[VISTA] "Create Bootable External Media" or "Change Boot Drive" -- which should I do?

#1
I've cloned the Windows Vista Home Premium installation from my laptop's HDD to another 2.5" notebook drive (connected to my laptop via a USB-to-SATA adaptor for now, will be swapped into my notebook later). So now I have two drives: the first (original) drive with partitions C: and D:, and the cloned drive, with partitions F: and G:. Although the destination drive (the 2.5" notebook drive) now has all the files from the original drive on it, when I stick it into my laptop, it does not boot. I was told to get EasyBCD 2.1 to solve this. I want to know two things:

1. When I click on the "BCD Deployment" button, there are two sections: "Create Bootable External Media" and "MBR Configuration Options". Under the "Create Bootable External Media" section is a dropdown box that allows me to choose which partition to make bootable (in my case I chose "Partition 1: F:\ as NTFS - 558 GiB"). But under the "MBR Configuration Options", after I choose the "Install the Windows Vista/7 bootloader to the MBR", the big red button just says "Write MBR" -- but it doesn't show where the MBR will be written to. Will clicking the "Write MBR" button overwrite the MBR on drive C: (which I don't want to happen), or will it overwrite the MBR on drive F: (the same drive/partition that I chose in the "Create Bootable External Media" section)?

2. When I click on the "BCD Backup/Repair", under the "BCD Management Options" section is a radio button labeled "Change Boot Drive". Should I use this instead of going through the steps in my first question above to solve my problem, or not?

Thank you in advance. This has been driving me bonkers :smile:
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#2
Don't do any of those things.
Create bootable external media is for making a bootable flashdrive for example, not your OS.
Install Vista/7 boot loader to the MBR does what it says, and is for putting Vista/7 back in control if your boot has been overwritten by XP or Linux.
The two sections aren't related, they're just on the same page.
Change boot drive, again, does what it says. It changes the drive containing the files which boot your system. You would use it for example if you had installed W7 after XP, and the W7 boot files were put on the XP drive (standard MS architecture), and you now want to remove XP, sp you need the boot files moved.
You can't just clone an OS from one PC to another. Apart from being a direct violation of the MS EULA to run one licenced copy of an OS on more than one PC, it just won't work unless the PCs are essentially identical so that there are no h/w clashes.
Even in that case the validation hash will recognise the new h/w serial numbers and activation of the new PC automatically invalidates the licence on the other.
The only valid way to move the OS from one PC to another, is to stop using the first PC, and install the OS on the new PC from the DVD.
If you don't have a retail DVD because the OS was pre-installed on the 1st PC, then it will have an OEM licence, and can never be used on any other hardware.
 
Last edited:
#3
Well, of course I will no longer be using the first HDD on my laptop once I have completed the cloning. Once the cloned drive is made bootable, I shall take out the old drive, replace the cloned drive with it, and never use it again. I doublechecked with HP Support (my laptop is a Hewlett-Packard) and they told me that doing what I intend to do will not violate the Windows EULA. Besides, why would Acronis distribute software whose intention is to allow you to clone a hard drive if it was in any way wrong to do so?
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#4
Sorry, misread your post. I was obviously v. tired last night. Thought you were cloning to another notebook, not a notebook drive.
Ignore last two paras in that case.
The problem is that the clone contains a copy of the BCD for the wrong HDD.
BCD does not point to a disk letter as you see it in EasyBCD. That's just Easy translating the information into a human-digestable format for you. The real BCD information identifies the partition by a combination of the partition offset on the HDD and the unique disk signature, and obviously that doesn't match the sig of the new drive.
Easiest fix is to install the new HDD, boot from the Vista DVD and "startup repair" three times and let MS rebuild the boot for you.
If you don't have a DVD with an OEM PC, you can use the repair disk from here
Windows Vista Recovery Disc Download The NeoSmart Files
 
Last edited:
#5
No worries, Terry -- but what happens if (as in my case) the DVD drive seems to have disappeared from My Computer? I think this happened after I installed and ran Acronis True Image for the first time. I hope that the BIOS setting that I made (to make sure that the laptop would boot from my external DVD before it boots from the HDD) will work, otherwise I'm in trouble :frowning:
 
#6
Keep in mind that if you made a true clone, the drive letter of the installation on your external drive is still C:. It did not change during the cloning process. That means that once the drive is back in the machine, it will be booting from C: and not F: which is simply the drive letter assigned by the registry of the installation running on the laptop and not the drive's "true" letter as seen from itself when booted. All of the boot process, the registry, and all programs are still pointed to C: as the system drive.

Drives do not have inherent drive letters. They are assigned at each boot and change easily depending on what is looking at them.

How exactly did you make this clone?

It is better to use a bootable CD to make clones and then switch the drives before Windows is ever booted. That eliminates these problems with drive letters.
 
Last edited:
#7
Keep in mind that if you made a true clone, the drive letter of the installation on your external drive is still C:. It did not change during the cloning process. That means that once the drive is back in the machine, it will be booting from C: and not F: which is simply the drive letter assigned by the registry of the installation running on the laptop and not the drive's "true" letter as seen from itself when booted. All of the boot process, the registry, and all programs are still pointed to C: as the system drive.
Oh yes, I am fully aware of that. Thank you.

How exactly did you make this clone?
I used the software that was recommended by the drive manufacturer: Acronis True Image Western Digital Edition. I plugged the WD drive into a USB-to-SATA adaptor, plugged in the thing via my laptop's USB port, fired up ATI WD, clicked "Clone drive", and followed the directions. Three and a half hours (and two reboots) later, I had a successfully-cloned drive with the original drive's two partitions perfectly proportioned. At least in theory :smile:

It is better to use a bootable CD to make clones and then switch the drives before Windows is ever booted. That eliminates these problems with drive letters.
So I am beginning to gather -- the next time I ever have to make a clone of my hard drive I definitely will do it that way.


And while on the topic: I think I know why my cloned drive isn't booting -- and it is probably NOT due to software issues after all!

Take a look at what I mean here: http://min.us/mvFTqN


The first picture shows the two drives side-by-side, the original drive (Seagate Momentus 5400.3) on the left, and the cloned drive (Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD6400BEVT-80A0RT0, also known as WDBABC6400ANC-NRSN) on the right. The next three pictures show close-ups of each drive's connectors.

The last two pictures in the album are the key to the solution. The first of the pair shows the Western Digital drive in the drive carrier, back in the laptop, about to be screwed in. When you screw in the covering plate, it's supposed to push the drive's connectors into the receiving connectors in the case, but as you can see from the first picture, there's an air gap of about five millimeters -- so the drive's connectors don't reach them. The second picture in the pair shows the Seagate drive in the drive carrier and as you can see, the drive's connectors are right up on the case's connectors. So, since the drive's connectors aren't making contact with the case's connectors...

Someone else in another forum has pointed me in the direction of a possible solution: if I buy something like this from eBay, I should be able to plug in the adaptor to the WD drive's connectors, then slide the whole thing into the replacement caddy, then place it into my laptop, screw the cover back, and boom goes the dynamite. If after all of this it still doesn't boot up, then I shall go to Plan B: instead of using Acronis True Image to do the cloning, I'll use Clonezilla instead.

Thank you all for all your suggestions and advice -- as soon as I get the new connector + caddy combo from eBay, I will let you know the final result.
 
#8
There are plenty of tools available. Many people I know have had good luck with the deceptively simple-looking XXClone from Windows.

Free Drive Cloners/Imagers (This list is no longer complete):

Easeus Disk Copy
O&O DiskImage Express
FOG (a free cloning/imaging solution)
Redo Backup & Recovery
Terabyte CopyWipe (Can securely remove a drive's contents, or it can copy an old drive to a new one)
Disk Wizard (reduced, free Acronis for WD drives)
Runtime Shadow Copy
Dr. Freeware boot CD (also has file recovery, Avast scanner, and partitioning tools)
EASEUS Todo Backup (Partition and drive imaging)
EASEUS Disk Copy (Partition and drive cloning)
Farstone Driveclone Express
Macrium Reflect
Paragon Drive Backup Express
G4U - Ghost For Unix (Platform-independent, floppy or CD)
Clonezilla (Bare-metal restoration from image)
Partimage
Dubaron Diskimage
SystemRescueCD
EaseUs Disk Copy (Copies disks or partitions)
XXClone
CloneZilla GParted LiveCD (Complete partitioning and drive imaging/restoration tools)
Drive Image XML
Partition Saving
PCI CloneMaxx
HDClone
DriveClonerXP
Self-Image
copyr.dma (Copies disk with bad sectors for recovery)
DiscWizard (For Seagate or Maxtor drives - contains reduced version of Acronis)

Commercial Apps:

EMC (Dantz) Retrospect
Casper
NTI Backup Now (Image Edition)
XXClone Pro (One of the fastest incremental backups)
JustBoot Disk Backuper
ASIS Backup (Bootable disk image)
Paragon Drive Backup
DT Utilities PC Backup Pro (formerly, Migo PC Backup)
Easy Image
Active@ Disk Image
O&O DiskImage
Acronis True Image Home
Farstone Drive Clone (Drive image, snapshots, file/folder backups.)
EAZ-FIX Professional and Easy Image
Drive Snapshot
ShadowProtect (Also online backups.)
Keriver Image
Avanquest Copy Commander
Paragon Drive Backup
NovaBackup
R-Drive Image
Norton Ghost
HDClone Pro or Enterprise
Terabyte Image for Windows
Terabyte Image for DOS (can directly access FAT, FAT32, and NTFS partitions)
Spotmau Disk Clone & Backup
 

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#9
Awesome list, Abraxas. Thanks for sharing that.
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#10
Are you sure you haven't just forgotten to remove the adapter.
My cousin brought me a caddy he was having problems with when he wanted to recover his files from an old broken laptop to his new PC, complaining that the drive wouldn't fit.
It turned out, when he extracted it from the Dell laptop it retained an adapter which prevented it plugging into the caddy.
I pulled it off and the drive immediately fitted the caddy properly.
 
#11
I don't think so, Terry -- but take a look at the photos I linked to above, and maybe you can see if the WD drive has a removable adapter. It looks pretty snug and meant to be part of the drive to me.
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#12
That's why I posted. The part numbered 0891 7 AT368 looks distinctly separate to me.
(and a Bing search on that p/n reveals
AT368 Kontakt-/Festplatten-Adapter & Metall-Montage-Kit für HP Paviliion dv6000
which sounds suspiciously similar)
 
Last edited:
#13
Are you sure you haven't just forgotten to remove the adapter.
My cousin brought me a caddy he was having problems with when he wanted to recover his files from an old broken laptop to his new PC, complaining that the drive wouldn't fit.
It turned out, when he extracted it from the Dell laptop it retained an adapter which prevented it plugging into the caddy.
I pulled it off and the drive immediately fitted the caddy properly.
It turns out that Terry was right. One of the mods at the Western Digital forums showed me where I was going wrong. Here's the Seagate drive on the left, and the Western Digital drive on the right:

A02-1 Closeup on connectors.jpg

A closeup of the Seagate drive:
A02-2 Closeup on connectors Seagate Momentus 5400.3.jpg

And here's the Seagate drive with the adapter outlined in red; the arrow shows where you can see the drive's connectors peeking out from underneath the adapter:
A02-3 Closeup on connectors Seagate Momentus 5400.3.jpg

Finally, here's the Seagate drive, after I had pulled the adapter off:
A02-4 Closeup on connectors WITHOUT adapter Seagate Momentus 5400.3.jpg


Once I did that, I just slipped the adapter onto the WD drive, put it in the laptop -- and the machine booted perfectly into Windows Vista immediately, with all my files and programs exactly as I'd left them. Success!

Thank you for all your help, everyone, I truly appreciate it! (Now all I have to do is try and make my DVD drive re-appear in My Computer; I noticed it had disappeared soon after I'd installed Acronis True Image WD Edition.)