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Can I install a new hard drive using recovery disks?

Posted on 2008-10-13
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Last Modified: 2013-11-17
Several years ago, probably before I installed service pack 2, I created a set of recovery disks (8 cd's) for my Sony Vaio laptop.  A few months ago my laptop stopped booting up.  I posted a previous question asking how to recover my data and, in going through this process, I decided to install a new, much larger, hard drive and just transfer my files all at once from an external USB enclosure.  However, Im having difficulty installing the new hard drive.

The original hard drive was 40 GB.  My new hard drive is 160 GB (Western Digital EIDE drive).  When I bought my laptop I received no operating system disks at all, so the only disks I have to boot from, and install Windows XP Home Edition from, is the recovery set I created.

I installed the new hard drive and booted it with the recovery boot disk.  After I inserted Disk 1 of 7 of the recovery set, I chose Custom Recovery, and it asked how big I wanted drive C and D to be.  First I chose C 40 GB and D 120 GB but I got the error "Check Sum error in D:\sony.img."  The next time I chose C 80 GB and D 80 GB and got the same error.  The next time I let it make C the default of 15 GB and the rest of the space to D.  This time it worked a while longer but then I got the error message
"IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL" along with the blue screen of death.

I can probably borrow a Windows XP Home Edition disk from someone, if necessary, to install XP since I have a product key, but it doesn't make sense that I would have to do that.  Is there something I'm supposed to do to the new hard drive first?  Will the recovery disks work to do a clean Windows XP on a new hard drive if the image was from a much smaller drive?  I know nothing about BIOS - does this have anything to do with this issue?  Any suggestions would be appreciated.
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Question by:Pat Swatek
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garycase earned 500 total points
ID: 22709225
Your disks most likely contain a pre-SP1 version of XP --> this will not work correctly with a hard disk larger than 137GB (128GB in "computer-ese").   I gather from your description these do not include a standard XP installation disk; so you can't slipstream a service pack into them ... so the best approach is as follows:

(1)  Restore from the disks to your old 40GB drive.
(2)  Apply at least SP2 (you may want to simply do all updates through SP3 at this point)
(3)  Image the OS to your external drive.
(4)  Swap the drives -- installing your new 160GB drive.
(5)  Restore the OS to the new drive -- if your imaging program supports partition expansion on restore, go ahead and do that.   Otherwise restore the 40GB partition; then use a good partition manager to resize the partition OR simply create another partition with XP's Disk Management using the rest of the disk [The latter is actually a better idea .... it would keep the OS partition separate from your data (and 40GB is plenty for an OS partition)].
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by:Pat Swatek
ID: 22713237
Thank you garycase. I had a feeling it had something to do with the size of the new hard drive, but I was thinking it had to do with the 40 GB image on the recovery disks more so than with the OS not allowing such a large hard drive.

So I guess I'm back to trying to recover my data from my old drive before I restore it. However, I did learn that there is an option in the restore disks that allows you to just restore the C drive and leave the D drive alone, which is where most of my data is.

Does a person usually need to upgrade the bios on their computer after so many years, and, if so, for what reasons?

I'll let you know what happens with my computer but it may take me a day or 2. Thank you!
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by:garycase
ID: 22713557
It would be best to copy all of your data to another disk before doing the recovery ... although if the data's all of a separate logical drive (D:) it should be okay.    Do you have another system you could connect the old drive to via a USB adapter?
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by:Pat Swatek
ID: 22714195
My old hard drive was divided into 2 logical partitions when I got it and most of my data is on the D drive, but not all.  I have done back-ups but, unfortunately, not recently (lesson learned).  
I do have a desktop computer and a USB hard drive enclosure that I should be able to retrieve my data with.  There is a lot though, mostly pictures and video, which are large files and will take a long time to retrieve via USB.  That's why I was hoping to just transfer everything to a new hard drive all at once.
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by:garycase
ID: 22715175
If you have the space on your desktop's drive, I'd take the time to copy everything from the old drive just to be sure you have a backup.   Won't take all that long -- unless it's an older USB v1.1 port.

Another option (actually this is what I'd do) ... connect the old drive via USB to the desktop;  use an imaging program to image the 1st partition (C:) to a file on the desktop;  shut down & change to the new drive (via the USB adapter);  restore the image to the new drive & be sure you set the partition as Active;  shut down & remove the new drive -- and install it in the laptop.    The laptop should then boot just fine (with the 40GB partition) -- the FIRST thing you'll need to do is Windows Update and get at least SP2 installed.   Then just create a 2nd partition using the rest of the drive -- you can then connect the old drive via USB to the laptop and copy all of the data from D: to the 2nd partition.

If you need help with an imaging utility, just ask :-)
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by:Pat Swatek
ID: 22717986
Yes, I'm sorry to say it is a USB v1.1 port, so that's why I figured it would take a long time.  But making sure I recover my data is more important than the time.
It makes sense what you're saying but it may be a little above my experience.  I know just enough to be dangerous!  What program would I use to image a drive?
One other question - I don't know why my laptop stopped booting up, it starts but then I get a blank screen.  On the other question I posted about recovering my data, one person thought it might just be a corrupt video driver which makes sense.  But if I image the C: partition and copy it to the new hard drive, isn't it possible I'll copy the problem to the new drive?  Hope this makes sense.  I've had a glass of wine at this point...
Thanks for your help.
 
 
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by:garycase
ID: 22718009
Yes, if the OS is corrupt then imaging C: and restoring it isn't a good idea -- it will simply still be corrupt.

I would first connect the old drive and be sure you've copied everything you might want off of C: to your other PC [Yes, USB v1.1 will take a while ... but not much of your time -- just a lot of "computer's time"].   Don't forget your address book; favorites; any data that's stored on C: (Is your 'My Documents' folder on C: or D: ??); and any data that any of your other programs keep on C:

Once your confident you have a good backup of your data; I'd put the old drive back into the laptop and do use the restore disks to do a full restore of C:    If you have ANY doubts about whether or not it will "touch" D: in the process, it would also be a good idea to simply copy all of D: to a folder on your other PC as well (again, just a minute of YOUR time to start that copy ... then a bunch of "computer time" for the actual copy.

Once it's got C: fully restored on the old drive; do Windows Updates to get the service packs installed ==> THEN it's time to do an image of that drive and restore it to the new one.   We'll tackle that later (after you get to that point).
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by:Pat Swatek
ID: 22773714
Hi garycase,
Just wanted to give you an update on this issue.  
I hooked up my old laptop hard drive to my desktop pc via the external USB hard drive enclosure and I copied anything and everything (I hope).  So I think I have all of my data.
Then I put the hard drive it back in my laptop and started the recovery disks thinking my problems were solved.  It booted fine with the boot disk but after it got almost done with disk 1 of 7, it gave me an error that an invalid image was in use.  I don't understand this since this was the same hard drive I used to make the recovery set in the first place, and I chose the partition sizes it already has (20 GB each for C and D).  
All I can think is that through my previous recovery efforts, and trying to use the recovery disks on the new 160 GB hard drive, that maybe the recovery disks got corrupted?  They are not rewriteable CD's though, so not sure how that could happen.  Or maybe in my previous recovery efforts with the old hard drive, it got skewed somehow.  
I'm thinking I may need to order a recovery set from Sony (for a cost of course), or maybe borrow a Windows XP disk from someone so that I can completely format the hard drive and start from scratch.  I won't have time to try anything until this weekend but any further suggestions you have would be appreciated.  Thanks!
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by:garycase
ID: 22777566
You may have a corrupted recovery CD ... but sometimes it can be read on a different drive.   I'd try making a copy of the CD on your desktop drive ... if that succeeds try using the copy to do the restore.

But if the CD is simply a bad copy, you're correct about the options -- you'll either need a new set of recovery CDs or an XP installation CD to do the install.   An XP disk would be best; but you'll need a valid key to install with ... and the Sony OEM key won't work with a retail copy of XP.

I'd try copying the CD first;  and if that doesn't work either buy the recovery disks or buy a copy of XP.
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by:Pat Swatek
ID: 22910090
Hi garycase,
Sorry it has been so long since I have posted here.  Been working too many hours.  I ended up ordering a recovery set from Sony a few days ago so that's on it's way.  If I have any further problems after I get that, I might need to contact you again, but I'll close this question for now.  Thank you for all your help.
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Author Closing Comment

by:Pat Swatek
ID: 31505775
Helps if I would read directions.  I should have closed the question before I posted my comment.  Anyway, thanks again for your help, and I may be back in touch after I receive the recovery disk set if I have any further problems.
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by:garycase
ID: 22910860
I'm sure you'll have no problems with the new recovery disks ... but if you do need any help, just ask.   If you send a note to my e-mail address (in my profile) with a link to your new question I'll be sure and provide my comments.
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