[SOLVED] Tried to clone System Reserved Partition, deleted original, all boot repairing fails (tried EVERYTHING)

Jan 5, 2022
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Because I've been booting my PC the old-school way for the past 3 years, I decided to convert my system drives to the GPT-format and prepare everything for Windows 11. Because of this, a number of other processes required me to change a few things first, including the fact that I needed to have the System Reserved Partition for booting on the Windows drive (C: ) - this was not the case it was on another SSD drive (E: ). I did the following:
  • I used AOMEI's software to clone the partition from E: to C:
  • I tested this by booting from C: in the BIOS. This worked, so I deleted the partition on E:
  • My PC failed to boot the next time and ever since I've been stuck with a dead ghost.
I made an official Windows backup image, but stored it on an external drive where I eventually installed the Windows Media Creation tool later, so it got lost in the formatting process (which I didn't know about was a thing, otherwise I would have had it stored elsewhere). I backed-up all my Windows files seperatly with Macrium in an .emback file and verified it manually to make sure I still had my C: drive files if things went south even more.

With this in place, I tried ALL of the following:
  1. WMC: Tried Windows Repair - doesn't work
  2. WMC: Tried CMD for a number of commands to rebuild the boot files with bootrec, returned errors on bootrec /RebuildBCD
  3. WMC: Tried setting to a recovery point, but this spits out an error and will simply not work
  4. AOMEI's Assistant Partition cannot be opened on my working laptop so couldn't use it
  5. Macrium Reflect: Used 'Fix Windows Boot Problems' and returns 1 error Updating Partition Boot Sector (see image: View: https://imgur.com/ILQLDQS )
  6. EaseUS: RebuildMBR didn't work or fixed any problems whatsoever
  7. EasyBCD: Didn't help (I unfortunately don't even remember what I tried here, but it evidently didn't work)
  8. EmergencyBootKit: Used their precise guides to fix all boot problems, still doesn't boot.
So yea, after ALL this I don't know what to do. Could someone revive my PC? I think, from Macrium's perspective, that it looks like all my drives are intact, including the C: Windows drive, but simpy that SOMETHING is preventing the boot partitions from being properly restored or functioning as supposed to. I'm also confused with the UEFI and Legacy BIOS stuff, but I've come to understand one cannot work with the other (GPT - MBR) and I believe my Windows drive AND the other SSD were both MBR, meaning my MOBO boots in Legacy BIOS still even though it supports both, as can be evidenced by the BIOS menu.




What information do you guys need, what is left for my PC? A complete Windows reset would be a nightmare, so I hope this is not going to be required. I'm ready to follow along any instructions, and can give the required information from CMD commands for further information on partition/volumes/details (pretty much all the kind of terms I've come across in the past two days).
 
Done! Here's the image:
Execute following:
diskpart
list disk
select disk 0
(select 250GB disk)​
select partition 2
(select 550MB partition)​
active
exit
bcdboot e:\windows /s c:
bootsect /nt60 c: /force

There should be no errors. If there are errors, then show screenshot.

After this - go into BIOS and set 250GB drive as first in boot priority settings.
Also - disable fast boot. It appears to be enabled in your previous screenshots.
 
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Jan 5, 2022
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Please show us a screencap of your Disk Management window.
How and where can I do that? Windows doesn't boot past the BIOS and either returns Error 0xC000000F (booting from E: where the original is/was) or Error 0xC0000034 (booting from C: where the clone is/was). The Macrium image at the bottom of the OP shows a list of the disks I have installed.
 

USAFRet

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How and where can I do that? Windows doesn't boot past the BIOS and either returns Error 0xC000000F (booting from E: where the original is/was) or Error 0xC0000034 (booting from C: where the clone is/was). The Macrium image at the bottom of the OP shows a list of the disks I have installed.
Return the system back to original working config.
Does it boot up?
 
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Jan 5, 2022
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Return the system back to original working config.
I have no clue how to do this. The original working configuration was when the system reserved partition was on the 500gb SSD and Windows drive on the 256gb SSD. I cannot in any way revert to that config because I have no official Windows image backup since it got lost due to the reformatting of Windows Media Creation tool...
Also, you can't clone from an MBR Source directly to a GPT Destination drive. The Source must be GPT first.
I keep seeing these things. I cannot make up the difference anymore. In my BIOS there is CSM support and it's enabled, and then there are 4 more parameters, two of which say UEFI etc. I know both those SSD's are MBR format for sure.

Just to clarify: While I'm not 100% inept in computer language and terminology, it's definitly my first steps into the startup terminology of the boot/bios/mbr/gpt etc... I mean to say that I will need very straightforward and clear instruction on how to do what, because at this point it's, as they say, above my paygrade to understand. I know for 100% sure that nothing I tried was able to boot to windows AT ALL.

EDIT: All the drives, including the partitions for system reserve etc... are all NTFS and from MBR drives, so from what i can understand, no 'source' of anything is most like GPT to begin with...
 

USAFRet

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I have no clue how to do this. The original working configuration was when the system reserved partition was on the 500gb SSD and Windows drive on the 256gb SSD. I cannot in any way revert to that config because I have no official Windows image backup since it got lost due to the reformatting of Windows Media Creation tool...
Disk 5 was/is the original C drive?
Power off.
Physically disconnect all drives except those which are needed to boot up.
Disk 5, the 250GB
 
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Physically disconnect all drives except those which are needed to boot up.
Disk 5, the 250GB
Alright I'll do that. Do I need to simply disconnect them by removing the cables attached to them? Or in the case of the third SSD literally FROM the mobo? I'll try to do first with just leaving the 256gb and 500gb Windows as only those two were ever involved in the startup process.
 

USAFRet

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Alright I'll do that. Do I need to simply disconnect them by removing the cables attached to them? Or in the case of the third SSD literally FROM the mobo? I'll try to do first with just leaving the 256gb and 500gb Windows as only those two were ever involved in the startup process.
If any of them are M.2, physically remove.
The other SATA drives, just unplug the cables.
 
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If any of them are M.2, physically remove.
The other SATA drives, just unplug the cables.
Ok, thanks for the clear instructions! We're getting a bit closer to what's actually happening I suppose. Right now ONLY the 256gb and 500gb SSD are still physically attached. I first booted through the 500gb one (where the very original Sytem Reserved Partition was before I cloned and deleted it) and gave me the usual this:



Windows drive gave me this, ironically, when Windows is actually installed there (but I suppose it has 0 infomation on boot files or something):



Earlier, booting from the windows drive would give me a blue screen (saying Boot BCD file was missing or incorrect). This probably brings us closer to the actual problem.
 

USAFRet

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So it fails to boot up?

Pretty sure what happened was...
You had both of those drives connected when you did the original OS install.
The boot partition resided on the 500GB, and Windows on the 250GB. Nothing you did or chose, it just does that.
Then, during the clone operation, you deleted that boot partition from the 500GB.

Now, with just those 2 drives connected, no boot.
Is this correct?
 
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Earlier, booting from the windows drive would give me a blue screen (saying Boot BCD file was missing or incorrect). This probably brings us closer to the actual problem.
Please boot from windows installation media into command prompt,
execute following commands and show command output.
Have only windows OS drive connected. Physically disconnect all the other drives.
diskpart
list disk
select disk 0
list partition
list volume

You will have to fix or recreate bootloader partition manually.
 
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So it fails to boot up?

Pretty sure what happened was...
You had both of those drives connected when you did the original OS install.
The boot partition resided on the 500GB, and Windows on the 250GB. Nothing you did or chose, it just does that.
Then, during the clone operation, you deleted that boot partition from the 500GB.

Now, with just those 2 drives connected, no boot.
Is this correct?
Yes. I'm astounded by the accuracy by which you described what I did. Both those drives were indeed connected back when I installed the OS (in fact, three drives were, but two were SSD and the third HDD). My goal was to clone that partition that was on the 500gb one to the 256gb Windows drive and, after a succesful boot (which it did yesterday) go ahead and just delete the one on the 500gb and then reboot from SSD by changing the boot option 1 to the 256gb SSD. And, here we are because of it.

It still fails to boot on both drives, yes.
 
Jan 5, 2022
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Please boot from windows installation media into command prompt,
execute following commands and show command output.
Have only windows OS drive connected. Physically disconnect all the other drives.
diskpart
list disk
select disk 0
list partition
list volume

You will have to fix or recreate bootloader partition manually.
Hey! I've seen you on some threads whilst browsing!!! Glad to see you are willing to help as well :openmouth: ok, I'll go ahead and try to do that. So, just to be clear, the commands you listed, in numerous guides I attempted this method in one way or another, but for some reason didn't work out. Hopefully this time, it'll work with having all the disks detached. And, also, I guess the fix boot repair programs I mentioned above wouldn't ever have worked as well I suppose?

Anyways, I'll get to it and post asap.
 
Done! Here's the image:
Execute following:
diskpart
list disk
select disk 0
(select 250GB disk)​
select partition 2
(select 550MB partition)​
active
exit
bcdboot e:\windows /s c:
bootsect /nt60 c: /force

There should be no errors. If there are errors, then show screenshot.

After this - go into BIOS and set 250GB drive as first in boot priority settings.
Also - disable fast boot. It appears to be enabled in your previous screenshots.
 
Reactions: Joris Ceoen
Jan 5, 2022
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There should be no errors. If there are errors, then show screenshot.

After this - go into BIOS and set 250GB drive as first in boot priority settings.
Also - disable fast boot. It appears to be enabled in your previous screenshots.
I did everything you asked step-by-step, and was actually hopeful because it seemed like everything was succesful (see image below):


To my horror, however, I still get this:


EDIT: I disabled fast-boot as well. Do you need a screenshot of my BIOS settings again?
 
Jan 5, 2022
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Execute following:
diskpart
list disk
select disk 0
(select 250GB disk)​
select partition 2
(select 550MB partition)​
active
exit
bcdboot e:\windows /s c:
bootsect /nt60 c: /force

There should be no errors. If there are errors, then show screenshot.

After this - go into BIOS and set 250GB drive as first in boot priority settings.
Also - disable fast boot. It appears to be enabled in your previous screenshots.
Waaaaaaaaiiiiiiit! This is extremely confusing, but I had a hinge something was off. During the booting process to select Windows Media Creation tool, I kept selecting the option that started the UEFI Windows Boot as opposed to just using the SECONDARY entry in the boot override list which is JUST the hard drive without the UEFI in front. I redid exactly as you had listed, and it FINALLY WORKED!!

Jesus Christ Windows... can you make it any more complicated?

I have a few questions now, since I'm about to put back my other hard drives:
  • Will it cause problems that the 500gb SSD still has some form of 550mb reserved partition as well? If so, how do I fix that?
  • What will I need to do now in order to properly convert my Windows C: drive to GPT for preparation of Windows 11 without once again screwing up my PC? (I will immediatly do an image backup right now anyway)
  • Are there other steps to be taken first now?
Also I'm really confused in my BIOS settings what it is exactly that I need to put OFF or ON (cause there is Fast Boot as you said, and one of the reasons why I started this whole stuff is because I felt my PC took like 30 seconds to load with a superfast SSD when a modern laptop starts in like 5 seconds instead). And also, there is this Legacy CSM support with a bunch of options, and I read it has to do with the old BIOS stuff and I'd prefer to be updated to the latest standard as of now.

A lot of questions, half of which are no longer part of this thread, I know. Should I create a seperate thread for this?

Thanks a lot!!!!!!!!! I'm eternally grateful for the both of you :openmouth::openmouth::openmouth:
 
  • Will it cause problems that the 500gb SSD still has some form of 550mb reserved partition as well? If so, how do I fix that?
Show screenshot from Disk Management. You may need to delete some unnecessary partitions.
  • What will I need to do now in order to properly convert my Windows C: drive to GPT for preparation of Windows 11 without once again screwing up my PC? (I will immediatly do an image backup right now anyway)
Use mbr2gpt utility to convert from MBR to GPT partition scheme.
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/deployment/mbr-to-gpt
 
Jan 5, 2022
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Show screenshot from Disk Management. You may need to delete some unnecessary partitions.
Ok, I'll do that. To be clear, I:
  1. Power OFF PC
  2. Reattach all drives
  3. Boot up Windows (hopefully)
  4. Open disk manager, and put screenshot
Correct?

Use mbr2gpt utility to convert from MBR to GPT partition scheme.
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/deployment/mbr-to-gpt
Ok, sounds like a good plan. I'll look into this after I've made sure all is good. A backup of C: has also been made now, just in casa...
 

USAFRet

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And when you finally get to a good cloning point, this
(NOTE: Delete NOTHING, until it is proven working on the new drive by itself)

-----------------------------
Specific steps for a successful clone operation:
-----------------------------
Verify the actual used space on the current drive is significantly below the size of the new SSD
Download and install Macrium Reflect (or Samsung Data Migration, if a Samsung SSD)
If you are cloning from a SATA drive to PCIe/NVMe, install the relevant driver for this new NVMe/PCIe drive.
Power off
Disconnect ALL drives except the current C and the new SSD
Power up
Run the Macrium Reflect (or Samsung Data Migration)
Select ALL the partitions on the existing C drive

If you are going from a smaller drive to a larger, by default, the target partition size will be the same as the Source. You probably don't want that
You can manipulate the size of the partitions on the target (larger)drive
Click on "Cloned Partition Properties", and you can specifiy the resulting partition size, to even include the whole thing

Click the 'Clone' button
Wait until it is done
When it finishes, power off
Disconnect ALL drives except for the new SSD. This is not optional.
This is to allow the system to try to boot from ONLY the SSD
Swap the SATA cables around so that the new drive is connected to the same SATA port as the old drive
Power up, and verify the BIOS boot order
If good, continue the power up

It should boot from the new drive, just like the old drive.
Maybe reboot a time or two, just to make sure.

If it works, and it should, all is good.

Later, reconnect the old drive and wipe all partitions on it.
This will probably require the commandline diskpart function, and the clean command.

Ask questions if anything is unclear.
-----------------------------
 
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Specific steps for a successful clone operation:
Oh my god, that's going to be incredibly useful soon enough! I've always regretted choosing such a small-size SSD three years ago, but unfortunately they were still very expensive then. The goal for now was to only clone the boot partition to have it on the C: drive and not move all of C: to a new drive. Though, now I will keep your post bookmarked for when I get to that point 🙏
You have to run 3 times around your house first. :)

Yes, correct.
Ahaha, I think it worked. After having ran 3 times around, it looked like it was all ready to boot 🤣 in fact, I'm finally typing from PC again (god bless optical mouse). Here's the list:

NOTE: I just realised my E: drive has now gotten the D: letter and the E: portion is where the old System Reserved Partition used to be (see first row at 'Schijf 0')... This is most likely problematic because two or three programs reference to this drive...

 

USAFRet

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Oh my god, that's going to be incredibly useful soon enough! I've always regretted choosing such a small-size SSD three years ago, but unfortunately they were still very expensive then. The goal for now was to only clone the boot partition to have it on the C: drive and not move all of C: to a new drive. Though, now I will keep your post bookmarked for when I get to that point 🙏
We all started out with drives that are TooSmall. I know I did.


NOTE: I just realised my E: drive has now gotten the D: letter and the E: portion is where the old System Reserved Partition used to be (see first row at 'Schijf 0')... This is most likely problematic because two or three programs reference to this drive...
You can change the drive letters in Disk Management.
Remove the E letter from that System Reserved partition, and change the D to E.
 
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