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HDD Docking / Cloning


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#1 bowserthedog

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Posted 04 June 2011 - 06:37 PM

Hello
I rebooted my machine earlier today, only to find I won't start windows (Windows XP Pro SP3) again no matter what, I have tried a repair install, but when the computer reboots during the repair, it forgets it started a repair install, so there is no way to actually finish it. When windows try to start it gets to the point with the logo and the moving bar underneath then it gets some kind of BSOD where the only word I can pick out is virus (flashes by very quickly).

That, though, is not the issue I want to resolve at this point. I have given up on saving that particular installation of XP. This and the fact that I have been looking for a simple and easy way to back up or clone hard drives. I am no expert at all in HDD's or computers in general. I have no real way to verify information about the hardrives as I can't very well check 'My Computer' while the OS won't start.

Also my hard drives are internal 3.5in hdd's at (I think) 500GB each. I THINK the are NTFS, but I seriously couldn't tell you for sure as I don't remember. All are installed currently in the computer. My thinking is if I could just take out two drives and wipe the data off of one (as I have no use for it) then clone the one with my data that I require on it using a double bayed docking system (with one touch back-up/ clone (same thing?) along with USB out to connect to computer).

I have been looking on sites such as dealextreme and have found some possible options with dual bays to copy data from either one drive to the other or to copy data between computer and HDD. I have seen some discussion, though, about things like filesystems and disc size problems. Some people are saying that certain models (possibly all) require a source drive to be smaller in space than the clone drive for a cloning or backup process to complete. Also I read something about bit-to-bit so that filesystems don't matter.

I only really require a couple GB of data off of my main hard disc, and if nothing else is possible I could get by with simply taking that data directly off of the drive and put it directly on my laptop (using possibly an enclosure or dock?).

I was just wondering if you could recommend any dock or enclosure products that may work for me and possibly link me up to a universal guide for removing and subsequently re-installing a hard disc from a desktop.

Thanks in advance and if any more info is required just inquire.

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#2 MarkGS

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Posted 04 June 2011 - 08:08 PM

Ok I'm going to take a shot at answering this as clearly as I can.
First thing I want to point out is a backup and clone(or image) are completely different in meaning and end result. A backup is more of a pic and choose style i.e selecting all your photos and transferring them to a secure location. A clone is an exact copy or the current condition of the drive BSOD and all. Cloning a drive is only recommended when you are upgrading currently working drive or setting up RAID.
Secondly the issue you saw about having a smaller or larger source drive pertain to cloning, which I don't believe is what you need right now seeing as you would still have issues. But, the reason there are issues like that pertain to the way file structures are created and how they read space so making an image of a drive and trying to put it on a larger volume or even a smaller one issues may/can occur.

Now I know you said you can't answer many questions involving the HDD's, but do you have any idea whether they were setup in RAID or not? This makes a huge difference. If you aren't sure give me the model of your computer and I can look into it for you.

If you have another PC handy I would suggest picking one of these up http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Thermaltake+-+Dual+Bay+Docking+Station+for+Most+Internal+SATA+Hard+Drives/9419596.p?id=1218102199901&skuId=9419596&st=hdd%20enclosure&cp=1&lp=2 (this will only work if your drive have a SATA connection)

Now that does come in a single bay form if you want to save a few bucks. This will allow you to connect the HDD with your DATA on another computer using usb that will allow for file transfers.

What is still bothering me is the initial issue with your computer. I would suggest running a diagnostic on your computer to make sure the HDD isn't going to be the source of your issue since it is "forgetting" the repair install eachtime>

#3 bowserthedog

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Posted 04 June 2011 - 08:42 PM

Thanks for the clarification. That makes a lot of sense.
I am not sure if they are set up with RAID to be honest. Not even sure what that means. My computer was a custom build at a computer shop the company I work for uses so I don't know. If there is any other info I could find to find that out.
Also Ill check if it has sata, im sure it does though.
How can I run a diagnostic?

I have an ultimate boot disc, could that help me at all in this?

#4 MarkGS

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Posted 04 June 2011 - 09:27 PM

Now that bothers me. I saw you think they are both 500Gb drives and since it was a custom built computer I am afraid it may be set up in RAID. Check this out for clarification on RAID ( It explains it better than I could) http://www.hirensbootcd.org/what-is-raid/

If the PC is setup in RAID depending on the array data recovery isn't going to be plausible. I would suggest poking through you BIOS (not changing anything) and see if you can find anything to do with Raid being enabled. I would give you a step by step but each BIOS is different depending on the motherboard. Maybe taking it to a local repair shop like Geek Squad and just asking them if they could tell you if it's in RAID or not. If you can't find it in the BIOS or aren't confident in looking I highly suggest just having them peek at it. The reason this is so important is when an array is broke it can't be re assembled without having both drives wiped clean and losing all the DATA.

Ultimate boot disc? This may be usable but is it like hirens boot cd? http://www.hirensbootcd.org/download/ has multiple HDD diagnostic tools as well as recovery tools that may be of use to you. Using a windows PE environment (on the disc) would allow you to transfer you DATA to a thumb drive or external drive. Now that is another ball game if you have any questions concerning the boot CD you can view the link I posted; there is a tutorial section, but I can also answer any questions.

Edited by MarkGS, 04 June 2011 - 09:27 PM.


#5 bowserthedog

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Posted 04 June 2011 - 10:35 PM

Now that bothers me. I saw you think they are both 500Gb drives and since it was a custom built computer I am afraid it may be set up in RAID. Check this out for clarification on RAID ( It explains it better than I could) http://www.hirensbootcd.org/what-is-raid/

If the PC is setup in RAID depending on the array data recovery isn't going to be plausible. I would suggest poking through you BIOS (not changing anything) and see if you can find anything to do with Raid being enabled. I would give you a step by step but each BIOS is different depending on the motherboard. Maybe taking it to a local repair shop like Geek Squad and just asking them if they could tell you if it's in RAID or not. If you can't find it in the BIOS or aren't confident in looking I highly suggest just having them peek at it. The reason this is so important is when an array is broke it can't be re assembled without having both drives wiped clean and losing all the DATA.

Ultimate boot disc? This may be usable but is it like hirens boot cd? http://www.hirensbootcd.org/download/ has multiple HDD diagnostic tools as well as recovery tools that may be of use to you. Using a windows PE environment (on the disc) would allow you to transfer you DATA to a thumb drive or external drive. Now that is another ball game if you have any questions concerning the boot CD you can view the link I posted; there is a tutorial section, but I can also answer any questions.

You sir are fantastic. I would rather not go through all of the BIOS things, and I am definitely not taking the desktop to a shop especially being I'm a couple hours away from town. I would not mind at all going through the boot disc though and taking a small amount of data and then make a new windows install.
Ill look through the tuts and if I have any questions I will ask.
One more question is after I copy the data I need, should I use a boot disc to wipe the C: drive or all drives or just start a new install and let it work itself out?

#6 MarkGS

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Posted 05 June 2011 - 08:23 AM

Well don't forget to run the diagnostic on the drives. If it passes then yes I would suggest a clean install. When you start a new install there will be an option to format the current partition which would be the ideal thing to do to help avoid any windows.old issues.

#7 bowserthedog

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Posted 08 June 2011 - 07:21 PM

I'm sorry, but I can't find a good walkthrough for running a mini windows off of hirens boot CD?

#8 hamluis

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Posted 09 June 2011 - 12:02 PM

ALL READ, please: Recommending ISOs of Windows Recovery Discs or pre-made ISOs of WinPE-BartPE discs is not allowed - http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/topic382841.html

Louis




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