Cloning Software Killed Old and New Disk

By fensterlips
Aug 4, 2008
  1. Neither my original or new drive will boot into Windows XP SP2.

    Instead I get an error screen (BSOD) "Windows could not start because of a computer disk hardware configuration problem.
    Could not read from the selected boot disk. Check boot path and disk hardware.

    I was using the Acronis True Image Echo Workstation software to clone a WD 36GB Raptor SATA drive to a new Maxtor 750GB SATA drive. This was at Seagate's recommendation because their MaxBlast5 software that came with the drive didn't "see" the new drive to allow software use.

    The Acronis software was a download from their site which was then installed and rebooted to a DOS like environment to do the cloning. It did the cloning and I unplugged the old SATA disk, the WD, and tried to boot. I got a BSOD with an error message - not the same message I have now - I think it said, "Error: Failed to successfully scan disks for Windows Installations. This error may be caused by a corrupt file system.. Use CHKDSK to detect any disk errors.

    I booted the PC the first time with only one HDD connected.
    - First time with only new drive no USB, Flash drives, secondary drives, etc
    - Second time with only new drive connected - still nothing else

    When I booted the machine it would not boot into Windows (XP SP2). I booted with the Windows XP CD and it did not detect any Windows installation so only offered a new install or the Recovery Console. It did not offer to fix an existing installation.

    When looking at the HDD from the Recovery Console, I could see the entire disk tree in the C; drive and it appears fine

    From the Recovery Console I ran: FIXMBR C:, then FIXBOOT C:, then Copy NTLDR C:, then Copy NTDETECT C:,, then BOOTCFG /REBUILD which failed saying "Error: Failed to successfully scan disks for Windows Installations. This error may be caused by a corrupt file system which would prevent Bootcfg from successfully scanning. Use CHKDSK to detect any disk errors. I ran CHKDSK /R which required running first as /F and then /P

    I ran the same commands with each HDD, the old and new - with only (again) one disk in the machine. Both disks seem perfectly readable from the Recovery Console.

    Running BOOTCFG with the switches /Add /Scan and /Rebuild returned an error "Failed to successfully scan disks for Windows installations. This error may be caused by a corrupt file system....use CHKDSK to detect disk errors

    I also copied an XPsp2 boot.ini and ntoskrnl.exe files into C:\ and C:\WINNT\System32 respectively from another working machine.

    Any ideas? anyone? I'm suspecting one of the partition or bootloader files is missing or corrupted and a small change will make the difference.

    Are there utilities that can look for these kinds of problems? a file I (still) need to copy? or something to edit

    I'm trying to learn as well as fix this headache I've created without a full reload.

    BTW, the Windows disk also doesn't "see" the installation because it doesn't give the "repair" choice when reloading Windows from the Upgrade CD.

    Acronis is out of ideas. They think the problem may have been caused by cloning an Upgrade version of XP from W2000 instead of a full new install of XP.

    Thank you......
  2. nazartp

    nazartp TS Enthusiast Posts: 178   +12

    Interesting - I use Acronis myself and successfully moved both XP SP3 and Vista Home Premium to new drives. Both are upgrades, so Acronis is truly out of ideas.

    I'm not quite sure if you can do it from a boot disk, but I had a problem once that in Windows, the disk that got moved was not assigned a letter (in my case E: ) in Windows system. I could assign it manually from the hardware manager.

    Hope it gives you some path for investigating it deeper.
  3. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,423   +77

    There are indeed several free partitioning and also cloning programs available on the internet, I'd say produce a bootable CD with two or three on it and see what they make of your new drive. For instance, can they see it at all - maybe you need a different chipset driver for that size? I would take it from there, dont allow any changes until you have a good idea what is wrong, however.

    I can faintly remember that Partition Magic (some years old version) on more than one occasion told me a PC with some stroppy problem similar to yours, had a faulty partition descriptor, and would I like it repaired ? Answer yes, and it did ! Now of course, Partition Magic is not free, but hopefully some of the free ones are just as smart !

    The subject of partition management has been covered quite recently on this forum, and some recommended software in those posts should be easy to find.
  4. fensterlips

    fensterlips TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Well I can see both drives easily including files, directories, etc. from the Recovery Console. It like a blast from the past and being back in MS-DOS 4.2.

    Clearly the PC and its BIOS are comfortable with the drives. I'm not sure Partition Magic will address the issues here. For a while I thought maybe SpinRite, but I'm now thinking the drives are inherently OK but the Windows startup files are in trouble.

    I'm wondering if I have a corrupt boot.ini file and I'm trying to find out how to "hand-craft" a bootable substitute.

    Is this possible?

  5. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,524

    Just posting info (ie there are alternatives)

    Norton Ghost (I use this one)
    Acronis True Image (most users like this one, images and backup incrementally)
    Acronis Migrate Easy (Just disk clone - quite good!)
    Drive Image (Basically an alternative)
    DriveImage XML (This one is free!)
    MaxBlast (I haven't used this, but it's free)

    Imaging: Backs up your entire system, including Windows and data, plus your partition as well. The image can be stored on removable media, such as DVD. And usually takes under an hour (depending on size of image) to fully recover to a blank HardDrive.
  6. fensterlips

    fensterlips TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Interesting choices. I think Acronis True Image was the inadvertent source of my current problem. I was using it because MaxBlast5 that came with my new disk wouldn't work (it wouldn't "see" the new disk so wouldn't start up. Seagate sent me to Acronis who writes MaxBlast for them.

    I had a working WD Raptor I was trying to clone to a new Maxtor 750GB drive. Nothing works now.

    I think I need a primer on building a boot.ini file. I'm not sure what multi, rdisk, disk and partition numbers to use.

    It's connected to the m'board's primary onboard SATA, so not clear to me.

    Is there a formula or tool that can help with this? I'm hoping the boot.ini file is my primary problem -- maybe it isn't (yikes)
  7. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,524

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