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I want to clone my HDD but nothing I've tried works


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#1 Aargghh

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Posted 20 February 2011 - 06:25 PM

My problems began when my HDD failed to come out of sleep mode--and was no longer recognized as existing in the BIOS.
After hunting online, I discovered that the problem was a known firmware defect with my HDD and there was a solution for it.
I went through the necessary steps and fixed the firmware problem.
Here's where things went further downhill....
I thought that I had better backup the data immediately before anything else could go wrong.
I put the HDD into another same make and model computer, which has a disk cloning program installed (Acronis True Image Home 2011) and it booted up--but to the drive that had been unrecognized before, instead of the computer's own HDD.
Upon booting the message appeared that windows had not been shut down properly earlier, since it hadn't.
I left the room for a few minutes and returned to find it running checkdisk.
I let it finish running and next it claimed to need to run Startup repair, so I allowed it to do that.
Apparently, my choices were unwise and I rue the fact that I didn't just put the HDD back in it's on computer first.
The result of this is that the computer with the HDD cloning program's HDD wants to continually reboot and the HDD that recovered from the firmware problem will only boot into safe mode.
I want to clone the Safe Mode only disk, so that the data on it doesn't get destroyed, while I try to learn how to diagnose and repair whatever is wrong.
The other HDD isn't a priority, at the moment, because I had already cloned the entire HDD to another drive, before the mishap.
I thought that the problem had been that both HDDs were the same model and capacity and that I would have a better result if I tried to clone the Safe Mode only HDD (SMO HDD to save me some typing) from another same make/model computer that has a different, larger capacity HDD--so as not to "confuse" the computer.
I put the SMO HDD in the other computer, booted into the BIOS to ensure that the correct HDD was seen as the one to boot from and it was.
I exited and let the computer boot into Windows Vista Home Premium SP2--but this computer also booted from the wrong HDD.
The only computer that I have that lacks Acronis True image Home 2011 is the SMO HDD, and I don't think I can install Acronis on it in safe mode.
Now I'm afraid to try to run Acronis from the larger HDD--and I'm not even sure how I would do so, as the computer only wants to boot to the SMO HDD, despite the BIOS claiming that the first boot option is the larger HDD. None of the BIOS boot options listed the SMO HDD.
My fear is that I will accidentally wipeout the SMO HDD's data--or the SMO HDD will die before I can make a clone of the disk or backup the files.
It's my son's computer--and the only one whose data was not already backed up.
Thanks for reading all this.
If anyone has the knowledge and is willing to guide me, I will be ecstatic :thumbsup:

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#2 Platypus

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Posted 20 February 2011 - 06:57 PM

IMO, the only sensible way to go about cloning or imaging between multiple systems is to use the bootable CD that TrueImage will make for you. That removes any confusion regarding accidentally or intentionally booting Windows, and is the most straightforward way to image or clone an unbootable or impaired Windows before attempting repairs.

Bootable recovery media can be created from TI installed on any computer, but sometimes if special drivers are required for a particular computer, the recovery media needs to have been created on that computer or another of the same type.

It will be more space efficient to make images of the drives, and store them on something like a USB hard drive. Images are compressed, so you don't have to have a drive of the same size or larger for each of the drives as you do when cloning.

If you aren't able to get another installation of the TI 2011 that you first tried to use, then it may be possible to use the free versions of TI that Seagate and Western Digital provide, if the drives you're using are either Seagate/Maxtor or WD. Each requires at least one of the brand's own drives to be installed in the computer in order to function, but will then work with any other drives. If all the drives are some other brand, this won't work.

http://www.seagate.com/www/en-us/support/downloads/discwizard

http://support.wdc.com/product/downloaddetail.asp?swid=119&wdc_lang=en

Edited by Platypus, 20 February 2011 - 07:04 PM.

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#3 Aargghh

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Posted 20 February 2011 - 08:25 PM

Platypus, many, many thanks for the helpful reply.
My family has 3 computers and all are the same make and model, but have different capacity Seagate HDDs in them and some different programs.
The kids play online and PC games and I don't.
2 computers already have cloned drives as a backup and, of course the one that didn't/doesn't needs to be cloned and fixed.
Space conservation isn't at all a concern of mine, since 1TB Seagate drives are currently around $60 near me, so I have one for each computer's cloned drive.
The computers have internal connectors for a total of 4 SATA HDDs each.
It isn't clear to me the differences between recovery discs and restoration discs and I am wondering if the names are sometimes used interchangeably.
A strong possibility is that I've just been reading so much, that I've gotten confused.
Again, thanks for your help!

.

#4 Platypus

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Posted 20 February 2011 - 09:13 PM

It's possible that the names for repair discs could be used interchangeably, but I think to aviod confusion, System Restore discs should describe the discs supplied by a system manufacturer to return the system to its original factory state, and a Disaster Recovery disc should enable you to recover your own functional system configuration after something has gone wrong. This does still leave some naming confusion with Windows own System Restore which is something else again.

You could certainly use Seagate DiskWizard to create Bootable Recovery Media, but if you already have a cloned drive for the system which has TI 2011 installed, you probably don't need to. Of course if the cloned drive is a USB external drive, you would have to dismantle it to replace the currently unbootable drive. That's one advantage of having bootable recovery media, an image or clone can be restored directly from removeable media to the internal drive without having to mechanically open anything. (As long as the drive isn't physically faulty.) If you don't have a recovery disc, you can't restore from an image or cloned drive back onto a corrupted drive in the same computer anyway, even if it will boot enough to get into TI (eg Safe Mode) bacause you can't use Windows to restore onto the drive it's running from.

Each of the systems will probably be able to be repaired from the second Repair option when booting from the Vista Installation DVD, when the correct hard drive is returned to its own system. If you don't have a proper Windows installation DVD, for example just manufacturers Factory Restore disc(s), and can't borrow one of the correct Vista version, then you might be in the situation of having to save files you want to keep, and use the Factory Restore. Then you'd have to do all the system updates and re-install your own software applications.

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#5 Aargghh

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Posted 21 February 2011 - 02:05 AM

Thanks again for your very helpful reply.

Would a disaster recovery disk created with Acronis TI from the other computer's HDD be good to restore "full boot ability" to the one that has all the same hardware, but has a number of different non-OS software--or would it damage the directories or something and make those other programs unusable?

Sorry if that's a stupid question, but I don't know exactly what a Disaster Recovery disc will do.

I managed to sort-out the problem of not being able to clone the Safe Mode only drive.
Turns out it was set to boot to the unused 1TB HDD instead of the 1TB HDD with Vista and Acronis, etc. installed.
I couldn't tell which was which 1TB HDD, as they're both the same model.
Once I changed the boot priority, I was able to boot into the working HDD and run Acronis to clone the faulty drive, as is--just to have a copy of everything.

Thanks ever so much for your help!

Edited by Aargghh, 21 February 2011 - 02:08 AM.


#6 Platypus

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Posted 21 February 2011 - 03:12 AM

Glad to hear you've met with some success.

The recovery media boots into a custom OS and shows you a version of TrueImage basically similar to what you see when you run it in Windows. You can see all the drives available on the computer, and do the regular functions like clone between drives, create validate and restore images. The full version of TI can handle backup functions, which feature is missing from the free downloadable software, hence I can't say straight off if this is in the full version recovery media as I use the Seagate & WD versions.

For a complete recovery, you would put an imaged or cloned copy back onto the drive, so the contents of the drive would be back exactly how it was when the drive was copied. You would need to have a separate backup of anything you'd added to the system after the copy was done. But you should always have backups of anything you can't afford to lose anyway!

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#7 Aargghh

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 06:03 PM

Platypus, I thought you'd be interested in knowing the outcome.
The Acronis True Image cloning of the Safe Mode only HDD was successful and am using the replacement drive in that computer.
I downloaded, burned and ran Seagate's SeaTools.
It turns out that the Safe Mode only HDD is bad and Seagate recommended returning it for replacement.
It's pure luck that the drive was cloneable.
Lesson learned!
The other HDD, which was stuck in a constant loop of rebooting--and could not even go into Safe Mode--checked-out as good with the SeaTools diagnostics.
I took the easy way out and simply used the cloned HDD to clone it all back to the original drive.
As someone not all that familiar with HDDs and data recovery, I had guessed that the Safe Mode only drive was restorable and the "constant rebooter" was been damaged.
Funny that it's the opposite.
Thanks again for your help!

#8 Platypus

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 06:13 PM

I'm glad to hear there's been a good outcome. Thanks for letting me know how it went!

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