When a hard drive fails, there are many times that I've wanted to clone the data from the hard drive to a new drive to recover. Even if the hard drive did not fail to the point of causing hardware problems, it still could contain bad sectors that might cause issues when moving data from it to a new hard drive.

There are a few great products that I rely on to clone a hard drive. I love Acronis True Image because its fast and efficient and seems to do the job most of the time. However,  Acronis will fail to clone a drive when it encounters bad sectors. Generally it will just stop completely. So, we have to look at other options. Norton Ghost seems to have similar issues with bad sectors, as well as Paragon Drive Backup and even Macrium Reflect has some issues.



The only drive cloning software that has ALWAYS worked when presented with bad sectors is an open source program called CloneZilla.The CloneZilla Live version allows you to create a bootable CD that you can boot the computer that has the old hard drive and the new hard drive. Clonezilla will then make an exact duplicate of the old hard drive to the new hard drive. Afterwards, you can detach the old drive and boot the computer.

Whenever I have an issue where I need to clone a drive containing bad sectors, I rely on CloneZilla to do the job.

For more step by step examples of how to use CloneZilla and screenshots of the program, please refer to the CloneZilla Guide.

One of the common questions I get is "Will Cloning Software copy the bad sectors to the other drive?"

Because a bad sector is physically a bad spot on the hard drive that causes the computer to not be able to read or save data to that spot, there is no way to copy the bad spot to another drive. Only the data that can be read and accessed from the old hard drive will be able to be copied to the new drive. Physical errors on an old drive cannot be transferred to the new drive.

Written by Mark Hasting





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