About the Self-Bootability
The trait that sets XXCLONE apart from other backup tools is that it
makes the Target volume Self-bootable without the need for
a restore. But, the design of XXCLONE operations is such that
the very first attempt in cloning the system volume may not always
yield a self-bootable volume.
In our estimation,as much as 50% of the cloned volume may require
additional steps after the first round of volume cloning.
However, we also estimate that over 90% of users will eventually succeed
in making the cloned volume self-bootable.
We strongly recommend testing the Target volume's self-bootability at least once if you count on such
Most of the initial difficulties are due to XXCLONE's conservative design.
Much of our trepidation comes from the fact that every Windows system
is different. For example, even though the three
boot control items should be
initialized on the great majority of systems, there are cases where
some of the data should be kept unchanged. This is why you should
not panic even if you have difficulties in booting using the cloned
volume after your first XXCLONE operation.
In the discussion of bootability, it should be pointed out that there are
two types of boot methods in bringing a system up to the Windows
Windows does not allow the system volume to reside in an external disk
(by Microsoft's deliberate design). Therefore, if your computer
can accommodate only one internal disk (as with most laptop computers),
your options in testing are limited. On the other hand, if
you can attach the cloned (Target) volume as an additional internal disk
without removing the original (Source) volume, you should connect
the disk directly to the computer as an internal disk even if you
are currently accessing the Target volume as an external (USB) disk
(by removing the bare disk from the enclosure).
In this section, various testing strategies will be explained in the
order of the probability of success. Therefore, you should try
the techniques below in the order they are presented. Skip the
procedures that do not apply to you.
Making the Target Self-Bootable
Regardless of which procedures you use in the course of making
the Target volume self-bootable, the three essential data items
on the volume that relate to the self-bootability must be set
- MBR (both the IPL and Active Partition Marker)
- Boot Sector
The following tool allows you to initialize them.
You may perform this operation without a change in the disk
configuration including a Target volume that resides in
an external disk.
If you have not done so, you must initialize them before you
attempt any of the boot tests. After the procedure,
you should proceed to the methods below.
If you cannot connect two disks to the computer internally
(i.e., without using an external enclosure), and you do not have
a floppy disk drive (FDD), then, you have no luxury of testing
in any other way. You need to physically remove the
current (Source) disk and plug in the cloned (Target) disk.
If your computer is equipped with an FDD (internal or external),
then, even if you can attach only one computer, the QBD method
described below (in the Aided‑Boot is a worthwhile
technique to try first.
If your computer can accommodate both the Source and the Target
volumes as internal disks, then, you should first try the
Aided‑Boot methods first because they are simpler.
This method requires a disk configuration (through the BIOS
settings) that designates the disk that contains the Target volume
as the first disk drive in the boot device list in the BIOS.
The BIOS Settings page
covers the topic.
After a reboot using the cloned (Target) volume, if everything
goes successfully, you should find XXCLONE with a congratulatory
message. At that time, we suggest you run
the Disk Management utility to verify drive-letter
assignment in the cloned environment. You should observe
the Alternative Wallpaper
if you enabled the option. When you verify the successful
self-boot capability, you are done with the test and you may
return to the original disk configuration.
If your computer does not reach the familiar Windows environment,
and if you have not gone through the Aided-Boot methods,
then, you should run the tests methodically.
On the other hand, if you have already verified the bootability
of the cloned (Target) volume using the Aided-Boot methods
described below, then consult the
Boot Errors Messages
In contrast to the "Self‑Boot", we coined the word,
"Aided‑Boot" (for lack of better words) to explain the
case where in a boot menu, you select a volume that is
different from initial boot volume that generates the
particular boot menu.
When a volume contains the properly initialized essential
directories (typically, with
\Documents and Settings) with valid
system registry files inside, you should be able to use the
volume to bring up the system into the Windows environment
(i.e., the volume is bootable).
A Target volume that has been duplicated from the current system
volume (the Source) using any of XXCLONE's three backup methods
/backup3) is such a volume that should succeed in
an aided-boot even if it fails in a self-boot.
When the Target volume fails in a self-boot, the next step we
suggest is to test the cloned volume for an aided-bootability.
This is because if a volume is not capable of aided-booting,
then, it cannot be self-bootable.
Note that if the disk that contains the Target volume is not
connected to your computer internally (i.e., not an external
USB-disk), you cannot use either of the Aided-Boot methods.
If the cloned (Target) volume resides in the same disk as the
system (Source) volume, then, you can use either of the two
XXCLONE provides two schemes in the Aided-Boot method to test
a cloned volume.
- Cool Tools > Add Test Boot
This method uses the existing boot mechanism of the
current system disk. By adding a new entry in
the boot menu, it enables you to select the cloned
volume to become the system volume for testing.
- Cool Tools > Make QBD
This method creates a Quick Boot Diskette which
provides an entry in the boot menu that enables you
to test the bootability of the cloned volume.
The advantage of the Add Test Boot method is
its simplicity. It does not require a floppy disk drive
which many computers do not have.
There are a few notable advantages with the Make QBD
method. (1) The QBD method does not require any change
in the current boot mechanism. For example, when you
manually edit the working BOOT.INI file in the current system
volume, a simple mistake may render your system unbootable.
(2) In case of trouble, you may quickly modify the BOOT.INI
file in the diskette using another Windows computer.
(3) The QBD you create for the Aided-Boot to test the cloned
volume will become a handy tool to boot into the system volume
if and when you encounter a difficulty in booting the system.
If you still fail to make the target volume bootable in any of
the Aided-Boot methods, you should re-examine the contents in
the BOOT.INI file, more specifically, the disk number setting
that is most likely cause of difficulties. The
About the BOOT.INI File
page provides the details.
Once you succeed in an Aided-Boot with the cloned volume,
you are ready to use the Self-Boot method (See Above)
to achieve the ultimate goal of XXCLONE ---- the
Aside from the how-to instructions presented here, seeing the full
picture of the Windows boot sequence
should be helpful to understand the art of making a cloned volume