Clone operation leaves PC unbootable

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by philipherlihy, Aug 4, 2007.

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  1. philipherlihy

    philipherlihy Registered Member

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    I'd really appreciate some ideas on this one! Windows 2000 is
    hanging after completing the "Starting Windows" screen:
    http://www.winsupersite.com/images/showcase/pro_install16.gif
    - the progress bar reaches the right-hand side but nothing more happens ...

    I noticed that the system drive was nearly full on a machine belonging
    to one of my customers. Thought I'd rectify it before being away for a
    while, so I suggested I replace the disk (40Gb partitioned as 5Gb &
    35Gb) with a new 160Gb. The system is a fairly ordinary anonymous PC
    running Windows 2000.

    Removed the existing slave "backup" drive and connected the new drive.
    Initialised it, and created a 20Gb partition (biggest it would allow -
    thought that should be enough). Then booted the machine from an Acronis
    True Image 10 (Home) CD, and cloned the disk, choosing "proportionate" scaling
    of partitions. (I've since learned this doesn't always work: see
    https://www.wilderssecurity.com/showpost.php?p=1047788&postcount=14)

    The clone took about an hour and a half, and when Acronis reported success, I removed the old system disk, replaced it with the new
    disk, and finally replaced the "backup" drive. Tried to boot, and I found the system hung at the point described above.

    I tried experimenting with the new cloned drive, figuring the worst I
    could do was wreck the clone - I still had the original disk. I found a
    utility on the Acronis site which rewrites the MBR - worth a try. No
    good. Then dug out an old MSDN copy of Windows 2000 (no service packs),
    loaded the recovery console, successfully logged onto the system, and
    tried FIXMBR and FIXBOOT. Then I tried an in-place upgrade, but had to abandon this as noone has any idea of the product key.

    Figured I'd re-do the clone using the same proportions and then adjust the partition using Acronis Disk Director. To my horror, I find the original disk fails at exactly the same point.

    I've since replaced the IDE cable (as I thought I'd nicked it with pliers tugging the connector out of the drive) - no difference.

    Thought this was a good point to take a standard disk image; I had trouble getting my own machine to recognise the disk in a USB adapter but another worked (phew!). I saw that the disk was indeed very full; on the 5Gb system partition there was only 37.7Mb free space. Weeded out anything large ending .log, and other large files I knew I could ditch, and then allowed cleanmgr.exe to compress old files - there's now half a gig free space (9%). Then I used True Image (installed on my own machine) to create a disk image, validated and subsequently verified.

    It still won't boot (same point). I've investigated jumpering, and the disk is jumpered as Master. The BIOS (Award) doesn't recognise it as an IDE Primary Master but as an IDE Secondary Master (with no other disk installed). Same result. I've reset "Extended Configuration Data" - same result.

    I'm pretty cheesed off with this - I thought I was carrying out a read-only operation: it seems too much of a coincidence that the disk (admittedly very full indeed) should conk out at this point. What am I missing?

    As I write I've booted the machine with UBCD (http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/) and I'm running a checkdisk with all repair options turned on. Next option would be to see if I can extract the product key from the disk image, and run a repair install from the Win2K server CD.

    I'd certainly be glad of any pointers!

    Phil, London
     
  2. DwnNdrty

    DwnNdrty Registered Member

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    I hope by now you've copied off any data that needs to be saved so that if it comes down to reinstalling win2k and all the apps, at least you will have the data. The only suggestion I have would only work if the original is still booting, but you say that it, too, has problems. If you do get it going, instead of making a Clone, do a Backup Image followed by a Restore.

    Other users have also reported their original not working after using True Image, though it is not all that common.

    What version and build number of TI do you have?
     
  3. philipherlihy

    philipherlihy Registered Member

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    Thanks for the reply! Yes, I believe I have all data safely on my own PC now - and the image has been checked for consistency. Can't boot the PC from either the original (supposedly unchanged) disk, or the clone.

    I find there are two CDs in my wallet and I'm not sure which was used. One was burned in June this year; one in February. Looking at my "archive" folder of old releases I think both are build 4940, but I can't be sure (how to tell?). Since then I checked for updates and found build 4942 - the latest. That was used to take the image of the (now unbootable) original disk.

    Phil
     
  4. philipherlihy

    philipherlihy Registered Member

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    I've checked and the two CDs are identical, so it must have been 4940.

    P
     
  5. jonyjoe81

    jonyjoe81 Registered Member

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    Though the hanging part usually occurs on windows xp following a restoration.
    I think you might have a drive letter problem. From my expierence when the computer hangs during the bootup sequence it usually means the registry can not find the startup files to go to the next step, this happens if your c: drive got changed to d: or e: during the restoration.
    Download the demo of "paragon justboot corrector" (the demo is a good hard drive analyzing tool), use that to boot up your non-booting hard drive. Now check what your system partition drive letter is. It needs to be c: on most default installations. If it's not c:, then thats your problem.
    I would always rule out the drive letters as your problem first, it's usually a quick fix. With the right utilitys, it's a 5 minute fix, reboot and your new hard drive will load as normal.
    Drive letter changes happen you try to put a larger partition into a smaller partition, when you try to move system partitions around, when you do a straight ide to ide restoration. Unless your perfect everytime in your restorations you will run into it. I just keep a utility that can can change drive letters quickly handy and fix the problem afterwards. Always works for me.

    http://www.justboot.us/boot_corrector.htm

    directions to change drive letters using freeware
    https://www.wilderssecurity.com/showthread.php?t=174958
     
  6. philipherlihy

    philipherlihy Registered Member

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    Thanks, that's a nice little utility. It's reporting that the system partition is indeed the C: drive. However, it's also telling me that it's Partition 0 and the boot.ini file refers to Partition(1). I'll change that and see what happens - I can always set it back (via the Recovery Console).

    Phil
     
  7. philipherlihy

    philipherlihy Registered Member

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    No, that didn't do it. By the way, you can't edit boot.ini from the Recovery Console: I had to load UBCD. I added a further line referring to Partition(0) and it just complained files were missing and hadn't got as far as it did before.

    I'm starting to think it's a hardware problem. I ran Memtest86 for 20 minutes - no problem - but the system failed to boot from the Win2K CD once or twice and did the same for UBCD. It's an old machine, and may just be on its way out - I don't have the electronics skills to find out exactly what's wrong. I'll test the PSU (have a handy voltage tester) but I've already reseated the Ethernet card and Graphics card, plus all ribbon cables.

    I've taken out the CMOS battery - full voltage when I tested it. I'll try again in half an hour.

    I'm going to have to break the bad news to my customer soon. O dear...

    Phil
     
  8. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    philipherlihy,

    I can't really help but it sounds like data corruption or more likely a hardware issue. Have you tried to boot with the slave HD removed? Have you tried Cable Select?

    It's not a drive letter or a boot.ini problem and you have confirmed this practically. There is no partition(0). Partition numbering commences at (1).

    Drive letter issues occur later than your problem. At the Welcome screen stage. Boot.ini issues occur earlier. Immediately after the POST.
     
  9. philipherlihy

    philipherlihy Registered Member

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    Thanks - I didn't know that partition numbering started at 1; I'm glad to have that confirmed.

    I think I can rule out data corruption as the (sole) cause, as the Win2K CD and UBCD both allow a machine to boot when no other disk is present, and I've seen errors and hangs with both of them. My own PC reports both old and new disks as "healthy" (although I've never seen any other indication). Memory tests out ok, and the power supply voltages are fine. Unless there is some scrambling of the BIOS, I think a hardware fault is starting to look most likely. The "starting windows" (text-based) screen corresponds with hardware detection, and booting fails at the same point with either hard disk. I can get into BIOS easily enough, and have tried most plausible combinations of settings. The problem with booting from CD seems intermittent: it works every now and then. I'm currently letting the system cool down without power or CMOS battery and I'll try one more time to boot it before giving up. I've spent over 12 hours on this machine today alone. I hate being beaten, but I think I have to face that....

    If the current theory is right, then the problem is less to do with any failings of True Image than the fact that an elderly system reacted badly to the physical stresses of having disks and cables pulled about.

    Phil
     
  10. philipherlihy

    philipherlihy Registered Member

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    One bit of light in this evening's gloom is that three different people have offered intelligent and constructive suggestions in an effort to help someone they've never met. The world's not so bad...

    P
     
  11. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    In another forum a member couldn't boot to the Vista or Ghost 12 CD. This was fixed by removing the slave HD. No follow up on this yet.

    I know the feeling.
     
  12. philipherlihy

    philipherlihy Registered Member

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    Thanks, Brian. I thought of that - I have only the one HDD in the machine, plus a CD drive to boot from CD. It's certainly recognising the CDs and getting some way into booting from them, but seems to stall (but not always) around the time you'd expect it to be detecting hardware. Something's broken, I think. Feeling pretty broken myself...

    Phil
     
  13. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    Phil,

    I hope the customer takes it better that you. Damn computers.
     
  14. jonyjoe81

    jonyjoe81 Registered Member

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    You mentioned the bios recognizes it as the ide secondary master, try and move it to the primary ide slot. check it there.
    I would also check your original hard drive again, and see if anything got changed in he registry, that is causing it not to boot. Maybe you can fix that one and get it to reboot.
    If you where using sata drives or RAID's than I would look at maybe it being a hardware problem, but you have a basic system that should work well with true image.

    It's definitely a software problem and from reading other sites, I think it is the boot.ini file that need to be edited. Unless you are very knowlegeable in the boot.ini file. You might need to do a couple of edits to get it right.
    You rule out the drive letters.
    You rule out hardware (since hardware was working prior to clone) and from my expierence if boot utilitys bootup the computer, hardware is usually good.
    That only leaves the boot.ini, it just needs more editing.

    when I had drive letter problems, I had to do a couple of drive letter changes and several reboots to finally fix it, I almost gave up after my first try (I didn't think something as simple as a drive letter would cause my problem).

    http://www.annoyances.org/exec/forum/win2000/t1119070105
     
  15. philipherlihy

    philipherlihy Registered Member

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    I remember thinking a computer support role would be one of gentle advice and tinkering. I've had two weeks in which emergencies have grown in severity, while an enforced absence (inescapable family responsibilities) looms. This customer is just about my oldest one, and a decent chap. I hate to feel I've let him down. Ultimately, though, I think the machine has reached the end of its life, precipitated only a little by the physical stresses of a disk transplant. I'm glad someone understands (the wife sure doesn't seem to...)

    Phil

    Time for a G&T, I think....
     
  16. philipherlihy

    philipherlihy Registered Member

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    HI JonyJoe81,

    I do think it is a hardware problem. I've been getting failures and hangs booting purely from CD (both UBCD and Win2K), although I can't pinpoint the origin. It's less likely to be the DVD drive - that's the newest component by far, and there are no specific indications (hunting, etc) which would point to it.

    I've just about had it for tonight: in my part of the world it's just about 11pm. I'm going to work off my frustrations on my exercise machine, and have a bath (which I now really need)...

    Phil
     
  17. philipherlihy

    philipherlihy Registered Member

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    Just to say that the last time I looked at the BIOS the disk had "moved" to be Primary Master! I didn't do that. Least, I don't think so...

    P
     
  18. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    I just read through this thread quickly, so I may have missed this, but have you tried resetting the BIOS options back to default values? There is usually an option in the BIOS to do this (or a jumper or switch on the motherboard). Perhaps some setting is messed up and this would correct it.

    Have you tried booting the hard drive with it being the only drive connected? (No floppy drive, no CD drive, no second hard drive, etc.) I have worked on computers before that had problems starting Windows when the floppy or cd drive was bad.
     
  19. philipherlihy

    philipherlihy Registered Member

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    Thanks for the reply - yes, I did try both of those. I reset the BIOS at different times both from within the screens and by taking out the battery and waiting half-an-hour. I did try it with only the hard disk in place. Eventually the system was throwing errors when booting only from CD, so I've concluded that there is a major hardware fault with mainboard or processor, and that it's reached the end of its life.

    Phil
     
  20. DwnNdrty

    DwnNdrty Registered Member

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    I wonder if the cpu is overheating - maybe needs to have the thermal grease replaced. And of course, make sure the fan over it still runs.
     
  21. philipherlihy

    philipherlihy Registered Member

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    Thanks, that's a useful thought. I did leave the whole thing for an hour while the BIOS battery was out, though, and I'd imagine that it would have been able to boot all the way from cold before heat problems kicked in. The fan is certainly ok.

    Phil
     
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