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A More Comprehensive Guide To Cloning Thinkpad Hard Drives
Cloning Thinkpad hard drives is difficult because in doing so, you are put into the position of the blind men feeling of an elephant. There are many parts to a large issue, and even if you have successfully “felt” of your portion, your knowledge is not complete enough to advise the next guy who has the problem.
To do a successful job, you must know what is inside your model/type of Thinkpad. As of September 2008 Thinkpads fall into the following buckets:
1. Pre-HPA machines which shipped with a factory recovery disk.
2. HPA style recovery, which eliminated the factory recovery disk with the machine.
3. Post-HPA machines, which used no factory recovery disks, but had a visible FAT-32 service partition.
4. Post-HPA machines, which use an NTFS service partition
5. PATA/IDE vs SATA disks and controllers
6. The release number of your Rescue and Recovery software.
You must also think about what you consider “Success” in cloning a HDD. The central issue is whether you are satisfied with a HDD that has the OS, programs and data all copied, but forever gets rid of the manufacturer-provided recovery process, or whether you want to stay with the IBM-designed R&R architecture.
Quick Answers: Here’s what to do depending on your category:
1. For Pre-HPA machines, disk cloner programs like Ghost, Acronis True Image and others work in a straightforward manner. There is no hidden partition, and a clone is a clone.
2. For HPA machines, you must decide whether you want to keep the HPA as a rescue means. You must set the Pre-Desktop Area security to “Disabled” in the BIOS for either of these.
a. If you want to keep the R&R abilities, you must:
i. first have a target HDD which participates in the BEER/PARTIES architecture
ii. EITHER clone the entire disk and then manually relocate the HPA to the last HDD cylinders after cloning the OS parition
iii. OR use the Factory Product Recovery Disk set to first set up the target disk with the HPA area, hide the HPA area in BIOS and then use a cloning program to move the OS partition.
b. If you decide you can get along without the IBM recovery assistance, Just ignore the HPA and clone your disk. Only the OS partition will be copied, but that’s OK because you will use some other recovery means.
3. For Post-HPA machines, you can use a drive-cloning program because the service partition is not hidden by hardware.
a. For a very few Post-HPA machines using a SATA-to-PATA bridge (see table) you must also have a HDD which can be flashed to eliminate the “Error 2010” problem.
b. Post-HPA machines come in two flavors, with FAT32 recovery partitions, and later NTFS recovery partitions. Your cloning software must be able to clone the one you have, and in the case of NTFS OS partition and FAT32 recovery partition, not get confused over the two types of partitions in a single clone.
In all of these cases, you must remove either the source HDD or the target HDD from the copying machine before rebooting if you use Windows. Windows “marks” partitions with their letter usage, and this may contaminate your target or source disk and make that disk not bootable.
As a final caveat: this is not properly a HDD cloning issue, but for Rescue and Recovery releases after 2.0, YOU MUST HAVE ALREADY MADE YOUR RECOVERY DISKS BEFORE INSTALLING ADDITIONAL SOFTWARE IN YOUR HDD SO YOU CAN SUCCESSFULLY USE FACTORY PRODUCT RECOVERY DISKS TO RECOVER THE INITIAL STATE. That is, you have to have already made them as nearly the first step you took with your new machine. IBM warned you – in small type on a single leaflet of paper tossed into the bottom of the box, no doubt.
Thinkpad models as regards HDD cloning:
ThinkPad model release year HDD Type
Pre-2003 Models (mostly) Pre-HPA with included Recovery disk
T23 and T30 Pre-HPA, R&Ra 2.0
R40 Jan 2003 HPAb
T40, T40p Mar 2003 HPAb
X31 Mar 2003 HPAb
G40 Apr 2003 HPAb
R40e Oct 2003 HPAb
R50 Oct 2003 HPAb
T41 Oct 2003 HPAb
T41p Nov 2003 HPAb
R50p Nov 2003 HPAb
X40 Feb 2004 HPAb
R50e Apr 2004 HPAb
R51 Apr 2004 HPAb
T42, May 2004 Early ones have HPA, later ones Post HPA
T42p May 2004 HPAb
G41 Oct 2004 ?
T43 Feb 2005 Post HPA, R&Ra 3.0; SATA to PATA, Error 2010c listed as having HPA
R52 Mar 2005 Post HPA, R&Ra 3.0; SATA to PATA, Error 2010clisten under having HPA
T43p Apr 2005 R&Ra 3.0; SATA to PATA, Error 2010c listed as having HPA
X32 Apr 2005 HPAb
X41 Apr 2005 Post HPA, R&Ra 3.0; SATA to PATA, Error 2010c
X41 Tablet June 2005 Post HPA, R&Ra 3.0; SATA to PATA, Error 2010c
Z60m Sep 2005 Post HPA, R&Ra 3.0; SATA
Z60t Sep 2005 Post HPA, R&Ra 3.0; SATA
R51e Sep 2005 R&Ra 3.0
T60 Jan 2006 Post HPA, R&Ra 3.0; SATA
X60 Jan 2006 Post HPA, R&Ra 3.0; SATA
X60s Jan 2006 Post HPA, R&Ra 3.0; SATA
T60p Feb 2006 Post HPA, R&Ra 3.0; SATA
R60 May 2006 Post HPA, R&Ra 3.0; SATA
R60e May 2006 Post HPA, R&Ra 3.0; SATA
Z61e May 2006 Post HPA, R&Ra 3.0; SATA
Z61m May 2006 Post HPA, R&Ra 3.0; SATA
Z61t May 2006 Post HPA, R&Ra 3.0; SATA
Z61p July 2006 Post HPA, R&Ra 3.0; SATA
X60 Tablet Nov 2006 Post HPA, R&Ra 3.0; SATA
T61 May 2007 Post HPA, R&Ra 4.0; SATA
R61 Post HPA, R&Ra 4.0; SATA
X61 Post HPA, R&Ra 3.0; SATA
X61 tablet HPAb
Retrieved from "http://www.thinkwiki.org/wiki/ThinkPad_History"
c. http://www.thinkwiki.org/wiki/Problem_w ... hard_disks
Background for HDD disaster recovery for Thinkpads.
The earliest recovery system was one or more CDs which could restore the HDD content to the factory-shipped condition. For these systems, simple disk cloning programs work.
The earliest R&R versions (2.n?) were used on models T23 and T30. This used the R&R programs, but in a visible disk partition and did not ship with factory provided recovery disks. Simple disk cloning works.
HPA is hidden from hardware (!) by BIOS commands to the HDD firmware, which then reports a smaller hard disk size by listing fewer cylinders. The access to the HPA is controlled by the BIOS setting of the “Pre Desktop Area” in Security settings. When the BIOS is set to “Disabled”, the extra cylinders are visible to other programs for copying.
However, this is a complex issue. First you must have a HDD that supports the BEER and PARTIES drive access architecture. Without that, the disk itself will not play well with the BIOS calls to the disk to change its hardware visible size.
The layout of data on the HDD has the Windows/boot partition first on the disk. The HPA is not at the front of the disk, but at the last few cylinders. When the BIOS calls make this area visible, it appears as unallocated space to any partition program I’ve yet found. So partition-copiers, even bit-for-bit partition copiers, will refuse to do anything with it because it’s apparently not in a partition.
Because of this, if you bit-clone, sector-clone, etc., the HDD, you get the Windows partition first, the HPA in the cylinders at the end of the Windows partition, and nothing out at the end of the HDD. Even if you have a BEER/PARTIES compatible disk, the end of the disk where the changeable size exists is not written with the necessary data for the HPA to function correction in the Thinkpad.
I can hypothesize that one could low level format a disk, then fill all sectors with some marker byte; following that, one could exact-clone the resumably-smaller space from a previous drive. The final fillip is to then use a hex disk examiner to find the last-written sector of the Windows partition and then use a low level sector reader/writer to copy an image of the HPA data into the HPA area at the end of the HDD. Then you could adjust the Windows partition size, or better yet make the really-unallocated area in the middle be your data area, separating your fungible data from the Windows partition. Yes, that’s a lot of work, and uses a workflow that doesn’t exist yet.
You could also simply format the new HDD, then use the Product Recovery Disks from IBM/Lenovo for your model to place the correct Windows partition/HPA on the disk. I do not know whether this will actually work; it could be that the programming on the PRDs doesn’t put the HPA at the end of the disk, but only somewhere where it thinks they should go. In any case, the PRDs appear to be the only non-guru practical way to clone an HPA-era HDD and get the HPA in the right place on the HDD.
Note that the recovery disks which the HPA programs create if you choose “make recovery disks” on your Thinkpad with HPA will NOT be able to create a new HDD image on a larger disk which will work properly. Only the factory Product Recovery Disks will work for this.
Post-HPA R&R uses a hidden partition, but it does not use the hardware-hidden techniques of the HPA. Instead, a special driver hides the recovery partition from the OS. This gets very confusing because IBM literature uses “Pre-Desktop Area” as the single name for both HPA and non-HPA versions. HPA exists only for certain specific models. It has been reported that the T42 had early models with HPA and later models without HPA.
Early R&R, versions 3.n, uses a FAT32 file system partition; later (R&R 4.n) versions reported on Z61 use NTFS partitions. Disk cloning programs will successfully copy these disks.
The caveats mentioned in other places about not booting your system with both the original HDD and the clone on it to avoid Windows labeling the clone partition with a drive letter apply.
Another issue to be careful of is PATA versus SATA. Early Thinkpads were PATA (IDE or ATA). Later ones have gone to SATA. However, in the middle, there were Thinkpads which used PATA HDDs, but had a SATA controller on the motherboard, which ran the PATA HDD by means of a SATA-to-PATA bridge chip. For these models only, the HDD must have the correct firmware inside the HDD, or you will get the “Error 2010” on trying to boot a clone. You must either use an IBM/Lenovo HDD or flash update the OEM HDD you try to put into these machines to avoid this and get a bootable drive.