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Thread: Hard drive cloning and booting issues

  1. #1
    Registered: Jan 2001
    Location: Constantly losing tug o'war

    Hard drive cloning and booting issues

    Hi all.

    I could do with advice about booting from my new hard drive.

    Hard Drive situation:
    Original HD is 1TB, mechanical drive.
    I wanted something faster, and decided to go with higher capacity too. I got a 4TB SSD.
    I initialised it in Windows disk management, choosing the GPT option after reading that it's better. Original drive is MBR.

    I used a cloning tool called iSunshare CloneGo to clone the old HD onto the new one.
    Once finished, the new drive was changed to MBR. I'd have been content to leave it at that but wasn't able to increase the partition size beyond 2TB.

    I decided to have a go at booting from it, but may not have correctly chosen it in BIOS (was hard to tell which drive was which) as the old drive was used. I did successfully boot from it using the simpler boot menu because it was labelled differently.

    After rebooting from the old drive I then used another program, MiniTool Partition Wizard, to convert the new drive to GPT. I then increased the partition size to make full use of the total space.
    Both old and new drives have a 100MB partition called "system reserved".

    Since then I haven't been able to boot from it in any way. I did finally work out how to identify and set the new drive in BIOS, but after the motherboard logo screen I just get a blinking cursor.

    Operating System info:
    I'd originally installed Windows 7 from a CD, which I still have, along with the key. A while ago I accepted the free Windows 10 upgrade as part of Windows Update. I'm not sure if that key would work if I downloaded a Windows 10 ISO and did a fresh install on the new drive. I'd be willing to do that if it would work, but I'm sure I've made all sorts of obscure low-level tweaks, so this processes would be a last resort.

    I'm currently in the process of generating a recovery USB disk from the original HD. My hope is that if I set the new HD as the boot drive, the PC will then be able to use the USB recovery drive to fix the problem. It's taking ages to generate the files however, so I decided to write this post while I waited in case someone here could offer their own advice. There are plenty of websites/videos that discuss some of the above situations, but it's been hard to find something for my exact circumstances (Windows 7 updated to 10, new HD with large capacity, not booting).

    Any advice would be appreciated.

    edit: when I say "any advice", I mean "any good advice"

    edit 2: had to wait till the next day to give this a try. Was not successful. The two recovery options both involved deleting files. Further reading suggests the Windows 10 license is linked to the motherboard, so I'm going to try a fresh install on the new HD, using the USB as the installation media.
    Last edited by R Soul; 13th Nov 2021 at 08:02.

  2. #2
    Registered: Nov 1999
    Location: Deck 4 Cargo Bays
    You'll definitely need to format/partition as a GPT disk to use the full 4TB. That will need you to boot in UEFI mode and not in the old CSM BIOS version. This needs the OS bootloader to be installed as a UEFI bootloader, which requires a smallish (250~500MB) FAT32 partition to hold the bootloader file(s). Windows 10's installer will typically set this up for you when doing a fresh install. It might be a good idea to grab ShowKeyPlus and back up your Windows key before moving over to the new drive to avoid any activation problems.

  3. #3
    Registered: Jan 2001
    Location: Constantly losing tug o'war
    Thanks for your reply, but I ended up installing Windows 7 on the SSD (after re-formatting and ensuring it was GPT). I re-activated it over the phone, then downloaded the Windows 10 installation, and chosing the upgrade option.

    The essentials are now back up and running (emails and bookmarks recovered etc), plus with my old drive still connected it's easy enough to retrieve the files I want.

  4. #4
    Registered: May 2004
    It's almost always a better idea to do a fresh install these days. Even if you have to buy a new Windows key, they only cost about 14 dollars, if you're willing to settle for an OEM key tied to your motherboard. Or there's always the option of just not activating Windows. You won't be able to have a wallpaper and change start menu colors and whatnot, but everything else works the same.

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