Hard Disk Failing - Advice Required

Discussion in 'PC Hardware' started by tedsatola, May 19, 2015.

  1. tedsatola

    tedsatola MDL Novice

    Jan 6, 2012
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    It looks like my hard disk is on the way out as my PC occasionally freezes for a few seconds, file copies take a long time, SMART monitoring is showing too high reallocated sector/event counts - and I got an event message a few weeks ago warning of impending disk failure!

    Everything seems ok at the moment but I realise the disk could go at any time, so I've backed up all my data and have purchased a new SATA 3 HDD.

    However I'm not sure how to go about installing Win7 on the new disk. My thinking is to do the following:
    1. Install new disk in parallel with the existing disk and format/partition the new disk
    2. Install Win7 on the new disk & confirm Win7 boots up ok
    3. Copy files over to the new disk and re-install programs

    Or should I just remove the exsting disk and install the new one in it's place?

    I was thinking of keeping the existing disk for now as it gives me a backup boot option and some additional storage (untile it dies), although it might be just as well to format it and/or bin it.

    Alternatively I guess I could clone the existing disk - but I was just concerned that cloning a potentially dodgy disk might not be wise...

    Any recommendations would be much appreciated!

    Cheers...
     
  2. NICK@NUMBER11

    NICK@NUMBER11 MDL Expert

    Mar 23, 2010
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    well you could just as you said clone the old disk to the new disk, but i would simply pull out old disk (after backing up all your data) through it away :rolleyes:

    Install new hard drive and install a fresh copy of windows 7, drivers and install programs, copy your data back and BACKUP! :biggrin:
     
  3. pisthai

    pisthai Imperfect Human

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  4. pisthai

    pisthai Imperfect Human

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  5. Aemsa

    Aemsa MDL Member

    Feb 17, 2014
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    If you already backed up your stuff and have a new disk at hand, then why are you asking for advise, just dump the damaged disk, perform a clean install on new disk, restore backed up data and move on.
     
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  6. tedsatola

    tedsatola MDL Novice

    Jan 6, 2012
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    I'd quite like to retain my existing disk & O/S if possible (even for a short time) so that I can ensure all my files & programs are copied or re-installed as appropriate (also copying from USB takes an age on my PC for some reason!).

    So once I've installed & formatted/partitioned the new disk, do I simply install win7 from the CD and select the new disk/partition? My concern is that rebooting (which i think happens as part of the install process) may cause a problem because the PC might then boot using the original O/S....in which case it might be better to remove the old disk, install windows on thew new disk via the CD, then once installed put the old disk back in and select to boot from the new disk? (I assume I will get a boot-choice if I have two O/S installed on two different HDDs?).

    I guess I'm just after the easiest option! I'm happy to manually re-install my programs and copy my files over, I just want to ensure my new disk has the same O/S (Win7) as my current disk and that it has all the required drivers/updates etc before I start installing anything or copying files over.

    Thanks for the advise so far people!
     
  7. tedsatola

    tedsatola MDL Novice

    Jan 6, 2012
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    I'm asking for advice because I'd like to be able to copy between disks and also it will allow me to check that I've re-installed all my required Program files, compare files between the current disk & the new disk, etc.

    My current disk is still working fine - I'm just getting the warning signs that it's on the decline, so I just thought it would be easier to run in parallel for a period of time and will also allow me to check that the new disk is good, install programs slowly over time (to check that performance is still ok after each install), etc.

    However from what people are saying it sounds like it'll probably be best to just remove the old disk and start again on the new one.
     
  8. urie

    urie Moderator
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    May 21, 2007
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    Just Clone old Disk to New disk and once that is done remove old Disk then you can make an image of new disk and store that elsewhere and depending on what software you use to do image you should be able to mount image file and have access to files if needed.
     
  9. Palladin

    Palladin MDL Senior Member

    Feb 1, 2014
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    #9 Palladin, May 20, 2015
    Last edited: May 20, 2015
    Here's how I would do it to avoid the complications you mentioned about booting to the wrong disk during the installation process.

    Say your new hard drive is a 1TB drive. Install the new drive along with the old one. Partition the new drive as a 100GB/200GB/700GB. Then copy of your data files to the second 200GB partition on the new drive. Copy your music, photos and other stuff that doesn't change all that much to the third 700GB partition on the new drive. Shut down the computer, remove the old drive, and start the computer up with only the new drive, and do a fresh install of Windows on the first blank 100GB partition.

    After Windows completes then copy your data files to the second 200 GB partition. You can adjust the sizes of the three partitions 100/200/700, 100/300/600 to suit the capacity of the new hard disk and your individual requirements.

    I've always kept all my data files on a separate partition and only the operating system and maybe daily files, mail/Bookmarks etc on the Windows partition. Once you go through the hassle of doing a clean install of Windows, make an image of the system. Then install all your software, and any Windows Updates, and then make another image. With these two base images you can return to either a fresh Windows install, or a fresh Windows install with all your software in a few minutes, should your system get hosed up in the future. Save the two images on the 800GB partition. Then get another hard disk and clone your entire disk to the spare disk.

    Sounds like a lot of work, and it is. It will take the better part of a weekend to get it done. Ask me how know. But once it's done, you can restore your system to a pristine shape in a matter of minutes, no matter what happens. I was in Frys yesterday and they had 1TB WD Black drives for $49.00 so even though it might seem expensive to have an entire hard disk as a spare, I think it's money well spent.

    Here's how I've configured my hard drive:
    hard-disk-layout.jpg
     
  10. Skaendo

    Skaendo MDL Addicted

    Sep 23, 2014
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    I've been setting up my drives similar to this for a long time, and it has saved me more than one headache. I actually learned this lesson with Windows ME.
     
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  11. tedsatola

    tedsatola MDL Novice

    Jan 6, 2012
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    Firstly many thanks for the advice, it is much appreciated. Got a few queries though....
    - I've always built my drives with two partitions - one small partition (200GB) for System/Boot, Windows, Program Files, etc and one large partition (800GB) for Data (including Music, Videos & Photos). Can you explain the reason/benefit of having separate partitions for Music/Photos and any other Data?!
    - In your post you advise copying data files to the second 200GB partition twice (highlighted in red above). Did you actually mean copy the Data to the third partition after windows completes? (if so, why not copy the Data to the third partition straight away along with the Music & Photos?!)
    - When installing Windows on the new disk (after all my Data has been copied over), I assume I just need to put the Windows CD in the drive and I will be asked to select the drive/partition to install it on?
    - In order to clone a disk I assume I will need to install & format/partition a new disk first and then use some cloning software. Any recommendations? Also for the time being I guess it would be ok to re-format my old disk and use that? (although I acknowledge I should really purchase a new backup disk to be safe)...

    Cheers!
     
  12. Skaendo

    Skaendo MDL Addicted

    Sep 23, 2014
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    It is a great idea because if your OS ever crashes, or you want to reinstall your OS, or you want to install a different OS then all your data is safe on the second partition and you don't have to worry about losing it.

    You really only need 2 partitions, 1 for Windows and 1 for your data (Music, Movies, etc.)

    If it is a new drive then you will want to select "Custom Install" and setup your partitions manually, creating your 200GB partition for Windows and your 800GB partition for your data.

    I personally wouldn't clone a disk. I think that it is more trouble than it is worth. But that's just me. A fresh install is always a good idea so that you have a clean registry, fresh drivers, etc...
     
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  13. Palladin

    Palladin MDL Senior Member

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    #13 Palladin, May 20, 2015
    Last edited: May 20, 2015
    Two partitions are fine, but I have found that having three makes my life easier. It might be easier to show a pic of my setup. What I call the "Backup" drive contains the weekly copies of files that change so I can get them back if I need them. I usually do this Sunday Morning and it just takes maybe 10 minutes to get everything copied. Notice that I have separate directories for each week. That way I can go back in time to find something I might have deleted.
    backup-drive.jpg

    The "Spare" Drive is really an archive drive. The big files are there, that don't change much. That's where I store the Images of the system drive. Like the Backup drive I keep running images so I can go back in time to a known good one. It's a First In First Out arrangement. When I set up a system like I did with the new Ultimate I keepincremental images along the way. When I have a good working system, I just delete the intermediate ones. The files are pretty large, and aren't needed on a daily or weekly basis. The Spare Drive is where I keep all the music/videos as well.

    spare-drive.jpg


    Yea, I screwed up. :eek:
    Just copy your data files to the 200GB partition, so you will have them when Windows completes to install your software, but you could copy everything to either one.

    I wouldn't use a disk that is failing for anything. If in fact it is failing, one day it will just be gone. Get yourself a new one, start the tedious process of reconstructing you system while you still can.

    Yes, you will need to get an Imaging program. I use Acronis, but the new 2015 version is no good. See this thread, post #8:
    http://forums.mydigitallife.net/thr...B-drives-in-the-Bios-or-Windows-UEFI-partiton
    It doesn't have native USB 3.0 support. Get a copy of Acronis 2013, or 2014 if you can. If you can't get an old copy, then I'd suggest an alternative. Macrium Reflect, Clonezilla are popular, but I've no experience with either of them. I expect there will be many suggestions from members here on their favorite one. Try them all and see which one you like the best. As for getting a second hard drive, you should just do it. You don't need to clone the disk but once a month.
     
  14. pisthai

    pisthai Imperfect Human

    Jul 29, 2009
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    Regarding cloning an system HDD, It's at least an excellent way for to 'backup' an working system from one HDD to an other for to keep everything 'a life' in case..........!! The 'trouble' you'll get with it, is for sure the exact same as you already has on the Master HDD, if those trouble is software and/or data related. If the problem is hardware related, means that the HDD has some soft or even hard errors, the firmware of that HDD isn't working as it should for what reason ever, or what else could be the hard culprit, that maybe could be avoided on the Clone Drive! In that case it is ver recommended. It's all about from what site you look at the 'story'!

    Im not a friend for to keep my personal and productive data on the same drive as the running system and I really mean the drive, not a different partition! On my own machines I use the drive letters A and B for those drives which contain either personal (private) data, Fun stuff (Movies, Music, Games etc.) on Drive A: and productive stuff on Drive B:! My staff uses the same way even I never had push them to do. Those Drives are connected via eSata, means removable to my computers and I could just use them on any other machine and still run on full speed! And if AHCI is enabled and running, you also have Plug'n Play for those Drives!

    OK, it's for sure depend on any user what way he like to go!
     
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  15. urie

    urie Moderator
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    May 21, 2007
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    I myself on main Desktop boot from ssd only system files and installed programs.
    Data i,e, My Documents, Just Movies, Audio, Downloads e.c.t ,Programs, that I install.
    And system Image backups of Clean installation and current one an other internal drive and also backed to to external hard drive.
    Other Desktops without ssd I do partition but still keep backups on second partition and also on the external hard drive.
     
  16. ypvs

    ypvs MDL Novice

    Dec 21, 2013
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    Empty USB external enclosures are cheap. Put your existing drive into that, a fresh install on a new HD (two or three partitions to taste), transfer data from the external as and when needed. Easy access if you find out you've missed something. Slower data transfer I know. You've got the option to put a new HD in the enclosure when you're ready to junk the old HD
     
  17. JameandBennie

    JameandBennie MDL Novice

    Apr 17, 2015
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    I totally understand your concern. Talking is simple. But when it comes to doing it, there might be some unexpected problems.
    Well, according to my experience, make it as simple as you can.
    And agreed with the suggestion of clone the old disk to the new one. But this would take you more time if there's a large amount of data on the disk.
    If your backup utility doesn't have "disk clone" option, you can grab these freeware.

    easeus disk copy free, R-drive image, macrium reflect free.
     
  18. zangxuma

    zangxuma MDL Novice

    May 16, 2015
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    thank Skaendo i saved