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Windows 7: Safest Way to Clone Windows 7 Volume for Dual Booting

27 Oct 2010   #81
mjf

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by GeneO View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Trailerman View Post
I now also have a Disk Signature collision on the system, which has taken my destination disk offline. Although I can force it back online, my principal audio apps on the source drive are now crashing regularly.

Maybe I screwed up and missed some of the advice in the preceding 7 pages of posts, but I cannot believe this type of operation needs to be so complex and potentially destructive.
Jules, I haven't read through all of the responses, but if you did as you originally proposed: clone the partition AND the MBR, then you are also cloning the disk signature since it is in the MBR/track 0. This is how you get this signature conflict. You have a couple of options:

1. Don't clone the MBR
2. Do a sector level clone of the whole disk. You would need to save the data in the partitions you wish to keep, then recreate them and restore the data. When a new partition is created on your destination drive, it will get a new signature. or
3. Change the disk signature: How to Change the Disk Signature of a Drive Without Losing Existing Data or Reformatting (howtohaven.com). Though I don't think you would want to take this path - I believe you might then have to hack into the registry to change the signature there for the mounted device, but probably not - windows will probably see all of the partitions on the drive as new volumes without drive letters, and assign them letters.


- Gene
I saw the article referred to above some time ago and when the author of the article states:
"Remember my disclaimer above: I really don't know what I'm talking about here: do it at your own risk."
You should tread with extreme caution.

The disk signature is 4 bytes towards the end of the 512 byte MBR. In Windows 7 (& Vista I believe) it plays a much more significant role and is indeed an entry in the registry. Third party applications sometimes use it for authentication purposes as well.


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27 Oct 2010   #82
GeneO

Windows 10 Pro. EFI boot partition, full EFI boot
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Trailerman View Post
Hi Gene

The issue I have is a) the MBR on this drive is probably corrupt - I couldn't boot into it after I cloned FROM it to my current OS - so somehow that needs to be fixed, plus the posts above aren't totally clear on whether the MBR should be cloned or not. b) I'm told that some applications cause problems if they don't recognize the Disk Signature, hence why I copied it.

Clearly if I do it again, I won't copy the Disk signature, although that's already done. I'm truly grateful to everybody here for the guidance and suggestions, but the fact that this amount of information has still not resulted in an absolutely clear method for doing this relatively simple operation safely can only suggest that Windows OS'es just don't like doing this.

I hate to say it, (and I am anything but a Mac lover) but on my Mac Pro, I just clone the partition and select it - no MBR and Disk signature worries. It just works. On PC it seems the only way to do this safely is to start wiping disks or work only with identical hardware, which seems kind of anachronistic in the 21st century.

Sorry for the grumpy tone. After all the preparation and trying to get a clear and concise modus operandi, this has become a saga I could really have done without.

Jules
I understand it is unclear what to do with it and that copying it sounded like the right path. Just pointing out why you are getting the conflict.

I don't think there are many applications (besides volume shadow copy and windows) that use the disk signature. When I did a sector level disk clone, it created a new signature and all of my applications run fine.

Most applications use the Disk volume id (which is distinct from the volume label and the signature) for licensing and the like, not the disk signature. The disk volume id can be the same for two disks, but not the signature as it gets associated with drive letters (and indirectly directory letters referencing the drive letters). In general when you clone an OS you want the volume ID unchanged to avoid potential licensing problems.

If you don;t copy the MBR, I expect you would need to do something like and MBR repair to get it operational. Never been there so I am unsure.

Don't blame you for being grumpy! Twas much simpler in XP (but I wouldn't go back)

Gene
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27 Oct 2010   #83
gregrocker

 

Is there a reason you won't try cloning using the Acronis cloning function?
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27 Oct 2010   #84
GeneO

Windows 10 Pro. EFI boot partition, full EFI boot
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by gregrocker View Post
Is there a reason you won't try cloning using the Acronis cloning function?
I think he wanted to preserve some of the partitions on the drive he is cloning to. Acronis clone only does complete disks.
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27 Oct 2010   #85
mjf

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1
 
 

"This quote could be relevant to the discussion:
Source: "Acronis True Image WD Edition", 2000-2010, pp.48

When MBR recovery is chosen, the "Recover disk signature" box will appear in the bottom left corner at the next step. Recovering disk signature may be desirable due to the following reasons:
1. Acronis True Image WD Edition creates scheduled tasks using the signature of the source hard disk. If you recover the same disk signature, you don't need to re-create or edit the tasks created previously.
2. Some installed applications use disk signature for licensing and other purposes.
3. If you use Windows Restore Points, they will be lost when the disk signature is not recovered.
4. In addition, recovering disk signature allows to recover VSS snapshots used by Windows Vista and Windows 7's "Previous Versions" feature.
If the box is unselected, Acronis True Image WD Edition generates a new disk signature for the recovered drive. This may be needed when you use an image backup not for disaster recovery but for cloning your Windows Vista hard drive to another one. Trying to boot Windows after cloning with both drives connected will result in a problem. During Windows booting, its loader checks the disk signatures of all the connected drives, and if it finds two identical disk signatures, the loader changes the signature of the second disk, which would be the clone disk. Once this happens, the clone disk would not be able to boot up independently of the original disk, because the MountedDevices fields in the clone's registry reference the disk signature of the original disk, which will not be available if the original disk is disconnected."

The section of the same reference:
14.3.6 Cloning with Manual Partitions
may also be of interest
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Oct 2010   #86
gregrocker

 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by GeneO View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by gregrocker View Post
Is there a reason you won't try cloning using the Acronis cloning function?
I think he wanted to preserve some of the partitions on the drive he is cloning to. Acronis clone only does complete disks.
The free WD and Seagate Acronis editions as well as Acronis True Image 10+ allow selective partition imaging as well as restore.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Oct 2010   #87
GeneO

Windows 10 Pro. EFI boot partition, full EFI boot
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by gregrocker View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by GeneO View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by gregrocker View Post
Is there a reason you won't try cloning using the Acronis cloning function?
I think he wanted to preserve some of the partitions on the drive he is cloning to. Acronis clone only does complete disks.
The free WD and Seagate Acronis editions as well as Acronis True Image 10+ allow selective partition imaging as well as restore.
Partition image backup isn't the same as cloning. Cloning is disk to disk. Those are the terms Acronis uses. You said True Image clone, which means disk to disk.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Oct 2010   #88
Night Hawk

W7 Ultimate x64/W10 Pro x64 dual boot main build-remote pc W10 Pro x64 Insider Preview/W7 Pro x64
 
 

Well since no one was interested in listening earlier I will repeat a few things here about dual booting when a drive image is restored onto a second drive. Acronis wasn't used to restore the source drive but to unpack an image of the first onto the second since restoring the full system image onto a second saw the second drive trash the first drive's ability to boot into 7.

Remember what I found that worked here was by "trial and error" only while restoring a full image made with the option seen in the 7 Backup & Restore to the 1st drive has worked flawlessly after numerous restorations. The dual boot with the second drive came about when Acronis placed the image of the first onto the second where no clash was seen when adding the new entry into the BCD.

Both options can easily see an image with all partitions and mbr information intact while Acronis clones and unpacks disk images onto secondary drives without errors most of the time. Note "most of the time"! I've had a few trials with that. The best move however was to start off with a clean install on the new drive and restoring a backup made of the user files and settings to avoid "headaches" starting fresh on the new 500gb.

Once everything is all set on the new host/boot drive you can created an image for restoration to that drive alone with the full system image feature found the most reliable. As for a dual boot with a second drive seeing an image of the first restored that's where the 3rd party program comes in to avoid the disk signature hassle.
(Gee I was glad I made that image with the 7 option when the first tests "trashed the works"!)

Acronis will easily see a full clone over to an identical drive as found here. If you were replacing one drive with an identical replacement there you go! For already having boot issues with the source drive? Not Good! With the new drive not matching the solution is as follows.

1)Use 3rd drive to store Windows Easy Transfer tool's backup of files and settings for your programs

2)isolate new host drive to see clean install of everything! (yes that will take time but works the best)

3)once new drive is set to go create your safe guard image for any emergency. Backup Complete Computer - Create an Image Backup

4)create a totally separate second image of new host for restoration on "test drive"! Note the word "test"! When using Acronis you can remain booted in the host drive's installation there and do other things while that image is being unpacked onto a second drive.

5)Test secondary drive's ability to boot on it's own once the image(Acronis) is on.

6)Once found that the drive is bootable you can add a boot entry with EasyBCD to select working in the test drive's restoration or load the default fresh 7 install.

7) Ability to edit or retrieve files from either drive image? 1) For image made by 7, System Image - Extract Files Using Disk Management

2)For image made by Acronis the "Tools & Utilities" section features the option for mounting an image it is used to create as a second C drive to be seen in Windows Explorer.


Attached Thumbnails
Safest Way to Clone Windows 7 Volume for Dual Booting-acronis-mount-image.jpg  
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31 Oct 2010   #89
Trailerman

 
 

Sorry for the lack of response - was away walking in the Lakes the last 4 days.

Will digest the posts above and then decide how to proceed.

Greg - the reason I created an image and then restored was because this was the recommended course of action in a couple of posts. I also felt that breaking the operation down into 2 discreet stages (as opposed to a single cloning operation) increased the chance of success and at very least the ease with which reasons for failure could be diagnosed.

Night Hawk - I do listen, and I do read your posts. I don't always find them terribly easy to be follow, I have to confess, but I do read them, and I have taken all of you valuable input on board. I'll continue to do so as I try and resolve the current situation.

Jules
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31 Oct 2010   #90
gregrocker

 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by GeneO View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by gregrocker View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by GeneO View Post

I think he wanted to preserve some of the partitions on the drive he is cloning to. Acronis clone only does complete disks.
The free WD and Seagate Acronis editions as well as Acronis True Image 10+ allow selective partition imaging as well as restore.
Partition image backup isn't the same as cloning. Cloning is disk to disk. Those are the terms Acronis uses. You said True Image clone, which means disk to disk.
Acronis True Image 10 is the Product name. And their cloning apps allow selective disk-to-disk partition cloning as well as imaging, including in the free edition.
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 Safest Way to Clone Windows 7 Volume for Dual Booting




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