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Sporadic boot failure after cloning

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July 6, 2010 3:02:11 AM

I recently cloned an old 80GB PATA drive to a new 160GB PATA WD drive. I used Apricorn's EZgig II, which I've used many times before and it has always treated me right.

This time, after rebooting with the new drive, it immediately gave a BOOT DISK NOT FOUND type message. I restarted, played with the BIOS settings, and then it worked.

Later that day it had to be rebooted and the same problem occurred, so I simply went into the BIOS and hit "Load Defaults", then restarted and it worked.

Every time it reboots it has this problem now and I can correct it by doing "Load Defaults."

Any ideas on what may be causing this, and what may fix it permanently?

Thanks,
Tom
a b G Storage
July 7, 2010 4:00:29 PM

Wierd one. Maybe your BIOS battery is pooched. If thats not it, check the drive settings in the BIOS for compatibility mode and save. You could also try FDISK /MBR, but I'm not sure thats actually the issue.
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a c 357 G Storage
July 8, 2010 4:41:45 AM

So, how many PATA devices do you have in the machine now, and on which PATA ports? I'm heading toward whether you have each PATA unit's jumpers set to the correct position, either Master or Slave. EACH PATA port in use MUST have ONE Master, and MAY have one Slave, too. In general, the Master ought to be connected to the black connector on the end of the ribbon cable, and the Slave (if any) to the gray connector in the middle. If you have an optical unit on a cable with a HDD, make the HDD the Master.

While you're at it, check whether all the cables are securely connected, not loose.
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July 9, 2010 9:44:56 PM

canadian69 said:
Wierd one. Maybe your BIOS battery is pooched. If thats not it, check the drive settings in the BIOS for compatibility mode and save. You could also try FDISK /MBR, but I'm not sure thats actually the issue.


I tried pulling the battery and then killed the power. Of course it worked the first time I booted, but on subsequent restarts it did not since the unit had not lost power fully.

I'll look for a compatibility mode deal. I didn't see much that was of use in the BIOS. I forgot to mention that I looked for a BIOS update, but the version currently installed is the newest (from 2003).

Not sure I want to do fdisk /mbr ... lol. :) 
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July 9, 2010 9:48:25 PM

Paperdoc said:
So, how many PATA devices do you have in the machine now, and on which PATA ports? I'm heading toward whether you have each PATA unit's jumpers set to the correct position, either Master or Slave. EACH PATA port in use MUST have ONE Master, and MAY have one Slave, too. In general, the Master ought to be connected to the black connector on the end of the ribbon cable, and the Slave (if any) to the gray connector in the middle. If you have an optical unit on a cable with a HDD, make the HDD the Master.

While you're at it, check whether all the cables are securely connected, not loose.


I thought this also but it is configured exactly as the previous drive. There is only one hard disk (Pri Master) and one optical drive (Pri Secondary) both plugged in at the end of their respective cables. I tried the jumpers on the hard disk in both Cable Select and Single Master, neither had any effect on the issue. :-\

Any more ideas?
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a c 357 G Storage
July 10, 2010 2:24:06 AM

I presume you mean the optical is jumpered as a Master, and it's the only device on the cable for the Secondary PATA port. Well, all those settings look good.

In BIOS Setup, look for the place where you specify the Boot Priority Sequence. It probably should be set to try your optical drive first (in case you want to boot from it instead of the HDD), and the new 160 GB unit second, and NO other device. If it is trying to find the older 80 GB HDD and it does not exist, that could be a problem. When you finish setting, use Save and Exit to be sure it actually saves your new BIOS settings.
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July 23, 2010 5:29:18 PM

If the computer is old enough (and it sounds like it is, since the latest BIOS is from 2003) you may be hitting the 137GB LBA limitation. See here for some references:
http://www.google.com/search?q=137GB+lba+limitation

One solution is to make two partitions. The first one should be less than 137GB and the second can be the rest of the drive.

the BIOS cannot read the drive properly, since it cannot support a drive larger than 137GB, but windows can see the whole drive properly. If you make the first partition less that 137GB, the BIOS can understand it.

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August 5, 2010 6:40:29 PM

menachem said:
If the computer is old enough (and it sounds like it is, since the latest BIOS is from 2003) you may be hitting the 137GB LBA limitation. See here for some references:
http://www.google.com/search?q=137GB+lba+limitation

One solution is to make two partitions. The first one should be less than 137GB and the second can be the rest of the drive.

the BIOS cannot read the drive properly, since it cannot support a drive larger than 137GB, but windows can see the whole drive properly. If you make the first partition less that 137GB, the BIOS can understand it.


Forgive my ignorance, but if the BIOS doesn't support LBA then wouldn't it not boot at all, ever?
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a c 357 G Storage
August 5, 2010 7:13:39 PM

Yes, lack of 48-bit LBA support in the BIOS MAY be the root of this problem. If that is the case, you CAN use the 160 GB new drive IF you are careful about a couple of things. The key is to recognize that, in that situation where the mobo controller cannot handle any HDD larger than 137 GB (HDD maker's count) or 128 GB (by Windows' way of counting the same thing), you CANNOT try to use any part of the HDD above that boundary. So you CAN create and use a first Primary Partition of that size and not more with no difficulty. BUT you must not try to make another Partition out of the left-over space above that.

Now, this poses a problem for OP that you MAY be able to fix. VERY likely when you made your clone to the new drive, it did so to a Partition of about 148 GB, rather than 128, and that's why it is giving you trouble. IF you still have the original 80 GB old drive in good condition you can start over and re-make the clone to a Partition of the correct size. If you want to do this, proceed as follows.

FIRST is that you probably have some new files with info on that new drive already. This process will destroy all those! So, back up ANY files that are not already on the old drive. You will have to restore those to the new clone when this is all done.

Re-install the old HDD and get your cloning software ready. Read the software's manual, or maybe even start it up, and look through the menus to find a place to specify the size of the Partition being created on the new Destination drive to receive the clone copy.

Right here is where you will have to figure out which system they are using for specifying size? If it talks about not exceeding a limit on older drives of either 128 GB or 137 GB, that will answer the question. Or, if it tells you that your new drive is either 148 GB or 160 GB, that will answer. If your old HDD is ALL used as one volume, it may tell you its size is either 74 GB or 80 GB. NOTE these are NOT "Free Space", these are TOTAL disk capacity. So, can you tell whether the cloning software is using the smaller number system or the larger number system? If you can, you now know that the limit on the new disk's Partition size will be either 128 GB (Windows' view of the size) or 137 GB (Hard Drive maker's way of counting).

So, set the software options to limit the new Partition size to that. It may be, in fact, that the software will tell you that there is NO space available on the new 160 GB HDD to use (after all, you already have a clone copy on it). If that is the case and you KNOW you can make the right adjustments to get the re-cloning done properly, you may need to tell that software to delete all existing Partitions and data on the160 GB drive before proceeding to make a new one on the resulting empty disk.

So, if you can get all that arranged, you can make a new Primary Partition of up to 128 GB on the new HDD and place the clone copy there. Once that is done you can shut down and re-establish the recent configuration - no old HDD, and the new one with its clone copy as the boot device. It should boot with no trouble. If so, you can restore those copies of new files that you saved before starting.

If you do this, do NOT try to use Disk Management or any other tool to create a second Partition for more data in the Unallocated Space of the HDD. If you do that, there is a VERY good possibility that trying to put data there will really put data into the middle of files on the boot Partition instead, corrupting those files! The corruption could easily be in the file control system or the Windows system files, making the entire drive useless!
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