If this isn't a prime example of a 'Bleeping Computer' problem, I don't know what is ...
I just went through this myself 2 - 3 days ago.
The problem comes from the fact that you are cloning drives - sector for sector, one to the other - including the GUID in the MBR. Each disk drive has a GUID (globally unique ID) in the MBR (boot record at the start of the drive). This affects the drive letter which Win2K assigns to the drive.
I'll bet you're using Acronis to do the copy and that at some point you get a "found new hardware" message. I suspect that that is when this problem manifests itself.
If you have a bootable floppy or CD of Win95 or Win98 with fdisk.exe on it skip to step 2. If you have no floppy drive then substitute the word CD for floppy drive in the steps below. Below Windows 95 can be substituted for Windows 98.
1. Download a boot floppy for Windows 98. You should be able to find one by doing a net search for the terms on the next line. There will undoubtedly be a procedure involved in creating the floppy. The program fdisk.exe needs to be on the floppy. You can do this!
download windows98 boot floppy
2. [I'm assuming here you're not using SATA disks.] Disconnect your 250 GB drive. Install your 100 GB drive as the end of the drive cable and jumper it for master. That usually means that the drive has no jumper. We want there to be no other hard disk drives currently connected.
3. Power on your computer and immediately start tapping (at a medium rate) the key that gets you into your BIOS. That's sometimes the DEL key. Keep up the tapping until you get into your BIOS. Use whatever procedure is necessary with your BIOS to get it to recognize the currently connected disk drive. [sometimes this is under "main settings" and you hit F3 to "auto-interrogate" your disks - your procedure is likely different]
4. Before saving the BIOS changes insert the Win98 bootable floppy with fdisk.exe on it.
5. Save the BIOS changes and exit the BIOS.
The Win98 bootable floppy with fdisk.exe on it now boots.
6. Type in the command on the following line at the DOS prompt:
This re-writes the master boot record and erases the disk signature associated with volume GUID. Windows 2000 should assign a default drive letter at next boot.
7. Eject the floppy and power cycle the computer.
8. You have 2 drives so there's a 50% chance that the computer will now boot properly and allow you to login.
9. If you still get the errors about pagefile.sys then continue on. If you can login properly again to Win2K then go to step A, below.
10. You may get thrown back to the login screen. Shutdown the system. If you don't see a shutdown button then click the options button and a shutdown button should appear.
11. Disconnect the 100 GB disk drive. Install your 250 GB drive as the end of a drive cable and jumper it for master. That usually means that the drive has no jumper. We want there to be no other hard disk drives currently connected.
12. Repeat steps 3 through 7 with the 250 GB disk connected.~~~
A. At this point you should be logged into your Win2K system and the drive letter of your current disk drive should be C: .
B. Get a DOS prompt up by Start -> Run -> cmd .
C. Edit the registry by running the regedit program. Change the following entry to remove the full path to the userinit.exe entry as follows:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\Current Version\Winlogon\Userinit:Reg_SZ:C:\WINNT\system32\userinit.exe
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\Current Version\Winlogon\Userinit:Reg_SZ:userinit.exe
If the original value was E:\WINNT\system32\userinit.exe don't worry about it.
I'm not entirely sure that this registry editing is necessary, but it seems to be a good precaution to take at this point. It's what I did. It's the "belt and suspenders" approach.~~~
All of these problems have come from the from the fact that you are cloning drives, sector for sector, including the GUID/disk signature. That makes Win2K unhappy and I suspect it "corrects" the situation by messing with the drive letters and maybe spitting out a new GUID/disk signature for 1 of the drives. That crap results in the pagefile.sys screw-up.
Instead of doing a clone that makes a sector for sector copy on another drive use the program Norton Ghost to copy all those sectors to a .gho file. This totally avoids the GUID problem by writing the image of the backed up disk in the .gho file to another disk with a different GUID. You're just creating a file in another disk partition. There's nothing for Win2K to get its nose out of joint about. In NTFS disk partitions files can be HUGE. There's no problem the .gho file will be too big ... unless it is too big for the backup partition.
Acronis may have some analogous file output method similar to the Ghost .gho method. If so you could use that to do your backups.
Your desire to have a really good backup is admirable. It's just that the way you're currently going about it that is causing you these really nasty problems.
I'm going to assume at this point that you are logged into your system and the C: drive is your 100 GB drive and the 250 GB drive is disconnected. You said "There's only ~60GB of info on the drives" and "think of it as 1 HDD that can't find a paging file" ... so at this point we can repartition the 250 GB drive so you can do your new backups to it. You'll also have space leftover for other files.
AA. Keep the 100 GB drive connected and reconnect the 250 GB drive. One way to do that would be to make sure the 250 GB drive is jumpered correctly (likely means removing any jumpers) and to connect the 250 GB drive to the end of your other disk cable. Remember, I'm assuming there are no SATA drives here. See step 3 above for the BIOS to recognize the 250 GB drive.
BB. Delete the partition(s) on the 250 GB drive. One good and easy to use program for working with disks is Partition Wizard Home Ed. v5 which you can get at download.cnet.com and from other places for free.
CC. I don't know if your BIOS has a 137 GB limit on it. You're running Win2K, so your mobo may be real old. The steps below assume a 137 GB limit.
DD. Create an NTFS partition on the 250 GB drive that is 136 GB. That's 136 GB, not 136,000,000,000 bytes. That is guaranteed to work. It is absolutely under the limit. In Partition Wizard Home Ed. tell it you want a partition that is 139264 MB. After creation verify in Win2K Windows Explorer that the partition size is correct. After the partition is created right click in Windows Explorer on the drive letter (likely E:) and choose properties. In the dialog box capacity should be listed as 136 GB.
EE. Create another NTFS partition on the 250 GB drive that uses up all the remaining space. That should work, but hey I guess that there is some small chance that the BIOS might not be able to go beyond 137 GB into the disk. It should work because the limit is supposed to be on partition size and not on disk size. The new partition should be something like 100 GB (maybe less). If you don't get the extra space just move on.
FF. Format the new NTFS partition(s). Depending on how it is done that could take some time.
GG. If the partition on your C: drive is not NTFS then this would be a good time to change it to NTFS. See the link below.http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb456984.aspx~~~
OK. You're ready to put your new disk image to file based backup solution in place.
I'll address that in my next post.~~~
When I had my problem I got my info from the two threads below. The post by mongo69 is particularly good.http://forums.windrivers.com/showthread.php?p=427429#post427429http://www.computing.net/answers/windows-2000/system-has-no-paging-file/28269.html