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My server fails to boot. The drive is not found at boot. It's a Server 2008 R2 domain controller, there is no secondary domain controller. The hard drive was not in a RAID configuration. It is a single HDD. I got it to show up on a Windows 7 Ultimate x64 desktop once and then a second time but only after many, many retries. There is some audible clicking at initial power up but once it gets running it's fine.

Is there any way to do a USB to USB clone of a hard drive?

I tried Drive Image XML but found the two new drives I got were marginally smaller (both advertised 500GB... but not surprised by this) and also when copying to a larger drive I get some errors.

Or if I can see the data I really just care about the active directory, users, and group policy. I could live without dns and dhcp and any other things. Those will be less of a headache to rebuild.

Any suggestions on how to clone the drive? I do not want to unlplug the drive or turn off the drive again.

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Do you have backups? Do you have an identical drive onto which you can clone the data? – MikeyB Sep 27 '11 at 21:01
this was just a test enviro correct? if not then I hope this is not your day job. – tony roth Sep 27 '11 at 22:11
I am not responsable for what happened. I am here to fix it. I am in such shock I turned to community for help and pity.... – Campo Sep 27 '11 at 22:37
Grab a linux live CD (Ubuntu would be good) and clone the disk that way. Then, find a nearby computer shop who know what they are doing and get them in for help. This is not a simple problem to fix. – MikeyB Sep 27 '11 at 23:04
get the ntds.dit file if you can, if you can get that it will help a lot in the recovery process, unless of course you can get the thing to boot. – tony roth Sep 27 '11 at 23:38

You're saying you have a drive that is failing, the drive was in your domain controller, and you had no other controllers? And your server had one drive?


Um...well...if you're trying to recover data and the drive is actually failing you might want to score some kind of backup software first and run a backup at the file level; cloning the drive may be more problematic, since sector by sector copies can fail if the sector isn't readable. File copies mean you may have a marginally better chance of it restoring.

Last time I had a system that had a bad sector but could be mostly read I was able to boot from a Linux RIP (rescue-is-possible) disc, mount a network share, and use ntfsclone to copy the contents to an image, then restore it to another drive. Google for the man page (or for a tutorial page) for the usage in your situation.

You could also try dd-rescue to try pulling data off the drive to a share.

All of this assumes the drive won't give errors in data, flipped bits, corruption by cosmic forces, etc. as you're trying to pull the information. You may very well end up having to rebuild from scratch, and build a backup server AND get a second domain controller in there (there's really not anything like a backup domain controller and primary domain controller for Active Directory) If this is a business server, why was there only one? Without RAID? Or a tape/drive backup?...

You might ... might ... have some luck with Macrium Reflect, but for a full restore you have to know whether their rescue boot disc is compatible with your system or you'll end up with an image file of your drive that can be mounted but not restored to your boot drive.

Linux dd command can create a clone sector by sector (again depending on if the drive works) but if there are bad sectors, you'll get bad data off the sectors. Plus restoring would have to be done to an exact drive copy; slight differences in sector size, etc. can cause boot errors.

You might find one of the utilities on the Ultimate Boot CD will work. There are several drive copy utilities on it among other handy utilities. In some cases I've managed to clone disks using Partimage then use Testdisk to fix the cloned system, but testdisk can take some learning to get the hang of if you're unfamiliar with some of the settings and manipulating partitions. Sometimes booting the clone with a Windows boot disc and having it do a bootup repair can also solve the problem. Sometimes.

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All this involves a reboot or moving the drive to another machine... any way to grab the active directory data and group policy info? put that on a newly built server..? – Campo Sep 27 '11 at 22:38
Not...really. Unless your name is Angus MacGuyver. – Bart Silverstrim Sep 27 '11 at 22:52
Rebooting probably isn't a problem since you've got it hooked up via USB. – MikeyB Sep 27 '11 at 23:00

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