Copying the system partition without cloning as such?

  1. Posts : 272
    Windows 10

    Copying the system partition without cloning as such?

    I need to replace the SSD with the Windows partition on it because it is dying. The problem is that when I try to make a copy of the system, the image fails an integrity check, presumably because the SSD hardware itself is a bit messed up. I've tried using both AOMEI Backupper and Macrium Reflect, but both fail. Unfortunately my previous backup of this drive was several months ago, and even though I haven't got much of my personal files on it, I have installed quite a lot of software, such as VST plugins, since then and it will be a big job to reinstall it all (not an impossible job, just one that will take a lot of time).

    Seeing as I can't clone the disk directly, is there a way to just copy all the files to a partition on a new SSD, and then to make that partition a bootable system partition later?

    I am using 20H2 and the computer in question uses MBR, not UEFI.
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  2. dalchina's Avatar
    Posts : 32,561
    Win 10 Pro (1903) (2nd PC is 21H1)

    Whilst you can make a literal ('forensic') copy, it will copy with all the errors.

    That trying to copy it gives you an error report is telling you it is defective.

    Do you really wish to relay on a Windows system with random elements corrupted?

    This is exactly why regular and routine use of disk imaging is recommended and why I've typed that time and again, along iwth the fact the very act of disk imaging performs a check on the integrity of the used parts of the partitions being imaged.

    Another check I've recommended is to let Crystal Diskinfo run, monitoring the health of disks and reporting degradation against thresholds automatically to alert you.

    Lesson is, then, going to be painful but hopefully learnt.

    So your clue to making a copy - ignoring any errors there my be- is to find out how to make a forensic copy of your partition or disk.

    Example search:
    Copying the system partition without cloning as such?-1.jpg
      My Computers

  3. Kari's Avatar
    Posts : 17,597
    Windows 10 Pro

    Assuming your Windows still works, the following method is absolutely your best option. As it will totally ignore possible bad sectors and other faults on your SSD, it can be used in scenarios like yours.

    Notice please:

    In these times, when we must always think about being politically correct, I must stress the fact, that the above statement and rest of this post is my personal, subjective opinion. Feel free to try any snake-oil third party tools suggested to you in possible future replies.

    The method is simple:
    1. Capture your existing Windows 10 installation to a custom install.wim file (tutorial, see its Part Two).
    2. Because your custom install.wim file will be bigger than 4 GB, maximum file size of FAT32 file system, create a custom USB install media with an NTFS partition allowing bigger WIM files (tutorial on our sister site Windows Questions).
    3. Download a Windows 10 ISO (tutorial).
    4. Mount downloaded W10 ISO (tutorial), copy its content to the NTFS partition on custom USB install media.
    5. Delete existing install.esd and / or install.wim files from Sources folder on USB's NTFS partition.
    6. Copy your captured, custom install.wim file to Sources folder on NTFS partition on USB.
    7. Clean install Windows 10 from custom USB. Windows will be clean installed, with all your apps, installed software, user profiles and settings intact.

    That's it. Easy, although requiring some effort.

      My Computer

  4. Posts : 272
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter

    Thanks for your advice.

    It turns out that I made a mistake in assuming that the errors that CHKDSK reported were physical errors on the disk. I could not find them using other tools such as HD Tune, Seatools and whatever the disk scanning tool in Linux is called, so the errors were more likely just file system errors.

    I discovered that the image that AOMEI Backupper (which I strongly don't recommend because of other problems I've had with it) couldn't validate on the computer in question, even when booting from AOMEI rescue media, it could validate on another computer. Replacing the CMOS battery and then re-flashing the BIOS solved that particular problem.

    However the other problem of frequent freezes and blue screens (but never with a successful memory dump) continue, even with a different SSD and a completely clean install of Windows. But that is really a different question, so I should probably start a new thread for that.
      My Computer

  5. Samuria's Avatar
    Posts : 6,373
    windows 10

    Thats were you get problems if check disk finds bad blocks it marks them as bad so any disk check done after will report no problems as it doesnt try bad blocks it still means the disk is bad and liley to get worse.

    Copying from a bad drive can write bad block to a new drive and that cant be undone
      My Computer


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