Rescuing a failing drive to a new one using GParted!

My eldest’s machine (Windows 8.1 Pro) has been suffering partly as a result of internet issues but mainly it’s inferior network solutions when things don’t go right (backwards compared to Windows 7). I am digressing. So the eldest’s old hard drive in the hot swap bay was chosen to put FerenOS on and low and behold, Disks reported it was failing. So I found the younger one’s old hard drive that I was going to utilise, put that in my hot bay and the failing drive attached to the cables from one of my internal drives. I booted using FerenOS May snapshot and obviously he has taken my advice to get round the Calamares install issue as GParted is present. So first things first.

If using an old drive that is in good order boot from your chosen Live Linux OS that has GParted present, delete all existing partitions so nothing is present on the ‘new’/replacement drive.

  1. Identifying which drive was which was easy - sdaX was the failing 500 Gb Samsung drive and sdbX was the new drive going to take the system and data from the 500 Gb drive.

  2. On the failing drive, select the ESP (EFI) partition, then on the menu bar click on File | Copy.

  3. Change the drive to where you want to copy the ESP partition to and ‘Paste’ in the new hard drive - you will need to mark the ESP flag as ‘boot’ and ‘lba’ = boot, lba.

  4. Copy the existing ‘/’ partition on the failing drive to the new drive - if at any time you can’t see copy available in the ‘File’ list (greyed out) it will mean you will have to ‘unmount’ the partition first - I think I had mounted them in file manager just to check things out - I had mounted the ‘/home’ partition thinking I could just copy the user’s /home folder and Timeshift snapshots but to no avail. So I went for it!

  5. I created an extended partition after I had moved ‘/’ and in that I created linux-swap the same size as the old drive - 16 Gb as the RAM on the machine it was going into has 8 Gb RAM at the END of the logical partitions. I then created a ‘/home’ partition on the remaining space of the extended partition. I was unable to copy the /home folders across (user data and Timeshift) to the new one using File Manager - So, I copied the /home partition on sdcX of the old drive onto the bigger /home on the ‘new’ 1 Tb drive - Gparted did the rest, acknowledging the partition was bigger than the old one and carried out e2fsck checks in doing so.

RESULT! It booted fine - the advantage over this method compared to Clonezilla is that you get a bigger /home partition - if I had just used Cloneziila it copies ‘as is’ and you can’t make partition sizes bigger if you had used Clonezilla.

With grateful thanks to the GParted team!

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