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Seemless transfer after SSD failure and bios dual-booting

Discussion in 'Storage' started by BoomBang85, Nov 13, 2011.

  1. BoomBang85 New Member

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    [SOLVED] Seemless transfer after SSD failure and bios dual-booting

    (EDIT: For everyone's convenience I pasted the solution found thanks to the helpful users of this forum in the bottom of this message)

    Hello everyone,
    I have question that I couldn't find a direct and full answer for and I believe many people will benefit from it.
    The (potential) problem:
    I bought a SSD and (after failing to transfer my OS to it) reinstalled the OS on it. The SSD might fail unexpectedly so I'd like to backup it to the HDD. Use it on the HDD. When the SSD replacement will arrive I'll retransfer the partition.

    My setup:
    Gigabye P55A-UD3 M/B
    Intel 320 120GB - windows 7 64bit
    Western Digital Black 1TB - two partitions (formerly used for the OS)
    Western Digital 250 GB - from older system windos XP 32bit

    If anyone with knowledge (and experience preferably) could explain in steps (not click this, open that) which software, commands to used I'd be grateful. The simpler, cheaper the better.

    Now the OTHER thing:
    I still use windows XP (I know XP mode exist). I use windows built-in boot manager to select the OS to boot. When XP crashes, and I reinstall it destroys this boot record, tough fixable it's tedious and I'd like to avoid it. The question is this:
    Can I install them separately "without one knowing about the other" and choose which to boot from the motherboard boot menu? if not I can I save the boot record and recover it when needed?

    (continue edit:)
    THE SOLUTION (pasted from a message lower in the post)
    "Hello again,
    I found the time to apply what was said and it WORKED!!
    here what I did:
    First I disconnceted every drive BUT the SSD. Then I canceled windows boot selection on startup and booted from windows 7 DVD and applied "Startup repair" (choosing the repair install at the begining and then choosing cancel, let me choose or other solution until it get to a menu with "Startup repair"). I made sure the bios had the right priority for the drives boot (1. SSD 2. 1TB HDD 3.External drive) and set put to work.

    Now make a "Clone" partition in the HDD:
    1. Downloaded & installed on windows 7 OS Acronis WD edition (wish I had known this before).
    2. Backed up the SSD (which is only one Partition) to an external HHD I have.
    3. Choose "Recover". On the location I chose the partition in the HDD that used to have the OS (it's about the same size, and of course bigger not smaller). Then I chose to revocer both the partition and MBR and "set Partiotion to active" (this is essential for an OS partition and allowed since it not the same drive - every drive is allowed only one active partition).
    4. Acronis deleted the existing partition (it didn't touch the other partition in the drive).
    5. When I disconnected the SSD and let the computer and started windows 7 HDD with any hassle or recovery requests. When pluggind back the SSD windows is booted from the SSD as before.

    I have to deal with reinstalling XP later (as a lonely drive in the system) sometime later. I see now reason why it should break the existing setup of windows 7 and I hope it will go smooth.
    Thanks to everyone the helped.
    I Hope this post will help other users around the forum and internet. Have fun stay safe!
    (I'll edit the first message in the post to have this solution and mark the post has solved for everyone's convenience). "
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2011
  2. AsRock

    AsRock TPU addict

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    Yes you just set 1st boot to each drive when installing. Or safest one only have one of them plugged in while installing each OS to each drive.
  3. Lazzer408

    Lazzer408

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    I use Acronis True Image. Here are the steps for cloning a drive with it.

    Physically install the drive you will be using for the backup.
    Launch the application
    Select "Tools and Utilities"
    Under utilities select "Clone disk"
    From the Clone Disk Wizard choose "Manual" -next-
    Select the source disk. -next-
    Select the destination disk. -next-
    Continue following the steps to verify the partition sizes. -next-

    You will be prompted that a reboot is required. -ok- The system will reboot and appear to be loading windows. Eventually it'll start the clone process. Once finished you will be prompted to press any key to shutdown the computer. -ok- and let the computer shut off.

    This is important!At this point, unplug your SSD and power on the system, go into the BIOS, verify the new drive is the first boot device. Save and exit and allow Windows to boot from the backup drive. Everything work? Great. Now remove the backup and hide it in a safe place. Plug your SSDs back in and verify your boot order again, save, and away you go.

    I always check the BIOS to make sure the boot orders are ok because 90% of the boards I've owned keep moving drive orders any time I add or remove a drive.

    DO NOT BOOT THE SYSTEM WITH BOTH DRIVES INSTALLED!!!

    Windows will break the original if you boot off the backup and it'll break the backup if you boot off the original. DO NOT boot the system with both drives connected!!

    This is how I've been making backups since '09. I haven't lost my data yet.
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2011
  4. BoomBang85 New Member

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    Thanks for the fast reply!
    @AsRock:
    If I understood you correctly: If I'll reinstall windows 7 when only the ssd in connected/windows xp when the 250gb hdd connected I'll be able to boot from the bios?

    @Lazzer408
    My problems with this solutions are:
    1. Acronis is not free.
    2. Since I don't have any spare HDDs, I'd like to backup the OS every couple of weeks and leave the hdd used. And if a fail occurs, just moving the data cable from the ssd to the hdd or something similarly easy. I'm trying to make it as simple as possible so that even my almost technophobic family will be able to do the transfer if needed.
    I hope I don't seem ungrateful for the reply but I looking for some other way.
  5. robal

    robal

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    The free solution is "gParted".
    Available as bootable CD or USB stick.

    After transferring partitions with gParted, you may have to use Windows boot DVD to do "startup repair".

    Cheers

    [sorry: no 'explained in steps' for now.. no time :/]
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2011
  6. Tatty_One

    Tatty_One Super Moderator Staff Member

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  7. Lazzer408

    Lazzer408

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    So what your trying to do is... 2 drives physically installed and partitioned. One drive containing the OS(boot) and the other containing a copy of the OS(backup) plus it's remaining space available for you to use as storage? Is this correct? If so, when does moving the data cable come into play if the other drive is connected anyways? Can't you just change the boot order in the BIOS?

    I know alot of people have multiple OSes installed in their computers, even on different drives, but as a dual boot configuration. Any time I've tried doing it, one of them always breaks. As far as I can tell, Windows finds the other install and kills it somehow. It was never worth my time to look into it as I've never needed to dual boot multiple OSes.

    I run 2 SSDs in a RAID-0 with a backup of it kept on another drive safely stored away. If my RAID crashes, and it has, I just boot the backup drive and copy it back the same way I made the backup. Then I stick the backup back on a shelf. With SSDs typically being small (64gb 128gb) you will only need a drive large enough to hold it. HDDs are cheap. Grab yourself a 128gb HDD and use the other drive, your intending on using for a backup, as storage only.

    As far as your dual boot goes. Just install 7 and XP on the SSD. XP isn't very big. Your backup will then have the backup of both opperating systems or just leave XP where it is but without a backup.

    This is my configuration.
    2x80gb SSD (RAID-0)
    1x250gb (used for temp files, unzipping, torrents, FTP, other useless junk)
    2x750gb RAID-1 (2 partitions, Used for Movies/Music)
    2x750gb RAID-1 (2 partitions, Used for Application saving)
    1x3.5" dock (For creating my backup clone and handy for virus removal on other peoples drives)
    My backup drive is a 120gb Seagate I had kicking around.

    Pardon my mess.

    [​IMG]

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Nov 13, 2011
  8. AsRock

    AsRock TPU addict

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    How i understand how you want it is to have 2 separate OS installed one being on a SSD and the other on a HDD.

    IF so
    Keep HDD plugged in and the SSD unplugged and make sure it's the second boot ( 1st being windows 7 DVD ).

    Install OS

    Then visa versa then you just use the bios boot menu to select which one to boot from.

    And Acronis is free if you have a WD drive installed :).
  9. jsfitz54

    jsfitz54

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  10. BoomBang85 New Member

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    wow so much input! thanks everyone!
    @robal:
    I've used gParted to align the SSD. Will it allow me to transfer the ssd to hhd partiotion?
    @Tatty_One:
    I'll give O&O a go and report back.
    @Lazzer408:
    I'll explain again: ssd has windows 7. If it will fail to work ("bricked") I want to remove it from the system, send it to the store for replacement.In the mean time the hdd (1TB) that had the backup of the OS will be the boot drive. The cable change is hopefully to avoid the MBR fix needed since the hhd is now in the ssd sata port. correct me if I'm wrong. and I prefer not to install XP on the ssd to avoid the OS mixup. nice setup btw!
    @AsRock and @jsfitz54:
    Thanks for the Acronis! I didn't know that!
  11. Tatty_One

    Tatty_One Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I have an OS on my SSD and an OS on my HDD in dual boot, did not go through any hassle to acheive it, origionally I just had the one OS on my HDD, once I had connected and formatted the new SSD, I simply popped in the windows setup disk, booted to it, went through the install procedure, selected my SSD and away it goes.

    Once completed, I already had my origional HDD partitioned so I used Win 7 to do a backup of the SSD installatiion onto a partition of my other HDD. Since doing that though, I now use the one boot less and less as time goes by, so rather than have both boot options selectable on bios startup, I went to MSconfig in windows and deleted the 2nd boot drive option, on the rare occasion that i need to go into the 2nd OS I simply change the HDD boot order in Bios and away she goes.
  12. BoomBang85 New Member

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    @Tatty_One:
    I think is depends on what OS was installed first. Windows 7 knows to create a dual boot when install after Vista and previos MS OSs. But in my case, I installed XP after windows 7 and the mess began.
    BTW you can just set the time for choosing the OS to boot to be 1 or 2 seconds and define the default one as the more used one.
    Tatty_One says thanks.
  13. Lazzer408

    Lazzer408

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    @Boom This is my experiance if your system had both drives connected as follows...

    SSD - Windows 7 (the one you boot from)
    1TB - Windows 7 (the backup clone of the SSD even if it's on a seperate partition)

    Windows 7 will break the copy on the 1TB (I don't know why) and you'll have to deal with fixing it when the time comes (the day your SSD fails). The only safe way I've been able to keep backups, containing bootable clones of my drive, is if they are not connected to the computer. Neither Windows nor Viruses can hurt it. That is why I bought a mobile rack and a spare drive. It was the only cheap, safe and effective way I knew that the backup was going to work when I needed it. It hasn't let me down yet. The rack costs more then a spare HDD.

    Is there a reason you can't add another drive internally just to store your 7 backup on? It could stay completely disconnected and unharmed until the time came. Is the cost (Free-$20) of a small drive the detering factor from this solution?
  14. jsfitz54

    jsfitz54

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  15. Lazzer408

    Lazzer408

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  16. Tatty_One

    Tatty_One Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I had similar problems in the past with Win 7 "breaking" my backup boot copy, in the end, deleting the boot record option for that particular instillation in "MsConfig" solved my problem.
  17. Lazzer408

    Lazzer408

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    I know it's a pain isn't it? Ever have a Windows 7 repair decide that the usb flash drive your booting from was a better place for the boot files then the hdd that contained the os? Oh Microsoft... :rolleyes:
  18. BoomBang85 New Member

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    Hello again,
    I found the time to apply what was said and it WORKED!!
    here what I did:
    First I disconnceted every drive BUT the SSD. Then I canceled windows boot selection on startup and booted from windows 7 DVD and applied "Startup repair" (choosing the repair install at the begining and then choosing cancel, let me choose or other solution until it get to a menu with "Startup repair"). I made sure the bios had the right priority for the drives boot (1. SSD 2. 1TB HDD 3.External drive) and set put to work.

    Now make a "Clone" partition in the HDD:
    1. Downloaded & installed on windows 7 OS Acronis WD edition (wish I had known this before).
    2. Backed up the SSD (which is only one Partition) to an external HHD I have.
    3. Choose "Recover". On the location I chose the partition in the HDD that used to have the OS (it's about the same size, and of course bigger not smaller). Then I chose to revocer both the partition and MBR and "set Partiotion to active" (this is essential for an OS partition and allowed since it not the same drive - every drive is allowed only one active partition).
    4. Acronis deleted the existing partition (it didn't touch the other partition in the drive).
    5. When I disconnected the SSD and let the computer and started windows 7 HDD with any hassle or recovery requests. When pluggind back the SSD windows is booted from the SSD as before.

    I have to deal with reinstalling XP later (as a lonely drive in the system) sometime later. I see now reason why it should break the existing setup of windows 7 and I hope it will go smooth.
    Thanks to everyone the helped.
    I Hope this post will help other users around the forum and internet. Have fun stay safe!
    (I'll edit the first message in the post to have this solution and mark the post has solved for everyone's convenience).
  19. Tatty_One

    Tatty_One Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Glad it worked out for you in the end.
  20. Lazzer408

    Lazzer408

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    So you managed to have 2 drives installed at the same time with with windows 7 installed on both drives and they both boot? Wonder how long that'll last.
  21. Tatty_One

    Tatty_One Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Thats my setup and they both boot fine and have done for 2 months now, as I said before, for me the secret was to take the one boot option out of MS Config so on startup there are no choices, it always boots directly to the one boot drive shown in MS Config, on the odd occasion I want/need to boot to the other drive I just go into Bios at startup and select the other HDD as boot drive, it then takes me directly to the other OS.

    To be fair, it took me some time to get there with several corrupt, broken and repaired windows installations, doing this way was the only way it worked for me.
  22. BoomBang85 New Member

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    I hoping for a long time, so don't jinx it! :p
    And the two drive are not meant to boot "together". Only when if the SSD fails and removed only then the HDD becomes the default boot drive. Otherwise the HDD "clone" partition stays dormant and unused.
    I believe that as long as I won't install windows again (and now with the backup it shouldn't happen) there's no reason for either of the windows system to interfere with each other's drives.
  23. Lazzer408

    Lazzer408

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    Well that's what I was warning you about. When I first started using Acronis... After it cloned the image it would automatically reboot the computer. I had to catch it before this happened because if the system was allowed to boot, one of the two windows -could- be broken. In the newer versions they have added a pause after the process with a prompt to "press a key to shutdown". This allows me to remove the backup with the system powered down. I have accidently turned the computer back on and booted, forgetting the backup was connected, and the same thing happened. One drive got currupted. It seemed to me that Windows was finding the other copy and breaking it. This doesn't happen every time though. There have been times I booted with both installed and nothing was damaged. Because of this unrealiability, I stopped doing what your doing. Hence my warnings to you.
  24. Solaris17

    Solaris17 Creator Solaris Utility DVD

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