URGENT (Windows 7) Laptop HD is dying, need to create a bootable replica of hd image onto another hd

To start-Hi Tom's Hardware! This post belongs here mostly, but would apply partly to the Windows 7 section.

So my laptop (running Windows 7 Home Premium) HD is dying. Ran Dell diagnostic tool and it came up with error 2000-0142 (indicating physical/hardware problems on the disk). Not making any weird noises, but I can tell its on the verge of crashing w/ severe data loss.

Now here's the problem. I need to keep the exact image. Reinstalling isn't an option-because there is some specialized software on the computer which an IT firm installs at a high cost and on a time schedule which will really mess me up badly(potentially cost my job).

My question is: if I create a bit for bit image of the disk and then I dd that image to the exact same type of drive, will it boot up?

I've never restored a windows image before, I think ddrescue/dd is the way to go, not sure if I'm supposed to just /dev/sda, or.. any expert input here would be great.

Some other specifics about the install, it's a defacto Win7 install, with presumably an MBR and a c: drive partition using the remainder of the disk space.

I suppose the root question here is will Windows 7 have a problem when it sees a new HD, with a new serial number?

An additional question, if someone knows the answer to would be great-

It's a 500GB Western Digital WD5000BPVT - should I get the exact same type of drive or would it work with any other 500GB drive? I could probably put it on a larger disk and resize with gparted if I so needed the extra space perhaps?

Any input here is really appreciated. I didn't find an exact verbatim post like this, so I hope it can be helpful for all who find this forum post.


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  1. Best answer
    Welcome to Tom's Hardware Forums!

    I read your post and can understand the importance! Do not continue to use the computer in this condition.

    Yes it is possible to "Clone" the hard disk and you can use a larger disk to clone to. After cloning, just install (connect) the newly cloned disk to the computer and everything will work out fine.

    This is what I used:

    There are others too.,2817,2421302,00.asp
  2. Yes you can clone the hard disk as Ubrales says. I've used Macrium Reflect a number of times to backup the disk image of my old laptop. I had a Vista install that I modified very heavily. I didn't want to clean install (in case of HDD failure or heavy software corruption) because it would take WAY to much time to repeat all the modifications.

    A word of warning though, be VERY careful when you are setting up partitions with any cloning software. I partitioned and installed Win8 Beta on my old laptop. When I went back and reverted to the previous (unpartioned) disk image, I deleted the Win8 Beta partition. BUT I also deleted the MBR as I did not know what an MBR was at the time. Yea total fail on my part. Had to download a Vista ISO off a torrent and restore the MBR to get the laptop to boot. The takeaway is that you really should make sure you know what partitions you're cloning when you transition to the new HDD. I don't know for sure what Acronis and Macrium Reflect default to in their settings. Just double check before you do this.
  3. I believe the windows activation is tied to the motherboard not the specific HDD. As long as it's the same laptop, you shouldn't have any issues from Win7.
  4. Hi, Thanks for the tips and pointers here. Glad to hear that Win is going to be ok with everything. Going to make a clone image of the drive in the mean time til the replacement drive arrives.

    Again, Thanks & Best Regards.
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