Ever wanted to duplicate a hard drive? A colleague in Oklahoma shared this hard drive duplication problem…

I have a technical problem I am sure one of you has run into:

I am attempting to clone a drive.  I have two identical drives.  I used

Ghost 2003 to clone the drive.

The drive is partitioned into 2 partitions.

The 1st partition, Drive C is active.

The 2nd partition, Drive D is not.

It has a multi boot system: Win 98 and Win XP Pro.

Win 98 boots fine.

Win XP Pro will boot to the login screen and then immediately logs out.

If I boot into safe mode, the same thing happens.

Safe mode to a command prompt, same thing.

When I use the repair option on my XP CD, it boots into the D: Drive where

the windows files are.

I can’t use FDisk to set the D: drive active because it is NTFS.

And, while I offered the following as a possible solution, I’m not entirely positive it was the best solution since there might be an easier way to do it. How would you have solved the problem above?

If I might offer a technical (you said it was OK) suggestion that is free, except for your time. First, though, here is an article that might be helpful:


I’ve successfully used a GNU/Linux program called “dd” to make a copy of an entire drive, including partition tables, partitions and all. Given you have identical drives, you use dd to make a copy of the first drive and then use dd to restore the copy.

This blog entry may be helpful to you:


You’ll need several things to accomplish this, including the following:

1) A SystemRescueCD installed on a flash drive (1 gig USB flash drive)

2) An external USB drive that can hold the entire contents of the drive you are trying to copy.

3) Patience as the copy is made, and then restored. I can only offer you the simple truth that I’ve done this successfully with a similar situation.

Relevant commands:

Make a bootable USB Flash Drive (1gig) using System Rescue CD

a) Download Unetbootin – http://unetbootin.sourceforge.net/

b) Use it to create a bootable flash drive (you can format it to MS DOS/FAT the standard way first)

c) Follow instructions but note you can download the SystemRescueCD from within UNETBOOTIN:


Format the external USB drive:

mkfs.ext3 /dev/sdb1

Makes the backup:

dd if=/dev/sda of=/USBexternaldrive/sda.backup

Restores the backup:

dd if=/USBexternaldrive/sda.backup of=/dev/sda

Or, you could try this approach:


So what do you think? Other responders suggested the following:

  • I would try a program like partition magic(there are some free ones like easeus), then you should be able to make the partition active.  Will your XP disc let you do a repair installation?  Have you tried fixmbr in the recovery console?  When you boot into 98 can you see the XP partition?
The mention of “easus” made me look that one up…

EASEUS Disk Copy is a potent freeware providing sector-by-sectordisk/partition clone regardless of your operating system, file systems and partition scheme by creating a bootable CD. The sector-by-sector method assures you a copy 100% identical to the original. Disk Copy can be used for copy, cloning, or upgrading your original small hard drive to a new larger drive. Simply speaking, it can copy anything from the old hard drive including the deleted, lost files and inaccessible data. So, the freeware is a perfect tool for Data Recovery Wizard to recover files from a backup disk.

Source: Easeus

Thoughts? This is a different kind of problem than just copying files from one hard drive to another, as shared in this blog entry.

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