Upgrading a Hard Disk on XP
On the Mac platform, cloning an operating system hard disk is easy thanks to a great utility named Carbon Copy Cloner by Mike Bombich. I routinely use it to back up and swap out hard disks and have never had any problems at all. Cloning a drive on the Windows platform has always been a pain, no matter what software I have used. (So, I’m always more hesitant to swap out a Windows hard drive than a Mac’s; and that’s just another reason why I moved most of my stuff off the Windows platform.)
Seagate supplied me with a bootable installation CD containing a utility named DiscWizard. After installing the new drive as a slave and using the software’s DOS and advanced options, I booted into a graphical window that let me select the drive to be readied and offered me choices about what file system to use and how many partitions to make. Even though I will probably install Linux on this machine at some time in the future, I partitioned the drive into a 30GB partition for Windows 98SE and a 90GB partition (give or take some for normal losses) for Windows XP. (I figured I’d use Partition Magic to later help me repartition for Linux, if and when I decided to go there.) I then told the software to copy files from the old drive to the new. It did; but several hours later when it had finished, it appeared to have copied only the files for the first (Windows 98SE) partition. I restarted the software and then used its disk maintenance utility to copy files from the old Windows XP partition to the new one. Both of the copies took hours!
That said, ordering the second copy operation was really insurance. The software might have actually copied the Windows XP files. I couldn’t tell because Windows 98SE will not see an NTFS partition, which is what I had installed XP on. After the first copy operation when I tried to boot the system, I got an all too common “cannot find hal.dll” message from Windows XP. Damn! I tried to boot into Windows 98SE but found I had an “invalid system drive”! To recover and get one operating system running, I booted the system using a Windows 98SE floppy disk and from the command line performed a “sys c:” command. That gave me back a Windows 98SE system. That didn’t help me with XP since Windows 98SE couldn’t see it; so, to be safe, I assumed that the software had not performed the file copy for XP and commanded it. A couple of hours later, I knew I had all the files from XP copied to the hard disk but the boot sector remained messed up. It would not allow me to into the Windows XP partition.
For many hours, I tried using Windows XP’s Recovery Console and tools in Partition Magic 7.0 to get each Windows’ installation to recognize the other. I never could. I could get Windows 98 to boot by using “sys c:” to take over the boot sector or I could use XP’s Recovery Console’s “FIXBOOT” command to give it to XP. I tried to get back into my old boot sector configuration by using Partition Magic 7.0’s Rescue Disks but had no luck. I tried to use Partition Magic’s PDQ Boot to link up the operating systems but could only find Windows 98 when I asked it find bootable systems.
I finally got the problem solved by taking a different tack in the very wee hours of the morning; I reinstated the Windows 98 boot sector (“sys c:”), booted from XP CD, went into Windows Setup, and told it to repair the XP installation. (This is an option within the Windows installation routine if you already have XP installed on your system.) After it finished reinstalling, it rebooted and I found had recovered access to both operating systems from the XP boot menu.
I still had a bit more pain to endure. Error messages during the installation had tipped me off that XP had not found the VIA motherboard drivers, and on the reboot I found that the operating system had lost my ATI Radeon 9000’s video drivers as well. A quick check of Device Manager also revealed that the OS was having trouble with USB 2.0 support. In response, I reinstalled XP Service Pack 1, VIA 4.46 drivers, and the latest ATI video card drivers. That seemed to get everything working.
I did discover a few interesting things I haven’t mentioned yet, so here they are:
(1) When I was having trouble with getting the Seagate software to clone my hard disk like I wanted it to, I went to the Maxtor website and downloaded their MaxBlast 3.0. It is the SAME software that Seagate is using, just rebranded. Both companies are using a utility built by Ontrack.
(2) If you’re running a dual-boot Windows 9X/Windows XP system, don’t count on the XP Recovery Console finding the 9X installation. Mine never has.
(3) Building a dual-boot OS X system on a Mac is a breeze compared to building a dual boot Windows system.
(4) Staying up all night troubleshooting computer problems is a great way to “burn off” months of stress, as long as you can make up for the lack of sleep the next day.