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Windows 7: After Cloning, Intermittent Booting to Desktop Problem


03 May 2013   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit
 
 
After Cloning, Intermittent Booting to Desktop Problem

Hi all,

I have an intermittent issue when I clone my HDD's. Here's my PC info:

Windows 7 64-bit Ver 6.1

Mother Bd: ASUS PRO P7P55D-E

Processor: Intel i5 650

Hard Drives: 2ea Seagate Barracuda 3.5 Internal 1Tb 16 Mb Sata ST1000DM003-9YN162

Kingwin "Hot Swap" SATA Racks (2) in Tower to facillitate fast HDD removal/install

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Background information:

I clone every 8-10 weeks, primarily as a full-disk backup scheme and also for protection in the event of any annoying trojan or malware intrusions that may be time-consuming to clean/recover.

When I clone, I use 2 cloning tools:

- Acronis True Image 2011 Plus-Pak

- Clonezilla freeware

I primarily use Acronis for cloning, having only recently used Clonezilla once to eliminate Acronis as a possible source of the Windows booting issue. The issue occurred with Clonezilla as well as Acronis.

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Here's what I'm seeing with the internittent issue:

Ater I clone, I'm seeing an intermittent problem when Windows boots to the Desktop. The symptoms are, after the "welcome" screen, when the Desktop begins to build/display, the PC will hangup/hourglass before the Desktop has fully loaded.

In some cases, I'll get the Taskbar loaded, and some of the System Tray Icons, but not my Desktop Icons loaded. Other times, I'll see all of my Desktop Icons loaded but no association's loaded with the Icons.

I every case, I'm able to get past the initial Windows black/logo screen, and log into Windows, and in almost every case, get past the "Welcome" screen. It's struggling when loading the Desktop.

Here's the interesting part of this symptom:

In almost every case, after I clone, my Target (newly-cloned) HDD will boot up without any issues.

When I re-install my Source HDD, this is when I'll usually see the "struggling to load Desktop" symptoms.

Another interesting thing about this issue, is this:

Once I get Windows to fully boot and load the Desktop (sometimes requiring 2-3 restart's), I never have any further problems when restarting, ie, after an overnight Windows update, or if I have a rare need to restart the PC for other reasons. It's almost acting like, after a clone, Windows has to rebuild/re-index its initial start files, registry's, etc. That's just my guess about it though as I'm no Windows expert at all .

Here's what I have tried / eliminated, after posting at the Acronis forum about this issue.

They recommended that I clone from the Acronis CD, to clone outside of Windows. When I first began using Acronis a couple of years ago, I was cloning by launching Acronis on my HDD. So, when the Acronis members said that I need to be cloning by booting to the Acronis CD, that made sense to me to eliminate any Windows conflicts that I may have been encountering as a result of cloning by launching Acronis on the Source HDD.

They mentioned something about a Windows "signature" conflict, if a PC "sees" 2 identical Windows HDD's. Windows "writes" a signature to one of the HDD's when this occurs. This is what I read at the Acronis forum.

Booting up with the Acronis CD and cloning with the CD didn't clear up the issue.

I then recently tried to clone with Clonezilla. I saw the same issue: My Target HDD booted without issue but the Source HDD struggled to complete booting to the Desktop.

After cloning has completed, at no time does my PC "see" 2 identically-cloned HDD's. After cloning, I remove my Source HDD. I then boot up on my Target HDD to test it so that I know I have a working backup HDD.

Then I'll re-install my Source HDD and run on that HDD until I clone about 8-10 weeks later.

I can't think of anything else to eliminate or try, to see if I can make sense out of this issue.

The only thing I haven't tried, is to use the same SATA port for booting up with the Target HDD after cloning. In other words, I'll install the Target HDD in my hot-swap Rack #2, and I'll leave my Source HDD in Rack #1.

After I boot up the Target HDD in Rack #2, I'll shut down the PC, and boot up with the Source HDD in Rack #1.

I can't see how that relates to the booting-to-Desktop issue but perhaps that's causing the Bios to struggle when "handshaking" the HDD to access the MBR? Just a thought but it's my understanding that the Bios is not part of this issue, as the MBR/Bios access boot step has completed before I see the Windows login screen.



My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 After Cloning, Intermittent Booting to Desktop Problem




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