Windows 7 - How to clone failed hard drive to replacement hard drive

Asked By smokey on 19-Feb-10 08:19 PM
Looks like my current hard drive has failed as when I try to boot, the load
page does not show the hard drive or the dvd/cd drive and hangs on that page.
I had previous problems in trying to boot Windows and the only way to get
past that problem was to boot from the installation disc and do a repair
install.  That got the computer booting OK.  I did a scan of the hard drive
and there were a few errors that could not be fixed and subsequently have got
to the stage that looks like there is a hard drive failure.  This hard drive
does still sound OK, no noises coming from it.

Is is possible to install a new hard drive as the master and the old drive
as the slave and use a program like HDClone or PC Inspector Clone Maxx to
clone the contents of the old drive to the new drive.  This would save alot
of time as it take a while install all the programs onto a new drive.  If
there is then errors with Windows, I should be able to repair it.  Further,
the old drive is partitioned, is there a problem with that.

20100220 replied to smokey on 19-Feb-10 09:39 PM
Yes it is possible.  If your new HD is from WD then download a free software
from here:

If your HD is Seagate then download a free software from their website.

Paul replied to smokey on 19-Feb-10 09:52 PM
You can actually transfer from the old drive, to a new one, using
only free tools. You can use a Linux LiveCD (Ubuntu or Knoppix for
example), then use the "dd" program to do sector by sector copies.
The bottom section of this page, has a suggestion as to what tool
to use, if the source disk actually has badly damaged sectors that
are no longer readable and throw up CRC errors.

There is even a Windows version of "dd", but you would  need a
bootable system to use this.

Once you have made your copy, then you have to run something like
on the copied partition. It is always possible that chkdsk will not
run to completion. It happened to me, on a trivial problem with my
video scratch disk, and in the end, I just had to reformat the
partition. Chkdsk is not exactly the best tool to rely on in an
emergency. I would class that part of the recovery, as more critical
than making the sector by sector copy. If chkdsk cannot fix the copied
version of a partition from the other disk, there is no point in trying
to do other stuff to it, until it has a clean bill of health.

Chkdsk runs from the Windows Recovery Console, so you do not need a
bootable C: to use it. If you have a real Windows installer CD,
booting up and selecting the recovery console from there is a
possibility. The recovery console has a limited command set, but
is sufficient for a lot of simple maintenance tasks. You can see
chkdsk is one of the options in the list here. The command line
options for chkdsk in the Recovery Console, may not be exactly
the same as the version in the actual OS.

attrib    del        fixboot   more     set
batch     delete     fixmbr    mkdir    systemroot
bootcfg   dir        format    more     type
cd        disable    help      net
chdir     diskpart   listsvc   rd
chkdsk    enable     logon     ren
cls       exit       map       rename
copy      expand     md        rmdir

It is possible to get the Recovery Console, as a separate ISO9660
file and prepare your own Recovery Console boot CD. But that requires
trusting the source of that compilation. I much prefer to use my
WinXP SP3 installer CD, to get to the Recovery Console, as I can trust
that. For example, I was able to download this, but I have never had
the guts to test it. I think I uploaded it to virustotal, and it was
clean, but that is no guarantee.     4,677,680 bytes (xp_rec_con.iso inside it, is 7,716,864 bytes)

The poster "Pegasus", mentioned that you can now use a Windows 7
repair tool, for doing maintenance as well. So this would be another
option for having a Windows maintenance environment to work with.
Even though this says Window 7 on it, you can also use it for
doing maintenance on other systems and situations.

I would not go any further with your "clone" and "repair" plan,
unless chkdsk is able to clean up the mess on the copied hard
drive. And there is no point in running chkdsk on the source disk,
because no good will come of that. If a sector needs to be written
and the write fails, that is worse than attempting to do the
repair on a fully working hard drive. At least then, if a write
needs to be done, the write itself will work. So repairing the copy
might still work out for you. I just wish chkdsk was a bit better
designed - based on what little experience I have had with it, I am
not impressed.