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I think every week or so, we get the occasional "How do I copy my entire hard drive?" question. The answers are always the same, in the sense of suggesting software like Acronis TrueImage or Clonezilla.

Recent example: Image an entire computer

Possible duplicates – yes, I'm guilty myself, I answered some of them, but that was half a year ago and I didn't know better :)


I think we should somehow go through all the questions that deal with this – for example, I'll just search for is:answer clonezilla and sort by votes. Same goes for other applications as mentioned above.

Should we just close them all as a duplicate of the first one I mentioned in the list? What I don't like there is that it's very Windows-specific.

Should we even delete some of those, or do we want to keep the redundancy? What do you think?

  • 2
    This seems to be a case for establishing a single canonical answer for pointing future similar questions towards. – Grant Palin Nov 13 '11 at 23:22
  • Do you know whether someone acted on this one? – Daniel Beck Jan 6 '12 at 20:02
  • @Daniel Not that I know of. Maybe we can just clean up the big one and search for duplicates. – slhck Jan 6 '12 at 20:47
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Create one huge, comprehensive "Here's everything you need to know about hard disk imaging and what you can do with it" community wiki topic, just like we did with the environment variables.

Make it applicable from everything since Windows XP, Linux 2.4 (or whatever is reasonable here) and Mac OS X 10.4, and present options for the common configurations (with/without internet/network/CD drive/USB, Laptop/Desktop, whatever could make a difference). Note if a solution stands out, e.g. support for Windows 98/Me.

Close everything that doesn't stand out in an interesting way as a duplicate to that question.

  • This might be a good approach. If you want to get some of these started, tag them community-faq-proposed and edit this post to include a list of them, and I'll go community-wiki them. Once they're written up it'd make a good blog post as well. – nhinkle Nov 13 '11 at 20:46
  • 1
    It'd be nice if questions marked as community Wikis automatically got a higher search rank. – Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Nov 13 '11 at 21:11
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    @techie007 I doubt this would actually stop people from posting the same questions again and again, but yes, I feel the same way too. It's often very hard to actually find the reference questions, even if you know they're there. – slhck Nov 13 '11 at 22:41
  • @techie007 Some the community wiki question on environment variables, it already happened through votes. It will likely happen for any similar such effort. – Daniel Beck Nov 14 '11 at 4:36
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Just to echo what Daniel said:

http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2011/01/the-wikipedia-of-long-tail-programming-questions/

Help us build a great library of canonical answers. If you keep seeing the same form of questions, whether it’s mod_rewrite rules on Server Fault, freezing computers on Super User, or how to use regular expressions to parse HTML, write a great, canonical answer, once and for all. Make it community wiki so that as many other people as possible can make it great. Work really hard on writing something that is clear, concise, and understandable by as wide an audience as possible.

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