Copying Hard Drives

(or: how to clone a Dell laptop hard disk)

Some sectors on my laptop hard drive were corrupt so I ordered a new one from Dell. The idea was to create an image of the old hard drive and copy it onto the new one. This proved to be a little harder than expected since (A) you cannot restore an image to a hard drive that you are currently using and (B) the new hard drive may be different (in this case bigger thanks to Dell).

Hardware You Will Need

Assembling the Software Tools

Create a bootable UBCD4Win CD (v3.20 at the time of this writing). This proved to be a great tool for most of the things I needed to do. Follow the steps in the “How to Build” section. If you’re using a Dell OEM Windows installation disk, you also need to follow these instructions or the image may not be created.

Creating the Image

Restoring the Image

Making Your New Drive Bootable

Try to boot your computer with the new hard drive. You may be lucky, everything’s the same as before. If not, and that’s more likely, you need to run a Windows repair install:

If The Repair Install Option Cannot Be Found

In this case, you most likely need to fix the BOOT.INI file.

The Administrator Password

Sometimes you may not know the administrator password which you need to run the Windows XP repair software. You can reset the password using the NTPWEdit software on the UBCD4Win CD.

“System Has Recovered from a Serious Error”

If after successfully starting Windows you get this error message, follow these instructions.