Cloning To HDD and Reducing Partition Size

I suppose this might be a "newbie" question, but I hope someone can help.

I've been experiencing the black screen with blinking cursor problem that many people seem to have. I've tried all sorts of hardware and software suggested fixes, but nothing seems to resolve the issue. Finally I think I've found the solution in the forum today. I believe it might have to do with my older system and installing a larger HDD and hitting the ceiling on the 137GB boot partition max.

Dell XPS M-170 Laptop - circa 2006
Windows XP SP3
Original HDD was 100 GB
New HDD is WD 250GB

I did a clean install when I installed the new drive, but have been experiencing the black screen/blinking cursor problem off and on. I have no other problems with my system and all hardware checks out in the long diagnostics testing.

I found a work-around about 6 months ago. If I clone my internal HDD to an external HDD and then immediately clone it back, my system will boot. I don't quite understand why, but it does work. It just takes about 3 hours to do it and although sometimes I may not have a problem for months, this week I'm on my 3rd cloning.

Is there a way that I can take my external drive clone and clone it back to the internal drive and change the partition sizes to under the 137GB max and have it boot? Or will I need to partition the internal drive and then reload the OS, all programs and data -- a task I would rather not do.

None of the other "fixes" for the black screen/blinking cursor problem seem to work, so this is my last hope.

Thanks for any help anyone can provide --
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  1. On your blinking cursor issue, I would recommend you boot off you windows XP disc, choose the first repair option which gets you into the recovery console. Choose your windows installation then run a "chkdsk -r" and when that's done run a "fixboot" and "fixmbr". It sounds like your boot loader is corrupt. A good program like Acronis True Image can clone and do all kinds of cool things.
  2. @kawininjazx

    Thanks for your suggestion. I apologize for this delay in responding. I have tried the "fixboot" and "fixmbr" options before and it didn't resolve my issue. I use Apricorn EZ Gig for cloning and it seems to work well enough. The cloning does solve the problem temporarily, but it keeps happening again and again. Sometimes it may be weeks while everything runs fine, while other times I might get the black screen a couple of times within a week. I keep hoping I'll find a permanent fix. Thanks again.
  3. If this is related to "hitting the ceiling on the 137GB boot partition max." then you need to get your version of XP on service pack 2 or later. Windows update.

    The guess is that the cloning software you are using is finding/fixing problems when it copies off the disk and then copies back on.

    Download a diagnostic from WD and see if there are any hardware problems with your disk. I assume not.

    Make sure your antivirus is current. Some malware does this.

    POST the messages you get when teh system fails to boot. Is there a file name that ends with .sys on the bluescreen? If so google it.
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