Might need to clone failing hard drive

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Old 03-07-16, 08:46 AM
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Might need to clone failing hard drive

I have a home built PC. I'm probably going to replace my hard drive. It's been making grinding sounds. And twice the system crashed while playing a music DVD indicating 'windows failed to start. A recent hardware or software change might be the cause'.

I attempted to boot up in safe mode, which just resulted in a black screen. I was able to start the PC in normal mode. No indication of a virus. I'm going to check the connections inside the case also.

If I do replace the hard drive, is there a good free app to clone everything from my old hard drive to a new hard drive? Do the hard drive manufacturers ever offer this as a free tool? Thanks
 
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Old 03-07-16, 08:49 AM
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Do you still have the installation media for the OS? If so, I think I would download the data from the old HD but install the OS new on its replacement.
 
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Old 03-07-16, 09:36 AM
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I just had a similar issue with an older Dell running XP. I had to do a chkdsk /f as it had a boot problem.
 
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Old 03-07-16, 11:21 AM
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To directly answer your question, in my experience, Clonezilla is your best (freeware) bet for duping the HDD.

stickshift makes a good point. If your HDD is that ragged out, your old OS probably also is pretty hammered. Duping the disk also would dupe whatever errors/orphans/corrupt files that already have been created. Best option probably is to clean install to a new HDD, then attach the old HDD to one of the spare headers and salvage your personal stuff from it.
 
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Old 03-07-16, 11:43 AM
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I didn't previously consider that the OS would be corrupted. I use Windows 7 Home Premium for system builders. But wouldn't system repair accessed by pressing F8 at bootup fix those issues?

What do you mean when you say 'attach the old HDD to one of the spare headers.'
 
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Old 03-07-16, 06:13 PM
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You really don't want to clone it. You just want to copy your files, to another drive. Use a USB HD enclosure, on another PC, if you can't get the machine to boot.
 
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Old 03-07-16, 07:19 PM
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I agree with Pulpo I don't think you should clone the hdd either. Partly because doing so will also copy errors from the drive you presently are using. However there might be one reason why you would want to try a clone and that is if you don't have installation media for your programs such as Microsoft Word as one example. Since you have a home built computer that you made yourself I very seriously doubt you don't have installation media. So save yourself the headache of cloning especially an already bad hdd and just copy your files as Pulpo suggested but please for your sake do it as soon as possible.

That grinding noise you hear is a bad omen and it means the drive is in danger of imminent failure. Once you have your new hdd then go ahead and clone that but be aware that clone will only be good for so long until you need to make another clone. So back up everything on a regular basis and not just by clone alone.
 
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Old 03-07-16, 07:51 PM
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I was thinking of cloning because the PC boots up fine and performs well. So maybe the OS wasn't compromised yet. I'm using it right now. The PC flipped out twice so far and crashed.

My OS is Windows 7 Home Premium for System Builders. Did that come with MS Office? I don't remember. I have MS Office XP 2002 on the PC now. For some reason, this outdated product works on Windows 7.

I was hoping to avoid reinstalling all the programs and applications. I already saved files and multi media to USB drives. I'll order a hard drive from Newegg tomorrow.

I can't copy software applications or programs to an 'enclosure' can I ? This enclosure or external drive might not be worth the expense..................But I'm still listening.

I hear what you're saying about cloning. I have reservations about it too.
 
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Old 03-07-16, 08:33 PM
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No Windows OS comes with MS Office. That's extra. You can't copy programs to an external HD in an enclosure & transfer them to a new HD. Since you want to save time & money by cloning the drive, try it. Let us know if it works.
 
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Old 03-08-16, 03:12 AM
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Lesson learn: You should keep your data on a separate drive. Clicking noise is an indication of hardware malfunction and will be done in the near future. You can't get around it because the OS drive is always plugged in and therefore wear and tear is inevitable.

In addition, there is a level of security risk when you leave your data on the same drive as your OS.

As for the software: Clonezilla, TrueImage and Norton Ghost can be used. TrueImage and Norton Ghost are not free for the Window part but for the DOS part, you can create a boot disk and clone your drive. Ghost use to be a fantastic software but ever since acquired by Norton, well... that is a different story.

If you have the money, I would buy 2-3 drives.

1st Drive(Rebuild your OS): in addition, use an imaging software (above) to constantly keep a clean image. In situations like this, you can be back up and running within 15 minutes or less.
2nd Drive(Personal Data): Can be an USB External drive. Keep all your personal data here. When not in use, unplug it/disconnect it to save the life and security of the drive. When you go on vacation, you can take this drive with you in case your house burns down or someone breaks into your home.
3rd Drive: Clone the original drive, in case you need to go back on files that you missed when you separate 1st and 2nd drives. Or you can treat your original drive as the 3rd drive depending on its life expectancy.

You can clone your original drive and continue off of that but without knowing all of the details, I would advise against that. It is a safer approach to rebuild the OS on a separate drive. Reinstalling all of your software will takes hours to days. Completely understand your pain and this is where you should take an image of the OS drive once you are done with all software configurations and installations.
 
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Old 03-08-16, 08:31 AM
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This is very helpful information you responded with. I'm strongly leaning towards a 2nd external drive now. Western Digital provides free cloning software with their hard drives. A few questions please:

Is one CD enough volume for this boot disk? Can the boot disk be created from the cloning software?

My motherboard is rated to handle 3 GB/s SATA hard drives. If I buy a hard drive rated for 6 GB/s it will still work at 3GB/s..........correct? This would be useful in the future if I ever upgrade the board
 
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Old 03-08-16, 09:09 AM
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bluesbreaker –

Yes SATA III(6Gb/s) is required to be backward compatible with SATA II (3 Gb/s). I’m leery of that Western Digital SmartWare. I used it and lost files. The SmartWare wasn’t so smart and ignored some files doing the backup (these weren’t any types of special files either.)

I believe the SmartWare doesn’t have a good reputation – maybe something you could explore further or maybe some of the folks here know something about it.
 
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Old 03-08-16, 09:26 AM
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I think WD uses another provider for the cloning software..............Acronis?

It looks like I'll be reinstalling everything anyway.

I ordered the hard drive, I should have it in a week or less.

I ran out of space on my USB flash drives for backing up documents and files. I need to copy some motion picture footage. Will the cloning software be good for this?
 

Last edited by bluesbreaker; 03-08-16 at 11:52 AM.
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Old 03-08-16, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by BluesBreaker
Is one CD enough volume for this boot disk? Can the boot disk be created from the cloning software?
Yes, only one CD is required and can be created by the cloning software. It can also be called "Rescue Disk".

Zoesdad covered your other question about SATA II vs SATA III.

Acronis and TrueImage are the same thing. It is actually called Acronis True Image (ATI). IMO... ATI 2009-2011 are really good. Version 2012-1014 declined and buggy. Version 2015-2016 are back on track. So if you have the latest, use it.

Originally Posted by BluesBreaker
I ran out of space on my USB flash drives for backing up documents and files. I need to copy some motion picture footage. Will the cloning software be good for this?
If you are running out of space, no software is going to help you there. What do you mean if cloning software be good for this?
 
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Old 03-08-16, 03:29 PM
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I was asking if the Acronis clone software would copy the moving footage from old to new hard drive
 
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Old 03-09-16, 02:14 PM
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You've not gotten into the particulars of your case but presuming there is room enough inside it for a second HDD, you probably could add a second internal hard drive without it costing you anything more (besides the HDD itself) than an additional SATA data cable. In which case it isn't necessary to attach the second HDD externally.

The power wiring looms on desktop PCs almost always come with more than one HDD connector, and all MoBos will have more than 1 data header.


SATA data cable (L) and SATA power cable (R)

The power loom also might have power connectors for the old IDE/PATA standard as well:

Top, in white, is old IDE power connector
Bottom, in black, is new SATA power connector

So what you'd be interested to see, if that were your plan, is whether there's an extra power connector like the black one above with which to power an additional internal HDD (which you almost certainly do). And whether there's a spare data cable.

Presuming you don't already have a spare, a SATA data cable is $4 from New Egg. If you have a local computer shop, they're sure to have them in stock, too.
 
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Old 03-10-16, 08:21 AM
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Yes. I'm sure there is more than one power connector. I believe my tower will take up to three drives. I forgot about the SATA cable too. I might have an extra one lying around. My home built PC is pretty modern and powerful. My motherboard has connections for 6 SATA devices.

Pros and cons of external and internal hard drives?

I'm sort of leaning towards the external drive. I've never backed up to a second drive before. So basically I can transfer a complete working copy of my original hard drive with intact and functioning, documents, emails, files, software, apps, programs, multimedia.........EVERYTHING?
 

Last edited by bluesbreaker; 03-10-16 at 09:14 AM.
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Old 03-10-16, 03:39 PM
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Pros and cons of external and internal hard drives?
I just learned something about external drives that I didn't know. Imagine that!. If the external drive is connected to your PC & your PC gets hit with a ransomware virus that encrypts the hard drive, it will encrypt the external drive too. There goes your backup. So the best thing to do is disconnect it after you backup your files.
 
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Old 03-10-16, 05:04 PM
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That's very useful to know about the ransomware virus thing.
 
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Old 03-10-16, 07:35 PM
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I've always thought of internal and external drives as essentially being the same thing, just that one could more easily be removed and put somewhere else than the other.
 
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Old 03-10-16, 07:45 PM
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The main difference is in how they are connected. As malware changes, defenses have to chance. Another example is alternate data streams (ADS). That is wrapping malware in another file. At one time, one couldn't hide malware in a picture. Now it's possible.
 
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Old 03-11-16, 09:33 AM
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Ok. Thanks. I'm going to start a new thread on external hard drive question. I probably won't install new hard drive till I decide on a 2nd USB external drive
 
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Old 03-11-16, 02:54 PM
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By time you do something, the failing HD maybe dead.
 
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Old 03-11-16, 03:01 PM
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PC not in use right now till I have parts I need
 
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