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I got a Windows 7 NTFS partition on a SATA drive which is having issues. The system crashed because of the corrupt pagefile the day I noticed file corruptions. Before the crash I noticed thousands of repair events in the event log, which began 3 days before, and happened in the background without me noticing (grrr).

The plan is to copy the partition / files to a new drive, with no or minimal write operations on the bad drive. I think the system will probably be usable after clonning as it was usable before the pagefile crash and I didn't try to boot then.

What I've done :

I tried some applications with their own bootable media, like Norton Ghost, Acronis True Image, Paragon HD Manager which worked at crawling speeds (like 60 days estimated for 94 GB). This may be due to something other than bad sectors (like winpe drivers, a bad sector in a special data area, a corruption in an important reference point etc), because the speed was very constant (hdd led on for 3 secs, off for 28 secs) for the first 1+ GB until I stopped it.

I tried to mount the drive on a windows installation which I disabled chkdsk, search indexing and thumbnails in order to keep write operations to a minimum. It reads with no slowdowns, and sees the main folder structure well. This is good, showing the drive motors work ok. A windows utility, 'Minitool Partition Wizard' failed to begin the partition copy process telling me the NTFS structure had errors. I was able to directly copy some files from the bad drive, but permissions prevent me to copy the entire structure, and I don't want to make a heavy write operation to modify all permissions.

My ideal :

  • Copy folders (preferably in windows) with permissions, bypassing NTFS permissions, and have a list of files which had read problems, in order to check them later.

  • Copy the entire partition (in less than 30 days =) with extensive log / realtime information (current sector, estimated time left etc) and again have a way to list sectors / files which had read problems.

Now :

As suggested by Martey on another thread with a related subject, I'll try 'ddrescue', on a bootable ubuntu disk, but not sure how well it will perform on the latest kernel and drivers of ubuntu, and if I'll be able to list problematic files later.

Any suggestions?

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2 Answers 2

Booting a Linux distro from CD or memory device is the right plan. Hiren's Ultimate Boot CD is sort of an all inclusive personalized build that usually works for any situation. It is a must in your computer bag of tricks. It is constantly updated and can contain whatever apps you would like to use. Highly recommended.

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

I'm reading about ddrescue for days now. GNU version of ddrescue fits the bill for the second item in the list, with great logging / additional passes using the log.

You just have to find a way to prevent your linux system try to auto repair the disk to death, so you are better of with a specialized linux bootable media like Superbootdisk or Clonezilla.

For the first item, I found testdisk good help for copying ntfs files bypassing permissions, but once you're in linux, it's not a problem anyway.

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