Norton Ghost disk clone freezes at blue screen

So my Vista 64 drive was filling up with tons of stuff so it was time to upgrade it.  I had a nice 640GB Western Digital drive that wasn’t getting any serious use and should be faster than the cheap Hitachi that came with my computer.  I had always used Norton Ghost in the past when doing drive clones so I looked at it first.  The price is a staggering $70 from the Symantec site.  I can’t understand why on earth disk cloning software is so expensive.  However, after trying several of the free solutions I came back to Norton Ghost and ponied up the cash.  I figured I may be able to use some of the advanced features that presumably justify the gigantic price tag.

In any case I simply followed the instructions in the help documentation which amounted to:

1. formatting the new drive

2. selecting the source and destination

3. configured my options and let it rip

I let it run last night and it was ready to go this morning.  I popped out the old drive and put in the new one.  After firing it up I was pleasantly greeted with the Windows login screen.  Success!  Or so I thought.  After logging in… well it didn’t do anything. No desktop, just a blue screen.  So I tried for a reboot… no luck.  CTRL-ALT-DELETE into Task Manager revealed that the system was running and that there didn’t appear to be any tasks that were hanging up… 

Well I have a metric ton of stuff to do today so I figured I would give Google a try to see if I could find any information on this one (before I threw back in my old drive).  I was about to give up when I finally found some good directions.

1. Boot into your new Vista install in safe mode (F8 while booting gives you the option to do this) and wait for the preparing your desktop message to go. you should have a blank safe mode desktop.

2. Hit Ctrl Alt Delete and open task manager. then go to file, new task and run regedit.

3. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\MountedDevices and you will see entries like this \DosDevices\C. These are your hard drives in your system all you need to do is cut and paste the values for the drive letter of your new drive (the letter it had when you put the ghost image on it) to the drive letter entry for your original vista install.

ie my vsta partition is c: and my new drive was I: when I copied the partition so I just copied the vales for the I drive and over wrote the ones for c:

4. Delete the whole key for the drive letter that the new image is on in my case I deleted the dosdevices\I:

So what you have basically done is told the vista install to stop thinking it is drive letter I: (or whatever it is for you) and start thinking it is C: like it should be,

5. Reboot and should work like a charm.

Now this may not be that obvious when you read it.  But if you can get into where you are looking at the registry keys then you are nearly set.  You basically want to take the registry value from the NEW drive (in my case this was K) by double-clicking the entry and copying the contents.   Then you need to go edit the record for the C drive (or whatever your primary boot drive was previously) and PASTE in the value from the NEW drive.  Then DELETE the value completely for the new drive (in my case the record for K).  Reboot and things should be back to normal.

Disclaimer: mucking around in the registry is serious business and you can screw something up.  Good thing is this should be your backup drive so if you goof things too badly it should be a fresh clone away from being fixed again.  Anyhow, hopefully this post will save some poor soul some grief.

I for one am disappointed that Symantec didn’t bother to make their software work right out of the box for $70 and sure as hell don’t have much documentation for it.  Thanks to the kind soul on the forums who posted this walk through.  Karma is coming your way bud.


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