We have hosting Windows server 2008 R2 and I am working as admin in small company. The server is hanging and restarting as the hard disk seems to be damaged due to power fluctutaion(though having inverter) as it's showing the below error message on server reboot:

Problem detected with the hard disk
Press any key to continue

It's Seagate 1TB SATA hard disk and it's booting after pressing enter. So it's clear that the hard disk is dying. Yes, it's in warranty but it's fact that warranty won't recover the lincesed windows server 2008 and it's data.

As it's booting now, I backed up required things and I am thinking to clone the entire hard disk. The first thing it striked me is checking on the Seagate site if any tool available for cloning and I found Seagate DiskWizard but not specified it for windows server 2008.

Please anybody could help me giving your best ideas for the below:

  1. Urgently, What's the best way(free of cost) for me to clone in my case with the new same sized hard disk?

  2. It's a one time lincenced and I cannot use the same key again if I reinstall the server. Will the lincense be carried with new disk if cloned? else there is a way to contact Microsoft explaining the problem occurred, to obtain new key for no charge?.

  3. I want to take measure for future. How do I keep two disks in continuous sync? mirrored & raid are the only options converting the disks to dynamic? or is there a best way I could do with no additional charge?.

Any help is greatly appreciated. Thank you!


I started cloning the disk with CloneZilla and it was going proper showing in GUI. But after some time there is no GUI but a black screen with some codes(looks like disk location numbers) going page by page(I have attached the screenshots below captured from my phone).

Do you people think it's actually cloning?. I started in the morning and it's evening now. I left the office now to let it finish what it's trying to do and I'll go & check it tomorrow. Slowly lost hope, don't know what face it's going to show tomorrow. Any ideas? enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here

  • I've never heard of this "one time licensed" thing for Windows Server OSes... have nay details on that? – HopelessN00b Oct 3 '12 at 16:51
  • I too have no much idea of license key, I was just warned saying that the key can be used only for once while installation. – user53864 Oct 3 '12 at 17:04
  • Is it possible they meant it's limited to being used by only one machine at any given time? That's the only thing I can think of that would make sense with what I know about Windows Server licensing... but like I said in my answer, ask whoever you bought they key from; they'd be the ones who'd be able to say for sure (hopefully). – HopelessN00b Oct 3 '12 at 17:07
  • Well, it's hard to say one way or the other with how blurry and cut off those picture are, but yeah, that's the kind of screen output you see during a disk clone. And cloning a 1TB disk, especially one that's dying, could well take many hours. A task I usually perform at the end of the day, so it's got all night to work. – HopelessN00b Oct 6 '12 at 17:15
  1. There are a variety of free pieces of software to facilitate the cloning of a hard drive. CloneZilla is a free one that comes to mind, or you could apply for a trial license for a piece of software like Acronis. As a side note, it's not in your best interest to be picky about cost when you find yourself in these situations. What's more important? Your data, or a few bucks (keep in mind that not having your data prevents you from making bucks). Judging by your tone I'm going to guess you don't make regular backups, so if that's the case you better start. RAID does not constitute a back up so get in the habit of regularly backing up your server(s)

  2. In my experience I have found Microsoft to be generally pretty understanding of situations similar to yours and they will generally provide you with a new key.

  3. If you'd like to keep two disks in continuous sync you'll need to look into a RAID 1 implementation. Do yourself a favor and buy yourself a good RAID card with a battery for best results.

Good luck

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  • I do backup but all are dependent on single hardwares. Yes I'm looking for mirroing(RAID 1 if I'm not wrong) never did and not sure of windows behavior as I've to convert the disk to dynamic first. Long back, when I was using windows, I found os not booting after converting disk from basic to dynamic. – user53864 Oct 3 '12 at 16:21
  • If I were you I would spring for a RAID card and not play with your disk types. We can't make these decisions for you, and although software raid is free, I think most will agree that hardware raid is faster and more reliable. – DKNUCKLES Oct 3 '12 at 16:40
  • updated question! – user53864 Oct 6 '12 at 12:40

As DKNUCKLES pointed out, this is not the time to be worrying about a few bucks. If it increases the risk of losing your data, (or even increases the risk of having to eat the cost of a new Server OS license) it's not saving money, it's costing money. Seriously, consult your local accountant or MBA.

  1. In addition to what DKNUCKLES suggested (a Google search for free disk image software will return dozens of options for you to consider), check the RAID controller on your server. You may be able to create a mirror RAID array (RAID 1) without wiping out the data on the disk. If so, it would be a simple matter of getting a new 1 TB hard drive, installing it, adding it to the array and waiting for the data to replicate over.

    • The easiest solution by far, and then you'd have no problems with worrying about needing to reapply or reacquire an OS license key.

  2. Call Microsoft or the Microsoft reseller you got this key through. I've never heard of such a thing for Microsoft Server OSes, and they're the only people who'll be able to give you a definitive answer anyway.

  3. That would be RAID, yeah. And, RAID is the "free" option for keeping multiple disks in sync. You need hardware to do so, granted, but every server I've seen in the last ~5 years comes with some basic RAID capability for at least do RAID 0 and RAID 1 in hardware. Failing that, you could always install Linux (free) and use mdam (also free) to impliment software RAID 1 at the Linux OS level.

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  • Nicely answered!. Regarding RAID 1, how about your experience, I just heard converting basic to dynamic disk gives problems of os booting. – user53864 Oct 3 '12 at 17:13
  • Why RAID 0? It offers no redundancy of disks – DKNUCKLES Oct 3 '12 at 17:13
  • Haha okay - was just checking! – DKNUCKLES Oct 3 '12 at 17:21
  • updated question! – user53864 Oct 6 '12 at 12:39

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