Cloning Win2000

  GrahamP 00:05 07 Jul 2003

Against all the advice I've read here about using Ghost or Partition Magic to clone systems I'm attempting to clone a Windows 2000 system with the same technique I used for Win98.

1 FDISK to create Primary DOS partition on second disk
2 FDISK to make partition active
3 Format - Full/Copy System files
4 Drag and drop entire contents of the newly installed Windows to the second disk
4 Jumper second disk as master, connect to primary IDE channel and remove all others
5 Auto detect in BIOS

FDISK and Format were run from a boot floppy
The Windows operations were run from another system ie neither the copy to nor the copy from disks were active.
In the Win98 case I ended up with a corrupt master boot record code section which I cured with format /mbr.

This time it boots to the C prompt using the autoexec and config I used to start the original install. These also exist on the working system I'm copying.

Again I suspect something in the Master Boot Record or Volume Record but they can't be corrupt this time because they successfully pass control to the Dos components on the C drive. But this leads to the question: how does the system know to start Windows rather than Dos when they both exist on the drive? and hence: what do I need to do to enable Win2000 in this case?

Any thoughts appreciated.


  Giggle n' Bits 00:58 07 Jul 2003

is it a sucess ?

  LastChip 01:03 07 Jul 2003

Is it going back into the same machine, as the original (source) drive?

If not, the hive will not recognize the new components of a different machine although, I would have thought you would have got an error message. In this respect, Win2K and XP do not act in the same way as Win9x did, where they would pick up the new hardware without (in the main) much fuss. Perhaps that's where your problem lays.

It seems your going to a lot of trouble to copy a disk. You could use xxcopy, with the clone command, to make an identical disk, but the proviso mentioned above, remains. It must be destined for the same (or identical) machine.

This technique is used sometimes in large companies where a bulk order of machines, has resulted in identical machines throughout the business.

Once one machine is set-up, it is quicker to make a clone and fit it to each machine, rather than carry out separate installs.

  mrdsgs 07:51 07 Jul 2003

i had exactly the same problem

i have two similar machines and was tinkering with one and after going through a partition magic nightmare ended up only being able to boot to c: (even though all W200 files were on c:)


I ghosted the other machine's active c: partition and restored it to c: on the problem pc and all is well.

All I had to do then was change the network id on the machine that had been a problem and load motherboard drivers (the motherboard was slightly different, but still the same make)

All of this was done With Windows 2000 and Partition Magic 7.0

i hope this helps


  Wak 09:46 07 Jul 2003

Drag and Drop seems to be a long-winded way to clone your system.
Have a look at click here for a quick, easy and free way to clone a complete system from one drive or partition to another.
I've been using it for nearly two years now to clone everything from Drive C:\ to drive D:\ for a total back-up.

  GrahamP 00:44 09 Jul 2003

Thanks everyone for your responses.

Btw I meant "FDISK /MBR" not "FORMAT /MBR"

WAK and Lastchip
I was initially enthusiastic about xxcopy but their cloning page click here has the following warning
"As of this writing, we do not have a simple solution to reliably produce a bootable system disk for an NT4/2000/XP system using the XXCOPY utility."

It's also clear that apart from the use of the xxcopy in place of the drag and drop, the process is pretty much the same. Is xxcopy significantly faster?

The "Verify DMI pool data" is performed successfully. As I understand it "Verify DMI pool data" is performed by the POST/BIOS routines and since I'm getting to the point of booting from the DOS component on the C drive, it's clearly getting past this.

Similarily, it's not getting as far as invoking Win2000 so it's not Win2000 not recognizing hardware. It is in fact the same hardware so this isn't an issue anyway.

Sounds like I do have the same problem you hit. Unfortunately I'm too skint to buy Ghost. Any more clues as to what was going wrong?

So bottom line is I still can't clone a Win2000 system, and while I appreciate any new suggestions, I'm also keen to understand why this doesn't work.

  temp003 05:41 09 Jul 2003

Not sure, but I suspect it's to do with the boot sector of the active partition.

To boot into an OS, the active partition must contain the right boot sector (first sector on the active partition) for the particular OS.

The w2k boot sector (and XP's and NT's) invokes the file ntldr (which in turn calls for the files boot.ini and, which is different from the boot sector for DOS/9x.

You said you formatted the active partition and copied the "system files" to it. If you used the command format [drive letter:] /s or a separate sys command, this would effectively write a DOS/98 boot sector to the active partition, depending on what was on the floppy from which you copied the "system files".

When you then dragged and dropped files from within Windows, it would not, I think, copy the w2k boot sector to the new disk, or rewrite any existing boot sector. [I suppose that's something which software such as Ghost and Drive image can do - cloning in the stricter sense).

So I suspect what you have on your new disk is an active partition containing a DOS boot sector, with "bare" w2k system files. Those w2k system files won't load without a proper w2k boot sector.

That may explain why you managed to boot to the C:> prompt. You have a DOS boot sector, and you happen to have the DOS boot files as well. [This still doesn't explain why the same thing didn't happen with your previous 98 "cloning", and why the fdisk /mbr command seemed to cure the problem).

I assume that the drag and drop process included copying the files ntldr, and boot.ini on to the new disk, which must be there in order to load w2k.

If so, to load w2k, you could try the following first. To rewrite the boot sector for w2k to the active partition, you can boot up the computer with the w2k CD, go into Recovery Console, and at the C:\WINNT> prompt, type fixboot C: and press Enter. When warned, confirm the action.

You may or may not need to rewrite the MBR as well (my guess is you don't need to). To rewrite the MBR for the disk, at the C:WINNT> prompt, type fixmbr and press Enter. When warned, confirm the action.

When you're done with Recovery Console, at the C:\WINNT prompt, type exit and press Enter. The computer wll restart. Remove the w2k CD and see if it will boot into w2k.

  Wak 10:29 09 Jul 2003

According to the file I downloaded from the xxcopy site, this Program "is a command-line program that works in Windows 95, 98, ME, NT, 2000 and XP.
As far as speed in concerned, it will clone my working C:\ drive (approx 3 GB) to my D:\ drive (back up) in under 2 minutes and also gives you the opportunity to keep or delete unnecessary existing files and folders on the D:\ drive.
If things go belly up in C:\, just start up D:\ from the BIOS and clone everything back from D:\ to C:\.
I certainly wouldn't be without it.

  LastChip 20:57 09 Jul 2003

Please don't misunderstand what the people at xxcopy are saying.

Producing a bootable disk, is an art in it's own right, click here but copying an existing bootable drive, is a relatively simple exercise.

Like Wak, I have never had a problem using xxcopy as a cloning tool.

  GrahamP 00:48 10 Jul 2003

Again thanks everyone for your replies. I'm further forward but still have a problem.


Yes, I'm sure you're right. I hadn't realised W2000 boots up entirely differently to W98. My "Mother of all Windows 98 Books" tells me that the boot record passes control to the file in the first data sector which is still io.sys but a Win98 version of it. This file has the ability to boot to Dos or Windows depending on startup options. In this case since there is no Windows 98 it's doing the only other thing it can - starting Dos. In the case where I cloned Win98 it functions correctly and starts Windows in the normal course of events.

I followed your advice on using the Win2000 Recovery Console. Initially without as much as a by your leave it started re-installing W2000, copying the install files. This didn't seem right so I ctl-alt-dlet'd and when it restarted, it offered me the option of repairing with the recovery console. The fixboot seemed to do the trick and I was able to boot to W2000 on the target disk. Just to make sure, I unhooked the source and restarted. This time it complained it had no paging file and sure enough pagefile.sys hadn't been copied. There were instructions in the error window but they implied use of the desktop which didn't appear. I initially tried copying pagefile.sys on it's own but this didn't help. So I booted to the target again but with the source hooked up which it did successfully so it would appear to be using the source page file. I then followed the instructions for creating a pagefile on the target. On the next stand-alone boot it freezes before getting to the desktop. Pressing escape puts it into a loop alternatively displaying the "loading settings/saving settings/logon box"

That's the situation now. Any further advice appreciated.

Wak and Lastchip

I did download xxcopy and used the clone switch but got the same result. I think the xxcopy people are being quite clear that you cannot clone a W2000 system and have it successfully boot, unless of course the target has already had say W2000 installed and the bootsector and mbr are already there.

Here's what they say:

"In this article, I would like to discuss the most common case of disk cloning operation. Some related topics which were once part of this article are moved to another page, XXTB #20.

Note: The technique discussed in this article applies primarily for Windows 9x and ME cases. If your C: drive is loaded with Win NT4/2000/XP, you will not get a bootable disk."

I used it several times during this process with enormously varying speeds: between almost instantaneous and two minutes where it is copying over previous files. I guess it checks versions. And about 12 minutes onto a freshly formatted disk, each time copying 915Mb. This compares with about twenty minutes for drag and drop.

Thanks for pointing me at it.

  temp003 10:03 10 Jul 2003

No help from me, I'm afraid, but click here and see if it gives you any insight, especially the last two postings. The "accepted answer" there doesn't seem to be the actual solution. The problem seems to have been caused by the cloned w2k looking for the pagefile.sys from the previous disk which isn't there any more (despite attempts to create new pagefile.sys).

The last answer from experts-exchange seems to suggest that rewriting the mbr on the cloned drive may solve the problem, but don't know whether it's a general solution.

This thread is now locked and can not be replied to.

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