Problems after cloning a Dell

December 15, 2009 at 15:29:41
Specs: Windows XP
This was my first time cloning a drive from a Dell Inspiron 2400. I wish my friend allowed me to start off with a fresh XP install but he wanted everything kept as-is.

I have cloned drives before but this is the first time having problems like what I'm going to try and explain.

I have searched this forum, as well as other forums, and haven't come across the problems that I had ran into.

First off I need to display the results window of a newly cloned disk so you can get an idea of what I'm dealing with.

Drive window from Paragon Partition Manager

The logical drive "E" I'm taking this to be the Dell recovery partition. I had to assign a next available drive letter, "E" in Paragon to satisfy the program though I'm told I didn't have to do this. Note this is a single hard drive, a Western Digital 160GB.

On the original drive that was cloned there was a "C" and "D" partition. On the newly cloned drive "E" is now what "D" was from the original drive and I'm seeing that is where the recovery partition fell into.

The FAT16 partition must be the Dell specific files for booting. I'm not too clear on this though?

In the image I provided there are two unallocated sections, one on "C" and the other on the "E" partition. I have run into the problem to where I cannot resize any of the partitions, nor am not sure if I can take the unallocated space from "C" and "E" and just merge them, somehow.

The new drive cloned only 50% from what I have witnessed and from many readers from forums this appears to be common when cloning a Dell based computer?

Would it be possible to merge both unallocated spaces; "C" and "E" into their respective partitions or am I at risk in damaging data?

I will of course backup all important data on my friend's drive before dealing with what I need to do.

As a note I started this cloning job for my friend 8 months ago. He wanted to continue using his current drive and since then I have been asking only a few places but nobody is familiar with Dell computers and cloning and I thought to research the topic myself and had stumbled across some very technical issues and problems that users have had with cloning Dells. HPA, DSR, hex editing data on the disk itself, I'm really lost here as to what the next move should be.

I tried registering to the Dell site some time ago but couldn't log on and thus I gave up.

If I had it my way I would backup and redo his new drive freshly and cleanly even more so since my friend's computer is about due for a clean slate and also somebody overwrote his Dell OEM OS with some XP Pro files. I don't know how but this seems to had been the case. This shouldn't affect cloning but maybe this could make the system unstable which it is slow performing even when using antivirus programs and keeping up with maintenance.

I thank everyone for their time in reading this post. Maybe I should had looked into this more before cloning my friend's drive. As I've said: I have cloned many drives before but never have I run into anything like this and now a friend of mine is asking me questions to which I cannot really answer and it doesn't help when that friend is computer illiterate and is stubborn with change by just starting over fresh.

See More: Problems after cloning a Dell

Report •

December 15, 2009 at 16:39:02
Which tool did you use for cloning the drive?
Also most cloning tools allow to resize the partition size on the destination drive.

Report •

December 16, 2009 at 16:58:00
I used Paragon Partition manager 8.5.

The image I posted was from my second attempt at cloning my friend's drive. The first time around with cloning, the hidden Dell partition wouldn't clone to the new drive creating boot errors so I had to reformat the whole drive and redo the cloning job again but this time around with Paragon's byte-for-byte cloning mode and by doing things that way the hidden partitions got cloned.

My friend's 160GB drive is essentially 80GB and reads as a 80GB drive with unallocated spaces with the Dell partition in the middle of the unallocated spaces. Why this happened I do not know.

As it is now: The visual bars inside of the Paragon window showing the drive cannot be handled to resize any of the partitions, nor can a number value be inputted to stretch or shrink any of them.

One other theory I had been told just recently is that because the Dell partition is in between unallocated spaces on the drive, there might be no way of even doing a merge of the two spaces when their reformatted because the spaces are non-contingent with one another and that there aren't any programs that could get around this. Whether or not this statement is true I am not clear.

The Dell partition is suppose to be near the end of the drive. Whether this is true or not; to me it makes some sense since the Dell partition is the last partition but is split after it by unallocated space, making the Dell partition situated between the two unallocated spaces.

I don't know what to tell my friend. I have no answers only guesstimations at this point like possibly formatting the unallocated spaces, merge the first unallocated space to "C" and then format the second unallocated space as an extended partition since I cannot move the Dell part from the middle to the end of the drive. The other alternative would be to hose "E" completely then take the second unallocated space that would be reformatted then I can merge this with "C" as I did with the first unallocated/reformatted space.

However I am a bit skeptical that the above alternative would work because Dell drives containing their OS's are tightly bonded with their hardware components and any deletions or modifications to Dell's restore or the FAT16 partition could prevent the system from ever booting up again. My friend does not have the original Dell disks that came with the computer.

I have also been reading that Dell drives have a geometry to them that are set and certain files can be rewritten when a new drive is connected to the same Dell computer and if these files don't correspond to the hardware then you aren't going anywhere. Again I am not too clear about this but from what I have researched so far; if Dell drives and computers are specific in some form, I really don't want to get into using third party this and that and having to read up on how to modify disk sectors and stuff because it is apparent that people have done such things with Dell systems to get them working again and a lot of technical aspects I do not understand, it is very technical and above my head and I would be the one who shoots myself in the foot by doing some of the methods explained which are outlined from other places.

For something that should be so easy as a few clicks proved to be a puzzling mystery to me.

I did do the cloning jobs outside of windows, pre-windows. I know that Paragon states it can work while operating in a Windows environment but I play it safe and don't go this route. The cloning program is set while running windows but the script does it's job at the restarting stage. I thought this would be guaranteed.

Report •

Related Solutions

Ask Question