Cloning NTFS disk with errors

I have a Windows 7 disk with the NTFS file system on multiple partitions that I want to clone since the disk seems to be dying (it has problems spinning the disk plates, or at least that’s how it sounds).

My first approach was to use a bootable cd with Acronis TrueImage which normally works just fine but apparently this time it chose to complain about two things:

  1. Source disk has errors
  2. Destination disk too small

I ran check disk on the source disk (which by the way takes for ever to complete) but it didn’t change error message given by Acronis TrueImage. My destination disk is exactly the same size so that shouldn’t be a problem either.

So I tried to do it manually by downloading a GParted Live cd that contains all the tools needed:

  • dd
  • sfdisk
  • ntfsclone

Backup Master Boot Record (MBR) and extended partitions

My source for this is page.

Backup the MBR to backup-hda.mbr:

cd /root
mkdir partition-backup
cd partition-backup
dd if=/dev/hda of=backup-hda.mbr count=1 bs=512

Then save the extended partitions:

sfdisk -d /dev/hda > backup-hda.sf

Restore the MBR and extended partitions

Important: Double check the destination, if wrong you can destroy data.

Restore MBR:

dd if=backup-hda.mbr of=/dev/hdb

Restore extended partitions:

sfdisk /dev/hdb < backup-hda.sf

Clone the data

Here I used ntfsclone which can save the data of a disk either to an image file or an other disk. In my case I cloned directly to the new disk. I used the –rescue and –override arguments since my disk might have errors as pointed out earliere and because we just copied the partitions over (we know that the partitions on the destination disk is just zeros so we can override them). More info can be found here, it also describe how to clone disks with different sizes.

Important: Double check the source and destination parameters.

In this case I want to clone my disk sda1, sda2 and sda3 to sdb1, sdb2 and sdb3 so I run ntfsclone for each of them like this (shown for sda1 cloned onto sdb1):

ntfsclone --rescue --overwrite /dev/sdb1 /dev/sda1

Of cause it takes a while for a big disk but the time it takes to copy was in my case a lot less than the time windows check disk takes to check the disk.


2 comments on “Cloning NTFS disk with errors
  1. andre says:

    ok for your paper, But …
    1/Some cmdes are to be done as root (or prefixed by sudo)
    may be specially if disk contains bad blocks.
    2/ One typo for ntfsclone option
    It’s overwrite and not override

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