Unable to boot from Cloned drives

  Davith 17:59 18 Dec 2009

I have two HD's in my XP SP3 system. I try and keep these identical. Thus going into the BIOS and changing the boot order allows me to boot into either drive. My C: drive got a corruption so I created an image of the good drive and restored this onto the corrupt drive including the MBR. The new clone boots ok when installed on its own as does the origional drive. Unfortunatly if I connect both drives into the system it will not boot keeps going round the retry loop. I presume I should not have copied the MBR on to the cloned drive.
Any thoughts how I can get back to my original operating method.

  GaT7 18:02 18 Dec 2009

Try this - in the BIOS, set only ONE drive as the boot drive. In other words, disable all others in the boot list screen. G

  GaT7 18:08 18 Dec 2009

Do it for both drives, one at a time, so you know both work as required. G

  Davith 21:04 18 Dec 2009

Hi Crossbow

BIOS all disabled other than First boot set to HD0. Both drives boot correctly individually.
First boot set to HD1 disk boot fail on either drive.
When both drives are connected to PC it will not boot. Message briefly shows AutoCHK Program not found Skip check. Then goes into the startup loop.

  Technotiger 21:42 18 Dec 2009

*two HD's in my XP SP3 system. I try and keep these identical.*


You have two hard drives, all you need now is Acronis!

  woodchip 22:00 18 Dec 2009

you need a boot manager, it cannot boot as you have two boot drivs trying to load at the same time

  GaT7 22:12 18 Dec 2009

But woodchip, if only one drive is set to boot from, it should not even consider booting from the other one. As you say, a boot manager might help.

I'm sure I achieved something similar in the past without the use of a boot manager. But each drive was installed independently - i.e. I didn't do any cloning or MBR copying. Don't know if it makes a difference, but they were both SATA drives as well. Davith, are your drives SATA/IDE? G

  woodchip 22:18 18 Dec 2009

w2hen both drives are the same it will not never boot without a boot manager

  gazzaho 06:08 19 Dec 2009

I own a ASUS Rampage Formula motherboard and I can boot from different drives at will without a boot manager, if I hit the F8 key at the right time in the boot sequence it displays a list of drives which I then navigate and select with the cursor keys, I've never tried but I'm also guessing that I could boot from an external USB drive if I had the OS set up on it, as internal and external drives are selectable from the list.

Currently I have 2 drives set as the C: boot drive on my system and I use one for testing software/updates to be sure they play well wit h the rest of the system before installing them on my "proper" drive. Windows just treats the alternate boot drive as any other drive in My Computer when running, I can copy files from one to the other like any other drive.

What you describe Davith is, in my opinion, better than dual booting different OS's for instance. I did the same thing you describe myself with an additional cloned drive and was able to boot from either. I've no idea why yours now refuses to work but it may have something to do with the SATA channel and the order in which the drives are listed in your BIOS. I have a section in my BIOS called hard disk drives which lists all the drives in my system from first to last, this is seperate from the boot device priorty, if you have something similar it may be worth setting your main boot drive as first in the list, also check the SATA cables are connected to the proper drives, i.e. main boot drive on SATA 1.

  100andthirty 06:54 19 Dec 2009

what do you use to make the two discs identical?

I'm asking because I suspect they weren't; there were small things that were giving them different identities so that the BIOS and Windows could tell which was which. Now you've restored whatever was on the 2nd drive to the first, the discs and the system can't now decide which is which.

However even if my theory is true, I don't know what to do about it!

As one of the others has said, a boot manager might help, as in this situation, you have to choose which disc to boot from. Alternatively, keep your second drive in a USB2 caddy, but still keep it up to date wish the technique or software you use.

  Davith 11:25 19 Dec 2009

Hi Guys & Guyeetes just in case.
Thanks for your various suggestions. I bit the bullet and did a repair of the cloned disk from my installiation disk this appears to have done the trick as I can now access both drives an theorigional Data appears intact.
Finger crossed and a folling wind all seems sorted.

In reply to Technotiger.
I use this setup as a sort of poormans Raid arrangement generally managing to keep both drives in sink.

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