The Answer to that question is this. Use the original recovery partition from the failing drive to recovery Windows unto a new drive. Now a disclaimer before I go on. I have only had to do this for XP and Vista and only on an HP. However, I assume that this will work for most Windows 7 recovery partitions, as well as many other manufacture recovery partitions, as the concept should relatively be the same. Also, this method will not work if you have an unreadable or unmountable drive and there are no guarantees that this will work on any failing hard drive. In other words, results may vary.
Back-up All Important Data First
In this particular case where I had to use this method, there was only 1 bad sector and a read error. Given that information, I know that the information is still intact on the hard drive, but that it could completely fail and any point of time. So back up all important information first before attempting anything thing else on the drive, especially if this is for a customer.
Cloning The Recovery Partition
You first want to begin by cloning the recovery partition onto the new drive. There are too many programs and utilities that will do this for you, as well as many forums with advice on how to use them, so I will only be describing the steps and utilities I used. Anyways, the best platform for doing any data recovery or cloning is of course Linux (you do have a Linux box don't you?) Depending on the flavor of Linux you have installed, there will be a number of utilities available to you for cloning partitions. I am particular fond of Ubuntu which comes with a great utility called Gparted. You can also run the utility from a disk or USB. Gparted is quite simple, you literally right click and copy the partition you want to copy and paste it onto the new drive (after making a partition table of course). Once you have successfully cloned that partition, your ready for the next step. If this process fails, you can try again, or you can try another utility. One that I hear works well is Clonezilla. Keep in mind, a failing drive is a failing drive, there is no way to predict if this will work the first or second time, you just simply have to try.
Activating the Recovery Partition
Credit goes to A Computer Guy
First get into the command prompt using a boot up disk and type diskpart at the prompt (you can find this under the repair options).
At the DiskPart prompt, type in list disk. You will see the list of disk currently attached to your computer. Now type in select disk n, where n is the disk number. In my example, I would type select disk 0.
Now that we have selected the correct disk, type in list partition to get a list of all the partitions on that disk. To select the partition we want to set as active, type in select partition n, where n is the partition number.
Now that we have selected the disk and partition, we can mark it as active by just typing the word active and pressing Enter. That’s it! Now the partition is set.
Once you have completed the restoration it should automatically boot into the newly installed Windows installation. If not, then simply set that partition to active.
If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to ask and please post your success stories!
Edited by hamluis, 30 January 2011 - 06:51 AM.