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Windows 7: My Cloned HDD won't Boot

02 Jun 2016   #1
Rapporman

Windows 7 Ultimate x 32 bit
 
 
My Cloned HDD won't Boot

I have cloned my W7 Home OS to another internal HDD using Easus ToDo Backup, yet it won't boot and I cannot understand why not. Both HDD's are the same GB capacity, except that the new one (E) has an unallocated partition at the end of 39MB which I have tried unsuccessfully to delete. Both show up in BIOS and in My Computer and both are SATA disks. The new disk (E) is shown in Computer Management as - New Volume E, NTFS, Healthy (Active, Primary partition) and has been formatted. I have tried booting it on its own and by F10 selection when both HDD's are in situ but all I get is :- No Bootable Device-Insert boot disk and press any key". I have gone the route of System Repair using the original W7 CD with the same result, so I am hoping some kind person can tell me where I have gone wrong.

Incidentally, I have decided on Cloning so that I can eventually convert the new cloned HDD to W10 but leave my main W7 OS separate.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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02 Jun 2016   #2
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit
 
 

You say it shows in Computer Management as "active, primary".

I'd think it would also have to say "system". If it doesn't, then it doesn't contain your boot files and shouldn't boot.

You can:

1: put a knife in your teeth and start pounding Google with a bunch of search terms.

2: give up on cloning and try imaging, which seems to have fewer problems.

3: fiddle with an application such as EasyBCD, which can copy boot files from one drive to another. There's a tutorial on this site somewhere. I don't know how it would work with a cloned drive, but I'd guess it would work as it generally has a good reputation.

Regardless--the drive you are trying to boot from must be a "system" drive or you must also have a "system" drive connected somehow. You need the boot files.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Jun 2016   #3
Rapporman

Windows 7 Ultimate x 32 bit
 
 

Many thanks for your quick response. I take on board exactly what you have to say but what I don't understand is that Cloning is supposed to provide an exact replica of a bootable disk, so why has it not replicated my W7 disk. The reason I decided to Clone was because almost without exception, the online experts tell you that cloning replicates ones HDD and provides another bootable disk to use in the event of failure of the other, so what do you think went wrong here. If you think it could be a faulty Easus program, I will try another free one but somehow I don't think it is Easus. Any suggestions?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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02 Jun 2016   #4
DavidE

Multi-Boot W7_Pro_x64 W8.1_Pro_x64 W10_Pro_x64
 
 

Post a maximized/resized screen print of Disk Management using these instructions, with both drives connected:
Disk Management - Post a Screen Capture Image
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Jun 2016   #5
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit
 
 

see comments in bold

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Rapporman View Post
what I don't understand is that Cloning is supposed to provide an exact replica of a bootable disk, so why has it not replicated my W7 disk.


Yes, it's supposed to do that. It's fallible. Imaging is fallible. All of your hardware and software is fallible, at any moment and for unknown reasons that you will never be able to explain.

I wouldn't agonize over why. It's possible you didn't operate it correctly and it's certainly possible you did.

If I absolutely insisted on cloning, I'd try another application---such as Macrium or Paragon. They might fail too.

I'd try imaging instead, probably with Macrium. If that fails, there are competitors such as Acronis, Aomei Backupper, Paragon, etc.






Any suggestions?

You should know what to do if imaging and cloning both fail--which would probably mean a clean install. You've got to have a Plan B for when your best idea fails.

If it's simply a matter of the clone not having boot files, Easy BCD can take care of that.

Did you have more than one hard drive in this machine when you did the clone??

If you had more than 2 drives in the PC, do you know for a fact that the PC would boot with only 1 of the 2 drives connected?

It may be that that other drive had the boot files and did not get cloned. If you cloned a drive without boot files, the clone won't have boot files either.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Jun 2016   #6
Rapporman

Windows 7 Ultimate x 32 bit
 
 

Many, many thanks both of you. However, it is going to take me some time to assimilate all you have told me and to act on them, so I would ask you to bear with me until I am in a position to reply - hopefully tomorrow. I'm afraid you are dealing with a long standing Computer owner but one who is not particularly quick on the uptake in IT matters, so I hope you understand.

Regards
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Jun 2016   #7
Rapporman

Windows 7 Ultimate x 32 bit
 
 

I am extremely embarrassed to have to tell you that the cloned HDD is now booting normally and I don't really know how to apologise enough to you both for wasting your time.

When I switched on this morning and tried to load the cloned HDD, I got the usual "No Bootable Device" message and as I have done on numerous previous occasions before I posted this forum, I inserted the W7 installation disc to give it one last try and was amazed when it booted up after going through the usual Start-up Repair procedure. I cannot explain why because I did exactly the same as I had done previously and why it should suddenly decide to boot, I have no idea. I think this just goes to prove what Ignatzatsonic was saying about the vagaries of computing.

However, I have saved both of your replies in case the HDD decides not to boot in the future, so everything is not entirely wasted. Thank you both for taking the trouble to respond as you did.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Jun 2016   #8
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit
 
 

My guess would be that running Startup Repair caused the boot files to be copied onto your cloned drive---much as if you had used EasyBCD to do that as discussed earlier in this thread. Had you not run Startup Repair, I think you'd still be bootless.

For whatever reason, boot files were not placed on the cloned drive when you made the clone. There are plausible explanations for that (operator error), but they are irrelevant now since you are up and running OK.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Jun 2016   #9
mjf

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1
 
 

I've mentioned this before and I suspect your problem had to do with the disk signature (an entry in the first 512 bytes of your drive - the MBR). When you clone you do "copy" everything including the disk signature. However, when 2 drives with the same disk signature are connected, Windows will change the disk signature of the 2nd drive to avoid what is called a disk signature clash. The problem with a boot drive is that the disk signature is used elsewhere (eg. something called the BCD) and when they are not consistent the drive won't boot. Sometimes you need to run the startup repair a number of times and it apparently sorted out the disk signature problem.

Some cloning programs are smart enough to sort this out for you.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Jun 2016   #10
Rapporman

Windows 7 Ultimate x 32 bit
 
 

Thanks again for your replies. Just for the record, the Easus Clone system is pretty straight forward and there is really no input required from me, except to select the target HD. After that it's automatic. I must admit, I have had this problem before when cloning between two internal HD's and Start up Repair has failed to boot the cloned disk. I just got utterly fed up and decided I wasn't meant to have two usuable Os's, so I should imagine that Easus must be one of those Programs that has difficulty in loading the initial boot files and if I need to do this again, I will try another program.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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