General discussion

HD won't self-boot after cloning

I recently cloned my 30GB hard drive to a 120GB drive which I formatted with two partitions. Using XXCLONE, I cloned my system drive to one partition on the new drive, then moved my music, photos, videos, etc. to a second partition and defragged the system partition. Once I installed the new drive as my system drive, I encountered what seems to be a fairly common problem: the C: partition won't boot on its own. I can boot from a floppy that has a copy of boot.ini pointing to the C: partition (a copy from the hard drive, so the problem is not in the file). If I boot from the floppy everything works great, and I have absolutely no problems until I need to restart the system.

By scouring scores of fora, I've determined that my boot sector or MBR are to blame. I've tried using XXCLONE to initialize the boot sector and the MBR to no avail. Using the XP CD, I ran fixboot from the recovery console, but it didn't change anything. I ran fixmbr next, but got the dreaded message that my hard drive has non-standard partition tables (which as far as I can tell just means that I have multiple partitions) so I aborted. I can find no consensus on whether continuing would render my partitions unreadable.

I am running XP SP3 on the C: partition, and would eventually like to install Ubuntu on the D: partition, but I want to get the boot issue straightened out first (or would installing a second OS repair the bootability?). What is the best course of action here?

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One more time.

I know it looks scary but next time use what I use.


DO NOT DO THIS -> ", I cloned my system drive to one partition on the new drive, then moved my music, photos, videos, etc. to a second partition and defragged the system partition"

JUST CLONE THE ENTIRE DRIVE and after it works, consider putting the other files into their own folder.

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CLONEZILLA non-functional

I should have mentioned that I originally tried using Clonezilla, but it refused to copy from the source drive, claiming that the volume was corrupt. Not much help there!

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If the volume is corrupt.

Fix that first.

Let me keep this simple. Clone the drive without ANY resizing, tinkering with partitions, etc.

If the clone works, now you can look at partition resizing tools (GPARTED comes to mind.)

But given the failure you noted, I fear a never ending fail.

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The volume is not corrupt

Someone called my attention to the fact that the absence of the recovery partition, which was present on the original drive, may be throwing off the boot process. I don't want to clone the recovery partition, as it's obsolete and a waste of space. I have tried fixmbr, fixboot, copying a new NTLDR and, chkdsk /r, and also bootcfg /rebuild but nothing has changed. I can still boot with a floppy containing boot.ini and the hard drive boots right up and works fine until I need to restart again. Does anyone know what effect the presence or absence of the recovery partition would have on the boot sequence?

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Missing or corrupt boot.ini file maybe??

Did you attempt a repair/rebuild of that file from the recovery console or maybe just copy a working file to the root of the drive? I suppose it's not beyond the realm of possibility that your cloning software just didn't deliver as expected and a commercial program might serve you better. I use Acronis but one issue I've experienced is that cloning works better when both the source and target disks are connected to the PCs MB they need to boot from. With laptops, I've needed to use disk imaging. I create an image of the source drive onto an external and then restore the image after replacing the drive in the laptop. Cloning to an external drive and then putting it into the laptop later tends to produce "iffy" results.

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. I don't want to clone the recovery partition, as it's obso

". I don't want to clone the recovery partition, as it's obsolete and a waste of space. "

You may eventually have to clone the entire drive then delete that partition later. It appears you are using some OEM version of the OS so normal repairs are unlikely.

What I find is that I have to give people time to try anything else so they can come back to methods I use weekly (or more often) to get the job done.

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Never-ending fail

In case anyone is still interested, I tried several more cloning utilities to do a RAW copy--many refused. Ghost 4 Linux "completed" in 10 seconds and produced a garbage partition. I gave up and acquired CDs for a clean install, and so much the better for it--my system is much faster without the IBM garbage. I've no ideas as to why cloning did not work, but I'm not looking back.

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