Christine’s laptop has been a bit poorly lately. Before Christmas, it wouldn’t boot up – the ‘Starting Windows’ graphic would show and then it’d stop at BSOD with ‘Unmountable Boot Volume’ as the error. I was able to fix it by starting the computer in Windows Recovery Mode, opening a Command Prompt and using CHKDSK to sort out errors on the hard drive. That did the trick.
But this happened again last week. I did the same thing, but this time CHKDSK found a whole host of bad sectors. While Windows would then boot up afterwards, it was rather slow, and a white flag appeared in the bottom left of the screen, telling me that Windows was having problems with the disk. Not good.
Rather than risk any further disk problems, and Christine losing all of her files, I bought a new hard disk to replace the old one. I took the old disk out (thankfully not too difficult a task with her laptop – an Acer), and put the new disk in, then put the old disk in a USB enclosure. Next, I downloaded CloneZilla and burnt it to a blank CD, then booted the computer up using the CD and had it clone the old drive onto the new drive. I had to run it in ‘–rescue’ mode, as when I tried it with the default settings it failed when it hit the bad sectors. Copying the data took around 6 hours, as this was a 640 GB hard drive.
Thankfully, it was a success, and the computer now boots up and runs fine. The new disk is a 5400rpm 640 GB Samsung drive, which is of the same specification as the old disk – a Western Digital Scorpio Blue (which apparently isn’t very good). I did look at a 7200rpm drive, but would have needed to wait longer for it to be delivered – this drive was available immediately.
Having suffered from a major disk failure back in October 2004 (when some irreplaceable data was lost forever), I’m keen not to replicate the experience in a hurry.