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Cloning an HDD that wont boot

Hello all,

I have have been having desktop problems booting to Win 7 recently and it seems it is an HDD problem.

To begin with, in the space of 1 week I blew a capacitor on my graphics card, replaced it and then the LCD went (power but no display) and replaced that. Then not a week later Win7 wont boot. It tried to do a windows repair option but it gets stuck at either the Windows logo or the mouse cursor and the small blue 'I'm busy' icon. At this point it seems to be pointing to an HDD problem.

I would like to clone that HDD (Samsung) if it is still possible. I'm not so much concerned about the data as I have the backups but I'd hate to have to reinstall and reconfigure everything apps, routers, dv capture card, cctv dvr card, and so on.

However, looking at the forums responses as well as the whats out in the web so far it seems I have to be booted to the problem HDD in the first place. What I wanted to find out is if there is a way to have the failing HDD and the new HDD hooked up as secondary drives to may laptop and from the laptop to clone the failing HDD to the new HDD. I presume there will be no issue if the new HDD is a different brand and larger in size. Then slot in the new HDD and hopefully everything boots up as if nothing ever happened.

On a side note, before all of these problems occurred, I had upgraded my 2x1GB DDR2 RAM to 2x2GB DDR2, however the system was running fine for a time before the problems started cropping up. I have also tested the old RAM back when I first started having the boot problems but they did not seem to have have any effect so I presume the 2x2GB RAM were not culprits.

Thanks!
9 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about cloning wont boot
  1. I don't see any reason why you can't clone the drives with ur laptop, just use norton ghost or some similar program, if you could get a successful clone you would not need to reinstall anything either.
  2. The problem with cloning drives in a laptop is the shortage of SATA ports. The next problem is that what you would do is unlikely to work.

    I really like Acronis. An Acronis disk uses a Linux kernel, so you can boot to the program without using Windows.

    Get another laptop drive. Put it in a USB case if your laptop cannot hold 2 drives. Clone the original drive. Then install the cloned drive (if the cloning operation was successful) in the laptop.

    It may work.
  3. It doesn't sound like anything is wrong with your HDD--it's the data on it, your Windows installation, that's corrupted. You can use TestDisk to attempt to repair your boot sector: http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk
    I think it worked for me once (it was a few months ago and I've reinstalled since).

    Anyhow, I am about 90% certain that it will be faster and you will have more positive results merely by reinstalling Windows. It'll only take 30 minutes or so to reinstall, you don't risk losing any data, and it's nearly certain to work. Then it'll take another 3 hours to set stuff up and install most of your programs, but that's still faster than removing a laptop hard drive if it doesn't have an easy access door. And drive cloning isn't a quick process either.

    Btw, what speed was your old RAM and what speed is your new RAM? You can try running Memtest86+ on the new RAM.

    Btw, Blowing a capacitor on your graphics card is NOT HDD related...that is if you were even implying that.
  4. Hi all,

    Thanks for the quick replies. I just wanted to clarify that the HDD in question is a desktop 3.5" HDD. Since I cant boot to it I can't clone from the desktop. I was thinking of hooking up the problem HDD and the new HDD to a laptop (only other machine I have available) and using the laptops OS and working HDD to clone the problem HDD into the new HDD.

    In any case, I will assume your suggestions would not have been different.

    JSC, are you saying I wont be able to get the HDDs into a casing connected USB to the laptop and clone in that fashion? In which case I agree a laptop wont have enough SATA ports. I'll have to make nice with someone with a desktop.

    Dalauder, thanks for your suggestion on cgsecurity I will try it out first. I gave up on the problem being Windows related when after several attempts at the repair option on boot that I still couldn't start Windows, that's what had me looking into a possible HDD issue. In repairing the boot sector with cgsecurity I presume you had this utility on a second machine and repaired the failed HDD as a secondary HDD.

    I didn't think a blown capacitor would have had anything to do with it unless some external electrical fault fried the card and took the HDD and LCD along with it. Just strange that they all failed one after the other. Must have been the day 'God divided by zero' :-)
  5. Best answer
    wunof11 said:
    I gave up on the problem being Windows related when after several attempts at the repair option on boot that I still couldn't start Windows, that's what had me looking into a possible HDD issue. In repairing the boot sector with cgsecurity I presume you had this utility on a second machine and repaired the failed HDD as a secondary HDD.

    I didn't think a blown capacitor would have had anything to do with it unless some external electrical fault fried the card and took the HDD and LCD along with it. Just strange that they all failed one after the other. Must have been the day 'God divided by zero' :-)
    Windows repair on boot pretty much doesn't work. It just wastes 10 hours then I hard reset and reinstall Windows. I don't remember where I ran Testdisk from, sorry.

    Now your PSU could definitely take out an HDD and blow a cap on a graphics card.

    I'd run test the HDD with Seatools for DOS: http://www.seagate.com/ww/v/index.jsp?locale=en-US&name=seatooldreg&vgnextoid=480bd20cacdec010VgnVCM100000dd04090aRCRD

    It doesn't sound like it's the HDD to me. I think your Windows is corrupted--that could include a boot sector corruption. But that's still software, not hardware (HDD). If you can't pull an error in any of Seatools tests, then I doubt it's the HDD. Like I said before though--reinstalling Windows is almost certainly the fastest thing you can do.
  6. en , what the hell is?
  7. dalauder said:
    Windows repair on boot pretty much doesn't work. It just wastes 10 hours then I hard reset and reinstall Windows. I don't remember where I ran Testdisk from, sorry.

    Now your PSU could definitely take out an HDD and blow a cap on a graphics card.

    I'd run test the HDD with Seatools for DOS: http://www.seagate.com/ww/v/index.jsp?locale=en-US&name=seatooldreg&vgnextoid=480bd20cacdec010VgnVCM100000dd04090aRCRD

    It doesn't sound like it's the HDD to me. I think your Windows is corrupted--that could include a boot sector corruption. But that's still software, not hardware (HDD). If you can't pull an error in any of Seatools tests, then I doubt it's the HDD. Like I said before though--reinstalling Windows is almost certainly the fastest thing you can do.



    Thanks dalauder.

    You were absolutely right. It was not HDD. After trying out a couple of HDD diagnostic utilities I hit on the idea to borrow someone else's Win7 install DVD just to get windows up. So it seems my on Win 7 DVD is damaged or something as well?. It did boot with my friends Win7 DVD and allowed me to go back to a restore point. Windows is now up. It seems a Windows update was the culprit as no other programs were affected, according to the repair scan.
  8. Best answer selected by wunof11.
  9. It actually did something similar to that to me earlier this week. My guess is there's a new bad update going around.

    For future reference, it's free and legal to download Windows 7 isos. You can get whichever version you're running here: http://www.mydigitallife.info/windows-7-iso-x86-and-x64-official-direct-download-links-ultimate-professional-and-home-premium/

    You might want to download a copy and burn it to a DVD to replace your bad one. (I lost my Windows 7 64 Pro disc, so now I always use a homemade one).
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