Old 25-07-2008   #1
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Clone a USB flash drive

Hi all,

I am trying to make a backup of a USB drive I have that contains software. If I simply copy all the files to another flash drive, the software doesn't work. I need to be able to clone the entire drive. Is this possible?

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Old 25-07-2008   #2
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Re: Clone a USB flash drive

Yes it is.
If you go to you hard drive manufacturers web site you will find software free to do just what you want.
I have used Maxtor maxblast that not only clones a drive but has Acronis built in to make a compressed image so that you can restore the drive/any drive back the way it was when you first made the image.
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Old 25-07-2008   #3
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Re: Clone a USB flash drive

A good solution is to use WinRAR. Simply select all files on the pendrive, and then right click on the selection and press "Add to archive..."

On the option window select a path where to store the archive, and select the compression ration ("Store" will apply no compression and is the fastest option).

The most important thing is to select the "Put recovery record" option. This will insert in the archive some parity data that help to recover archive contents if the RAR file will become corrupted in some way. I already tested it and it's working very well
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Old 25-07-2008   #4
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Re: Clone a USB flash drive

Using file-level archiving tool will not preserve the bootability of a USB Flash Drive nor will it preserve the filesystem specifics and layout. Depending on your needs, this may or may not be important.

I haven't found a UFD imaging/cloning tool that I'm entirely happy with, but you could try this free tool from HP:

HP Drive Key Boot Utility

It will allow you to backup the UDF to an image file and also restore an UFD from the same image file. Unfortunately it saves everything including unused sectors, so the image is as big as the entire drive. IIRC it also doesn't allow you to restore to a drive of a different size.

In case anyone thinks that WinImage would be the ideal solution, my testing indicates that v7 does not preserve the filesystem specifics and layout of the saved UFD drive reliably enough to guarantee bootability after a restore. I'm not sure if WinImage v8 has solved this.
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Old 26-07-2008   #5
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Re: Clone a USB flash drive

Tried cloning using Segate/Maxtor MaxBlast but there where some unreadable sectors so the clone did not complete..

From another forum they suggested WinHex, a forensic tool, but to write to a drive you have to buy the full version.

Will try the HP tool and see what it does --- oops this is not supported under Vista

Last edited by swinster; 26-07-2008 at 03:02.
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Old 26-07-2008   #6
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Re: Clone a USB flash drive

Well, I managed to clone the drive using WinHex, although this screwed up once and the partition need to be deleted - no mean feat for a Flash drive. Anyhow, I managed the later with Paragon Partition Manager.

However, It still didn't do the trick, the software will not run from the flash drive. I'm guessing it is somehow ties to the firmware in the drive.

Does anyone know of a way to copy the firmware of USB drives, or at least be able to manipulate how the usb device is seen by the computer?

Or is there another possibility?
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Old 26-07-2008   #7
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Re: Clone a USB flash drive

Quote:
Originally Posted by swinster View Post
Well, I managed to clone the drive using WinHex, ...

However, It still didn't do the trick, the software will not run from the flash drive....
I have always found that dd on Linux is the best tool for making
byte-for-byte copies of drives.

dd if=/dev/sdX of=driveimage.img

Will copy the entire drive including the boot sector to
a file called driveimage.img Replace X with the correct
device number.
http://linux.die.net/man/1/dd

The price is right too.
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Old 03-08-2008   #8
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Re: Clone a USB flash drive

Cheers, but I don't think that it's the copy that's the problem. Even if you used the Linux software, there would be no modification to the actual firmware of the flash drive.

For instance, if I put in a Kingston flash drive, the computer will always recognise it as a Kingston drive. no matter whether I put a new disc image on there or not. The flash drive I am trying to clone is recognised as the manufacturer of the software.
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Old 12-08-2008   #9
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Re: Clone a USB flash drive

I was looking at some software such as SourceUSB to see if anything can be determined, and I have been looking through some USB code FAQs, which although very interesting stuff, I don't think will be able to alter anything on a second USB stick in ordcer to replicate the first.
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Old 29-03-2010   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skelton View Post
I have always found that dd on Linux is the best tool for making
byte-for-byte copies of drives.

dd if=/dev/sdX of=driveimage.img

Will copy the entire drive including the boot sector to
a file called driveimage.img Replace X with the correct
device number.
http://linux.die.net/man/1/dd

The price is right too.
Thanks, this really helped me.
Just my 2 cents:
to get a much smaller dd image backup file, you can write a dummy zero file to the flash drive, then erase it, then make a new backup and compress it, the compressed size is impressive (about 26 kb for a 2Gb drive), here is how:


cd /media/DRIVE_NAME (your drive name)
dd if=/dev/zero of=test.bin
rm test.bin
Now, you can repeat the procedure and compress the output file.
Again, thanks for you help
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Old 29-03-2010   #11
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Re: Clone a USB flash drive

Forgot to mention, my backup was mainly for the boot loader installed in the flash drive, I had no files on it.
If you want to make a backup of a fully used flash drive, this trick is useless ...
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