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Copying a windows 98 Hard drive

I just took out my laptops hard drive stuck it on my usb to ide connector
and copied ALL the files to a folder on my desktop  (I told it to show hidden and system files)
then I unpluged it, and pluged in a blank hard drive, Formated it with fat32, set it as active, and then copied all the files
to it.

Put it in my laptop and fired it up, and it wont boot.
says to insert a system disk or something like that...
so I booted from my win 98 cd, started computer with cd rom support
ran fdisk, made sure that it was still set active,... and it was.
rebooted ... still same error message,

then I rebooted from cd, started with cd rom support, switched to /tools/oldmsdos and ran fdisk /mbr
then rebooted ... (after i took the cd out)
still wont boot from the hard drive

Wnat am I missing ?
I remember a long time ago someone used to say that you had to "SYS" a drive to get it to boot.
is that  what I am forgetting ? how do you do it ?
or is it something else ?

I am not sure.
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1 Solution
From the bootfloppy or bootCD, at the prompt type SYS source drive:path destination drive:

You might do a on top install to fix it:

Dirty Install of W98 (WinME)

You might have to install W98 over itself to fix it.  
Run the setup program from the CD or WINDOWS\OPTIONS\CABS or INSTALL folder.
This should save all of your settings and programs.
Also make sure you install to WINDOWS not WINDOWS001 ( or whatever ) when it asks where to install.

I use this one to make a bootable clone: ( change the drive letters as needed )


Hookup HD's,  then run Xclone from a  DOS  prompt in windows: ( or START>RUN )

xclone c: d:    It will copy everything but the swapfile ( which windows will recreate later ),
then make the new drive master and you are done. This is a freeware program and I use it to clone my HD before I do something new and/or stupid with my computer ( about every 2 or 3 weeks )      ; )    Don't forget to Fdisk and Format the new HD first.
Run Setup.exe from windows disk it should do an upgrade.  Or just use ghost with USB support and copy the drive again it should be fine with ghost it does not miss anything great program.

If you have windows 98 boot disk please skip step 1 & 2

Step -1 Goto download windows 98 Boot disk.
Step -2  Create Boot Disk using that application.
Step -3 Boot u’r laptop using win 98 Boot disk.
Step -4  Command prompt type “SYS C:”

The main purpose of SYS.COM is to copy "system files and the Command interpreter" to a diskette or partition that has already been formatted.

Step -5 remove floppy

Step -6 reboot your laptop.

revertback to me

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Just copying the files will not put the system files in the right place. The "sys" command as suggested above is a must for making a drive bootable.
joncolbyAuthor Commented:
I might be stupid, but I cannot get 'sys' to run at all from anywhere on the cd.

I have typed it from every location and always get bad command or filename.

I think you may have to make a boot floppy, from a working 98 installation or from an image from . Make sure you make 98SE if that's what you use, and plain 98 in other case. I'd guess the file is on the CD somewhere, but it may be embedded in a .CAB file and not accessible in a normal way.
joncolbyAuthor Commented:
ok, Ill give it a shot.
thanks man.

When u boot thru 98 Bootable CD u go to the DOS directory,


Format C:
Format C:/s    ===> System files also will be transfered

message as "System Transfered"

Then Restart/ it should go to the C:\>

You can start the Installtion of WIN98 from CD itself.
try with Setup.

check in your bios that usb is set as the boot method

if you cant see that as a boot method then update your bios and try again

Heres the way I would handle it.
If your laptop runs just fine with that original drive, then I would quit trying to get the bad copy to boot even with all the ideas on the net how to do so, and actually create a working clone copy of that drive.  Do that with either ghost or xxcopy.
ghost works awesome ( just always pay attention to which drive is on ide1 or ide2 so you don't clone the wrong drive, it happens to the best of us!)
if you can't get a copy of ghost, you can download xxcopy from and read about how it works at

Now if that laptop runs poorly with the original drive, then by all means, quit fooling around with it and do a clean install on the new drive and copy over the files you want to it when your finished.
if your concerned about not being able to get drivers for the laptop to fully function after a reinstall, check out to find your drivers.

I used to always format the drive using fromat with the /s option then use te old xcopy dos command with the following switches

xcopy source *.*  destination *.*  /s /h /r /e /i /k

do a xcopy /? to find out what they all mean but a quick answer is it copies system, hidden, read only..ect

wlennonVP of Domestic & Int'l OperationsCommented:
I think Rid is on the right track here.  There is no way possible to just copy the files to another HDD, then try to copy them back on to the HDD and it work.  Your registry files will not respond, your system files and win.ini will not work...period.

You must use x-copy, but better yet you would have needed to clone the drive with Ghost, V-Com's Copy Commander, or any other system transfer software.  

The other, and maybe the biggest problem is that Laptops/Notebooks have special software indiginous to the Laptop itself, such as the disply, on board mouse and keyboard, sound card drivers..ect

You will need to either get a Recovery Disc for that Laptop, or at least download those drivers and install the OS.
agree to disagree
I have done it.
just make sure you are in dos when you copy the files.
Trying it will cost you nothing but time. No program to buy.

joncolbyAuthor Commented:
I am going to have to find ghost or something else.
For future referance, what is the most perfect way to get a clone of a disk ?
I dont care about anything else, just that it is a perfect clone that will work, error free, problem free,
What is the best way ?

then, a seperate answer, what is the fastest way ? (Complete contrary to process above)

Is copying the acual files from another computers dos prompt the best  for error free ?

is acronis drive image the best for the fast method ?

Jon Colby

I just want to know the best way to have a clone of a hard drive.
If price isnt an issue and speed is I would go with V2i Protector from Symantec. ( there are different versions, desktop, server ect) Its fast its accurate and its able to go to active state.

If it is I would go with Acronis if its not a server $49.99 IS A GREAT PRICE.

the Xcopy method is SLOWWWWWW>.........

good luck
>>> what is the most perfect way to get a clone of a disk <<<   Xclone < HD to HD. If you want to do CD/DVD/Other, you need another program >

>>> Is copying the acual files from another computers dos prompt the best for error free <<<  Not really. And from DOS, you can get long filename problems

>>> is acronis drive image the best for the fast method <<<   I haven't tried it, but I hear good things about it.
joncolbyAuthor Commented:
Where do you get X Clone ?
and these other goodies ?
Links for Xclone are in my first post.

download a shareware version of Acronis here:
joncolbyAuthor Commented:
You are the man!
Hey, Have you refined the process of 'keeping your computer running' ?
by that I mean, imaging, copying, restoring, backing up, whatever... to keep windows from dying ?
It might just be me, but I use my computer A LOT for lots of many things, and I seem to find my self
re-installing about once every mont or two. Is there a way to reduce downtime ?
what is the most thought thru, conceptually perfect way of 'moving on' thrue windows problems ?
what about a complete windows crash ?
what is the best concept for keeping a rock solid usable computer ?

Right now, I use the lenten reborn pci card, and acronis true image.
for about every reboots I make that the lenten card restores, I make about 1 that I 'save the changes'
so this has already, given me about 600 times more 'life' and I use acronis to make images every month, to restore back to If I acccidentaly
'save' a change with the lenten card that I dident want to save.

Now, what is all of your methods and concepts and stuff ?

I want someone to help me to refine and develope the MOST EXELENT PERFECT BEST WAY of having a bullet proof system
Money is no issue.

also, who knows about pci card ram disks ?
do they kick ass ?
how would you use it ?
put the windows swap on it ?

I don't know about bulletproof, but what I do is:
1. I have a SCSI HD on my system for cloning.
2. I made 2 .BAT files for my Desktop. One with format /q and one with format /u, and Xclone in both.
3. About once a week or when I am going to something that might not be a good thing, I run one of the .BAT files. I used to rotate HD's, but I got lazy lately.   : /
4. When my main drive crashes, I change the BIOS to boot from the SCSI, xclone it back, reset Bios to IDE, reboot.  Done.
joncolbyAuthor Commented:
that is a cool concept
that is what I am looking for !
You get points man !

Now ...anyone else ?
lets hear 'em

.. Maybe after a couple more days, Ill start a new question just about the "bullet Proof' System..

Lets get as much data and concepts togather and Ill compile them in my brain while eating cheesy brats and listening to TATU and ATB.
"I dont care about anything else, just that it is a perfect clone that will work, error free, problem free," This is what you said above so want the best BUY a Drive cloning machine with error checking. Ohterwise JUST BUY GHOST it has never failed me yet in 5 years of using it IMO best cloning program on the market.
BTW I use my computer all the time mostly one computer P4 running at 3.85 GHZ 241FSB 1 to 1 Memory ratio. It has been running this way for over a year. ADD in 2-3 Hours a day at least me or one of my guys playing online games new games Like Far CRY Battlefeild doom 3. Then all other kinds of programs ETC. MY Drives are 2-10,000 Rpm raptors in RAID 0 not mirrored raid 0. Never had to reinstall windows not once. Still get scores like this on 3dmark 03 7519 3DMARK 03 thats one so i highly overclock my video card also. BTW it is all air cooled 100% . All it is good hardware excellent cooling and knowledge of proper cooling Very important Power supply Personally I use one with power factor correction and a very good UPS. I keep windows updated Clean disable all the crap i do not use. I run anti spyware programs and antivirus updated every day. Very good Firewall and Policies and thats about it. I back up to DVDs occasionally to a Fiber Channel Array every day and to a USB hard drive weekly. Thats about it I have a spare set of raptors just in case but they just sit there also beacuse the only thing i do not like is raid 0 but it has been good to me so far. I keep 2 80mm fans on my hard drives might have something to do with it. But just an all around good system I do not buy motherboards with sis or via chipsets and I just stick to what I know works. Some might disagree with overclocking but I have several servers Mobile bartons running at 2.6GHZ they are running Cold Fusion and SQL and never get a break either also good Nforce 2 boards ASUS ans ABIT all I buy. I also run a battlefeild server that never ever gets a break 6 months without a reboot also a mobile at 2.6 Well hope this helps YA in your bulletproof quest.
Dynamic1:   Sweet.      : )
Thank you much.    : )
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