SIW2 and Gregrocker, you both say that Windows' "System Image" lacks flexibility ... but does it do its job (enabling exact
Or is the very first sentence in How to Do a System Image Recovery in Windows 7
This will show you how to restore your Windows 7 hard disk back to exactly how it was when you created a system image backup.
In short, can user clone disk with built-in "Create system image" tool or not?
If the buillt-in tool really isn't meant for this, then I'll try your other advice.
(1) pry open the case of the external HDD ...
(2) ... then run the Startup Repair.