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Keeping a Windows to Go Drive uptodate
I have several small USB-SSDs with bootable copies of my Windows boot partition. I do not want to write too often to these drives and therefor thought it coul be a good idea to use a sychronising app (SecondCopy) to "simply" make the USB-SSD the same as my PC -SSD (Exact copy, copy source to destination, delete obsolete files from destination) . But even when I booted from a WinToUSB drive and copied the files "cold" from the PC to another WinToUSB drive it did not work. Inoticed that the latest programms I had installed on the PC did not show up on the copy that should have been identical. Went something wrong or is it simply no good idea to try it the way I did?
For a program that needs to be installed to work properly, just copying files is not enough, because the installation information and other customization information will be saved in the Windows registry or other places when the program is installed. Unless you completely copy these files and installation information, the program may not work properly.
I know. But I thought, that by copying literally everything from the source partition the changed registry would be copied too of course. If I make a normal backup everything is always "copied", even running from within Windows. Why not in my case when the source windows is not even running at all?
I’m very sorry, the partition information (such as disk identification, partition start sector, etc.) of the current Windows operating system is recorded in the Windows registry. If you copy a Windows registry file directly to another Windows partition, this will cause Windows to fail to start because the information in the registry does not match.
But the slightly "improved" WinToUSB-USB drive did boot. Only not updated very much. Can I update my WinToUSB drive only with a new full write starting from the source drive after fromatting the needed two partitions an the USB drive?
I'm very sorry, I don't quite understand what you mean. Can you explain it?
I started with Windows 10 Pro on my PC. I produced two WinToUSB-drives on external SSDs. After a few weeks and the changes that came with it I wanted to make my main WTU drive to be an exact copy of my PC System again. Of course I could have simply run your software again. But then I would have to write all of the 125GB on my system partition on to the external SSD again. To minimize the wear and tear I want to "update" my external drive with only the new or changed files on my PC system drive (delta copying so to say). For partitions other than my system partition, for instance my music partition, I use SecondCopy to maintain a backup copy with the same information as my working music partition. As I know from the windows past it is not easy to copy/backup Windows into a backup file while it is running. Years ago one had to boot from a CD or an USB stick to bakup the "cold" windows partition. These days practically all backup software can backup a running system without any problems. But to go safe I did not run SecondCopy from within my PC Windows system but deliberately booted from one of the WinToUSB USB-drives and delta copied the now cold PC system partition to the other WinToUSB USB drive. From the log file of SecondCopy I learned that the programm indeed deleted some obsolete files and added some others that were new on the system partition. The good thing was that this WTU drive booted successfully. The bad thing was, that at least two programms that I had installed on the PC system are missing from the WTU drive.
We are not sure whether SecondCopy correctly copied all changed files to the target drive, especially Windows system files, such as the registry. In theory, if the registry file is copied from one Windows partition to another Windows partition, the changed Windows will not start normally unless the synchronization program handles the registry accordingly. In addition, the newly installed programs will be recorded in the registry. If the registry files are not synchronized to the target drive, the newly installed programs will not be listed in Windows on the target drive. We think your situation may be that the registry is not synchronized to the target drive.
I too presume that the culprit is the registry. As it is a delicate file for correct Windows use I tried it now with a full registry backup that I then tried to restore on the WTU drive. But this did not work, as I got an errot message that some information cannot be imported. There seems to be no easy faster way to update a WTU backup drive.
Yes, there does not seem to be an easy faster way to update a W2G backup drive, you have to clone the entire Windows OS to the USB drive.

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