I have cloned an installation of Windows XP Professional SP3 from a failing hard disk using Norton Ghost. I set up the correct partition size on the new hard disk (using GParted) and ghosted it on.

I started the computer with just the new hard disk (SATA same as old) and Windows doesn't reach the log in/user selection screen:

example log in screen

It does get past the loading screen:

loading screen

It shows the mouse pointer (which moves and shows the hourglass periodically) on this screen similar to log in (but not quite there). It doesn't even get to the welcome screen:

welcome screen

It shows Windows XP (and the logo) only on a blue background:

Windows XP (and the logo) only on a blue background

Ctrl-Alt-Del has no effect. Waiting has no effect. Rebooting produces the same problem. Safe mode is exactly the same too.

Booting just the old hard disk (still) works absolutely fine (otherwise I wouldn't have bothered ghosting).

Does the fact that Windows seems to start and then get stuck suggest some operating system file corruption?

Any ideas very welcome.


Are you ghosting disk to disk? Or disk to image to disk? Could be a problem with the image it's creating or the new drive. Make sure the new drive isn't bad and try to do a disk to disk clone (preferably SATA to SATA on the same bus). You could also try running chkdsk /f on the new disk by booting to the XP cd then going into recovery mode.

  • Interesting idea - I'll give it a go tonight. I've already tried a chkdsk /f from a Bart PE disk but this proved OK. – Umber Ferrule Jun 28 '10 at 13:06
  • Tried disk to disk with Norton Ghost. No difference. Will try a copy of Easeus Disk Copy to see if that's any different. Am wondering if XP is silently complaining about hard disk change/activation? – Umber Ferrule Jun 28 '10 at 22:59
  • Old disk now not booting in same way - so my problems are due to dying disk. Ho hum, where's the install disk... – Umber Ferrule Jun 29 '10 at 23:08

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