Making a full (ie bootable) clone of my Vista hard drive

I'm not sure whether this should be in Vista or in Hard Drives, but here goes...

I'm trying to upgrade to a bigger hard drive. I've got the new one in an external docking station, and XXClone has just copied all of my data across to it. However at the end of the process (when it is making the drive bootable) I get two errors, informing me that NTLOADER and NTDETECTdotCOM were not found on the source volume (ie my current hard drive). The same errors occur when I use its separate "Make Bootable" tool.

I've checked myself, and those files are indeed missing from the root folder of my current drive (ie C:\). However it HAS copied over something called bootmgr - and according to WinMerge the boot.ini file it created on my new drive doesn't have a counterpart on my current drive.

Is this just a case of XXClone not having been updated for the way Vista/7 boot? If I delete boot.ini from the new drive (since it seems to be unnecessary), will it be able to boot? I assume that all the necessary files have been copied across, but I'm concerned that since it hasn't been done by XXClone's "make bootable" function that any secret 'boot sector' (or whatever - this isn't my field!) of the hard disc won't have been cloned properly.

Alternatively, is there a (free) tool which will do just this task (ie make my new drive bootable compliant with the way Vista boots?)

PS: Opening the case and replacing components is one of my least favourite things to do on this earth, so I want to avoid putting the new drive in and then having to swap them round again because the new one won't boot :P
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  1. EDIT (except it won't let me) : I've discovered that there is a Microsoft-approved method for installing a Windows 7 'Upgrade' Edition to a blank hard drive. Since I'd have to do a full reinstall anyway when upgrading the OS (going from Vista 32-bit to 7 64-bit so I can upgrade the RAM in my system), I might as well reformat the new drive and put it into my system blank. I can then install 7 and reinstate my data from backups/the old drive as I would have had to do anyway. I wish I had found out about this before I spent 10 hours waiting for XXClone to fail to clone my Vista install :P

  2. If it's not too late and if you have your original Vista DVD, you could use that to go to StartUp Repair. You could also go to Command Prompt where you could use the bootrec commands.
  3. Thanks - I do have a system restore DVD (not sure whether an actual Vista-branded install DVD is necessary for this), but if I'd known about being able to install the Win7 upgrade to a blank disk I wouldn't have bothered cloning the data in the first place. The only reason I did the clone was because I thought having Vista on the new drive was necessary to install the Win7 upgrade - when doing the Win7 upgrade all the data would be wiped anyway (I need to do what MS calls a 'custom install' - ie full wipe - because I'm going from Vista Home Premium 32-bit to Win7 Pro 64-bit)
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