How to clone hd to new drive including 'hidden' restore/utility partition setup...? (it is MY laptop) - General Hardware - Laptop - Dell Community

How to clone hd to new drive including 'hidden' restore/utility partition setup...? (it is MY laptop)


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How to clone hd to new drive including 'hidden' restore/utility partition setup...? (it is MY laptop)

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I realise the hidden partition has been discussed on here already and I am aware of the goodells website which has a technical overview of the hidden partition, but I'm not THAT technical.

However, the only reason I purchased my xps m1710 is that I thought it was the top of the range model at the time, now all I want to do is replace the hd but at the same time retain all the functionality of the hidden restore partition and the media centre partition. You would expect Dell would make this easy for me as the owner and as Dell market themselves as providing user friendly IT solutions.

I have tried using trueimage to clone the drive but when trying the new drive on boot up it gets to the Dell 'blue bar' then freezes. I have tried copying partition by partition but this is even less successful.

I have tried restoring the restore 'ghost' image to the new hard drive but symantec ghost reports incompatibilities with the image file.

So as you can imagine I am not having fun and cursing never to buy a Dell ever again (and telling all the people I know not to either).

Can anyone help me? I am upgrading my original Samsung hd (SATA) to a new hd and would like to keep the hidden partition and mediacentre partition as my original hd. I have a new SATA hd which is currently connected in a USB enclosure. I am not a hd or filesystem expert and don't want to spend a year studying the goodells website.

What is the easy way of doing this or a dummies guide???

You would have thought Dell would provide an application to owners to enable a seamless hd upgrade while retaining the existing setup.









All Replies
  • you might have to use a backup software...Acronis is very good..

    i would try to backup the hidden partiton and transfer it to the new hard drive... if it should do the factory re-install. ..

  • okay,markie76,you got me interested , i went to bestbuy tonight and bought a copy of acronis pc backup and restore was $39 ............what i was able to do do far,,,,and there are different types of restore, i cloned my external hard drive with my main hard drive on my you might be able to do something like that.....the ability i  believe is there with acronis 2009, there is a bit of a learning curve with it.

  • ;^) Another good utility for hard drive is the free GPartEd live CD, which will allow you to boot from CD, then re-size and move partitions without losing data, copy partitions from one drive to another, and so on. 

    :^. However, I'm uncertain whether it will work with unmounted partitions, which the System Restore and Media Direct partions seem to be.

  • agree...after i bought acronis, i was thinking there might be free programs.......

  • HI,

    I downloaded and tried the Acronis True Image Home 2009 and 'cloned' my hard drive. However, when booting up it freezes on the 'blue' dell bar at the top of the screen.

    The guys use BartPE at work and I haven't thought of this yet. I'm going to give it a go now.

    But from looking at the goodells website I don't think its as easy as that as the Dell restore partition setup does something different and it hints that disk partition applications don't understand the partition types dell use. So I suspect while they do indeed 'clone' everything correctly they can't get the finishing touches right to get it working. I will re-read the goodells website to try and understand it - I wish there was a 'for dummies' version of it... :-)

    But I still do think that if Dell supply laptops with custom recovery partitions then they should ALSO provide owners with an app that can initialise a new hd with it or do a proper working clone of it.





  • Adding a note to this old thread because it came up in a search for partitions.

    I recently upgraded the HD in my Dell M1710 notebook, from the 100 gig it came with to a Seagate 320 gig. The original HD had the 4 partitions, the main one, a small FAT16 one, a larger FAT32 which I believe is the restore partition, and the Mediadirect partition.

    I used Acronic Migrate Easy to clone the HD to the new larger one. They have a 15 day fully function free trial, which is what I used.  At first I had a reboot problem (I put the new drive in an enclosure that allowed me to hook it up via a USB port) but discovered via the web support I had to disable the smart card reader service (and the web site shows how to temp do that - very simple.) Once I did that, cloning the old HD to the new one was very simple, and it cloned all partitions, etc. with no problem at all. I was able to remove the old HD and pop in the new one, and it booted up just fine, with a lot of new free HD space!

    So - Acronis Migrate Easy, free trial version, does the cloning, hidden partitions and all, no problem. FWIW.

  • I tried doing the same with Acronis Migrate Easy and it did not work for me. Computer does not boot.



  • I have a similar problem.  My Inspiron 1545 showed a pending hard drive failure. After contacting Dell, then sent me a replacement hard drive of the same 320 GB size (original was Western Digital Scorpio Blue and replacement is Toshiba 3276).  The replacement was blank, without an operating system.

    The knowledge base and manual provide no information that I can find on copying the original C: drive and Recovery partition to the new hard drive.  When I contacted Dell they told me to call their paid Dell Solution Station who are supposed to talk me through the process.  I thought that that was why I purchased an extended warranty to accomplish this without addition expense.  I really think that Dell should have a protochol for this because it must happen every time someone needs to replace a hard drive or Dell sells them an upgrade, larger hard drive.

    I used EasyUS a freeware image copy/transfer program to try to copy my original hard drive information to a new external hard drive (WD Passport 1 TB). (This software was recommended by our office computer service expert.)  When I made the image of the original hard drive, I did not copy the 2 partitions separately.  When I went to copy the image from the external HD to the newly installed, I discovered that the Image must be about 600 GB and all will not transfer.  Since it took 5-6 hours to make the image on the external HD, I have not tried to go back an just copy the C: partition alone, yet.

    One other idea that I had as I was trying to figure out how to get the data from the original HD to an intemediary disk location, like my external HD, was to use a Belkin File Transfer cable, but that is another $50.

    What suggestions are available?  Thanks

  • I re-imaged my original hard drive and then was able to transfer it to the replacement hard drive.  I thought that I had a recovery partition on the original and do not se it on the replacement.  I'll have to check on that, too.

  • Mark,

    I'm in a similar boat. I bought a Toshiba 500 gb SATA to upgrade from my 74 gb IDE drive. I cloned the drive with free software from EASEUS.  EASEUS actually sells a more advanced version of their software; however, when I tried to purchase it I continued to get security errors on their website and my PC would not allow me to go forward.  Their software worked and did exactly what I asked it to do. It cloned the new drive and I can boot and use the new drive. However, now I realized my 500gb drive is only a 74 gb drive and I'm trying to figure out what I need to do to retrieve the lost storage space.

    Dell actually sells a kit to accomplish this task, but the kit gives an error that it can't copy due to different block sizes.

    So Dell is missing the boat on assisting owners to accomplish a frequently performed task.

    Maybe someone out there can simplify this task for both of us.

  • First, you can't install a SATA drive in any notebook that shipped with an EIDE drive.  On most Dell systems that shipped with EIDE drives below 120G, there is a BIOS barrier to installing drives over 120G - this is a limit that can cause severe problems if you try to install a disc with a Windows partition that crosses the 120G barrier.

    On some Dell systems, the presence of a hidden Media Direct partition hinders cloning - you CAN clone, but you cannot clone the drive in its entirety.

    See the link below for details.

  • Sorry to cause you confusion, I was dealing with the upgrade issue not specific to a laptop. I'm doing it on a Dell 4600 i that has both ide and sata spots for hard drives. The drive boots fine, but is a clone of the 74 gb drive and does not make the remainder of the 500 gb available. I ran the drsfix and found the following issues:

    Copyright 2005-2008 by Dan Goodell, all rights reserved.

    (Type DSRFIX /H for syntax help)

    Disk 80 found, master device at port FE00

    48-bit user secs  : 976773168 (500 GB)

    48-bit max secs   : 976773168 (500 GB)

    i13/48 user secs  : 976773168 (500 GB)

    disk cyls/hds/secs: 60801/255/63

    alert: boot code does not match dell mbr.

    good : pbr descriptor 1 is type DE.

    good : pbr descriptor 2 is type 07.

    alert: pbr descriptor 3 is type 00, not DB.

    info : pbr descriptor 4 is type 00.

    good : pbr1 is fat16, label is DellUtility.

    fatal: pbr3 is not fat32.

    alert: reference partition table not in sync.

    disk model number : TOSHIBA DT01ACA050                      

    48-bit feature set: supported

    hpa feature set   : supported

    Int13/48 drive parameter table:

    0000  1E 00 01 00 FF 3F 00 00 10 00 00 00 3F 00 00 00

    0010  30 60 38 3A 00 00 00 00 00 02 D7 72 00 F0

    Int13/48 DPTE table:

    0000  00 FE 12 FE E0 00 09 08 00 04 95 08 00 00 11 4F