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Windows 7: OS Disc "cloning"

19 Aug 2010   #1

Win7 Professional
 
 
OS Disc "cloning"

Ok, first I apologize if this is a FAQ, I did try to search but really dont' even know what to search for...

I am on an i7 system (homebuilt) using Windows 7 Professional (legit OEM copy). Here's some possibly unrelated background info..

- My OS disc has developed some bad sectors (as proven by the Samsung disc utility), and also is giving a SMART error (drive is going to fail, just hasn't fully yet).

- It APPEARS that the sectors that include the actual OS are still intact (Windows is functioning normally at this point). There are some files in my Documents folder that are corrupt, but that isnt' a big deal, I have full backups of all my DATA.


So this system is used for our business and has a TON of programs installed, and each program has TONS of add-ons and "tweaks" done. It literally took me 3 full dedicated days of setup to install all the programs, add-ons, and "tweaks".

I really DO NOT want to have to just get a new drive and re-install everything. I'd LIKE to just make a "clone" of the OS disc onto the new HD I bought today, then make the new HD the "boot disk" and have everything work perfectly (ie. Windows, and all programs and add-ons installed and ready to go).

In the past, I've been able to easily do this, using any of a few programs under Vista and older OS's (I"ve used Acronis Migrate as well as Norton Ghost in the past). In the past I've been able to just clone a disc image and used the new disc, everything was EXACTLY as it was on the old disc - no re-installing programs, etc.

Now, today I tried Acronis... the copy worked fine, the software did skip over the bad sectors (fine by me). But when I tried to boot from the new disc, Windows wouldn't fully start up... it would stop at a light blue screen with a message on the bottom right that said that it wasn't a valid copy of Windows. I couldn't get anywhere from that screen other than to shut down.

I did more research and found that Acronis doesn't work with Windows 7. So I decided to go back to Norton Ghost... but on their forums it doesn't seem that anyone has had luck doing the full image copy, and people are getting the same error messages that I got when I used Acronis.

SO, after more research, I found that Windows 7's Backup and Restore will make a disc image and will do exactly what I want it do to.. HOWEVER... after 3 attempts, it hangs after around 90% complete. I assume that it's having trouble with the bad sectors on the disc, and it's not giving me any options to skip or disregard them.


This seems like it would be simple.. I know that IT managers that need to set up dozens or hundreds of computers are able to set up ONE computer, then simply make a disc image and copy it in bulk to the rest of the computers, and the rest of the computers will look/function exactly as the original.

So I would think I should be able to do this.. but I'm currently stuck.

Does anyone have any suggestions as to software to use to accomplish these goals, and that will NOT cause the Windows 7 error like Acronis or Norton?

A thought I had was possibly use Acronis or Norton, and when I get that error, just boot from my Windows 7 Install Disc and attempt a "repair" of the OS? Would this work?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

19 Aug 2010   #2

Windows 7 Professional SP1 64-bit
 
 

You could run check disk and set it to try to recover bad sectors on the hard disc. This should either fix the bad sectors, or tell 7 to ignore them. This may allow Windows 7 backup to run correctly.

You can also try Macrium Reflect Free.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Aug 2010   #3

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

You could also read up on Clonezilla. I used it to image PCs at my office and it was real easy as they all shared the same hardware.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


19 Aug 2010   #4

Win7 Professional
 
 

Oh yeah, already ran check disc and it said it repaired the sectors but it didn't repair them (or they got messed up immediately again).

I will try that program, but am still open to any suggestions...
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Aug 2010   #5

Win 8 Release candidate 8400
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by JeremyG View Post
Ok, first I apologize if this is a FAQ, I did try to search but really dont' even know what to search for...

I am on an i7 system (homebuilt) using Windows 7 Professional (legit OEM copy). Here's some possibly unrelated background info..

- My OS disc has developed some bad sectors (as proven by the Samsung disc utility), and also is giving a SMART error (drive is going to fail, just hasn't fully yet).

- It APPEARS that the sectors that include the actual OS are still intact (Windows is functioning normally at this point). There are some files in my Documents folder that are corrupt, but that isnt' a big deal, I have full backups of all my DATA.


So this system is used for our business and has a TON of programs installed, and each program has TONS of add-ons and "tweaks" done. It literally took me 3 full dedicated days of setup to install all the programs, add-ons, and "tweaks".

I really DO NOT want to have to just get a new drive and re-install everything. I'd LIKE to just make a "clone" of the OS disc onto the new HD I bought today, then make the new HD the "boot disk" and have everything work perfectly (ie. Windows, and all programs and add-ons installed and ready to go).

In the past, I've been able to easily do this, using any of a few programs under Vista and older OS's (I"ve used Acronis Migrate as well as Norton Ghost in the past). In the past I've been able to just clone a disc image and used the new disc, everything was EXACTLY as it was on the old disc - no re-installing programs, etc.

Now, today I tried Acronis... the copy worked fine, the software did skip over the bad sectors (fine by me). But when I tried to boot from the new disc, Windows wouldn't fully start up... it would stop at a light blue screen with a message on the bottom right that said that it wasn't a valid copy of Windows. I couldn't get anywhere from that screen other than to shut down.

I did more research and found that Acronis doesn't work with Windows 7. So I decided to go back to Norton Ghost... but on their forums it doesn't seem that anyone has had luck doing the full image copy, and people are getting the same error messages that I got when I used Acronis.

SO, after more research, I found that Windows 7's Backup and Restore will make a disc image and will do exactly what I want it do to.. HOWEVER... after 3 attempts, it hangs after around 90% complete. I assume that it's having trouble with the bad sectors on the disc, and it's not giving me any options to skip or disregard them.


This seems like it would be simple.. I know that IT managers that need to set up dozens or hundreds of computers are able to set up ONE computer, then simply make a disc image and copy it in bulk to the rest of the computers, and the rest of the computers will look/function exactly as the original.

So I would think I should be able to do this.. but I'm currently stuck.

Does anyone have any suggestions as to software to use to accomplish these goals, and that will NOT cause the Windows 7 error like Acronis or Norton?

A thought I had was possibly use Acronis or Norton, and when I get that error, just boot from my Windows 7 Install Disc and attempt a "repair" of the OS? Would this work?

Disclaimer: In the end you are probably going to end up re-installing so why not do it now? Yes it is a PITA, butt...



Anyway

Acronis works, just did it yet again on this dell. First lets define acronis true image home newest edition 2010 (build 5.055). It has problems with drivers if you go from on mfr to another for the disk image. If you go from dell to dell same family it works with only some driver tweaks after the fact.

If you need help with it feel free to PM me

Ken
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Aug 2010   #6

Win7 Professional
 
 

AAHHHH!!! Ok, I was using Acronis Migrate, not True Image... gonna hit the sack now but will try that one in the morning.

Believe me, I'm willing to spend a day trying to do it this way, cuz it has the possibility of saving 3+ days of re-installation. I'm not joking, there's at least 12 programs to reinstall, and TONS of add-ons, probably 10 for each program. I just got this thing working how I like it, it would take forever...
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Aug 2010   #7

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 SP1, Home Premium, 64-bit
 
 

Are you trying to clone?

Or are you trying to make an image of the existing installation and then restore that image?

I am guessing you are trying to do the latter.

If so, try the former. You may not have any better luck and I'm not knowledgable about the possibly subtle differences and how they might affect the result.

Cloning is just a live "move" of the system from Disk A to Disk B, with no intervening image or restoration. It's possible a clone would be smart enough to bypass your bad sectors.

Not all "imaging" programs can also clone. I think Acronis is one that can. The free edition of Macrium cannot clone, but the paid version may be able to? You can try Acronis or google for other apps that support cloning as opposed to imaging.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 OS Disc "cloning"




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