Hard Drive Clone or Backup and Restore?

By shaunsweb ·
Dell Vostro 420
Windows XP Pro

I have a dying hard drive from a friend. There are some errors on it and it never really seems to get fixed with scandisk. I'm thinking I will either clone the drive(though this has proven a bit of a challenge.) or back it up and restore it. Acronis won't let me make the partition of the new drive larger due to the errors. I haven't tried ghost I was thinking about trying clonezilla. I would like to use a larger size partition on the new drive but cloning so far has taken 8 hours due to the errors. So I haven't had a lot of time to play around with different options.

I would normally just reinstall everything from scratch the problem is he does not have most of the software anymore and I was hoping this would just skip all those problems to clone or back it up and restore it. I know with Adobe Acrobat 8 they have hassled him every time he has had to reinstall it, he said the last time they said no more reinstalling. I'm open to any suggestions at this point.

With the errors what do you think is going to be the better solution backup & restore or clone or am I just out of luck?

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All Answers

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Following along with your reasoning...

by dldorrance In reply to Hard Drive Clone or Backu ...

Will Acronis allow you to clone the drive without changing the partition size? If so you could make the clone and later enlarge it. Not sure about Acronis, but Clonezilla can enlarge a partition no problem as long as there is space availablet; however the clone may not work if there are errors on the original HDD.

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Reponse To Answer

by shaunsweb In reply to Following along with your ...

Typically Acronis will do a good job and giving the right size or let you manually select size. The problem is with the disk errors it won't let you adjust anything. So then you have to adjust it after the fact. It won't run in windows with the errors you have to use the emergency CD to do it.

He also has an EISA partition that is like 70MBs, I assume it is for the Dell Diagnostics and I wanted to recreate that but with the error it is giving it 1.9GBs partition instead of the 70MBs. I'm wondering how well Clonezilla handles disks with errors.

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Judging by your description

by OH Smeg In reply to Hard Drive Clone or Backu ...

I would say you Are Out Of Luck.

These Dell's have a Recovery Partition as well as the Data Partition so even with Acronis it's a 2 step process and with Disc Errors it's not likely to work.

I would be saying it's a clean reinstall from Scratch and if you plan on making this system as it came from the factory it's a bit more than just a reinstall as well.

Just my 2 cents worth as after a drive has been messing around for 8 hours to do a straight Clone it's not hard to say it's not working.


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OH Smeg

by shaunsweb In reply to Hard Drive Clone or Backu ...

OH Smeg
That is what I was afraid of. The errors are what caused it to take 8 hours the data looks intact...but I'm wondering how many issues I'll have once I pop in the new drive...looks like we will find out shortly since it just finished and I used windows to extend the partition.

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A few things

by nshmakov In reply to Hard Drive Clone or Backu ...

1) Do sector by sector backup using the latest acronis. Perform the backup using the CD rather than the backup from within the OS. Click Verify the image after the backup's completed
2) Restore the backup onto the new disc with validation of the backup option ticked. Make sure you restore the backup as is with the same partition sizes
3) If Windows doesn't load properly, repair it using Windows XP SP3 installation disc. That will repair the system files.

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Reponse To Answer

by SmartAceW0LF In reply to A few things

Don't forget to backup the WGA files before doing the repair.

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Try using Spinrite on the drive

by markp24 In reply to Hard Drive Clone or Backu ...


I have recovered hard drives that are unreadable (but still spinning and detected by the bios) using GRC ('s Spinrite product. it definitly is somthing that will run overnite, but worked very well in more that one case to recever unreadable data. (it does a really low level analysis of the drive bits) it s worth a look

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Acronis should be installed on another workstation...

by SmartAceW0LF In reply to Hard Drive Clone or Backu ...

Run the clone operation on the 2 disks from within a "working" system via a couple of usb adaptors, Set Acronis to ignore all errors after it reboots, (if it needs to) Choose the automatic setup and extend your partition later. Trying to run ANY operation on a system having that drive internally installed is going to be a nightmare. The bad drive is going to slow any system to a crawl. While it may do the same when hooked up via USB, in many cases it isn't as pronounced. Likewise, when attempting to do the same operation via the emergency boot disc. As for the diagnostic and recovery partitions on the drive, these are secondary and tertiary considerations. It also sounds as though you are very likely running out of time with the drive. You may be down to the last chance, if that. There is nothing guaranteeing this will work, but in my experience this procedure has produced the best results.
Good luck and please do post back your success or failures with the endeavor and your chosen procedure.
Edited because I forgot something. Go figure.

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Reponse To Answer

by nshmakov In reply to Acronis should be install ...

This is why I suggested to do the BACKUP, not cloning.
Time is running out. And if something goes wrong, you may need to recover the entire system from scratch. Unplugging drives and putting them into caddys firstly can potentially damage the HDDs and secondly would work slower than plugging the second hard drive to the PC. I wouldn't touch the partition sizes for a simple reason - some computers won't boot after changing the partition size.

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Another option is TotalRecovery Pro

by greenedl In reply to Hard Drive Clone or Backu ...

FarStone's TotalRecovery 7 Pro or TotalRecovery USB are good options as well. Their Universal Restore seems better than other programs I have tried and it doesn't take 8 hours (I too have tried it on a dying hard drive which CHDSK couldn't fix). TotalRecovery 7 Pro can do cloning, but I always prefer to do the backup and (universal) restore. Simple interface, simple program, powerful functionality. When backing up, just select some of the partitions you don't want (like manufacturers restore partition etc.). Once restored, you can change the partition size to match the new hard drive anyway.

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