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I have a hard drive that holds a database and is giving me a bad block error which chkdsk /f can’t fix so before it completely dies I want to basically clone the disk in the current machine over to a new hard drive. Best way to do this without losing any data?

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First of all STOP USING THE COMPUTER. Seriously, this is the most important thing you can do. –  Wuffers Mar 15 '11 at 23:49
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4 Answers

Boot from an Ubuntu Live CD and use the ddrescue command to image the drive as much as possible to another disk or file:

https://help.ubuntu.com/community/DataRecovery

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I've always been partial to ShadowProtect. It costs money but it captures an image of the disk. Just go into advanced and tell it to ignore disk errors when setting up the job.

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I've had a very good experience with dd_rescue.

I typically use this with FreeBSD, but it will work with Linux as well (This is just a preference). AFAIK as I know there is no readily available LiveCD with dd_rescue. You can use a LiveCD such as parted magic and download the binary or start it from USB drive.

is giving me a bad block error which chkdsk /f can’t fix

If your hard drive has bad blocks (aka bad sectors) then there is nothing that can truly "fix" this, the best that chkdsk or fsck can do is mark that block as inactive. Hard drives already include spare sectors by the way, and transparently reallocate the blocks. You may never know unless you read the SMART logs.

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Clonezilla is an excellent solution, and comes in a livecd format so you can just boot to it, clone the drive onto a new drive http://clonezilla.org

you could also try DriveImage XML which can run from within windows http://www.runtime.org/driveimage-xml.htm

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