Reflections post HDD replacement and OS restore


Restoring OS on a computer is a once in a blue moon task and, so it is easy to forget some of the key steps. For me, restoring the OS (Win7 – partition 1 and XP – partition2, dual boot) on a Neo B3510 laptop involved:

1. Replacing the HDD.
2. Making sure I had the right image to restore. Fortunately I found it. I had the 2 OS partitions backed up.
3. Restoring the OS via clonezilla – since there are 2 OS partitions to restore, it seems clonezilla performs the restore one partition at a time. So, I had to run the restore twice.
4. The first restore was for win7. Clonezilla applied the sda1 image file to the entire C:\ drive that the HDD had. On startup, Win7 performed a chkdsk. I just had to resize the partition to the right initial size within Win7 Disk Manager.
5. It seems the BCD entry for XP had lost the drive letter assigned to it. Even after restoring the XP partition to a properly positioned/sized sda2, it did not boot. Windows returns the error:

“Windows failed to start. A recent software or hardware change might be the cause.”

6. Editing the BCD entry to update the drive letter fixed the issue (via VistaBoot Pro).
7. F11 key to select device to boot.
8. Beginner options in clonezilla sufficed. It doesn’t seem like there are any options for multi partition restore even with expert mode.

Perhaps a faster route to get everything done would have been to:

– Pre-create with correct position and size, the sda1 first partition. Don’t setup sda2 yet.
– Run the clonezilla restore into the sda1
– Do not start win7. Instead, create correct position and size for sda2 – the second partition. If you have to do the partitioning via win7 disk manager then starting it is unavoidable.
– Run the clonezilla restore into the sda2. Interestingly, clonezilla will not ask what sda partition to restore in a multi-partition image backup. Perhaps it just restores what is the latest that it can. It certainly did not seem to overwrite sda1 when I performed the sda2 partition restore.

So, I think the two HDD partitions have to be prepared separately, and restored in order. sda1 first, then sda2.

Avoiding starting the OS on sda1 restore should prevent the BCD entries getting corrupted.

Anyway, it was mostly a smooth restore experience nonetheless. I was only stuck for a little while with the Windows XP startup error. It felt like a simple config issue. Kudos to clonezilla.

Before this, the backup run on the previous HDD was going on for 3 days producing many errors. I had to just abandon the backup of the old HDD.

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