Subscriber Ed McDowell wrote recently to ask about using Acronis True Image for a special task:
I did purchase (upgrade) to Acronis 2010 when the special price was announced several months ago before v2011 was released.
I am purchasing a new laptop with Windows 7 Pro 64 bit.
Can I use a ghost performed by Acronis to move everything over to the new computer? I’ve read your articles about moving everything except the OS to a new computer but you never mentioned using a ghost operation.
I wrote back to Ed with the issues he will have if he tries to do an image restore to his new computer.
First, let me clarify that we really don’t want to use the verb "ghost" to refer to drive duplication using image files. Norton Ghost™ is a trademark of Symantec for its image backup & restore program for hard drives.
Cloning the old drive to the new drive doesn’t sound like what he really wants to do, unless he’s planning to replace the new Windows 7 installation with whatever operating system is on his backup.
The image file from the old computer won’t have the right drivers for the laptop’s motherboard, ethernet connection, sound connection, built-in video, USB ports, etc. Even if he got past those issues, he may still have issues that the laptop manufacturer probably does not provide drivers for the older OS.
Assuming he want to keep the Windows 7 OS on the new laptop (which is what I would do), he’s really talking about restoring stuff other than the OS. In other words, he wants to restore data and programs.
Simply put, if you restore programs from the old computer to the new computer, they won’t work. Microsoft has guided software manufacturers for years to store critical information for the application, including license codes and other anti-piracy controls, in the Windows Registry, where it’s not easily extractable or copy-able.
In other words, when you migrate to a new drive with a different operating system, you have to install your programs on the new drive. You can copy the data, though.
Regarding his basic question, you wouldn’t use the "clone" or "restore drive/partition" functions to restore data files. Those functions make copies of the original drive or drive partition.
In order to get the data to copy, you mount the image and use file manager to copy the files you want. Acronis True Image allows you to "mount" your backup image as if it were a hard drive. That way, they data looks like it’s on a hard drive, so you can use the Windows Explorer to access the files and folders to copy to the new drive.
Further, you probably wouldn’t be able to clone the drive and make it work — at least with the basic ATIH2011 program, even assuming you were using 64-bit on your old computer. The issue is a Microsoft anti-piracy protection.
I think one of the main functions of the Plus Pack is to enable you to do this restore function to different hardware (dissimilar hardware) — but it requires running the preparatory functions on the old computer before making the backup to move to the new computer.
If you want to do this, read more on the Acronis site. I haven’t done this and I don’t have the Plus Pack.
Note, also, that this is a "technical answer." Most software licenses are restricted to only being installed on one computer. Some software licenses even prohibit moving the program to another computer, period.