I have used a Linux live CD to do a full copy of my laptop's encrypted hard drive (it runs Windows 7 ultimate) to an external hard drive. The MBR is the only thing not encrypted on the drive.

My intentions are if the laptop is lost/stolen or somehow the hard drive becomes corrupted then I can buy a new hard drive and just restore my system from the clone on the external hard drive.

However I would like to ask about an issue I read about re-guarding 'disk signature'. It would appear that the MBR in Windows 7 and Vista includes a specific disk signature for a specific hard drive. Without this signature being correct, then the system won't boot. Please read:

When bootmgr queries the BCD for the drive it wants it is told the disk signature of that drive, so it then scans the connected drives till it finds the one with that signature. If no match is found then bootmgr cannot continue to look for the Vista bootloader (winload.exe) and hence displays the error message that winload.exe......is missing or corrupt.

What can I do about this? Is there a way to find out the disk signature of the new hard drive and then manually edit the MBR of the cloned system using a hex editor? Does anyone know which bytes contain this signature in the MBR of Windows 7? According to wikipedia the disk signature begins at hex 01B8 and is 4 bytes long.

  • This is source of the quote it goes into more detail: multibooters.co.uk/mbr.html – polkadots Sep 19 '11 at 16:34
  • What did you use for Encryption? BitLocker? – Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Sep 19 '11 at 16:44
  • 1
    Truecrypt full system mode – polkadots Sep 19 '11 at 16:54
  • Can you not back up the entire hard drive, including the MBR, instead of just the encrypted partition? – Harry Johnston Oct 9 '11 at 3:49

If your disk signature has changed, the Windows 7 repair disc will fix the boot configuration for you so that your system will boot.

Use "Create a System Repair Disc". You'll find this in the Start Menu, under Maintenance.

WARNING: I'm not going to delete my answer because it may still be useful in other circumstances, but it won't work for the OP since he is using third-party encryption.

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