backup utility)


Timothy Daniels

I asked Future Systems Solutions a few questions about how Casper
worked with the latest versions of Windows. This is their surprisingly
thorough reply -

"As long as Casper is able to identify the destination disk as a
solid state (SSD) or Advanced Format (AFD) device, it will use
optimized partition alignment regardless of the partition alignment
of the original source partition(s).

"NOTE: If the SSD or AFD is temporarily attached via an external
enclosure or bridge adapter, and the source partitions are not properly
aligned, it may be necessary to force Casper to use optimized alignment
(see below). Some external enclosures/bridge adapters can make it
impossible to identify the type of device connected.

"By default, Casper will maintain the partition alignment strategy
of the source device unless it can identify the destination as an SSD
or AFD device. For example, if the source partitions are aligned to
optimized boundaries, as is the case on Windows Vista and Windows 7
and later, then Casper will align the destination partitions to optimized
boundaries. Conversely, if the source partitions are aligned to traditional
(e.g., cylinder/head) boundaries and the destination is not an SSD
or AFD device, then Casper will align the destination partitions likewise.
If Casper can identify the destination as an SSD or AFD device and the
source device defines unaligned partitions, Casper will align the
destination partitions to optimized boundaries.

"Optimized partition alignment is done in the same manner as
Windows Vista and later.

"You can override this behavior and force Casper to use a specific
partition alignment strategy. For example, follow this procedure
to force Casper to use optimized partition alignment on the
destination disk:

1. Start Casper.
2. Click Explore to open Casper Explorer.
3. From the Tools menu, click Options.
4. On the General tab within the Settings box under
Partition Alignment, select Optimized.
5. Click OK to apply and close the dialog.

(With Optimized selected, Casper will always optimize the
alignment of the partitions on the destination device -
regardless of the alignment on the source device.
Optimized alignment is essential for all SSD and AFD devices.)"

"Casper will use the aforementioned strategy whenever cloning
a disk (be it solid state or rotational). For example, if the destination
is a rotational hard disk, then the it will maintain the partition alignment
of the source. However, if the aforementioned option is configured to
force Optimized alignment, then Casper will optimize the alignment
regardless of the source partition's alignment."

"If you know what you are doing, yes. (We don't provide support for it.)
Most Windows 7 systems are configured with separate boot and system
partitions. (The boot partition contains the BCD.) We have a Knowledge
Base Article on how to reconfigure such a Windows 7 installation to boot
and run from a single partition: "

"Casper 7.0 does not support UEFI (or GPT disk partitioning);
however, we just released Casper 8.0, which does fully support
UEFI and GPT disk partitioning.

"That aside, it is not possible to boot separate installations of Windows
from a single hard disk on a UEFI configured system without each
installation sharing a single EFI system partition (or using a custom
boot loader)."


This is the most informative reply that I've ever received from a
producer of IT hardware or software, and it's in educated English,
to boot (ummm, no pun intended). I've used Casper in the past
to clone WinXP for multiple immediately bootable backups, and
I was always satisfied with its performance.



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