We have cloned a hard disk from Hitachi to hard disks from Western Digital of the same size.

The systems with the cloned drives worked well for a couple of weeks, but now we're getting disk errors on one machine.

Is it generally a bad idea to clone a hard disk to one from a different maker? If so, why? Will the Windows check disk utility detect such problems when running it right after cloning?

  • Are you positive that the sizes were the same, down to byte count? The discrepancy in byte counts may or may not account for the errors you are getting, but my bet would still be on a faulty drive. – minya Apr 23 '12 at 11:31
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    As long as the new drive is either the same size or larger then the drive being clone it should work without issue. – Ramhound Apr 23 '12 at 12:13

Yes, most common imaging tools will allow you to clone drives from and to different brands of hard drives. If the data size allows it, 90% of the time you can even clone to a disk that's smaller than the one you're copying from. If not, your imaging tool should inform you about this and explain why not. Disk partitioning is done according to platter size and head and cylinder counts which are different for different types of hard drives. However, most imaging tools will edit the partitioning automagically so everything will work out.

So unless you used dd to copy the disks, your drives should work fine. If not, something either went wrong with the copy, the master disk was faulty, the destination disks are faulty or the software on the disks is simply corrupt.

I have performed disk-to-disk clones numerous times, also with different brands and sizes. Some tools which have always worked for me are these:

  • Paid Norton Ghost 15
  • Free DriveImage XML 2.30
  • Free G4L Ghost 4 Linux 0.34a

Free = Free / Paid = Paid

The latter two are also found on the free Hiren's boot CD.

Some tools (Like Norton Ghost prior to v14) may damage the Windows boot loader but this shouldn't cause disk problems, especially not after having worked fine for a few weeks. If Windows won't boot after an imaging session, you can simply run the automatic recovery tool from the installation DVD to restore the boot loader.

Mainly because the drive has worked fine for a couple of weeks and because the other drives don't get disk errors, I am inclined to say you're dealing with a faulty destination drive in that machine. I would advise you to backup the data from that drive as soon as possible and stop using it. If you have secured your data, return the disk to the manufacturer or dealer and ask for a new one.

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  • We did a bit-level copy with an hard disk copying device, so I suspect it's the same as dd. – futlib Apr 23 '12 at 15:51

I ahve done this many times without issue. In some cases even with a smaller drive than the original.

Try using the WD DataLifeGuard (DLG) tool and do a more exhaustive test.

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