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(2,048 posts)
Sun Jul 9, 2023, 09:04 PM Jul 2023

A new hard drive, a question about file transfer.

A hard drive monitoring utility I have (Hard Disk Sentinel Pro) has warned me that my data drive is on its last legs. As usual these days I was able to get a larger one at a cheaper price than what I bought the old one at.

I installed and formatted it with little problem. However, every clone or transfer app I've tried has choked. I think the issue might be related to the failing sectors. I've tried fixing the old drive with chkdsk, but it tells me the drive's in use. I try to boot to the command prompt, and I get a message asking me for the admin password, but the one I enter it says it's wrong. Even after I change it...

Anyway, (sorry for taking the long way to get to my question), since it's not my boot drive, is there any reason why I can't just drag and copy the files to the new drive? I guess I should do only a couple of hundred gigs at a time (going from 2TB to 4TB) to keep things from choking. After I'm satisfied the transfer is successful, I'll remove the old hard drive and give its drive letter to the new one.

Any thoughts?

A new hard drive, a question about file transfer. (Original Post) Shipwack Jul 2023 OP
I think a file copy with file explorer BootinUp Jul 2023 #1
Try booting to safe mode. So thats startup settings option BootinUp Jul 2023 #2
When you say boot to command prompt do you mean boot into safe mode? LuvLoogie Jul 2023 #3
Thank you for the reply! Shipwack Jul 2023 #11
If it's not a boot drive, just copy the files anyway you can. Earth-shine Jul 2023 #4
Cloning tools might just clone the possibly damaged files. usonian Jul 2023 #5
I'm a little puzzled but let me ask moniss Jul 2023 #6
Thank you very much for a detailed response. Shipwack Jul 2023 #10
Use a copy utility canetoad Jul 2023 #7
No reason you shouldn't try that ... hopefully it works :) Hugh_Lebowski Jul 2023 #8
Stick 'em both in the computer, boot knoppix from a usb stick, Hermit-The-Prog Jul 2023 #9
An update Shipwack Jul 2023 #12


(45,833 posts)
1. I think a file copy with file explorer
Sun Jul 9, 2023, 09:22 PM
Jul 2023

followed by changing driver letter would get you where you need without any file transfer app. If, you are getting a warning based on SMART data then that is not good. Forget chkdsk and just do the file explorer copy as soon as possible. I would also make sure the computer is not overheating (vents are clear).


(45,833 posts)
2. Try booting to safe mode. So thats startup settings option
Sun Jul 9, 2023, 09:24 PM
Jul 2023

followed by select 4 or 5. Then you can log in with your normal account.


(6,633 posts)
3. When you say boot to command prompt do you mean boot into safe mode?
Sun Jul 9, 2023, 09:26 PM
Jul 2023

Copying over the files is probably the least complicated, though tedious. Do you have any kind of back up of your data?

What cloning

Software were you using? Does the local account you normally log into have Admin rights?


(2,048 posts)
11. Thank you for the reply!
Mon Jul 10, 2023, 08:48 AM
Jul 2023

I’m not booting into safe mode, I believe. I start the computer and press the Windows key + F and it gives me a few menu choices that I can use to get to the "DOS prompt". But when I try to get their, it asks me for the command password.

When I tried CHKDDK from the command prompt, within Windows, it said that the drive was busy.


(3,445 posts)
4. If it's not a boot drive, just copy the files anyway you can.
Sun Jul 9, 2023, 10:16 PM
Jul 2023

Cloning is necessary for boot drives because of hidden "non-moveable" files. Those files must be in the same location on the two cloned drives.

For the purposes of this conversation, data drives contain only "moveable" files that will be laid down in the most efficient manner during the copy.


(8,244 posts)
5. Cloning tools might just clone the possibly damaged files.
Sun Jul 9, 2023, 10:38 PM
Jul 2023

And copy programs (i.e. the built in copy or explorer) may likely hang on a damaged file.

You mentioned data drive, so we are not talking about the OS. Just files.

So, if you want to copy files, here are some suggestions for copy programs that try not to hang on flakey files, or hang for a short time and move on.


I have a corrupted CD from which I want to copy files. The problem is that the default Windows 7 copy utility gets completely stuck when it encounters a corrupted sector of the CD. Can you recommend utilities with an option to manually skip certain files on-the-fly, or with option to specify a time out for every file copy?

Looks like the answers might meet your needs.



(2,860 posts)
6. I'm a little puzzled but let me ask
Sun Jul 9, 2023, 10:43 PM
Jul 2023

a couple of questions. Are you transferring from one manufacturer to another? They may be able to guide you if so. Are we talking about both drives being of the same type i.e. disk/solid state etc.? When I converted to solid state the file transfer bugged out on me several times and took hours to complete even though it was not a big amount stored on the old drive. I was advised by a tech to use the drive transfer program recommended by the manufacturer of the new drive and it did help a little but the old drive had less than 700GB on it and it still took hours for it to transfer but at least it did complete it finally. I suppose you could try drag and drop but at the size of data you are referencing that seems like it could be a long time too. Could you upload the old drive to a cloud backup and then download to your new drive? Also are you able to open these old files yet on the old drive? If so then it doesn't seem to me that the sectors would be so bad as to be the issue. Are you able to take the old drive back to a restore point before you had used any of the cloning apps? You could have a remnant of one or more giving you a problem for some reason. Remember that with much of this crap even when it's uninstalled all of it may never completely leave. I've found old remnants of software in the oddest of places even years later.

As far as your system now asking for an admin password that seems foreign to you I would ask if you at any time had your computer at the tech shop for resolution of problems or upgrades? A few years back I had a somewhat similar thing happen where I was doing something requiring an admin password and mine failed. A few months prior I had a tech do some troubleshooting/upgrades/repairs and in doing so it turns out that he had used a new password but did not tell me. So when the time came the one I thought would work did not. The chk disk saying the drive is in use may be because of the transfer you already started is still trying to complete in the background or you may have your system using some sort of background disk monitor that is interfering. I know some techs recommend disabling any utilities/anti-virus etc. before making drive transfers.

Just some thoughts about the problems you're having. It's always supposed to work and it does until it doesn't.


(2,048 posts)
10. Thank you very much for a detailed response.
Mon Jul 10, 2023, 08:42 AM
Jul 2023

The drives are both hard disk drives from Western Digital (not planned, just happened that way).

Cloud backup might be faster, but I don’t think any of my plans are good for storing a couple of terabytes…

No problem opening up old files or programs, but I haven’t done an exhaustive check.

No restore point has ever been made because it’s a data drive (not my boot drive) that has files and most of my programs on it. I do have my most important files backed up elsewhere, though.

Never ever have taken the computer in for service.

Again, thank you for thinking about this and the advice!


(16,690 posts)
7. Use a copy utility
Sun Jul 9, 2023, 10:58 PM
Jul 2023

It's absolutely rock solid. Also, add "copy To" and "move to" commands to your context menu.


If you hunt around the Windows sites, you may find ready-to-go registry keys.


(33,643 posts)
8. No reason you shouldn't try that ... hopefully it works :)
Sun Jul 9, 2023, 11:01 PM
Jul 2023

Frankly if I had stuff on that drive I really cared about, and no backup, I'd be freaking out a bit.

Generally in my experience by the time SMART starts telling you 'you're fucked' ... you're already fucked. Hope I'm wrong in your case.

But yeah sounds like you have few other options if no cloning software will work. I'd say run a sector check with chkdsk /r but you never know if that might not make it worse if it's mechanically failing.

Get as much as you CAN with file transfer, and then go back and try chkdsk /r and if you're lucky you'll be able to get the files you couldn't in the first go-round is my advice.

Good luck!


(30,688 posts)
9. Stick 'em both in the computer, boot knoppix from a usb stick,
Mon Jul 10, 2023, 05:29 AM
Jul 2023

Assuming each drive is partitioned as a single large partition;
old drive as sda1, new drive as sdb1

knoppix@Microknoppix:~$ mount /media/sda1
knoppix@Microknoppix:~$ mount /media/sdb1
knoppix@Microknoppix:~$ rsync -av /media/sda1/ /media/sdb1
knoppix@Microknoppix:~$ umount /media/sdb1 && umount /media/sda1
knoppix@Microknoppix:~$ shutdown -h now

Put new one in whatever computer and use it.

If, on the other hand, you're running MS Windows, it could be very deliberately very complicated.


(2,048 posts)
12. An update
Sat Jul 15, 2023, 03:43 PM
Jul 2023

I know that no one is losing sleep over this, but I thought I'd give an update.

I manually copied the directories a few at a time. Some choked and I had to switch to transferring files in groups, and I found the reason for the unsuccessful transfer was that a few files were written on bad sectors and could be neither read or copied. I changed settings to "ignore and continue" and the rest went off without a hitch.

I compared the directories with the very useful (and free!) app "WinMerge" to verify that nothing was forgotten. The only files not transferred were the corrupted ones, but they were either files that were unimportant or ones I had back-ups for.

I changed the drive letters around (which was a pain because windows hides the settings for this), and rebooted.

All went well, programs that were moved still worked. The next day my old drive failed hard and had to be removed from the computer. I had finished just in time.

Many thanks to everyone. Even if I didn't reply to your input it was read and appreciated.

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