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Windows 7: Simply trying to clone a Win7 disk - Need help

06 Sep 2011   #1

DELL Win 7 Home Premium 64 Bit
Simply trying to clone a Win7 disk - Need help

Hi, first time posting.

In the last few years I've been using Vista, with
-500GB WD main drive
-500GB identical WD backup drive (for automated file backups)
-500GB external drive ( for automated staggered file backups and rotating weekly image archives using Acronis)

Its been working quite well.

Recently, I decided to migrate to Windows 7 Home Premium. It was going very well...until I decided to "improve" my backup strategy by cloning the main drive onto the back up drive. In that way, it would be everything I do now, plus. if the C drive crashed, I'd simply swap it with the clone, and buy a new back drive and I'd be back to normal ( whereas now, for that same sceneario, I'd have to play around with restroing the image archive files)..

Cloning is dead simple - I've done it many time before when installing a second drive.

But the last few days have been a nightmare, and each time I attempt to clone, it messes up my source boot drive, and I need to reinstall Win 7 all over again. See sequence appended below.

Hoping another set of eyes might steer me to a solution.

I'm getting to the point where I should forget about cloning to the backup drive altogether and just use my tried-and-true backup file/image based strategy.

My status quo is this:
  • a working bootable Win 7 C drive ( installed with custom/format option)
  • a working D backup drive, with a quasi-clone copy of the Win7 setup (but unsure if it would boot to Vista or Win 7
  • there are still Vista remnants on the machine ( ie boot loader options show Vista as an option)
  • still cant get an image program to work wihout clobbering my boot sequence
Ideas and next steps...
I am not familiar with Master Boot records, Boot.INI, etc, but I suspect my issue lies there, or perhaps in the default partitions on the drive.. See pic attached of the Startup and Recovery window ( the drop down option there are the ones I see when Win 7 boots up).

1) If I format the Backup D drive ( from Windows) - on the assmption that might help - does that affect the list of operating systems I see on boot up ( WIndows Vista, Windows Longhorn)

2) What happens if I delete those drop down entires from Startup and Recovery - does it render the Backup Drive useless or will it still be there? Perhaps deleting those drop down entires PLUS formating the D drive will irradicate Vista, and allow cloing to work??

3) Will the above steps affect my C Drive ??? - famous last words !

4) Are there other diagnostics or tools I can uese to ensure the boot area is proper and fixable?



Sequence of events to date are as follows:
  1. Backed up user files to an external drive
  2. Started with a bootable C and bootable D drive, both on Vista - both drives are identical WD drives. The drives used to be RAID configured are have not been for some time
  3. I installed Win 7 on the C drive. On this first install , I did the Custom install, - but the one with fresh Windows and Program files but non-formatting so that it keeps user files
  4. Installed the 100 or so Windows updates plus apps
  5. With C and D working I then wanted to Clone C to D
  6. I tried Acronis Ver 11, but did not properly recognize the exisitng drive names and letters
  7. I tried EASEUS - looked good so I ran it, but it trashed the boot up ( showing no Win 7 option on the boot up only Vista.
  8. I had to reisntall Win 7. - On this second install , I again did the Custom install,with fresh Windows and Program file but
    non-formatting so
    that it keeps user files. Again I installed the 100 or so WIndows updates plus app
  9. With C and D working I then wanted to try again Clone C to D
  10. This time I tired Acronis Ver 2009 (free from Western Digitial)
  11. It did not complete the clone , and it screwed up my my boot up. Had to run system repair, and that got me going
  12. With C and D working I then wanted to try again Clone C to D
  13. This time I tried EASEUS again- It took 3 hours to complete !!!! - it compelted the cloining, but again messed up the bootup, This time I saw choices as Vista, Windwows Longhorn, and Win 7 recovered. I chose WIn 7 recovered and got back to normall bootup
  14. Did a cold boot timing test - 2 and half minutes from power on to Google screen.
  15. Given the lng boot time, the lingering rements of Vista, and a full copy of my Win 7 files on the the D drive (recall the cloning
    itself wored), I attempted another Win 7 install
  16. On this THIRD install , I chose the custom/format option- C was indeed formated (user files and other folder not longer there).
  17. C and D now working and I am at the status quo .. still Vista remants.
Startup And Recovery pic :

Attached Images
Simply trying to clone a Win7 disk - Need help-advanced_system_setting_startupandrecovery.jpg 
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Sep 2011   #2

DELL Win 7 Home Premium 64 Bit

Here is what the disk management layout looks like:

Attached Thumbnails
Simply trying to clone a Win7 disk - Need help-disk_management.png  
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Sep 2011   #3

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit

You only have Windows 7, correct?

Since you have Acronis, I would not even mess with Cloning TBH, instead I would stick with regular imaging.
Cloning is basically making 2 bootable drives, rather than 1 bootable, and 1 for backup storage. Or moving to a new drive. (but the same can be accomplished just as fast or faster with a full disc image)

In fact, a Full Disc Image will be just as good. As it will image partiton structure, disc signature etc.
I find it to work just as well, and faster.

On the backup drive, I would completely clean it.
Then make a partition for backups, or use it as Acronis Secure Zone. Whichever method you prefer.

Make a Full Disc Image, and this can be your main HD clone.
Then for regular back ups, set up however you desire as a partiton backup... or even a full disk if you choose

Unless you need both drives to be bootable?

To get rid of the boot loader and other options, you may want to try 1 of 2 things.
1) Re-Install Clean.
If you have access to a Win7 disc, you can use your key for a clean installation. This is more work, but well worth it in the long run.
If going this route I would suggest using the cmd prompt and run a clean command on the drive. Then install Windows. Obviously make sure your persoanl DATA is backed up first.

2) Image just the main C partition.
Wipe the drive, and restore the C partition to it.
At this point you'll need to do a repair install possibly 2-3 times.
This will force it to remake the MBR.
The result will be a single partition with just Win7 on it.

Unless of course you need the Dell recovory partition for some reason. But if you've made the recovery DVDs, you shouldnt.

Others may have a better solution and/or advice to offer.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

06 Sep 2011   #4

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1

I've had no problems using imaging (Windows or Macrium..) to make a new HDD copy. I don't see a problem with the suggestion above.

But cloning is just a bit copy exercise and should work. However, if you try to boot your system with both the original HDD and the clone in place I'd expect big problems. They both have the same disk signature and Windows will change one basically stuffing things up. So either have the original or the clone connected when booting.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Sep 2011   #5

DELL Win 7 Home Premium 64 Bit

Good stuff, thanks for the input

Yes "Win 7 only" is the end-game.

My follow up comments/questions are these:

1) BACKUP STRATEGY - NO MORE CLONES - The more I think through the cloning option (while fine for one time Cloning of new drives), it is not ideal in terms of an enhanced backup strategy. Some use it that way (claiming their daily clones take only 10 minutes), but as its clobbering my boot sector, I just do not want to go down that road any more. So archive image files it will be, just like I had with Vista (see top of post re my 3 drives).

2) INTENRAL BACKUP DRIVE: I will format (quick format) the D drive, and use as a not bootable back up drive. When I do this, should I be seeing the Vista entry drop off the list I see on boot up?? If its still there after a format, is it okay to delete?

3) OS DROPDOWN LIST: What happens if I first 'delete' the Vista entry from the Startup and Recovery window before I format? Will I still be able to see the D drive? What happens if I delete the 'longhorn' entry?

4) DRIVE C: Ay this stage,, as I am now finished my third install (based on reinstall clean) with everything working, Ithink I'll pass any potions to touch it again. And while those DELL partition may or may not be needed, again they are quite small, I would rather just them as is even if I am still left with real or phantom

5) BOOTABLE DVDS AND FUTURE RESTORE - While I have created image files in the past, I have never had to restore them. I assume itís as 'simple' as creating an appropriate generic boot/recovery DVD to get to the point where one can run the image software that reads and loads the image archive file. Correct?

6) CHOICE OF IMAGE SOFTWARE - Yes I have Acronis but only the old 2008 version (called Version 11). I donít know if it even works for Windows 7. As I only need the software to create/restore image files, would Macrium Reflect work reliably for that purpose? Can it be 'task scheduled" to create the image files?

Many thanks
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Sep 2011   #6

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64

Seagate DiscWizard app looks to be a cut down Acronis v11 - that works fine

Macrium should work fine too.

Easeus Todo is another excellent imaging app.

There are several to choose from.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Sep 2011   #7

DELL Win 7 Home Premium 64 Bit

For prodcuts like:
-Acronis True Image V11 (2008) and
-Acronis True Image WD 2009 Version

....these all clobbered me when doing cloning, but each might be absolutely fine with respect to creating image files. As might Acronis True Image 2012.

I will likely rule out those that :
- cannot be scheduled automatically (as I want these to be done unattneded
- cannot exclude files (as I want to exclude user files to keep the files soze down ; my user files are backed up independantly
- are too pricey
- dont work for WD drives ( eg some Maxtor prodcut only work on Maxtor drives)

.... and then choose from the balance.

I guess that answers question #6 !
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Sep 2011   #8

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1

With all the words it's difficult to know what you you really wanted.

To make a complete standby disk, imaging or cloning is ok - I use imaging.
Obviously cloning is no substitute for keeping routine partition images.

Imaging software - pick your favorite.
* Windows own imaging - I use it all the time. It has never let me down. Made 2 new HDDs from it and 20+ full system restores. Some report problems, many don't.
* Macrium - fine reliable product. Made a couple of system restores from it.
* Easeus Todo V3 - looks ok but new and not fully proven yet by a large number of users.
* Acronis - free version ties you to Seagate or WD.
* Paragon - some like it, I don't.

I believe manual imaging is preferable to scheduled imaging. It only takes a bit of discipline to image when you feel necessary.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Sep 2011   #9

DELL Win 7 Home Premium 64 Bit

Got a bigger issue now - I cannot even format the backup drive!

Is that because there are "System files" on that drive ?? See pic below.

Are the Win 7 system Files the bootable C drive relies on ....or just remants of my old Vista drive?

How do I fix this?

Do I follow these instructions??

Disk - Clean and Clean All with Diskpart Command

It boggles me how could have possible messed up a Win 7 install even with a clean/format option.. I've reinstalled windows 7 3 times already. Cant believe I may need to need to do it again!

Attached Thumbnails
Simply trying to clone a Win7 disk - Need help-174138d1315355807-simply-trying-clone-win7-disk-need-help-disk_management.png  
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Sep 2011   #10

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1

It looks like your boot manager and [Boot] containing the BCD (ie. your boot files) are on partition D:.
Things are in a mess as far as I can see. You had a Dell Vista PC, upgraded to Windows 7 as I understand it. Then you cloned disk 1. Booted with disk 0 and 1 connected.

If you have upgrade disks and the previous legal Vista OEM license. I'd be looking at a total clean install.
Others may care to comment.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Simply trying to clone a Win7 disk - Need help

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