Is an OS SSD Cloned to another SSD through a USB adapter still bootable?

BC795 ✭✭
First Comment Name Dropper First Anniversary
edited August 2023 in General Discussion

Some time ago, I bought a Sabrent USB adapter for 2.5 inch SSDs (which came with its own Acronis version for it) to easily connect any SSDs and potentially make future clone backups of my OS drive much easier so I don't have to jumble around SATA cables when making backups. I have an SSD that is the same size as the one that currently houses my OS.

For the longest time I always followed this video for making said backup clones. However, I haven't attempted a new backup out of concern that the destination disk might not be bootable because despite how it's an SSD, it might be read as an external disk due to it being connected via the USB adapter (since the USB media recognizes it as being connected through USB rather than SATA), and 1:07 of the video says that external hard drives cannot be made bootable.

That said, I always used the Acronis bootable media for this, as the video advises against booting Windows with two bootable disks, which is why I don't want to try to clone an OS disk while Windows is running even though that is an option within the desktop app version of Acronis.

The main question is, has anyone used a USB SSD adapter like the one I have to clone an OS Disk before? I'd appreciate any input from anyone who has so I know what to do if there's anything. I'd also like to know if cloning an OS disk while windows is running is actually safe, or if it's better to stick with the Acronis USB media.

Lastly, the reason why I choose not to do a system image is because the last time the OS SSD died on me and I had to get a replacement, the system image I made of the OS a month before the failure did not work no matter what I did (which I previously posted about here)

Since then, I've made backups by cloning my OS hard drive to another SSD so it's ready at a moment's notice if/when my OS SSD suddenly dies again. I know this is doable because when I was troubleshooting some partition sizes from a previous upgrade of the OS drive via cloning it to a higher capacity one, I was able to boot off of either one as long as I didn't boot with the other attached.

Thanks in advance.

Best Answer

  • PowerSpec_MikeW
    PowerSpec_MikeW PowerSpec Engineer
    5 Insightfuls First Anniversary First Comment 5 Awesomes
    Answer ✓


    What they mean at 1:07 in the video, is that you can't boot directly to the USB drive, but if you were to connect it internally via SATA you could.

    No issue with booting windows with two bootable disks. It's a little confusing, but you can set the priority in msconfig.

    I've cloned pretty much all HDD's to SSD's as upgrades inside the OS. There are several tools that are easy to use for this. The Samsung data migration tool as an example runs exclusively in the OS. You can clone to an SSD via a USB adapter. Turn the PC off, install the drive and you're all set.

    If you want near instant recovery from a drive failure have you considered a mirrored RAID array instead? I'd do both to be safe, but with a RAID 1 array you can just boot to the second drive, then replace the failed drive and rebuild the array when it's convenient.


  • BC795
    BC795 ✭✭
    First Comment Name Dropper First Anniversary
    edited August 2023

    Sounds like it should also be safe to clone on the desktop version of Acronis then. I'll probably still use the bootable media's backup as that's what I'm used to.

    As for the RAID array, I'm actually somewhat intrigued after looking it up. It's basically mirroring, right? It seems like a fine choice, and I'd love to be walked through it. I just wonder if this would mean I'd have to wipe the SSD with the current clone/backup on it in order to properly mirror it.

    However, the one thing that's making me hesitant to do RAID is that it might lock me out of upgrading the OS to an M.2/NVME unless I decide to upgrade my mobo again (which I already did back in 2020 and don't feel like doing so again right now). The reason for that is because my mobo is the MSI B450 GAMING PLUS MAX, and while it does have an m.2 slot, the manual says that installing one would disable the last two SATA ports, and I already have 5 out of the six of them in use.

    4 of them are used by my active hard drives (OS, Personal Files, Games, and heavier games on another SSD), and the fifth is used for a CD drive I've got. I'm assuming that the RAID drive has to be connected internally as well to work, and this would pose a problem if I were to ever get an m.2, as while cloning the OS to the NVME and removing the SATA SSD would free a SATA port to allow the other 4 SATA drives I already have to coexist with the m.2, it wouldn't allow me to keep the RAID drive unless I were to stop using the CD Drive.

    For now I'll just clone my OS drive again in the meantime, but as much as I'd like to try RAID, this is definitely a difficult choice given my motherboard's limitations, and I've heard how fast m.2s are. Nonetheless, thank you for suggesting the RAID option.

  • PowerSpec_MikeW
    PowerSpec_MikeW PowerSpec Engineer
    5 Insightfuls First Anniversary First Comment 5 Awesomes


    Typically creating the RAID array on a hardware level wipes the drives. So the procedure would be:

    1. Backup image.
    2. Build array from two drives, mirrored.
    3. Reimage

    Caveat here is if you the board was in AHCI, and you switched to RAID, the OS is going to BSOD on startup the first time. No big deal, go through the recovery menu, boot into safe mode once and it'll fix itself. And with the M.2 NVMe drive it really shouldn't matter, you can still clone to it. You can do NVMe RAID 1 if the board supports it. You could move a RAID array in the same fashion as when you're creating it. Make image backup, build raid array. Restore image to raid array, deal with AHCI to RAID issues if applicable.

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