Vista wont clone! How can I generalize my BCD?? HELP

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Vista wont clone! How can I generalize my BCD?? HELP

Postposted on Wed Feb 27, 2008 5:46 pm

OK IM rewriting the situation for the 3rd time - I knew it was too good to be true. Vista isn't cloning.

What I currently have as my OS drive is a wd 320gb caviar se16. Its partitioned into C and D, C is 240 gb for Vista, and D is 50 gb for XP. I was using Vista Boot Pro to dual boot. Now I just got a new 750gb samsung f1 drive (B).

So, I used Norton Ghost to clone C to B (B is the new 750 gb samsung hard drive). Norton ghost gave me a few options, and I selected the following options:
- Check source file for system errors.
- Check destination file for system errors.
- Set drive active (for booting OS)
- Copy MBR

It also gave me the following options which I didn't select:
- Resize drive to fill unallocated space.
- Disable SmarSector copying.
- Ignore bad sectors during copy.

I wasn't sure about the MBR or smarsector or ignoring bad sectors, did I chose the right options? anyways, It succesfully cloned the drive. Now, Vista Boot Pro will NOT let me select B as a boot option, If I try to add it to my boot menu the drive letter disapears, and it boots up into C if I select it (the name still appears, even though I couldn't give it a drive letter) after restarting. (It doesn't even work normally, it boots into C but with abnormal problems. Like peerguardian stops working, and windows de-activates, and it tells me I have 2 gigs instead of 4 gigs of RAM) but I can still boot into C and D normally.

So I was under the impression that if I clonded C to D the drives should be identical? Well I tried disconnecting my wd 320 gb drive with partitions C and D, so that windows would ONLY boot into B. At first it gave me "BOOTMGR is missing" but after a repair of the vista boot loader with the Vista dvd, it would boot up but it would give me a blue screen (not bsod, just plain blue) with a message saying something like "activation failed please active" and it gave me 3 options: "use limited functionality mode" "contact microsoft to resolve this issue" and "activate windows now". (wording on all of this isn't exactly the same, I couldn't take a ss so im remembering off the top of my head) All the of the options give me errrors. But why didn't Vista clone itself so everything was IDENTICAL? I shouldn't have this problem.

Maybe its Norton Ghost? Maybe I selected the wrong options? Will western digital lifeguard tools work with vista and a samsung drive?

Is there a way that I could just make a clean install of Vista but then copy ALL of my system settings and files to it from my old Vista drive to make them identical?

Please help me this is pissing me off. Any help is greatly appreciated.
Last edited by Kulith on Thu Feb 28, 2008 5:50 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Vista wont clone! cant boot off cloned drive? HELP

Postposted on Wed Feb 27, 2008 11:33 pm

Ok im not alone, it seems a "clone vista" google search turned up alot of problems. First result was an Vista doesn’t allow cloning, an activation horror story article.

I have less than 3gb of free space on my current hd and I really need to get vista on my new one -.-
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Re: Vista wont clone! cant boot off cloned drive? HELP

Postposted on Thu Feb 28, 2008 9:47 am

Have you tried searching Microsoft's site?
Which version of Norton Ghost are you using?
If it's 8.2, have you tried using the switch -fdsp?

A thread over at Microsoft's TechNet covers a lot of solutions.

EDIT: Moderators, this thread belongs in Windows and not Storage.
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How can I generalize my BCD??

Postposted on Thu Feb 28, 2008 5:47 pm

yea mods feel free to move this to the windows forum. My original problem was about the new hard drive but then I ran into this and so I just edited the post.

Its Norton Ghost 12.0. BTW does norton ghost do a sector by sector clone?

I think I know what the problem is.

This is exactly what happened to me:

If you try to boot a moved clone of 2K/XP without editing the boot.ini file then it would appear like you were indeed booting into the clone when in fact you were actually booting into the parent that the boot.ini was still pointing to. The same happens with a clone of Vista if the BCD file is not altered correctly. It will look like you have successfully booted the clone when in fact it will be the parent install of Vista that will be booted. Look in Disk Management and you will see the real System and Boot partitions. Hiding the parent when booting the clone does not help as the parent will still be targeted. You will then get an Autochk Program not Found or a blue screen error part way into the attempted boot of the hidden Vista. If the Disk Management utility shows the system and boot partitions as expected, but the drive letter as seen from inside the new clone is not the same as it is inside the parent, then you have cross-linked OSes. Move some icons on the desktop and then boot into the parent, if the changes are there as well then you know you have a problem.



Apparantly, generalizing the BCD of the original Vista and then redoing the cloneing will fix this problem. So there we have it, how do I generalize my BCD? According to http://www.multibooters.co.uk/cloning.html :

If you make a complete sector-by-sector clone of a drive containing Vista then you will duplicate the disk signature and the partition offset and so you will not have to modify the BCD to get Vista booting, because it will already contain the correct information. Be aware however that you cannot have two hard drives on the same computer with identical disk signatures. If you boot any WinNT operating system when there are two drives with the same signature then one of the signatures will be automatically changed. If you do clone a Vista drive in this way and need both drives connected at the same time then generalizing the BCD before cloning, or re-specializing or generalizing the BCD on the affected drive, will fix the problem. This has always been an issue when cloning entire hard drives containing WinNT, but before Vista a signature change could in many cases not cause an issue and so may have went unnoticed.


The rest of that article is a indepth discussion about the BCD and but I was having trouble following him, he lists several ways of generalizing the BCD but doesn't make them clear to me. Am I supposed to generalize the BCD from a different OS? Would it be better to boot into xp as I do this?

Also, I am currently running Vista Boot Pro as my bootloader. The guy made it very clear not to auto-repair a third party bootloader if I wanted to generalize the BCD, but unfortunately I had already done that while troubleshooting. It didn't return my bootloader to vistas's default, and it still works. So i just dunno how to generalize the BCD, im still reading the article but if their is an easier way to do this someone point it out. ANy ideas?
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Re: Vista wont clone! How can I generalize my BCD?? HELP

Postposted on Thu Feb 28, 2008 6:22 pm

Topic moved to Windows forum as per original poster's request.
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Re: Vista wont clone! How can I generalize my BCD?? HELP

Postposted on Fri Feb 29, 2008 3:25 am

The thread I linked to has the solution you're looking for.
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Re: Vista wont clone! How can I generalize my BCD?? HELP

Postposted on Fri Feb 29, 2008 9:45 pm

titan you are right, that was the problem I was having, and I found that solution elsewhere too. But it didn't work for me, my whole adventure is outlined below.

ok I FINALLY got everything to work, thought im sure either I generalized the bcd incorrectly or no matter what it just wouldnt work for me.

What SHOULD have worked, and this works for most people. Either doing a boot repair before attempting this screws the process up, or I was just unlucky and it didn't do it for me.
- Boot up with a Vista dvd and select repair install.
- Vista will detect start up repairs and ask you to confirm the repairs. According to the article, if you allow it then this process will no longer work, I allowed it before I ever read the article.
- Select the cmd prompt and type the following in to determine what drive letters the Vista dvd assigned the partitions, they are not always the same as what the OS tells you they are when you boot up in Vista:
- "diskpart" - then wait a few moments
- "list volume" - then locate the drive leter of the partition your BCD is on (almost always your boot partition i think)
- "exit" - to exit diskpart
- "bcdedit /store X:\boot\bcd /set {default} osdevice boot"
- "bcdedit /store X:\boot\bcd /set {default} device boot"
- "bcdedit /store X:\boot\bcd /set {bootmgr} device boot"
- "bcdedit /store X:\boot\bcd /set {memdiag} device boot"

THEN "alledegly" every new clone of Vista will work perfectly well with this generalized bcd, even if you have multiple hard drives with identical copies of Vista on them, they should all now be independent.

That didn't work for me, I got errors when typing those strings in.

What some OTHER people have had succes with and they recommended me was to simply go into the dvd cmd prompt and type the following in: (what it also says in titans link)
- "bcdedit /set {bootmgr} device boot"
- "bcdedit /set {default} device boot"
- "bcdedit /set {default} osdevice boot"

curiously typing that in gave me "operation completed succesfullly" results, but then I cloned Vista and nothing has changed, same as my original problem in first post.

What worked for ME was to change Vista Boot Pro back to Windows Legacy.
- typed in the above strings into the command prompt even though I was 90% sure it still wouldn't make a difference.
- then clone Vista. Disconnect the original hard drive sot that both hard drives would never be connect at the same time after the clone.
- Boot off the new vista.
- Vista gave me the usual "bootmgr" not found error which means that I was right and generalizing the bcd didn't work again. Before doing the boot repair in the Vista Dvd, I entered the command prompt again and tried the strings into the new hard drive.
- Rebooted, then I repaired the bootloader by clicking "yes" to the popup that told me vista detected repairs needed, then I rebooted and did the boot-repair option in the Vista dvd.
- Vista booted up and I got several dll errors and then I was just stuck in a light blue screen (not bsod).
- None of this would have happened if I had gotten the generalized bcd to work but whatever I was determined to get Vista to work either way.
- However, I was getting DLL errors, and in this guys article: http://www.multibooters.co.uk/cloning.html those DLL errors occur for one reason, Vista didn't auto configure its new drive letter like the way it normally would have (or the way a generalized bcd would have done it). So following the guys precise instructions I got the drive letter configured correctly:

If you do have a problem with a clone assigning itself the wrong drive letter then you will still be able to boot Vista by clicking through various dll errors and eventually get to a limited desktop, or in some cases just to a completely blank light blue screen. In previous WinNT recovering the OS from this situation could be difficult, but in Vista it is relatively easy and can be done from the loaded desktop. All you have to do is change the drive letter to what it needs to be. Once you reach the limited desktop press Ctrl+Shift+Esc or Ctrl+Alt+Del to open Task Manager and then click 'new task...' and run compmgmt.msc and once the console opens select Disk Management from the list of utilities and then determine what drive letter has been assigned to your clone. Then 'new task ...' again and this time run regedit and navigate to the key described in the screenshot below. Right click on the \DosDevices\ entry that has the letter currently assigned to the clone and choose 'rename' and change the letter to the one the parent sees itself as when you are booted into it. If your clone's registry already has that letter assigned to another DosDevices entry you will need to change that one first to free up the required letter. You can make it anything for now as you can change it again later in Disk Management.

If you don't get a limited desktop but only the blank blue screen then you probably won't be able to open Disk Management, but regedit should still work. You can make an educated guess to which entry is the clone and change its letter and try rebooting. Repeat if necessary with all the entries until you get the right one. Or you could just delete all entries and let Windows completely rebuild the list on reboot. This may do the job, or just take you back to where you started. Completely clearing the drive letter list is a useful trick in XP based operating systems to cure drive letter problems, (for 2K OSes there are other factors that can make it hazardous). It does have its risks however and should not be attempted lightly for anything other than boot drive primary partitions. For second or higher hard drives or logical partitions, or if you are using the MS bootmanager, you should use with caution or know what you are doing. For Vista OSes that are already having problems then you have little to loose and should still be able to recovered with the procedures described here.


- I followed those directions to the word, and I got rid of the dll errors and I got Vistas drive letter sorted out.
- Next boot up I got the message I was expecting "Windos couldn't activate" and it gave me 3 options "enter desktop with Reduced Functionality Mode (RFM), activate windows, or concact microsoft. (this will NOT happen with a successfully generalized bcd)
- as far as I know, nobody ever got "activate windows" to work in a cloned Vista (from this rfm window anyways). They all get stuck here and end up having to call microsoft.
- I followed thsi convenient guide to temporarily get rid of rfm for another 15 days: http://www.mydigitallife.info/2007/01/2 ... -mode-rfm/

At the moment I haven't yet re enabled Vista Boot Pro. As soon as im sure everything is as it should be im going to reformat my old Vista partition, and re enabled VBP with the new Vista and the old XP. Either that or ill find another bootloader that people have had more success with in this type of situation.

None of that hassle would have been necessary for most people who havent' screwed around with their f*ing bootloader as much as I have, 99% will probably have success with method 1 above. But everything is working now for me and im happy.
Last edited by Kulith on Fri Feb 29, 2008 9:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Vista wont clone! How can I generalize my BCD?? HELP

Postposted on Fri Feb 29, 2008 9:51 pm

Before I do a complete reformat of my old Vista partition, is there anything I should do to make sure everything is as it should be? Cuase if I reformat my old Vista partition, and it turns out my new cloned partition has problems and I cant fix it now and I lose everything, I will scream.

I know for a fact that if I try to boot up with the 2 Vista 'C' Drives they will conflict again, is there a way I can completely "hide" or "disable" my "old Vista" without reformating it so that it will not be detected whatsoever, and I can see if I cant get Vista Boot Pro to dual boot with Vista on my new hard drive and XP on my old hard drive partition before I reformat my "old Vista"?


~~~~~~~~

nevermind screw that I already reformated my old C. Now I directed Vista Boot Pro to try to dual boot from vista and XP on two different hard drives and its not working. Any ideas?
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