copying boot drive problems

Started Nov 2, 2012 | Discussions thread
Jim Cockfield Forum Pro • Posts: 16,342
try using clean w/diskpart, or clone it using ddrescue

hkrautter wrote:

Seems a lot of people like Macrium Reflect so I tried that. I'm trying to replace a 128 GB SATA II SSD with a 256 GB SATA III SSD. Tried the free version to clone the boot drive and it recognized both SSDs and cloned the boot drive to the new one. The original boot drive was 83.4 GB and the cloned one 77.5 GB. The new one wouldn't boot, so I downloaded Macrium Reflect Pro and exact same result. I'm using Windows 7 64 bit.

Odd.. Are the settings the same in your BIOS for both the source and destination drives (for example, both ports set to AHCI versus IDE)?

If not, I'd make sure the SATA port for the destination drive is setup the same way as the port for the source (original) drive before performing a clone.

I'm putting the new boot drive into the same SATA port as the old to eliminate that as the problem even though it shouldn't make any difference. I believe the computer looks at all the SATA ports for a boot drive then boots to that, and I can put the current boot drive into any SATA port and it will boot.

Are you removing the old drive before trying to boot, or just swapping the ports for them after the clone is finished?

I'd remove the old drive and make sure the new drive is higher up in the boot order list in your system BIOS compared to any other bootable media.

You may also want to try this:

"I went into Diskpart and type "select disk=0". Then I type "detail disk" to make sure I had the right drive. I typed "Clean", and then "exit" to get out of Diskpart."

See "Answer" post near the bottom of this page:

IOW, perhaps there's some kind of odd partition structure that needs to be overwritten first before some of the common backup utilities will work correctly.

If all else fails, I'd just use ddrescue from a Live Linux distro to clone the drive. Instead of copying the partition table, MBR and partitions separately (the way a lot of software handles it), it performs a true sector by sector copy, regardless of how the original drive is structured (partition table type, partition types on it, etc.).

It's what I normally use to clone a drive.

I'd download the 32 bit version of Mepis 11 from this link:

It's a fairly large download (over 1GB in size). So, it may take a while. But, it's got gnu ddrescue preinstalled on it.

Then, burn it to DVD using a tool that knows how to do that. One free tool is isorecorder:

After you install it, if you browse for the Mepis .iso file you downloaded and "right click" on it from Windows Explorer, you'll see a new menu choice available labeled "Copy Image to CD/DVD" that you can use to burn it to a DVD so that it's bootable.

Then, reboot your PC into the DVD. If it doesn't boot all the way into the desktop (which can happen if a video chipset isn't recognized properly), try one of the other boot choices (like VESA). For your purposes, it doesn't make any difference if the resolution is correct or not, as long as you can what's in a terminal window OK. But, if you prefer to have correct resolution, or you end up with a black screen even when using the other boot menu choices, try one of the cheat codes you'll find in this section (nomodeset, xrdrvr=vesa, etc.) to work around any graphics chipset issues:

Then, once you boot into Mepis, log into the distro using username demo, password demo and wait until the desktop loads.

Then, open a terminal Program (you'll see Terminal Program - Konsole under one of the System menus) and type this to see how your drives show up, entering root as the password when prompted.

fdisk -l

That lists your drives and partitions and with information about their sizes and more.. Chances are, your first drive will be /dev/sda, your second drive will be /dev/sdb, etc. It will also show you partitions on them.

For example, sda1 is the first partition on the first drive (sda), sda2 is the second partition on the first drive, etc. The a,b,c indicates the actual drive, and the numbers at the end represent the partitions on a given drive.

But, for drive cloning purposes, you only care about the drives themselves (sda, sdb, sdc, etc.), and that command will show you info about your drives so you can make sure you know how they show up for using a utility to copy them.

Then, you'd do something like this to clone the entire drive (assuming the old drive is sda and the new drive is sdb), again entering "root" (without the quotes) when prompted for a password. You'll want to make very sure you're copying from the correct source drive so that you don't accidentally copy the new (empty) drive and overwrite the one with your programs and data on it.

ddrescue /dev/sda /dev/sdb drivecopy.log

That will tell ddrescue to make a sector by sector copy of the the source drive (/dev/sda in that example), writing to the destination drive (/dev/sdb in that example). Just make sure you have the correct source and destination drives (the fdisk -l command will show you info about them). For example, the the old drive is sdb instead, and the new drive shows up as sda, then you'd do this:

ddrescue /dev/sda /dev/sdb drivecopy.log

Usually, the hard drive attached to your first SATA port is going to be /dev/sda the drive attached to your next SATA Port is /dev/sdb, etc. But, make sure you know how they show up before using that command (as you don't want to copy from the new drive to the old drive by accident).

The third parameter is just the name of a log file. It's optional. But, it comes in handy if the source drive has any errors on it (since it will make additional passes, using the log file to keep track of what it's copied OK so far)

Basically, ddrescue was specifically designed to copy a failing drive. But, you can use it to clone a good drive, too. I usually specify a log file, just in case the source drive has any errors on it (it doesn't hurt anything to use one with a good drive).

Just make sure to use a different log file name if you make another copy (otherwise, it will think it's already copied everything OK when looking at an older log file).

Also note that it will take longer to run compared to typical backup programs. That's because it copies *everything* (including all unused sectors). But, that's one way to make sure you have an exact copy of a drive, and it's what I usually use when cloning from one drive to another.

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