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Hard Drive Clone Failed - Need Directions Out of Hell.

by OldVeryOld / May 4, 2012 11:40 PM PDT

I installed XP years ago, and it asked if I wanted to keep Windows 98SE. I did (and do). XP created a dual boot system. I didn't really expect that, but it worked very well. I eventually ran out of hard drive space. My system cache is too small to work. I decided to buy a larger hard drive. I thought any well criticized cloning software would work well. I installed the larger hard drive as a slave in my system. I got windows to recognize it, and even formatted it in FAT32 to avoid any conflicts using a "CutTheCrap" program to overcome the built-in MSFT format routine's inability to format more than 32GB partitions in FAT32. Last night I started backing up my C, D, and E drive partitions to the H partition of the new disk, thinking I'd image the partitions of my original disk, then restore them to the corresponding partitions (F,G,H) of the larger drive. I even downloaded EASEUS' partition management software to enable me to enlarge the respective partitions on the new drive once all the old partitions were suitably imaged and restored to the new drive. WHY DIDN'T I JUST CLONE FROM ONE DRIVE TO THE OTHER? BECAUSE MACRIUM REFLECT PUKED WHEN I ASKED IT TO DO PRECISELY THAT, FORCING ME TO RESORT TO THE IMAGE AND RESTORE APPROACH TO SAVE MYSELF 12 MORE HOURS DOWNLOADING SOMEBODY ELSE'S SOFTWARE.

Okay, with that rant off my chest...

Apparently MSFT has built some kind of poison pill into its XP OS. AFTer I'd loaded the imaged D: partition to G:, then expanded the F and G partitions to use more of the new hard drive's space with EASEUS' partition software, EASEUS would not shut down. I had to force it to do that. Thinking something had become unhinged in my cache, I decided to shut down XP and restart the computer to try to restore stability. Instead, after the dual boot select screen, I was informated that HAL.dll, apparently used by XP, was corrupted or lost and needed to be reloaded from the installation CD. (The poison pill from MSFT.)

I thought that perhaps I should load the EASEUS cloning software, even it it will take 12 hours, and simply try to use this other tool to clone one internal hard drive (master) to the larger hard drive (slave), then install the slave as the sole master, and, if it will boot, use EASEUS partition software to increase the size of each partition on the new hard drive to achieve my original goal of having more space on each drive, so that the disk cache will function the way that its supposed to, without slowing everything down to a tortoise' pace.

You are now up-to-date relative to where I am now.

Of course, you should recall, that I don't do this sort of thing very often. Perhaps, once per decade, and never before with a dual boot system. There were a number of haunting concerns that I anticipated this little experiment would clear up even before this dll catastrophe, including:

1. Can I directly image a master hard drive to a slave hard drive internal to the computer?
2. Will my slave hard drive partitions, named F,G,H when it is a slave, revert to C,D,E when I reboot the cloned system as the sole master on the computer?
3. Does MSFT have any other poison pills built into XP to make certain that I can't alter the size of hard drive partitions without making Bill Gates wonder if he's gotten enough money from my purchase of his OS and take it upon himself via his surrogates to shut down my system and kill my productivity when I try to upgarde my hard drive to insure he doesn't face any possibility of someone cloning to a larger hard drive and needing to increase the size of partitions (without wasting time re-installing an OS...all day).



1. I'm too broke to throw ANY money at the solution. (Bill Gates and his industrialist/tech friends have acquired all the money these days. I can't seem to locate any.)
2. My computer will not boot up with the larger hard drive installed as a slave for cloning and the XP directory on both the new and the old hard drives. (The "poison pill" from Microsoft?)

Not a Problem:

1. Although incensed by what happened, and wondering if someone had sent me a viral version of a partition modification program, I was able to get the original hard drive to boot as normal once I disconnected the slave. (This eliminated my concern that someone was playing around with the source drive when imaging to or partitioning a second drive.)

Vague Solution Concept That Occurred After the Outrage:

1. Can I simply do a sys a:, create a bootable floppy, install the FAT32 formatting software for partitions larger than 32 GB, reset the slave to sole master, boot from the floppy, and reformat all the partitions on the slave to erase all the data that was transferred, so that I won't have any residual issue with a cloned verson of XP on the same computer as the original version of XP?
2. Can I then use EASEUS cloning software to clone disk 0 to disk 1 (the new, larger hard drive) after I've reinstalled it as a slave and rebooted from the original hard drive?
3. Can I then re-set the new hard drive to master, after the clone, disconnect the old hard drive, and simply boot to the larger drive?
4. Can I then use partitioning software from EASEUS to expand the size of each of the partitions, or won't Bill Gates let me select the size of my own hard drive partitions without forcing a re-installation of his software via the poison pill concept and the effects of changing system characteristics?
5. Any other details I should know about?

Thanks to any and all who can prevent another "disaster" with a path forward to a solution to my problem upgrading my hard drive on a dual boot system.

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All Answers

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As soon as
by Jimmy Greystone / May 5, 2012 12:22 AM PDT

As soon as I saw that you went and tinkered with the filesystem to create a partition larger than is officially supported (and there's usually a good reason for those limits, even if it may not seem like it at first), I figured you'd be in for a rough time.

Ran into something like this at a previous job. Guy goes out, buys a 1TB 7200RPM drive for his laptop, puts it in himself, and it doesn't work, giving kernel panics frequently. His reasoning was that he saw comments on the NewEgg website where people with the same system (presumably) had managed to get this particular drive to work. I run pretty much every single diagnostic test there is on the thing, and show that everything short of the HDD (which since he put in, he was responsible for) was just fine. He even agreed that if he put the factory drive back in, the system worked just fine. I even get the manufacturer to say that anything beyond like a 500GB drive for that particular model would be considered untested and results would be unpredictable. Guy still wasn't happy and was convinced there was something wrong with the SATA controller chip on the motherboard. Never mind the fact that the factory drive worked flawlessly, it was only when his after market drive was installed that problems started.

Moral of the story is, there are some people who bring these problems on themselves, and you have all the hallmarks of being one of those people. Which is fine, it's people like you who are constantly pushing the limits that drive new innovations, so I consider it an admirable trait as long as you combine it with the recognition that when you push things as far as you have, things will not always go smoothly, and being that far out into the weeds you're pretty much on your own when it comes to sorting out what went wrong. If you're not willing to accept these risks, then stick to the more well trodden paths. You want to be a pioneer, you can't blame those who stayed behind every time you encounter some hardship.

So that all being said, what happens if you keep the partitions within the 32GB bounds for FAT32?

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FAT32 - Two TERABYTE Limit
by OldVeryOld / May 5, 2012 6:42 AM PDT
In reply to: As soon as

FAT32 has a 2 TB true limit, per everything I read on-line before applying the 50 GB partitions.

MSFT simply didn't write Format for DOS or XP to permit larger FAT32 partitions. Their choice, not a limit of the technology. They'd already invested heavily in NT. Why not use its file structure? Its supposed to be faster, and if you work at Microsoft, you work for the people willing to shell out money for the latest and greatest, not the rest of us.

Other reasons for restricting Format to 32 GB? Don't know. MSFT is a software company. They're publicly traded. Windows98 did have an unusually long life span relative to MSFT support. Hard to sell new software if the old stuff is considered to be "good enough" from the perspectives of many home users. Making it impossible to expand partitions beyond 32 GB, to remain consistent with larger drives in more common use (with 200 GB certainly not that large by today's terabyte standards), might have had some commercial appeal. NTFS was the default under Windows.

The specific error I get is a complaint that HAL.dll in the "windows root" directory is corrupt or not functioning, but only when I make the new, larger hard drive, active as the slave drive. The original hard drive is what makes it possible for me to send this response. The original boots fine as the sole drive on the system.

I am in the weeds, as you put it, but not because of any technical specification that limits FAT32 to 32 GB. (I appreciate your insight, but you might want to check that out for your own benefit.)

I tried to image then install three partitions from my original drive to the the larger drive. On the second partition installation, the one with Windows XP, I got the "HAL.DLL is corrupt or missing" in "Windows root" directory error. I don't know how to get back to the point at which I can have both drives running and ready to accept data again, which is necessary for any new formatting or other activity. I can't seem to get the Windows XP CD to do any more than let me access the troubled, new hard drive when it is installed as the sole master. I just reformatted what comes up with it as the sole master as the D: partition. I left the C: partition, which would have been the Windows 98SE system, alone. I'm wondering re-formatting the c: partition would nuke the "Windows root" directory, and overcome this corrupt DLL file, which I am surprised is even an issue on the slave (new) drive, because Windows XP doesn't load from there. (I was advised of some "partition" management software on the XP CD by a local shop, but they must be thinking of a later version of Windows. There's no partition management software accessible from a CD boot on the Windows XP CD, just an "administrator" access to the Windows directory. Since I was able to format D:, I presume I could format C: again, to erase the root of the new drive, and hopefully eliminate any issues. (I probably should have done it while I had the jumper on the new drive to set it as the slave, but I was hoping that merely re-formatting the D: drive would deal with any Windows XP issues. I don't see how activities that should not have affected the original drive would cause me a problem with the Windows root directory of the original drive, from which I can boot just as before.)

I'm still confused, but thanks for the finger pointing. A reformat of the C: drive using Microsoft's Format (producing an NTFS partition) might eliminate a faulty restoration of the C: data to the new drive's base partition, since I didn't "confirm" the new installation's conformance with the old one, due to time issues, although I suspect there's some XP factor at work that is looking at the system in order to protect XP from being pirated, although I've been advised otherwise by a local PC shop today.

Hopefully someone will provide some more experienced insight.

Thanks anyhow.

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Got it
by Jimmy Greystone / May 5, 2012 6:54 AM PDT

Got it. You want to wallow in self-pity and not actually solve the problem. That's your choice, just as it's my choice not to facilitate self-destructive behavior. When you've had your fill of half-baked (if we're being generous) conspiracy theories and self-pity, if you're lucky someone will still be around to help you. It just won't be me.

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Since it does not work with the new drive attached.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / May 5, 2012 6:46 AM PDT

I'd boot up some Linux CD such as GPARTED to wipe it off then use CLONEZILLA to clone it.

I will not enter into any discussion about Bill Gates since he has not been in that company for many years. It seems folk think otherwise.

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Back to a Starting Point
by OldVeryOld / May 5, 2012 11:30 AM PDT

I checked Microsoft's help file. I found "Diskpart clean [all]", booted from my XP disk via the CD-ROM with the new drive as the sole drive and master, then wiped the new drive clean. I saw CNET rated USEASE software rather well last year, so I was considering downloading it.

Does Clonezilla have a better, real world track record?

Other Notes:
1. Were I inclined to wallow in self-pity, I would not have made the progress already indicated.
2. Microsoft's investment in NT was legendary. Their desire to exploit and sell its technologies was clearly well founded, given what was originally a limited, NT user base with Windows 98SE very popular for quite some time after NT was introduced. That is a fact, not a conspiracy theory. How they'd recoup that investment was an issue when NT was released that was discussed by computer and software journalists.
3. Bill Gates is now involved elsewhere in an institution that empowers his world view through gifts, and is no longer CEO of Microsoft, but perceptions related to his stock ownership and power to influence MSFT stock may be the basis for belief in his ongoing link to Microsoft by many, if not his decades leaving his imprint on its choice of executives, its policies, and his personal stature in that corporation. This type of influence is also quite factual.
4. Making FAT32 more difficult to use for partitions larger than 32 GB via Format reduces the value of software that requires it (Windows 98 generation software) even more than the software's age for home use, among casual users, like myself, particularly when FAT32 is applicable to drives up to 2 TB. (Of course, any point, however reasonable, is arguable.) Given the recent, protracted economic upheaval globally and anticipation of reduced incentives for software purchases prior to that as long as Windows 98(SE) was active and viable, making old software as obsolete as possible as soon as possible seems to make sense for any software wholesaler. (Even hardware obsolescence is becoming a point of angst for many.) Microsoft's history is a march toward planned obsolescence of operating systems as a basis for their profit model, a self-evident fact for a corporation once convicted in a federal court of monopolistic behavior in the marketplace (or was that also a conspiracy theory?)

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by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / May 5, 2012 1:45 PM PDT

Clonezilla is what I use.

I wonder why you want to chat about federal court and not the issue you need to solve?

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Cloning Hell
by PaulChristy / November 28, 2013 12:09 AM PST
In reply to: Sorry.

I sure got nothing out of that diatribe about Gates, Windows. I totally despise the Windows OS myself, but I still have some specialized software that only runs on XP--so I'm stuck. I just tried True Image and finally Drive Image XML--which took *forever*--but I can't get a bootable cloned drive. XP doesn't even see a drive there at all when I switch them. In the XML program there was a checkbox for transferring boot info, but there must be some evil BIOS stuff to be done that's beyond me. Years ago, before I made the happy change to Mac, I used a program called FWB I think it was, that did a sector by sector copy. It was perfect. Is there no such program today?

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Clonezilla does a sector copy.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 28, 2013 12:20 AM PST
In reply to: Cloning Hell

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