Windows 7 Not Genuine After Disk Clone

A while back, I helped a user easily clone his 320GB Windows 7 system to a 1TB hard drive using Symantec’s BESR 2010. Everything went smoothly except for one big issue that I didn’t find out until now. After the cloning process, Windows 7 was still using the old drive (320GB) as the boot device. While my C: in Computer showed it as using my 1TB drive, I couldn’t detach the old hard drive from the system because it was required to boot the system. Only now when the same user wants to upgrade his hard drive again (to 2TB) did I notice the issue. Basically, disconnecting the old hard drive from the system did allow me to boot from the new 1TB drive after some tweaking but I get the dreaded light blue screen telling me that my copy of Windows 7 is not genuine. I can’t do anything at all as nothing loads up. After some digging around, I noticed that many users had the exact same problem after cloning their Windows 7 system to a larger hard drive. It didn’t matter what method/software they used for the cloning process. The only way to continue using their system was to leave both drives attached to the system, which defeats the purpose of upgrading to a bigger hard drive as most users want to either sell the old hard drive after the upgrade or use it as a secondary storage unit.

As for my situation, it didn’t take me long to realize that the heart of the problem lies in the misconfiguration of the drive letters. When both hard drives were attached and the system was working, the boot drive (old) was assigned the letter G while my 1TB (new) drive was assigned C. Obviously your letter mappings may be different from mine. If I remove the old drive and booted from the 1TB drive, I found out that the drive would now be assigned the letter G. I found this out by opening a command prompt within Task Manager by pressing Ctrl+Shift+Esc while in the Windows Not Genuine screen. The problem here is that I can’t just switch the letters because Windows doesn’t allow you to do that to the drive with Windows installed on, which in this case is G. Normally, you could head over to Disk Management and assign a different drive letter to a drive/volume with the exception I mentioned above. Therefore, I was in a dilemma. In order to clone the drive again to the 2TB, I needed to be able to detach the old drive and solely boot off of the new drive. But this wasn’t possible since Windows 7 keeps telling me that it was not genuine every time! Reformatting is not a good solution as the user had already saved a ton of files to the 1TB drive and so it would be a huge waste of time if we had to back every piece of data up again and reinstall the operating system from scratch directly on the 1TB hard drive. Therefore, I had to find a solution to allow me to boot directly off of the 1TB drive without relying on the old drive.

You may be wondering why the pictures in the screen shots don’t match the drive configurations I mentioned above. This is because I am documenting this process on my second attempt to clone his 1TB to a new 2TB drive. Therefore, you can think of the 1TB drive in the picture as being the 320GB and the 2TB as being the 1TB drive. Hope that makes sense. No matter the case though, the problem that crops up is the same: I cannot detach the old drive and boot solely off of the new drive without experiencing the Windows not genuine message. After a little digging, I’m reading that some users believe that this problem could have been avoided if after directly cloning the drive, we boot off of the new drive only when the old one has been disconnected. Once you boot even once with both drives connected, you will/might encounter the not genuine message and disconnecting the old drive then will not work. Of course, if you are reading this article, it’s probably a little too late for that! This message serves nothing more than a reminder for the next time you clone a hard drive.

The Solution

UPDATE: 09/18/12 – Thanks to user Boonta’s comment, we now have a reasoning as to why this problem occurred in the first place. The reason stems from cloning to a drive that has already been allocated with a partition and assigned an existing drive letter, hence the drive letter mix up afterwards. The solution is to then delete any partition on the destination disk and have all its space unallocated. When cloning, simply choose the unallocated disk as the destination but whatever you do, DO NOT assign a drive letter to this disk or partition. Once the clone process has completed, you can then safely remove the old drive and boot directly from the clone. If a problem still occurs, use either a Windows install disc or repair disc to perform a ‘startup repair’ twice. You should then be able to log back into Windows from your cloned drive without encountering the ‘not genuine’ blue screen! I’m surprised product vendors do not make light of this issue because many users actually partition and assign a drive letter to their disk when or before cloning. Because the drive letter C is already in use, they will have to assign it something else and that is where the problem stems from. If you do not wish to repeat the cloning process, you can still follow through with this article and fix the drive letter mix up.

So after cloning the drive, you’ll be tempted to just yank the old hard drive out and be done with it. Once the computer with the newly cloned hard drive is booted up, you’ll be greeted with the same Windows log-on prompt as usual. You would think the everything is in place until it reverts to the Windows Classic theme showing you nothing but a light blue background with a message on the bottom right corner telling you that Windows 7 is not genuine.

Not Genuine

You open the task manager and open up the command prompt. You instantly notice that your drive letter is anything but the C: drive.

Wrong Letter

The solution to this problem is simple. We have to switch whatever drive letter your new hard drive is using back to drive letter C:. To perform this procedure, we have to boot into Safe Mode and work with the registry. If you haven’t already, leave only the new hard drive plugged in to your system. Boot it up and continuously tap F8. You’ll soon be presented with the boot options menu. Select Safe Mode from this list. Log in as usual. Wait a bit and you’ll be presented with a completely black desktop with the words Safe Mode on all four corners.
Now, bring up tasks manager again by pressing Ctrl+Shift+Esc. Go to File –> New Task. Type in ‘regedit’ and hit OK to launch the registry editor.

If  changing drive letters via the Registry seems too daunting, user John in the comments section recommends using the Paragon Rescue Kit boot disc. It’s a free download and registration for a serial key is free (give a fake email if you want). At a high level, you create the rescue disc, boot from it, choose to boot to the Normal recovery environment, select the Boot Corrector option, choose “Search for Windows installation to correct”, select the “Correct drive letters in the System Registry option and finally, click on the Edit Letters button. Using the Paragon Rescue Kit basically provides the same fix as detailed below but you get the benefit of a more intuitive graphical interface as seen here. Please let me know if you need more help!Paragon Rescue Kit

Task Manager

Now you’ll want to make a complete backup of your registry data by going to File –> Export. Give the backup a name and save it to your hard drive. In my example, it would be S:backup.reg. Once the backup has been made, we can proceed to change our drive letters. Navigate to:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE - SYSTEM - MountedDevices

Devices

Once there, you should see a lot of files. Scroll down the list until you see the files begin with “DosDevicesX:” where X is a drive letter in use by your system. As you probably could have guessed already, it is here where we get to switch the drive letter our new hard drive is currently using back to C:. First, find “DosDevicesC:”, right click on it and select Rename from the menu. Change the letter C (don’t change anything else) to another letter that’s not already in use. For me, I’ll switch it to drive letter P.

Rename

Now that the driver letter C is freed up, we can make the switch. Right click on the entry letter that represents your current hard drive letter and select Rename. In my situation, this entry is “DosDevicesS:”. This time rename the letter to C. That’s it! Entries you make in the registry is live so no need to save the changes as it’s already saved once you have changed the values and hit OK. Close out of the registry and reboot your computer. Once again, make sure that only your newly cloned hard drive is attached. If everything went correctly, you should boot into your desktop! You should be presented with another Windows Genuine message. Go ahead and activate it. It should proceed without any hiccups. Here, you can see in Disk Management that I only have my 2TB hard drive attached and that it has changed from being letter S: to C:. All is good!

Final

The Finishing Touch

Now that we have solved the issue with the letter configuration, we can safely reformat the old drive. If you are planning to either sell the old drive or simply give it away to a friend, please safely delete your data by scrambling it so that it cannot be recovered by whoever will be using it next. Even if you don’t think you have any sensitive or private data stored on the drive, you can never be too sure. It doesn’t hurt to be cautious. Do no think that simply reformatting the drive will delete the data on the drive. As shown here, it is very easy for even computer novices to use free third-party tools to recover data that the original user “thought” was deleted.

Once you are sure everything is working as expected, reconnect your old hard drive and reboot the computer. When you head into Computer, you’ll see that your old hard drive will now have a different drive letter. This drive letter should be the one we have changed in the registry just earlier. In my case, it is now using drive letter P. Head over to Disk Management when you are ready to reformat.

Disk Management

Right click on the disk that you want to reformat (old drive) and choose the Format option from the context menu. Be sure to heed the warning that all data on this drive will be gone. Give it a appropriate volume name, select a file system (NTFS should be fine), leave the allocation unit size to its default, and decide whether you want to perform a quick format or not. It’s usually better to perform a full format but it will take a much longer time to complete then when compared to a quick format, especially if the hard drive is big in capacity. Once the format has completed, head back over to Computer and you should now be able to use your old drive as a secondary storage unit! If you want to perform a secure wipe of the drive, now is the time to do it.

Reformat
Reformat 2

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 4.8/5 (23 votes cast)
Windows 7 Not Genuine After Disk Clone, 4.8 out of 5 based on 23 ratings

Poll

For Windows 8 users on desktops and laptops, how often do you actually use "apps" downloaded through the Microsoft Store?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Comments

  1. Found this after a day of pulling my hair out – saved my life. Thank you so much for putting this post together.

  2. Excellent advice. Solved my problem immediately, after searching for hours.

    Thanks again!

  3. Gnomeface says:

    I was almost tearing my hair out until I found this blog – I’d been faced with rebuilding my 3-year-old Dell from scratch and re-installing hundreds of applications!
    What happened was that I needed to clone my Win 7 to a new disk. That was easy; I used EaseUS, which was simple enough, except that when I tried to shut it down at the end, the machine rebooted immediately with both disks still in – and the damage had been done. Of course, it was invisible as both HDs held identical working versions of Windows and it was not obvious that it was booting from one then using the other! When I formatted the original disk and tried to reboot I hit the problem, even with the reformatted disk removed from the system.

    Two sleepless nights and countless irrelevant blogs & articles later, I added “blue screen” to my searches and found this blog – and 10 minutes later my system was back. Fantastic! Brilliant! What more can I say?

  4. Thanks so much for this information!
    I have had this occur twice when replacing my regular HDs to SSDs.
    I think I have read hundreds of “fix” posts and almost all required using command line in an admin account. But I was never able to get this “fix” to work since I could never get to my desktop.

    Thanks again,

    Jim

  5. I have read through all the posts and I am glad to see that there is a solution to this annoying problem. I just recloned my hard drive from my original drive, this time booting from boot disk created from EZ Gig IV and still received the Not Genuine error. I had not reformatted the drive in my computer and left it unpartioined, so I was going to try that next.

    My wife’s laptop has the same issue since I cloned both of our computers to larger hard drives. I looked at the registry and I do not quite understand if I can fix this problem by editing the registry. The reason being is that my cloned system is properly showing C: for my boot drive, not S: or whatever, so I need help to better understand if I have an option of not having to reclone both of our operating systems to get rid of this Not Genuine problem. Please help me if I can avoid recloning especially my wife’s computer.

    Thank you.

    • Sorry Alan for the late reply. Unfortunately, based on my experience and the comments from the other readers, the registry fix solved the issue. I am reading other forums and some users claimed to have also fixed this issue by installing the latest version for the Intel Rapid Storage Technology drivers.

  6. Martin Taylor says:

    Huge thanks for a great ‘How to..” Thought I was in for a lot of grief to resolve but your solution was so easy!

  7. Tha was very helpfull thank you for shering, Microsoft wanted me to do the reactivation and they could not get it that my screan does not load the explorer bar ;]

  8. After cloning lots from a master disk my W7 for the first time appeared with the message. This was very helpfull for me, thank you very much!

  9. Pheaktra Chhan says:

    I’ve experienced the same problem and found this post very helpful and worth sharing.
    BTW, after trying out some different cloning software, have found out that HDClone by Miray Software would avoid the problem at the first place.

    • Thanks for taking the time to comment Pheaktra!

    • I posted here a few months ago about how I clone periodically. Just an FYI update on it:

      I’ve cloned several times since that time and it appears that my intermittent issue (posted June 23 ’13) is in remission. Both HDD’s seem to boot to the Desktop without problems in recent months. Strange, but I’ll take it :)

      I’m using the Acronis 2011 bootable CD to run my cloning process with a pre-format using “Gparted” HDD utility freeware bootable CD.

      Here’s some info about how to change the HDD letter from the Command prompt in the event that someone would like to do that without using the Registry Editor:

      - Enter CMD in an elevated mode (Admin).
      - > (CMD prompt) diskpart
      - > list volume
      - > select volume # (from the displayed list)
      - > assign letter=(letter that you want for the selected Drive)
      - > exit

      Restart PC .

      I haven’t tested this particular CMD action but I have used “diskpart” to remove partition drive letters. It works fast without entering the Registry.

      I used it recently to remove one of my drive letters that was appearing in my Disk Management or “My Computer” listing. The drive letter was pointing t an unused “system reserved” Windows partition on an external HDD.

    • I can verify that HD Clone works to clone a window 7 drive without a hitch. I used the free version, and it worked great. The only issue that I have with the program, is that if you are cloning to exact model hard drives, you better know what drive IDE 1 port is connected too and IDE2. it would be nice if they provided drive letters. But maybe that’s why the software works so well.

      • Hey Scott. At this point, after so many comments and help from other users who have shared their experience with us, I think the root of the problem is not from which software you use but whether or not the target drive you cloned to was given a drive letter or not. For example, I used a Symantec product to clone a drive. The target drive was actually partitioned and had a drive letter in Windows prior to the clone process. Although I could clone to it perfectly fine, it’s not until I remove the source drive from the system and attempt to boot from the cloned drive that the issue sprang up. Because the drive is not using letter C:, Windows was a bit confused. The solution was to manually change the drive letter in the registry as shown in the article. To test it, I re-cloned the drive using the same Symantec software but this time, didn’t format/partition the target drive so it didn’t have a drive letter. The result was much better in that the ‘not genuine’ error did not come up after removing source drive.

        • Yep, Simon that’s it. I should have pointed out that I first tried to clone to a disk with drive letter assigned to it. HD clone crashed during the operation. Next time I did the operation to an unallocated disk with no drive letter, and that was the trick : )

          I’m so freaking glad to have this clone gig figured out. This entire post and comments section will live long and prosper!

      • Scott,

        Thanks for the “HD Clone” info. I hadn’t heard of this tool before reading your post. I like to test different cloning tools.

        That’s a good point about identical HDD’s and cloning. I do a pre-clone delete of the partitions and format of the Target HDD so I can more easily determine Source vs Target HDD’s, if the Target HDD had been cloned recently.

        That also eliminates the possibility of the drive-letter conflict issue with the Target HDD unallocated as you mentioned in your other post.

        Ditto to you –> “Live Long and Prosper”….or as some say, “May the Force be with you” :)

  10. Just don’t clone from within Windows. Use a dedicated boot CD or flash-drive with your cloning software upon it.

    • Good advice. That’s how I clone with the Acronis 2011 CD.

      It’s possible to clone from within Windows since more recently, cloning tools use the “shadow” technology in Windows but I prefer to clone outside of Windows as you mentioned.

      With Acronis, it’s also a little faster for my setup when I clone outside of Windows.

      The other thing to keep in mind, after the cloning process is complete, is to not allow Windows to see both the Source and Target HDD’s at the same time.

      After the cloning process completes, I remove my Source HDD and boot up on the Target HDD to test it. Then I’ll remove the Target HDD and install my Source HDD and resume normal PC activities.

      The easiest way to clone with a Desktop Tower PC is to install two SATA “hot-swap” racks. That eliminates the necessity to remove Tower covers, disconnect SATA cables, etc.

      One word of caution about the “hot-swap” racks: I’m not using the hot-swap feature as I always shut down my PC when I’m removing and installing HDD’s. The reason for that is that my BIOS is still set to “IDE” mode instead of “AHCI” (Advanced Host Controller Interface) mode.

      AHCI supports SATA hot-swap but it’s best to set that mode in the BIOS at the time of the initial Windows OS install. It can be set to AHCI afterward but that can be a somewhat fragile process as some programs and Mother Boards don’t like the change after the initial OS install.

  11. Simon,

    Thanks for the reply. Interestingly, my nephew, who’s a “semi-geek” when it comes to PC’s, having built some, etc, has the same idea about my intermittent “Windows launching Desktop” issue.

    He mentioned that he thinks that Windows is busy “re-indexing” the system files, the ones that Windows initially looks at/loads during the startup portion of Windows loading to the Desktop.

    Regardng the discussion of the HDD’s getting assigned a drive letter, that’s great info and there’s no question that it’s helped the readers.

    I’ve never considered the drive letter aspect when cloning, I haven’t seen that option when cloning with Acronis or Clonezilla. Perhaps that’s due to the way that I always clone.

    When I format the Target HDD in “Gparted”, it’s not asking me to assign a drive letter but that option may be in the tool and I haven’t noticed it. Also, I haven’t explored Gparted much, only using it to do a basic NTFS format, and then exiting the tool.

    I don’t use the “custom/manual” modes with either cloning tool so I’m not partitioning, etc, in manual mode.

    Performing a “block level” clone, that’s an interesting possibility about a solution to my intermittents but I’m not familiar with the differences between “block level” cloning and the way that I select the cloning parameters in the 2 tools that I use at present.

    So far, I’ve been able to get Windows to load to the Desktop after minor inconveniences, 2-3 reboot’s. I don’t see any pattern with the issue. It’s just as likely to boot up perfectly to the Desktop screen vs having issues requiring a 2nd or 3rd reboot.

    The strange part about this is that I have a friend that clones with Acronis (from the CD) on a Desktop PC that’s similar to mine, and never encounters the Windows/Desktop loading issues.

    Also, I have a Toshiba Laptop, similar to my Desktop PC (WIndows 7 64-bit, etc). I clone the Laptop HDD periodically and rarely see the same issues on the Laptop althought I did see the issue back when I first began to clone the Laptop on a scheduled basis.

    I use a HDD USB/Sata Enclosure with the Latop and I use the same procedures that I do with my Desktop PC, boot Gparted, format, clone outside of Windows with a bootable media tool.

    For any first-time or novice cloners that read the blog here, I always recommend that you format (if it’s not a new/unused HDD) your Target HDD before starting the cloning tool procedure.

    I like to do this since, with some cloning tools, it can be tricky if both Source and Target HDD’s have data on them. Some cloning tool’s screens can be a little confusing when they ask for the final “ok” from the user, when they’ll display data present on both HDD’s. If you’re cloning to a formatted Target HDD, it’s easier to determine which HDD is the Source during that final “ok to continue” screen in your tool.

    • That’s definitely some good information you’ve provided. Personally my advice is to not fry your brain over these problems! This is why it can be frustrating troubleshooting Windows computer because there are so many different variables that come into the picture that any one can be the culprit. Each computer/laptop obviously can be very different when compared to the next both hardware and software/drivers wise. Unlike Mac computers where the hardware is at least a bit standardized, you can pull every strand of your hair out trying to figure out why one problem occurs on one PC and not another even though you think they have a similar configuration.

      You’re obviously welcomed to continue researching the problem but if you do find the answer, please do share with us!

  12. I can corroborate what is said about cloning into unallocated space. That’s what solved it for me.

    After having succeeded in cloning Windows 7 into a new “genuine” installation, then installing Ubuntu on the same physical disk, for various reasons I later decided to re-create the exact same clone into the same partition. That’s when trouble started. I spent two hours cloning and re-cloning the same installation over and over into a precreated partition, de-assigning its drive letter, disconnecting all disks but the fresh clone, re-booting and every time I received the “not genuine” message. To try and find the source of the problem I first deleted any unnecessary partitions one by one. When that didn’t help, I deleted the system partition and re-created it in the same space and size. That didn’t help either, so I erased it and re-formatted it, this time deselecting Quick Format. When even that didn’t help, I finally deleted even this last partition, giving me an empty disk and instead of cloning into a precreated partition, I cloned into unallocated space. For the first time, this gave me a “genuine” clone. I assume the cloning software (in my case Macrium Reflect) goes into a different cloning mode and perhaps overwrites a serial number which was preserved between previsous attempts (I haven’t delved into this so this is just speculation).

    • Thanks John for giving a detailed description of what you went through!

    • John Frankland says:

      Many thanks too. Amazing how many people this has helped. Solved my long running cloning problem. Good man.

      • Your welcome John. I’m glad it has helped you out with this problem as well! Please spread the word if you come across someone else stuck in the same situation.

  13. Thanks a lot! save me a lot of troubles – I was planning to do a fresh install everything including drivers when I got the ‘not genuine’ message from my cloned drive. The solution you provided got it fixed in less than 5 minutes! It could have taken me hours or even days including reinstalling the applications.

  14. THanks for this article… it got me back up… I can now pretend I have a life again:)

  15. Jim Davis says:

    You save my butt also. I have been scratching my head for 2 days over this issue. One thing I must say though is it was partly my fault. Norton Ghost does give an option of not assigning a drive letter,but I had already formatted the drive and Windows assigned the drive letter. When I started the clone operation,that part was greyed out so I stupidly went ahead.(twice). Now your article has saved my day. Thanks for the help even though you wrote this 2 years ago.

    • Jim Davis says:

      Just a thought but you would think Microsoft would by now know of this problem and post it on their site. I searched all over their site and Norton’s site and found nothing about this particular problem.

      • Hey Jim. Thanks for the feedback. Although this article is pretty old, surprisingly, it is still one of the most viewed article on my blog on a daily basis. This means that many other people are also experiencing this problem to some degree. This leads us to your second point of software companies not properly documenting this issue. Something as common as formatting and assigning a drive letter to a partition prior to the cloning process is something that most users using their products would do. Microsoft probably has documented this issue in some KB article out there but I doubt the fix specifically addresses this issue when cloning Windows.

  16. Wooooo! You are my hero right now! Thank you! Saved me a whole lot of trouble. May a squadron of beautiful women find your crotch by weeks end!

    • HAHAHA! Well, that didn’t happen but I’m glad this article has helped you in solving your problem. Also, big up for the funniest comment on my blog since its creation!

  17. Thank you so much for this information, which I didn’t find anywhere else. It saved me lots of time and a big headache. I did have an issue with the Paragon Rescue Kit as it claimed it couldn’t see any HDDs, but I used your step-by-step instructions and got it done. Thanks again!

  18. Thanks a bunch for saving my weekend! I spent 20 hours trying to solve this problem. Cloned an HD to a brand new SSD and then Windows would boot as D: and of course couldn’t find it’s user directories or any system files like explorer.exe accordingly. Booting into safe mode and editing the registry was a perfect solution to the problem. Do you have paypal or something so I can donate you an hours’ pay?

    • Your welcome Daniel! I’m glad everything worked out for you. If you wish to donate, I have a PayPal donation button located on the right sidebar. Scroll down a bit and you should see a yellow Donate button, which has been linked to my PayPal account. Any donation amount is appreciated and all proceeds will go into web hosting costs for this blog. Thanks!

      • Found it :) Keep up the great work, Simon!

        • Donation received! On behalf of all readers on this blog and myself of course, thank you for the donation! That amount definitely covers an entire month of web hosting, and then some! More importantly, please remember this trick if you encounter anyone else in the future facing this very same issue to help spare them the headache that many have endured due to it! Once again, thanks Daniel for the donation. Take care!

  19. I had a similar problem after cloning a drive using Macrium. After booting the new drive, I had the “Windows is not genuine” message. I diconnected all other drives. I then used the Paragon Rescue Kit boot disc to change the new drive letter to C. That cured the problem and all is well.

    • Thanks for the feedback John and introducing me to the Paragon Rescue Kit!

      • You are welcome Simon. Paragon Rescue Kit is a free download and seems to work well. It is used to create a bootable disc. You boot the computer from the disc. You are then able to change or remove any drive letters without actually booting into an operating system.

        • Awesome! I just sampled the free version and like you’ve said, it allows me to easily change the drive letter of my drives without having to mess with the Registry. I’ve made a note of this in the blog article so users who are afraid of touching the registry can use this solution instead as it gives a nice little graphical interface. However, it does require more work such as access to another computer to download and create the boot disc. I’m just throwing it out there to give the readers more choices. Hopefully it doesn’t add to the confusion!

          • Yes, a second computer would be needed to create this disc. I hadn’t thought of that fact as I have multiple operating systems on this one. I was just able to boot into a different OS to create the disc. Hopefully this does not add to the confusion too: I suspect the original “Windows not genuine” problem may have been caused by my cloning the drive with more than one operating system listed in the Windows Boot Manager. This would be something to pay attention to if you are using more than one operating system on the same computer.

  20. Thanks very much. This helped me out a lot to sort out this pesky problem!

  21. Your efforts have saved me many hours of work trying to figure this out.

    Thank you for all of your help!

  22. Wow. This had been driving me nuts. I have been trying to move/clone a Vista 32bit to a Western Digital Advanced Format Drive. Kept having issues with some Windows Live products (Mail most importantly) and Windows Update, etc. Here’s what I did…after many attempts at different ways of copying my old drive…and many hours…+ attempting to use multiple backup programs (Macrium, True Image, True Image WD Edition). This was due to me not being certain if the issue was the imaging software or windows. I’d just assumed the imaging software since everything I’d read seemed to indicate I shouldn’t have any issues if the imaging software supported Advanced Format drives. I’d thought Windows should install any needed drivers upon detection, but apparently there is still a patch needed due to the way a lot of MS applications are written.

    Ok.

    Installed the Intel Rapid Storage Technology version 9.6 per Western Digital suggestions…couldn’t get the newest to install.
    http://downloadcenter.intel.com/Detail_Desc.aspx?DwnldID=18859
    Not really sure if this was needed, but it was the first thing I did as recommended by WD

    Installed the Microsoft patch related to Advance Format issues with ESENT Applications (Extensible Storage Engine API)
    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2470478/en-us (Vista and Server 2008)
    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/982018 (if running Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2)

    Then I took an image of the entire drive (old one) and restored to the new drive. I just restored the entire disk along with MBR, etc. in one swoop.

    FYI – if you already have an image you want to use or have restored one and don’t want to take a new one: To install the Microsoft Patch, you’ll need to get Windows Update running. Just stop the Windows Update Service, rename %windir%\SoftwareDistribution to something else and then restart the Windows Update Service. Then install the patch. This should get you working as well. (Again, not certain if Intel Rapid Technology drivers are needed or not)

    Quite frankly…this Advanced Format drive was a PitA. Should’ve got a regular non-AF drive. lol

  23. Oisin Connolly says:

    Thank god for this article. There I was thinking everything would go smoothly and then I get a bunch of boot issues and non genuine copy warnings.
    You are a life saver. All sorted now.
    Thanks !!

  24. I had exactly the same problem; cloned to an SSD and kept getting the ‘Windows not genuine’ blue screen. The fix was actually far simpler. I simply had to use Disk Manager’ to delete the SSD’s allocated partition. I then cloned the hard drive by selecting the unallocated partition as the destination drive.

    Apparently the mistake that a lot of people make when cloning to an SSD that causes this issue is trying to clone to an SSD that has an allocated partition. If Windows shows the SSD with a drive letter before you start the cloning process, you’re already doomed to fail.

    After I deleted the volume in disk management and cloned it again, I set it as the boot drive in the BIOS and windows worked flawlessly and had zero broken link problems.

    • Very interesting observation and discovery and thank you for actually sharing the information with us as well! What you have put down makes a lot of sense. Other users commented on some suggestions and fixes but I think what you’ve just said puts the final piece to the puzzle. You made it clear that your method works for SSD but I’m going on a whim and say that it should work with regular hard drives as well. I will use your suggestion and do a clone on a test machine just to see if everything goes accordingly. The only problem I see is that the cloning software might not recognize the new drive if its not partitioned. This might not be a problem when you use cloning software on a offline Windows machine but the cloning software I use (when I first experienced this problem) runs within Windows.

    • Brilliant! I can confirm that Boonta’s suggestion fixes the “Not Genuine” error message when booting from a cloned drive! This is another one of those issues where you can just tell that the answer is lying right in front of our noses but it’s still something that evades us. After playing around a bit, I can confirm that cloning to an unallocated hard drive with no drive letters assigned is the way to go. I still had to perform a “startup repair” via the Windows install disc (probably due to me testing with virtual machines) but once that was performed and I disconnected the original drive, the clone booted up to Windows without any problems and logging on did not present the light blue “not genuine” message. Thanks once again to Boonta for helping us solve this headache! I will make adjustments to the article to reflect your findings.

  25. Worked here as well. This post literally saved me $300 since it was Win7 Ultimate I would have had to replace. That really would have ground my gears since its still the same computer, same user, just a new HD – I mean, we should be allowed to upgrade components without having to jump through hoops. I’ll be sure to spread this far more simple solution to those bound to run into the same issue.

    • Awesome. Glad the post could be of help to you. To be fair to Microsoft, they do have a very tough job of making sure that Windows will work with the bulk of the devices out there. There can be so many different hardware combinations that it’s nearly impossible to test each and every one of them. But at the same time, I also feel your pain. Upgrading/cloning Windows to a bigger hard drive should not require the user to dig around on the Internet for a fix on how to get it working again. Like you’ve said, it would really have been bad if someone had to pay money for a new operating system just to be able to use a bigger/new hard drive.

  26. Greatly thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I have been seeking solution for a long time, and almost give up.
    tried the solution from microsoft online, it just sucks. They didnt even understand what the issue is, and gave many irrelevant suggestions.

    You helped me solve this issue in minutes.
    BTW, in my condition, I have to boot with safe mode, otherwise, regedit would be allowed.
    Hope you can update this information.

    • Glad everything worked out! I’m also not sure why Microsoft is not too aware of this problem. Although I’m guessing only a small percentage of their user base actually performs a clone of their hard drive, those who do have a pretty good chance of running into this problem and it should be documented. From what I have read other users, this cloning issue happens because we did not yank out the old drive after we have successfully performed the clone to the new drive. Once the computer reboots with both drives attached, the issue arises. While I didn’t get the direct solution from Microsoft support, I did find the idea to attempt this drive letter fix from one of their support threads about a similar issue.

      As for the regedit issue, I initially have written that Safe Mode is needed to access the registry. A user comment suggested he didn’t need to get into Safe Mode and so I made a side note.

  27. You sir are a genius, I cloned my Hardrive in my Laptop in order to replace it with an SSD and every time i got the blue screen, I followed your steps and it booted into windows straight away.

    Much appreciated

  28. You’re a genius!!! Perfect for me

  29. Chris Moran says:

    Simon, thank you thank you thank you, sir.
    I used Acronis True Image 2010 to clone.
    HERE is what i did wrong:
    i unplugged the original and let the clone boot.
    didn’t boot
    plugged both back in and THEN did Acronis finish with a statement of something like “Acronis has now completed”.
    Then shut down unplugged original and clone DID in fact boot.
    only after that did i get the windows was not genuine.
    after following your instructions to change drive letters in the registry, did it do as you claimed… the windows is not genuine poped for a short moment and then went away.

    again, man. 1,000,000 karma point for you dude!!!
    (p.s. – i have saved this article and made myself a pdf out of it to share with friends – don’t worry, the link to this page is there too!

    PEACE!!!

    • Your very welcome! I’m glad it worked out for you. Thanks for taking the time to comment on your success with resolving this issue and for sharing the article with your friends! It is sad how such a simple procedure can crop up such an ugly and widespread issue.

  30. works fine. thanks

  31. Muchas gracias Simon! I used Macrium Reflect 5 to clone my Win7 x64 Ultimate install running on a 128GB SSD to a new 512GB SSD and thought I was successful until I pulled out the 128GB drive and hit this issue. In my case the machine would hang on login and only after multiple suspend / resumes could I get to the point where I could run task manager. In hindsight I could have reinserted the 128GB to get past the login issue.

    Great article; worked like a champ? Thanks again!

  32. Dear Simon..THANKS THANKS THANKSSSSS !!!! I have long experience in system manage also in partitioning/ecc… but for win7 i am quite a novice, so yesterday after 4 “nightandday” struggling with migrating my system (i make audio recording) when i step in front of that trouble i was a bit….”tired”….
    THe fact i was trying to manage my new laptop to optimize it for audio recording, and i need to move the original partition (original Asus installation tha i was using,but full of useless gadget software)forward on the hard disk and to create another system partition as the “1st partition” of the hard disk for “speed performance” reason (audio recording), the issue was also to delete the hidden partition of 20 GB(!!!) of Asus recovery…So i idid it all, and to tell you the truth when i backup system partition and restore it on the new partition at the first boot Windows 7 was “everything ok” ! But at the 2nd boot i’ve got that system block…then can you imagine i had also called Microsoft and Asus for that trouble…(never done it previously never)actually i didnt have any other system on the other partitions, so that one was the only one in the disk.But the operator told me “you cant do it”…I explain i didnt have any other win 7 on my hard disk,but..you know…Its incredible the fact that i own my computer and software but from some point of view, i cant manage it AS I NEED/WANT…so I was also reading post and articles here and there,,many solutions,3rd part software,tricks….ecc but i guess because most of them are there for piracy installation.,was not my case,and i would prefer not to use some “crack” but to find a “clean” solution.So when i found your post, first i was a bit “skeptic” ,i mean ” could be so simpe the solution”? …and YES DEFINITIVELY and it makes you the “right man” to find it and to share it in this form that i appreciate very much. I will follow your blog very nice. Sorry if i wrote a lot, but thats just to share my experience with you and its a “way” to express you gratitude for your sharing.I use my system as a D.A.W to record/arrange music, if you have article on this matter (w7) i will appreciate it
    Ciao e grazie SImon!!!
    • Sounds like someone is a happy customer! You are very welcome Carlos and thank you for taking the time to let us know that this solution has helped you out. So far, it seems that it definitely has helped many users and so I’m very glad for that fact. I’m also glad that you had the patience to actually find a working and legitimate solution to the problem instead of like you said, applying one that is meant for “pirated” versions of Windows.

      Once again, thanks for sharing your experience with us all!

  33. A well written article and extremely helpful for me. I used Macrium Reflect (Acronis & Clonezilla didn’t work) to clone my old hard drive to a new SSD and I was considering trying a rescue from the windows disk or maybe a reinstall. This easy fix saved me a bunch of time. I didn’t even know windows would boot from something other than C.
    I believe this kind of problem happens when the clone operation occurs within windows which is exactly how I did it. I suspect it would not happen from using a program outside the OS like from a bootable CD or USB drive.
    Thanks again for a great article.

    • Thanks for taking the time to comment on your success! The reason you gave about why this is happening is definitely a good one. It could be that during the process, Windows somehow gets mixed up or confused and hence, the problem.

  34. Many many thanks for this, I was half way through doing a disk backup in Ubuntu to do a full reformat when google brought me here. 5 minutes later, all is well, and I don’t need to go through the pain of reformatting/reinstalling windows/making another backup etc etc.

    Many thanks :)

  35. Nice work. I just did this a few days ago with Acronis. The first time I left the original C: plugged in but changed the boot order in the BOIS and had the same problem. Reading the info here showed the way the UID is associated with the drive letter, so I exported the MountedDevices to the desktop and tried again, but unplugged the original before restarting this time and it worked fine. Comparing the saved reg file to the current registry showed that C: was the new drive, and the old one had no letter. So I plugged in the old drive, booted and had to assign a new letter to it as expected. Basically I didn’t have to do anything. Either Acronis did the magic or C: was assigned to the new drive because the UID of C: was not found. I’m thinking the latter which would mean unplugging the drive for the first boot is essential for an easy clone process.

    • Thanks for sharing the information Greg. I honestly don’t know what the deal is with this problem when cloning a drive but I guess we can agree it has something to do with the hard drive’s UID being mixed up. You were lucky in your situation because for me and probably many others as well, we would always get the “Not Genuine” screen if the old drive was not attached. I’m not sure why you could have unplugged the original drive, boot off from only the new hard drive and be successful without having to make any drive letter switches!

      What you said is interesting though. I don’t believe I had unplugged the original drive during the first reboot after the cloning process was completed so I can’t prove your theory right or wrong.

      • Well, hopefully you’ll get more feedback and have a more definitive answer eventually.  It makes sense that it can’t assign C: to the new drive if it’s already found C: and mounted it, so it seems best to remove the old one.  As far as bootmgr goes, 7 and I think XP as well likes to put it on the first disk in the boot order even if it’s not the system disk.  That only gets setup when installing, cloning doesn’t change it or copy it from the boot disk.  I’ve been through that PITA.  Luckily Windows repair can install it, but that also screws up if it finds the old bootmgr on any disk.  It tries to fix the old one assuming that’s the boot disk AFAIK even if it’s not, which in my case happened to be yet another disk.  Unplugging that one then doing “Startup repair” makes it install correctly on the system disk.

        • Yeah, I hope so as well. I’m sure there’s a good logical explanation to all this that I’m just not seeing due to my limited knowledge in this area. I just hope more users would take the time to comment on their success or failure as to me this seems like a pretty widespread, though not much talked about, topic.

          Thanks once again for helping out!

  36. This problem is solved by booting to a live linux distribution like “Ubuntu” See here: http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/19141/clone-a-hard-drive-using-an-ubuntu-live-cd/

    There is an excellent guide which even a novice could follow…

    • Good stuff. I’ll try and use this method on my next test-run.

    • Meadster says:

      Excellent point John… was about to post exactly the same comment myself. I just upgraded a hard drive that dual boots win 7 and linux. using dd and had little trouble and no loss of functionality. I did have to use a win 7 repair disk to make windows bootable again though, so one should be sure to have that repair disk handy.

  37. Thank you for this great information.
    I was trying to clone my Win7 install to a SSD drive with Seagate’s DiscWizard and came into the situation you described here.
    In my case I couldn’t get into safe mode and tried to edit the registry anyway (from the light blue “not genuine” screen) using exactly the steps you described and it worked fine.

    • Great job! I thought initially that this problem was caused only due to certain cloning programs and whatnot but I now realize it’s not. I’ll update the article to reflect how you could perform the same fix without going into Safe Mode first. Thank you for taking the time to comment.

  38. Joe_Wanket says:

    4-19-2011
    Thanks alot for the information. The same thing happened to me
    after I clone a WD VelociRaptor. Now with your instructions all
    is well and the new drive is booting with no issues.

  39. this was great, just the problem I was having. Don’t know why the 4 Microsoft Techs did not know this. I did still have one problem. It did not ask me for a key, but did not log on with my old preferences and desktop, but onto a new Temporary Desktop with the notice that i would have to log on later or talk to an Administrator. I am the admin on my computer.

    • Thanks for the comment.
      It seems you have a problem with your user profile. It can either be corrupted or deleted for whatever reason. You’ll have to enter the registry and manually make some changes, although it doesn’t look too hard. | http://bit.ly/3ZbrDy

      If you are still having problems, feel free to contact me via email instead by using the Contact link at the top of the site. It will be easier if we traded emails instead.

  40. wow. Rarely do i come across such brilliant and simple fixes. This is a fantastic piece of information and so real credit to you for posting this. You’re really helped me out!

    • Thanks David for the positive comment! This article is actually one of the most viewed on a daily basis here on my blog so I have a feeling that many users are experiencing the same problem out there. Comment feedback such as yours allow me to rest easy knowing that readers actually find it helpful and beneficial. So thank you!

  41. Your fix is essentially correct BUT there is a catch. In my case I could not get to the command prompt from Safe Mode. I had to boot from another OS then edit the registry of the OS that was not loading. To do this you have to start regedit and highlight the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE key and the select File / Load Hive. You then have to load the System hive from the problem OS drive from Windows/System32/Config. You must give it an Alias like OSX then go and edit the MountDevices keys as instructed in this post. After you are finish you need to select the OSX hive and Unload it from the File menu. This is the most common problem when cloning Windows and it does not boot up.

    • Hey Allan,

      I believe what you experienced was an isolated scenario. So far on the five computers I have used BESR to clone Windows, I didn’t have one problem whatsoever. What I have a little trouble understanding is why would you need to open up the command prompt in the first place to use the registry? Doing so simply involves typing “regedit” into the Run menu, therefore bypassing the command prompt. However, judging by your comment, I’m sure you’re a very knowledgeable techie so there might be something I’m not catching on to.

    • That’s a great tip. Worked for me for a dual boot windows 7, both cloned partitions!

  42. Alvin

    Thanks for the heads up! I had to create a new post in Blogger just to reflect the new URL due to that misspelling.

    As for the upgrade, I am so glad you found the article useful. Like you, I have struggled with that problem and it was driving me nuts. Cloning a disk is shouldn't be difficult at all considering how many third-party utilities are out there that helps us with the migration but somehow, Windows itself sticks its ugly head in where it don't belong! Hopefully other users out there will stumble upon this article or another before giving up and reformatting!

    • Many thanks for the article. I was one step away from reinstalling when I came across your article on my works PC. I used Acronis to do the cloning and there wasn’t a single word of warning about the windows genuine issue.
      Thanks again.

      • Your welcome! You’re right though. You would think such a widespread problem (at least I think it is) would deserve more attention. I know it doesn’t sound to enticing to customers when a company brings to attention such a problem when cloning a drive but sooner or later, users will experience this issue and support calls will be made. Anyways, I’m glad you found my article before going for the reinstall. Please help spread this article if you know of anyone else having the same issue!

  43. Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!

    This upgrade taught me that I didn't know as much as I thought I did.
    I'm sure it would have been hours before I decided to simply reinstall Windows 7 again, because nothing was working for me. I even had trouble using windows system image.

    I wish I found your post earlier. I think you misspelled genuine, so that might have an affect on searches.

    • Hi all,

      This is an interesting read but I have some questions about cloning and why I haven’t seen the “Windows not genuine” problems.

      I clone about every 6-8 weeks, mainly as a safeguard in the event of any virus or malware intrusions that can’t be cleaned or may take a longer period of time to clean my Source HDD than I would want to invest the time to do so.

      Here’s how I’ve been cloning since Oct ’11:

      I’m using Acronis 2011. I prepare for cloning in the following steps:

      - Boot up with “Gparted” CD. I use Gparted to format my Target HDD. I format this way to remain outside of Windows so that Windows never sees 2 identical HDD’s. My Target HDD is a copy of my Source HDD from the last time I cloned, 6-8 weeks before this time. I format the entire (all partitions) Target HDD (NTFS).
      - Exit Gparted
      - Boot up on the Acronis CD. I do this to prevent Windows from seeing my 2 HDD’s simultaneously.
      - Clone using Acronis “automatic” method.
      - Exit Acronis CD. Install my Target HDD. Boot up on Windows to verify that I have a working HDD backup drive.
      - Shut down PC. Remove Target HDD and reinstall my Source HDD.
      - Boot up, verify Source HDD ok.
      - Resume normal PC activities.

      I have used Clonezilla as well as Acronis 2011 to clone and both work ok, with regards to not seeing the blue screen or Windows Not Genuine issues.

      I also was able to clone from a 500G HDD to a new 1 Tb HDD without problems.

      However, I do see something that happens after I clone and occasionally when I do a Restart for various reasons.

      When I first boot up my Source HDD after cloning, it often struggles to launch the Desktop. Sometimes, it will hang up at the “Welcome” screen. Other times, it will halfway launch the Desktop, but not complete the icon association step or perhaps not launch all of my System Tray apps.

      I’ve posted my symptoms at the Acronis forum and a Windows 7 forum but so far, I’ve not received a solution as to why I often see Windows struggle when loading to my Desktop screen.

      The interesting part of this, is that once I get it to load completely to the Desktop, I’m cruising without problems as a frequent daily PC user, with no Windows issues, until my next scheduled cloning.

      I’m running Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit version 6.1 build 7601 sp 1.
      I’m using 2ea Seagate Barracuda HDD’s, 1 Tb in conjunction with 2 Sata hot-swap racks to facilitate cloning ease.

      • Hey Scoop. The reason you personally am not experiencing this issue is due to you actually performing a clone of an HD “the way its suppose to be done”. The reason why many of use are experiencing this not genuine error message upon booting from the freshly cloned drive is due because when we formatted the drive prior to the cloning process, we actually gave the freshly formatted partition a drive letter! This is where things go south. Windows actually allows you to format a hard drive without actually giving it a drive letter but most users won’t know of this or like me, didn’t think it would cause such a big headache. Windows is not smart enough to realize that we have cloned the drive and to then correctly reassign it the drive letter of C. I believe the problem has nothing to do with the actual cloning software a user is using. It’s more of a Windows issue.

        As to your other symptoms, my only guess is that hang up is caused by the file system reorganizing the files on your hard drive. I believe performing a block level clone may help to eliminate the slow initial startup although i can’t be for sure.

Speak Your Mind

*


(humans only, please) *