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Forum Thread

Laptop boots to blinking cursor after hard drive clone

carmen617 774 462 September 17, 2012 at 01:34 PM in Computers
Maybe someone out there can figure this out, at this point I am so frustrated I am ready to toss the whole shooting match.

Short version of story - Gateway (ugh) laptop with Vista Home Premium, 160gb sata Hitachi drive is full, so I purchased a 500gb sata Hitachi drive to upgrade. Attached new drive via USB caddy and cloned using Easus Disk Copy, which I have used successfully many times before. Plunked in new drive and system won't boot - just gives me flashing cursor.

Pulled new drive, replaced old drive, examined clone which looks good except that on the original drive the restore partition is the second logical drive, on the clone the restore partition is on the first logical drive. I try recloning, nothing changes. I look up reviews on the new Hitachi drive I purchased and see some stuff I have no clue about regarding alignments - Hitachi has a free Align tool - turns out Vista and this drive are incompatible unless the data is aligned. I download the Align tool, create a bootable "rescue" disk, and run it on the new drive. Success, drive is now all aligned. Try to boot, still get flashing cursor.

I think that perhaps the swapped partitions is the problem and I will try to make the OS partition bootable. I try to boot with a Vista boot disk and it tells me it sees no operating system and I need drivers for the hard drive. Hitachi has no drivers. The drive is visible in the BIOS but this is the most stripped down BIOS imaginable so no changes available. I go to Gateway to see if there is a new BIOS and voila - there is one that is listed as 2 years newer than the installed BIOS. However, funny, after I extract the file I see it's got a lower number and an earlier date than the one actually installed on the system. The read me for the BIOS says to install it if you are upgrading to Vista, and the model number of the system I have in hand isn't on the applicable list. Thanks Gateway!

Any suggestions?

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#16
Quote from Aitrus View Post :
Maybe easy but I wouldn't say this is the quickest way. You're making an image to an external device then restoring an image. It actually takes more than twice as long and you need 3 drives to do this. I'm personally amazed at the speed in which I can clone a drive to an external drive using Acronis.

OP: My guess would be that the cloning software you are using is not fully compatible with the drive. Perhaps the drive is so new that the software is having issues.

I always use Acronis True Image and I boot to usb or cd to run it.It's never failed me and it features the ability to match the same partition size or expand to match the new drives larger size.

A clone is a clone, you should not be having to change the drive settings and/or partitions. It should just be identical.

Try the acronis trial. I believe the trial works 100% for 30 days (if I am not mistaken) and you can actually create the bootable cd or usb you need to do this.
http://www.acronis.com/homecomput...trueimage/

Also check your bios options and make sure that the correct drive is set as the first boot device (although this is probably already correct because your old drive boots fine).

PS: If the file system was corrupted you may have had a dying drive and/or not shutdown the drive properly before cloning. Could have been the software as well.
Aitrus..
You're not paying attention.
Look at the post above yours. The OP has resolved the problem and from what she had to do, it goes to show you why I prefer using the built in Windows System Image, as it IS infallible, whereas the after market ones are glitchy.
Anyone who argues the point, need only read through this tech forum to see how many people have asked for help, when their cloning program didn't work properly.
As for the three drives, you need one extra one, an external. Not three.
Clearly there was an original that made the image and whether you still have it or not, it doesn't matter, as you have the image.
Naturally, if you're installing an image, then you have a hard drive you're putting it on, correct?
So that's one HD, and one more, the external, that holds the image.
The way you say that using the WSI requires 3 hard drives, is not only incorrect, but it's misleading, and the problem with that is it may sway people into using an after market cloning program, that may cost them money, and/or headaches from not working properly.
I know they don't fail everytime, but they do fail, whereas the Windows System Image, NEVER fails.
Better to be safe than sorry.
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#17
Quote from Aitrus View Post :
Maybe easy but I wouldn't say this is the quickest way. You're making an image to an external device then restoring an image. It actually takes more than twice as long and you need 3 drives to do this. I'm personally amazed at the speed in which I can clone a drive to an external drive using Acronis.

OP: My guess would be that the cloning software you are using is not fully compatible with the drive. Perhaps the drive is so new that the software is having issues.

I always use Acronis True Image and I boot to usb or cd to run it.It's never failed me and it features the ability to match the same partition size or expand to match the new drives larger size.

A clone is a clone, you should not be having to change the drive settings and/or partitions. It should just be identical.

Try the acronis trial. I believe the trial works 100% for 30 days (if I am not mistaken) and you can actually create the bootable cd or usb you need to do this.
http://www.acronis.com/homecomput...trueimage/

Also check your bios options and make sure that the correct drive is set as the first boot device (although this is probably already correct because your old drive boots fine).

PS: If the file system was corrupted you may have had a dying drive and/or not shutdown the drive properly before cloning. Could have been the software as well.
Actually before finding the solution I tried both Easus and Acronis on two different drives - a 500gb 7200 RPM Hitachi and a 320gb 5400 RPM Western Digital Drive. On each of these drives, at various times, I cloned from the original drive to the new drive in an enclosure, and then tried reformatting the new drive and reverse cloning, installing the new drive bare in the system and putting the original drive in the enclosure. Until I found this fix I was unable to boot either of the cloned drives regardless of the software used and the position during cloning, and the Windows Recovery environment didn't recognize that Vista was installed on the cloned drives. When I looked at the drives on another system everything looked perfect.

I've cloned many drives with both Acronis and Easus and never had these problems, but I dont' run into many Gateway laptops so I think it might have something to do with the way the Gateway creates its partitions - truthfully I don't know why this laptop was such an issue.

Regardless, I saw the other people post this issue in many searches and never saw this particular answer applied to the same problem, which is why I reposted - hoping to save someone the same 2 day struggle I went through!
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