Hard Drive Problems

Got back at midday yesterday, and have spent the time since trying to get my computer up and running properly. Early last month I installed a Maxtor SATA hard drive, and had some problems. Sometimes the computer wouldn’t get past the bios loading screen, other times Windows wouldn’t start…it was annoying. Some hard work by Ed revealed the problem to be an incompatibility between the Maxtor drive and the motherboard. Maxtor blame the mobo manufacturers, but there’s no fix other than a bios upgrade, which never materialised. I’d removed the Maxtor and switched to a spare IDE drive, and last week finally decided to sort things out. I grabbed an external firewire enclosure for the Maxtor and a compatible Seagata SATA drive. The Maxtor’s now happily sitting in a glowy blue box on top of the computer and the Seagate is plugged in and working.

The problem is that I’m having major problems copying my data across to the new drive. Normally swapping a hard drive is very simple process: boot into BartPE, copy the data over to the new drive, unplug the old, and you’re done. Windows will not boot properly on the new drive, however – it logs me off immediately after ‘loading personal settings’ and gets stuck in a logon/logoff cycle1. I can’t find anybody with this exact problem, but I’m guessing it’s to do with SATA drivers and XP having a strop. I could reinstall XP on the new drive, but I’d really rather not. Back in the day reinstalling Windows was a fun job – everything worked so much better afterwards – but with XP not needing the same six-monthly clearouts as 9x, it’s just a chore. I now have so many programs and happy little settings that it takes weeks to get things back the way I want them. I’m at a loss as to how to solve this as XP should be able to cope providing the SATA drivers are installed pre-transfer. I’m currently trying a drive imaging program, on the off chance that simply copying the files over isn’t sufficient2.

Once things get back to normal, and Windows relaxes from being confined to a bursting-at-the-seems 80gb drive, I’ll start work on all the photos from the weekend.

UPDATE: Got it. Phew. Acronis True Image 9 imaged the drive, and it all works fine! I don’t know whether it messed around with drivers (seems unlikely) or if the ‘configuring drive letters’ message was the fix I needed, but I’m just glad it’s all sorted. Sure, I could try to figure it out, but quite frankly I can’t be bothered…True Image has a demo that’s fully functional for 15 days. I was tempted to leave it, but it wouldn’t be fair to use the software for free, so I picked up a copy – I’m sure it’ll come in useful in the future!

  1. playing the associated sounds repeatedly, which gets old real quick []
  2. a bit of a dodgy premise, I admit []