April 1, 2015

When you try to clone your Windows 7 partition to upgrade your HD and your computer doesn't boot up

This is a great free tool to handle all your cloning / partitioning / hard disk management requirements http://www.partitionwizard.com. This time it had a small hitch though, as I cloned my 640GB drive to new 1TB drive via USB connection. It copied everything fine, but when I swapped drives and tried to boot using the new HD -- I had no luck. The master boot records (MBR) needed some fixing, is what I gathered from some detective work.

Steps to get around the situation:

- In Windows 7 use the 'Create a System Repair Disc' (assuming you still have a CD burner!)
- Connect your new HD via USB
- Use Partition Wizard to clone your active drive to the new one (this is possibly an overnight operation of a few hours)

- Once the operation is done, swap in the new hard disk, keep your fingers crossed and try booting
- No boot errors, Windows starts as per usual? GREAT! If not, boot into the CD we made earlier (change your BIOS settings or use the appropriate shortcut to do this)
- The repair tool will start, it will detect the copied Windows partition on your new HD, select it
- Go to the 'Command Prompt' once you get to the menu
- type 'bootrec /fixmbr' and that should fix things up. Try re-booting.
- If it didn't work, boot back into the CD, follow the process above, type 'bootrec /?' for more repair option.

- Once you're back inside Windows, remember to format/allocate the unallocated space on your shiny new larger hard drive! You can use Partition Wizard for this too.