Windows 7 not starting after back-up image restored onto new HDD

Posted on 2012-04-11
Last Modified: 2012-05-16
I have a PC running Windows 7 x64. It has a 80GB Intel SSD as it's OS drive and a 1TB Caviar drive as the data drive. The plan was to use Windows Backup to make a full disk image, upgrade my OS drive to dual 160GB SSDs in Raid0. Then restore the disk image.

I previously had disk0 as the SSD and disk1 as 1TB HDD. Before restoring the image, I switched the bios from AHCI to RAID, setup a RAID0 with disk0 and disk2. Disk1 is still my 1TB HDD. The restore was successful. The drives were wiped and data restored to the right places. However, the OS does not boot.

I see the Windows loading screen for a bit, then it goes black and restarts. Running the automated recovery came up with the following messages.

screenshot 1
Screenshot 2
Despite this message, I don't think it's a driver issue, I've given the Intel RAID drives to the recovery console, and it didn't change anything. What I noticed is that all the partitions have been given a different drive letter. I suspect that Windows is looking for paths that are now broken when it tries to boot. Previously, my Windows folder was on C: and my data drive was B: There were a couple of small, empty utility partitions that had other letters. My built in card reader also grabs a handful of additional drive letter. Currently the Windows folder is on drive E:.

I think the way to fix this is to switch the drive letters back to how they were at the time of the disk imaging, but I could be way off. For reference, here's the image of how my drives are currently labeled:

3rd screenshot
I'd greatly appreciate some guidance on how I can get the system back up and running.
Question by:ITninjas
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Expert Comment

ID: 37832839
The only way this will work is with a clean install.  Once the OS is installed  using AHCI, then it will always look for it.  I imagine if you set your BIOS back to AHCI, it will work.
LVL 47

Expert Comment

ID: 37832866
Your technique was flawed.  Changing AHCI to RAID (or vice-versa) makes a fundamental change on many levels.  For instance, the total # of usable blocks differs, so that alone should tell you it won't work.    Not only that, but your motherboard is using a fakeraid adapter.  The work is really just done with the BIOS & device drivers.   You are MUCH better off in terms of reliability, and real-world performance if you go RAID1.   Only exception would be if this is a video streaming system.

Let the O/S do the RAID1, as it will do read load balancing.  The fakeraid adapters won't even do that.

Author Comment

ID: 37833183
Thanks for the responses so far. Just to clarify, I cannot choose AHCI in BIOS because the two new drives won't be recognized as one anymore, and the place where my Windows is currently installed, will be broken. I also have no interest in RAID1 since it adds redundancy, not performance to my system.

If the RAID is the issue, seems like the only way to make it work would be switching back to AHCI, removing one of the drives, and reloading the image onto a single SSD. If that's what you are suggesting, that doesn't actually fix my problem but rather suggests I start over with a different objective as my outcome.
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LVL 47

Expert Comment

ID: 37836325
You can get a copy of Paragon Backup & Recovery Home and make a WinPE CD for it. Then boot the machine from it and first of all do P2P Adjust OS so to adjust the OS to RAID and install its drivers. Then research the ways you can repair the installation. You can correct drive letters while booting from this CD easily.
But still did you image and restore small 100MB partition? Was it on original source HDD?
LVL 81

Expert Comment

by:David Johnson, CD, MVP
ID: 37836336
Raid 0 is the worst raid that can be.. any drive fails then everything fails.. Also raid 0 does not always add performance.

While a score of 901 IO operations per second seems impressive, what's important to note is that two Raptors in RAID-0 only offers 20% more performance than a single Raptor in this purely disk-bound test. We have already seen how aggressive caching, pre-fetching and other such real world elements of modern day computers reduce the impact of hard drive performance on overall system performance. With only a 20% improvement in pure disk performance, this doesn't bode too well for RAID-0 offering much of a real world performance boost. source

is a 20% improvement worth a halving of the MTBF of losing all your information?
LVL 47

Expert Comment

ID: 37837082
The reason RAID1 does not add performance is because of the way you have it configured.  You don't have a real raid controller to begin with, it is a fakeraid.  Now if you let windows7 do the RAID, then you WOULD have a profound performance increase.  Windows 7 software raid does load balancing on reads.  Fakeraid controllers don't.

Also since this is the O/S then you pretty much gain nothing with RAID0 other then doubling your odds at catastrophic data loss. The only time you really get any significant performance advantage is when you run benchmarks.  Real-world, the O/S disk doesn't do large block sequential output.

But since you have a SSD and a non-SSD drive, you shouldn't mirror them.


(Then move all random i/o intensive files to the SSD).   Buy another HDD for your data disk and let Win7 mirror in software. This WILL provide significant performance improvement for $100 and your data will be safe. DO not let the hardware do the raid. let Win7 software raid (.i.e. mirror dynamic disks do it).  No AHCI mode.

Accepted Solution

ITninjas earned 0 total points
ID: 37855757
The discussion here about the merits or flaws in my setup is irrelevant. I'm not asking for opinions on how my system should be setup. I know that SSD performance is great on its own and that RAID0 with two SSDs doesn't actually provide much improvement in read/write speed. However, that's how I wanted to setup my system to see for myself.

There haven't been any solutions here for how to make my existing setup work. So I found one on my own. I used Intel's SSD Toolbox to image the original OS drive and restore it to a different SSD, keeping everything running on AHCI. I then removed the old SSD and changed the primary boot drive in my BIOS. The system is up and running with more harddrive space as was originally intended.
LVL 47

Expert Comment

ID: 37856971
Actually if you read my post ID: 37836325 you would see that I was not suggesting speed measuring but real steps to achieve what you wanted.

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