Cloned drive won't boot
November 23, 2009 12:56 AM   Subscribe

How do I get a new hard drive, that's been cloned from my primary drive, to boot as the new primary drive?

A few weeks ago I started seeing the signs of my primary drive starting to fail. So I bought a new drive. My old drive was a 300GB IDE, and my new one is a 500GB Sata drive. I used DriveXML to clone my primary to the new drive. After that was done, I took out my old primary and tried to get my computer to boot off of my new cloned drive and it's not working. I can see the drive I want to boot off of in the BIOS, and I tried setting it as the first choice to boot off of (I have 4 drives in my computer). Even with that it's not working. The screen will sit there, then it says "Boot from disk:" or something of that nature, and then an Nvidia and Intel copyright something or other pops up, and then it has a very small error message, and then it just loops over and over (But minus the post. It only posts once.)

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
posted by willcosgrove to Technology (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Check your BIOS settings for your SATA controller - set it to IDE/compatibility mode.
posted by wongcorgi at 1:09 AM on November 23, 2009

Best answer: If the SATA controller were in ahci mode (and that was the only problem), you'd get some kind of blue screen.

First step: disconnect all the other drives.
Second step: see if it is *trying* to boot from your new disk. If it is, then the clone didn't work right. If it isn't, then double check the BIOS settings.

I've not used DriveXML, but it doesn't look like it actually clones drives that way. It *looks* like it works at the volume level, not the drive level. It may not have copied any of the MBR stuff necessary to make the drive boot.

If you can get your hands on a copy of Ghost, it should work better. Disk to disk clone. The only downside is that if it is Vista or newer, you have to re-do the bcd files. Google bcdedit. (I learned this the hard way. Still can't exactly explain why this is...)
posted by gjc at 4:43 AM on November 23, 2009

Make sure the partition is flagged as the active primary partition. It won't boot, otherwise. Check the documentation on your partition manager to see how to do this.

If you don't have a partition manager, you may have to get one.
posted by FauxScot at 4:53 AM on November 23, 2009

Depending on OS you may not have the required drivers fir your boot disk to be recognized. WinXP for example requires a SATA driver disk be inserted during system setup.
posted by caution live frogs at 5:29 AM on November 23, 2009

Response by poster: Sorry, I completely forgot to put the OS I'm using. I'm on Windows 7. I still have my old primary drive, so I'm going to try and get a copy of Norton Ghost, because everywhere I've read it seems to be recommended. Here is the exact error I'm getting:

Verifying DMI pool data.....................
Boot from CD:

NVIDIA Boot Agent 253.0543
Copyright (c) 2001-2008 NVIDIA Corporation
Copyright (c) 1997-2008 Intel Corporation
PXE-E61: Media test failure, check cable
PXE-M0F: Exiting NVIDIA Boot Agent.

(That block of 5 lines repeats 4 times, and on the forth time, this is added to it)

But as I said before, I'm just going to try redoing the clone with Ghost, unless anyone thinks that the error above drastically changes something.

Thanks for all your help, I'll try Ghost now
posted by willcosgrove at 1:02 PM on November 23, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks again everyone for your help, Norton Ghost ended up working. I guess that means I have to slightly less hate Norton now. Thanks again every one, everything looks to be working!
posted by willcosgrove at 3:32 PM on November 23, 2009

Just to summarise this post (and possibly help future MeFites that stumble on it), I think that gjc was right and this was a Master Boot Record (MBR) issue. Not sure about Windows 7, but in previous versions of Windows you could fix this by booting from your Installation CD, entering recovery console and then running:

fdisk /mbr OR fixmbr

(or some other similar command)

This is really useful procedure/command to know when you do this kind of thing, because it will generally fix most boot issues relating to the MBR (including if you bork a dual-boot installation, for instance!).

The reason that Ghost fixed the problem is because it clones at a drive-level, copying every single bit of data across exactly, including the MBR details at the beginning of the disk. DriveXML doesn't appear to do this, just copying across the files and not the MBR, causing the disk to not boot.
posted by ranglin at 4:00 PM on November 23, 2009

Unfortunately windows 7 (and vista) has more than just the mbr, there are also the bcd files on a separate partition (BCD edit mentioned above to play with those) This partition would not have been copied with DriveXML, but ghost does grab it (with an entire disk image, since it would grab any partitions on that disk)... at least as far as I understand this mess when I came up against a similar problem.

Anyway, glad ghost fixed your problem!
posted by defcom1 at 7:13 PM on November 23, 2009

« Older Tea flavored ice cream would be awesome   |   Depersonalizing media violence Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.