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Windows 7: Post-cloning of OS hard drive Windows Genuine nag screen issue

15 Oct 2011   #1

Windows 7 Professional 64bit
 
 
Post-cloning of OS hard drive Windows Genuine nag screen issue

Greetings.

I have on my laptop (a thinkpad, from Lenovo) Windows 7 Professional, obtained via something called "MSDN Alliance" and my university.

A few weeks ago, I finally had the opportunity to upgrade my hard drive. Thus, I placed the new disk in a USB case, plugged it in via USB, and performed a disk clone via a software from a company called EASUS.

I then removed the old disk, placed the new one in its location (that is, inside the laptop), and removed the USB equipment. Good as new, I though.

And everything appears to be working fine -- except the "nag screen" that seemingly randomly pops up out of nowhere and tells me that I am using a (I don't recall the text exactly at this moment) less that legal/legitimate installation of Windows.

I can check if Windows has been activated -- and it has (of course, I did this after having installed it) (i.e., on the "old" disk).

I have tried searching for solutions, however I only find issues when similar clonings have changed the drive letters.

This is not the issue here, i.e. the "Windows partition" is still "C:".


Any suggestions?

Thank you


Olof Antonsson

Sweden

My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

15 Oct 2011   #2

Windows 7 Professional SP1 32-bit
 
 

You didn't happen to use EASEUS Partition Master to perform the cloning, did you? I just used it to clone my own system HD and it changed the volume ID of the clone without me asking it to do so. So I used another tool that actually performed an exact, raw clone without any changes.

You would need to find out the volume ID of your original HD and set the volume ID of the new drive to match it. One tool which can do this easily is MBRWizard! - The MBR Management Utility
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Oct 2011   #3

Windows 7 Professional 64bit
 
 

Thank you kindly, I shall invest in the suggested software and report back.

I was not aware that EaseUS "Todo Backup Free", which was the product I used, changed the volume ID, nor that a Windows user apparently is not supposed to be able to upgrade their hardware without being accused of commiting some kind of piracy.

While on the topic, are you aware of any other parameters other that Windows uses to check the "integrety" of the system, other than volume ID? I would imagine that not all devices uses the same kind of ID.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


15 Oct 2011   #4

Windows 7 Professional SP1 32-bit
 
 

No, I don't think there's any other issue. And you're correct, each disk formatted by Windows has its own unique volume ID stored in the MBR.

EASEUS gave the cloned disk a new volume ID which isn't actually a bad thing, except that it makes the OS think something more than just the drive changed. That's why you want to clone the volume ID as well.

(Once you do clone it, be careful only to have either the old or new drive connected to the system, not both at the same time, when you first boot into Windows. Otherwise Windows will change one of the volume IDs again since no two disks are supposed to have the same ID.)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Oct 2011   #5

Windows 7 Professional 64bit
 
 

Well!

That certainly was an interesting experience, though perhaps not equally rewarding. I downloaded and started up MBRWizard, and found something called "disk signature" or alike, which I think was a "hex" code. If I am not mistaken this appeared to be a part of the MBR. (I did not find anything resembling "volume ID")

I copied this code from the old disk, and pasted it into the code of the new disk.

And saved. And rebooted. And didn't get as far as booting to Windows, as the white text on the black background complained on not finding the disk, or something like that.

I couldn't get as far as the F8 menu. Luckily (or so I thought) I have a legitimate Windows CD, so I tried my luck with the "repair" option -- and the automatized process seemed to work. But every time (of the 10 or so attempts) I after the repair process got beyond the login screen, things were very out of order.

I got a "preparing desktop" forever (never seen that before), and then a strange progress window in the upper left corner, saying something to the effect of "preparing active web server".

But that was as far as things got. Nothing happened. No desktop. Luckily however I could via the ctrl+alt+del reach the "run" window, and noticed much to the joy of my sanity that e.g. "my documents" appear intact.

I could also start the MBRWizard from here -- however it appeared unable to undo the aforementioned process.

Now I am back on the old disk. No real harm done, except having to find and copy over updated files from the new (i.e. cloned) disk (which I used for a couple of weeks).

However -- after which I will be wanting to clone this old disk to the new one again -- but this time do it right and most importantly NOT change the volume ID.

I would assume this is a software issue.

Could you recommend any software that could do what the Easus software did, except, well, better?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Oct 2011   #6

Windows 7 Professional SP1 32-bit
 
 

This one should do the trick - I haven't used it myself but it looks very promising.
OSFClone - Open source utility to create and clone forensic disk images

PS: "disk signature" = "volume ID" = same thing

PPS: For my own clone, I actually ended up trying Hiren's Boot CD 14.1 which I had laying around...and on its mini-XP system I found a simple GUI disk cloner that did the job perfectly.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Oct 2011   #7
Microsoft MVP

 

Reactivate Windows 7 at Computer>Properties so it picks up the hardware change and resolves any issues cloning caused.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Oct 2011   #8

Windows 7 Professional 64bit
 
 

Gregrocker -- do you mean "reactivate" as in typing in the product key again in the "change product key" field? There is no "reactivation" option or button per se what I can see.

Corazon: I noted my harddrive manufacturer (Western Digital) actually provides a cloning software (Acronis True Image), so I will make a new attempt with this to begin with.

For future reference, it was clear that merely changing the volume ID of the new disk after cloning did not solve my issue, as Windows clearly expected the previous volume ID somewhere in the booting process, but as this was no longer valid/available, the OS failed to boot.

So possibly the method could be made to work if one manages to locate where and how this matching process is made, and change the volume ID here as well?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Oct 2011   #9

Windows 7 Professional SP1 32-bit
 
 

Did you change the volume ID to that of the original disk, or just to a random new value?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Oct 2011   #10

Windows 7 Professional 64bit
 
 

Oh no, I got the value from the older disk.

Used the Acronis software this morning to perform a new cloning -- haven't gotten the nag screen yet, seems promising. Corazon, thanks for your comments!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Post-cloning of OS hard drive Windows Genuine nag screen issue





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