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Issue with Cloning Hard Drive using Apricorn

by Tha16thLetter / April 13, 2008 4:40 AM PDT

Hello, cnet forums. I have a problem.

So I wanted to upgrade my hard drive on my laptop from 60 GB to 160 GB. I saw the "How to Swap Hard Drives" video on cnet, and decided that that was how I was going to do it. So I bought an Apricorn DriveWire and a Western Digital Scorpio and was on my way. I followed the directions to the letter- I got the Congratulations screen that said it was completed, i turned off the computer, pulled off the hardware, and installed the new hard drive in to my laptop. When I booted, I got a blue screen- stating that Windows will shut down to protect the hard drive from damage. It mentioned running check disk, and that my hard drive might not be "terminated". I then used the enclosure I bought to make the old hard drive an external to check the new drive. It now states that it only has 54.4 GB of space on it! I then proceeded to try a quick format, format, and a low level format. Nothing changed it back to having the ~150 GB that was on the drive.

I decided I'd take it back to Micro Center and get a new drive. I did so, and opted to get a 250 GB instead.

This time I decided to check the drive initially before I went through the process. It said it had ~238 GB of free space. Perfect. So I open the .pdf file for the software to make CERTAIN I did everything correctly. I again got the Congrats screen, tried to put the new hard drive in and... same problem. Checked it again and it seems as though the cloning process did it again! 54.4 GB. It's like it's deciding that my new drive needs to be 54.4 GB (the size of my old one). I know that is not the case, because when I was doing the Cloning it shows the new partition sizes based on the expanded size of the new drive. It definitely showed that the partitions would grow.

I dunno what to do now. I can't take this drive back again. Some help with this would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,

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A common problem
by Jimmy Greystone / April 13, 2008 5:19 AM PDT

This is a common problem for people who don't pay attention to the settings in the cloning software. Sometimes they will create a partition on a larger drive that is the exact size of the old drive.

You can either check your settings with the cloning software and make a new image, or you can use one of a number of partitioning resizing programs. Since you currently have a functional cloned copy of the drive, plus the old drive itself, you don't need to worry about backups if the partition resizing program should have a problem and mess things up.

If you want a free partition resizing program, look into Qparted. Last time I used it, which admittedly was a while ago, it was ugly and a little less than intuitive. Once you figured out how to use it however, it worked a treat.

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Will check in a second, but...
by Tha16thLetter / April 13, 2008 5:39 AM PDT
In reply to: A common problem

That may be the case, but when the process began it showed that the partition sizes would go from "xx GB --> a larger xx GB". Like the C portion was growing from 30 something to 140 ish.

Also, assuming that that is in fact the case, shouldn't it at least show that there is more space than the 54.4 GB?

Thanks for the help.

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Which OS was supplied with the laptop?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 13, 2008 5:35 AM PDT

If it was XP without the integrated SP1 or SP2 you need to stay with the drive sizes of 120GB or smaller.

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My OS is...
by Tha16thLetter / April 13, 2008 5:41 AM PDT

XP Media Center.

Also, the files from the old hard drive are NOT on the new drive. It just seemed to assimilate it's size.

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by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 13, 2008 5:43 AM PDT
In reply to: My OS is...

That version is a limiter. If your OS was not supplied with at least SP1 the clone software may be smart enough to not resize the boot partition.

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It seems...
by Tha16thLetter / April 13, 2008 5:44 AM PDT
In reply to: Ouch.

I have Service Pack 2 on it. Just checked the Properties because I wasn't sure.

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by Tha16thLetter / April 13, 2008 6:29 AM PDT
In reply to: It seems...

Why wouldn't a low level format clear the partitions table? It's showing 54.4 GB as the entire surface of the hard drive.

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That's not unusual but what I'm asking is...
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 13, 2008 7:06 AM PDT
In reply to: It seems...

What is the OS supplied with? Some come with SP1, SP2 or "none." Later we run Windows Update to SP2.

However the question is still open as to "What did it come with?" Your answer is (so far) a version without SP1. As such I have to write to stick under the 127GB mark.

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by Tha16thLetter / April 13, 2008 7:12 AM PDT

Well, I checked the sticker on the bottom and it says "Windows XP Media Center Edition-2005".

But, assuming that my computer isn't able to support a hard drive this large, why wouldn't a format restore it to its ~238 GB?

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First thing you want to check is ...
by Edward ODaniel / April 13, 2008 6:58 AM PDT

does YOUR LAPTOP support the larger drive?

What you are reporting is EXACTLY what my old Dell Latitude reported after upgrading it with a 160 GB drive. Dell had a newer BIOS (the A10 and I only had the A7) and after flashing all was right in the world once again.

Just because a larger hard drive is available and ready to hand does NOT mean that any specific laptop will necessarily be able to handle it.

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by Tha16thLetter / April 13, 2008 7:06 AM PDT

My laptop is pretty new. It's a Dell Inspiron E1505, I purchased it about a year and four months or so ago. When I purchased it I believe a hard drive this size was optional to put in there.

Also, assuming that the BIOS is in fact the issue, would that still cause it to show up as being only 54.4 GB even when it is connected externally to my desktop? Also, when I connected it initially as an external to my laptop, it showed it with roughly 238 GB of space.

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Have you got around to CHECKING Dell ...
by Edward ODaniel / April 13, 2008 9:37 AM PDT
In reply to: Well...

for BIOS updates?

Now, AS FOR THE REPORTED SIZE, yes - an attempted image to a drive recognized as considerably smaller will have written the partition table and a smaller size will be seen.

This is much the same issue as way back when there was an 8GB limit and a larger hard drive showed on systems as only 8 GB which was the largest the BIOS recognized.

My Latitude wasn't very old either and a 120 GB drive would have been fine where the 160 was not UNTIL flashing to the A10 BIOS.

Take advantage of your Service Number and locate the newest BIOS and go for it.

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Just updated the BIOS...
by Tha16thLetter / April 13, 2008 2:12 PM PDT

I haven't gotten the chance to check the size now, but I'm curious as to if this will fix the issue. I was running all the diagnostics on my friend's desktop through USB connection, and even after we reformatted it was still showing it as 54.4 on HIS computer. His hard drive is 320 GB, so I know a 250 GB hard drive should show up properly. So you theorize that it should now show up properly?

Did you get a similar blue screen?

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Okay well...
by Tha16thLetter / April 13, 2008 2:17 PM PDT

I just updated the BIOS from A08 to A17, and hooked the HDD up through USB to check it. Still showing it as 54.4 GB. I formated it by quick format once again, and still nothing. It's like it confused the drive and locked out the other oh, 200 or so GB from showing. All I want is my drive to be restored to the 250 gigs and I'll just man up and reinstall Windows. I'm done with this cloning software. :/

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Formatting versus Partition sizes.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 14, 2008 12:50 AM PDT
In reply to: Okay well...

How are you setting the partition size?

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What do you mean...
by Tha16thLetter / April 14, 2008 12:57 AM PDT

I'm using Windows to format the drive. I'm just right clicking on the drive and choosing "format" and I've tried quick and normal. The Capacity shows 54.4. When I check its properties with anything, it shows that it only has 54.4 GB. It's like it's hiding the other 180 or so.

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Then you are not changing the partition size.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 14, 2008 1:44 AM PDT
In reply to: What do you mean...

That format does not set the partition's size. Look at Disk Management next time to see if there is unpartitioned space.

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I've looked at disk management a few times...
by Tha16thLetter / April 14, 2008 1:52 AM PDT

And I'm looking at it now. Still shows the Drive as 54.48, Healthy. Capacity is listed as 54.48. There is no other space.

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Then it's likely doing this to be safe.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 14, 2008 1:56 AM PDT

Remember that question about the original OS? I have yet to see an answer but you may not know both why I ask and how to find out. You can not boot Windows and check there. You must look at the CD as supplied and what it installs as, without updates. has the data lifeguard tools so you can wipe the drive and install fresh.


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I am using the Data Lifeguard and...
by Tha16thLetter / April 14, 2008 2:04 AM PDT

I'm having it write zeros to the entire drive as we speak. Unfortunately, it's still only showing the 114 mill sectors, not the 460 million that it should based on the ACTUAL drive size. So it's still only recognizing the 60 gigs.

R Proffitt: Right now I have it hooked up to my desktop, where I initially checked the drive and it showed it as 238 GB. So I know it should show up as such on this hardware, yet it still isn't. That's my main problem. I'm not doing this diagnosis on my laptop, and it's still having the problem ofs howing the full drive.

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238 GB. is the right size.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 14, 2008 3:33 AM PDT

So while it's there, create a partition on it, format it and viola, a 250 billion byte drive.

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That didn't work but...
by Tha16thLetter / April 14, 2008 3:37 AM PDT

I had to use the Hitachi's Feature Tool to boot my computer, reset the drive to it's proper size. There was no amount of reformating that was going to fix this problem. The post I just posted has the answers to this strange problem. Happy

It's all good now though!

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To clarify, I meant that..
by Tha16thLetter / April 14, 2008 3:45 AM PDT

When I FIRST checked the drive (before I did the cloning) it showed 238 GB. It didnt at any point afterwards. Until I used that Feature Tool to uncover the hidden partition.

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Sorry I thought it was a WD drive.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 14, 2008 4:59 AM PDT

I checked the first few posts and miss where you tell us some other make. I know the hitachi feature tool but had no reason to mention it since I thought it was a WD drive.

Sorry about that.

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Doing some Diagnostics...
by Tha16thLetter / April 14, 2008 1:33 AM PDT

I'm currently using Western Digital's Date Lifeguard Diagnostics program to see if IT can figure out what's wrong with the drive and it being locked out. It's doing an Extended Test right now and is only checking roughly 114 mill. sectors - on their site, the 60 GB hdd is about that size. So it's still not seeing the other 180. Did that damn thing corrupt my hard drive? :/

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Problem Solved! And I come bearing gifts (aka info)...
by Tha16thLetter / April 14, 2008 3:19 AM PDT

So I called Apricorn to get some insight into the issue. Apparently it's not an uncommon problem. The Blame? DELL AND THEIR DAMNED MEDIA DIRECT!

HPA Problems When Upgrading Hard Disk

Some people will eventually want to upgrade their hard disk to a new disk with larger capacity. Users should be warned about a unique problem that may occur in certain circumstances. If you try to replace your hard disk with a larger disk, if you try to clone the contents of your original disk to the new disk, and if your original disk contains HPA-based MediaDirect, then you may discover your new disk's capacity becomes truncated to the size of the original disk.

For example, say you wish to replace your 60 GB disk with a new 120 GB disk. To avoid reinstalling everything, you decide to use something like Acronis True Image or Symantec Ghost to clone the contents of the 60 GB disk to the 120 GB disk. When you try to boot the new disk, however, it blue-screens or fails to boot, and a check of the BIOS settings shows the BIOS thinks your new disk is around the same size as the old disk! No amount of recloning, reformatting, repartitioning, or rejumpering will get the BIOS to recognize the full size of the disk.

During the process of cloning, some utilities will copy the entire first track from the original disk, which includes the Dell MBR (in LBA Sector 0) and the HPA boot code (in LBA Sector 3). The problem is caused when both of these sectors are carried over to the new disk. The problem is avoided if either one or both sectors are not copied.

(Note to reader: Remember that we are only talking about HPA-based MediaDirect here. MediaDirect 3 does not use LBA-3 or the HPA.)

How The Dell MBR Works

Here is a play-by-play of what happens when the computer boots with the Dell MBR.

When the machine is off, pressing the power button turns the computer on. Pressing the MediaDirect button instead turns the computer on and additionally sets a bit in the bios cmos registers. The computer proceeds through its POST (Power-On Self Test), then turns to the hard disk and MBR to determine what to do next:

1. Begin code in LBA-0. This tests if code exists in LBA-3. If not, skip to step 6. If yes, continue with step 2. (Code in LBA-3 means the system is equipped with MD).

2. Begin code in LBA-3. This tests whether the MD bit in the cmos is set. If not, skip to step 4. If yes, continue with step 3. (The MD bit tells whether or not the MD button was pressed).

3. If MD button pressed, prepare to boot MD. Unhide the HPA, save partition table descriptor #4, replace it with the hidden MD partition descriptor, and set it active. Skip to step 5.

4. If MD button not pressed, prepare to boot normally. Hide the HPA, replace partition table descriptor #4 with the saved copy (from step 3), and set partition #2 active (the XP partition).

5. Return to LBA-0.

6. LBA-0 checks whether Ctrl+F11 is in the keyboard queue. If not, skip to step 8. If yes, continue with step 7.

7. Prepare to boot the DSR partition by changing the DSR partition's descriptor from 'DB' to '0C' and setting it active.

8. Check which partition is set active (normally it's partition 2, unless step 3 or 7 changed it), display "Loading PBR x..." on the screen, load that partition's boot record into memory, and display "done" if the pbr read was successful.

9. The MBR's job is now done. Transfer control to the code loaded from the pbr, which is expected to take over and load the rest of the operating system installed on that partition--either XP (pbr2), DSR, or MD (pbr4).

The crucial factor is that LBA-3 has embedded in it the starting location of the HPA. This information is used in steps 3-4. The starting location will be where the HPA begins on the original hard disk. When you install a larger hard disk and copy LBA-3 (as part of track-0), this number does not get changed. (After all, the cloning utility has no idea what Dell is doing with LBA-3.)

Thereafter, the first time you boot from the hard disk and the MBR is executed, step 4 will assume the HPA begins in the same place as it did on the original disk. All that extra space on the new hard disk will be hidden as part of the (now, super-large) HPA.

Remember, when the HPA is enabled, the true size is kept secret by the disk drive itself. The computer, XP, and most utilities will think the hard disk is smaller than it actually is. This BIOS will think your new disk is the same size as the original disk. Reformatting or repartitioning will not unhide the HPA and give you back your disk space.

The HPA Cannot Be Copied

No cloning utility can copy the contents of the HPA from one hard disk to another. Many utilities will not even know the HPA exists. Even if you were able to expose the HPA area, utilities would not know there is a MediaDirect partition in there to copy. Remember, the existence of the MediaDirect partition is not recorded in the partition table, it's partition descriptor is secretly stored in LBA-3.

If you want your new hard disk to include MediaDirect, you will need to do a fresh install from the MediaDirect CD. (Note that reinstalling from CD will not recreate the HPA. The CD will instead create a regular partition of type D7.)

How To Avoid the Truncation Problem

The problem occurs when the Dell MBR and LBA-3 are both copied to the new disk. The problem is avoided if either the Dell MBR is not copied, and/or LBA-3 is not copied. As can be seen from the play-by-play above, the Dell MBR executes LBA-3 if the HPA-hiding code exists. Eliminate the code in LBA-3 (non-HPA Dell machines have all zeroes in LBA-3) and there will be no code to hide the HPA. Or eliminate the Dell MBR (replacing it with a generic Microsoft MBR, for example) and the code in LBA-3, even if exists, will not be executed.

Remember, the contents of the HPA cannot be copied. The one and only purpose of LBA-3 is to enable the HPA. So, if the HPA cannot be transferred anyway, there is no reason to keep LBA-3. Use a utility (such as Roadkil's Sector Editor) to overwrite LBA-3 with all zeroes on the original disk before attempting the cloning operation. The new disk will not get the LBA-3 code, and will not have a HPA or the MediaDirect partition.

The Dell MBR has two purposes: to enable booting the DSR partition, or enable booting the HPA (via LBA-3). Even with LBA-3 eliminated, the Dell MBR may still be needed if you plan on copying the DSR partition to the new disk. If you are copying the DSR partition, keep the Dell MBR and just zero LBA-3. If you are not keeping the DSR partition (or do not have one to begin with), then there is no reason to keep the Dell MBR at all. A simple "fdisk /mbr" command executed from a Win98 boot floppy, or the "fixmbr" command executed from the XP CD's recovery console will replace the Dell MBR with a generic MBR.

How To Repair A Truncated Disk

If you've already made the mistake of copying LBA-3 and had it hide the HPA, then you will need to take the extra step of unhiding the HPA. Zeroing LBA-3 and recloning will prevent the HPA from being hidden again in the future, but that will not unhide an already-hidden HPA.

There are several tools that can be used to unhide the HPA and return a hard disk to its full capacity. These include Hitachi Feature Tool, Seagate SeaTools, Magic Boot Disk (MHDD), and HDAT2, among others.


Just so you guys know if this ever comes up again! Thanks a lot for everything, I can take it from here. Happy

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