Problem after cloning hard disk

I wanted to clone one hard drive to another. The drives had the same size (LBAs are equal). After the process, that finished with no error after verify, both hard disk are apparently empty, I am using Windows 7 and Computer Management/Disk Management, say that the hard disk must be initialized.
I tried GUID on the copy and I got all the disk as Unallocated. Any suggestions?


Hello Joao, thanks for writing at the balena forums.

Was there any content on the drive used as a source, was it “unallocated” before using it as a source for flashing?


Unfortunately the content was important. The source was not empty.



I assume you were running Etcher on the same Windows 7 machine, could you please describe the exact steps you performed? Are the drives internal or external? Does the situation change when you unplug the copy and then plug it back in? Was the copy “Uninitialized” before or did it hold something (maybe an empty partition)?


I ran the software with run as supervisor. The drives were external and connected by USB. It took a lot of time, but that was not a problem. I did it with the verify option on and the message that everything was ok appeared when the process finished. I don’t want to waste your time. The intention was to copy the original hard disk so that I had a copy, just in case, as no CDs are available with the machine.


Hello @Joao_Almeida,

That’s fine, we’d like to get to the bottom of this. Please let me know if I got the situation right:

  • You had 2 external USB drives connected to the Windows 7 machine.
  • One of the drives (drive 1) had files on it that were accessible before running etcher.
  • The other drive (drive 2) was empty.
  • Both drives are equal in size
  • You clicked on the “Clone Drive” option and used drive 1 as source and drive 2 as target.
  • Etcher cloning process was successful (including write verification).
  • After that, both drives (drive 1 and drive 2) seem to be empty and Windows 7 is reporting that the hard drives must be initalized.

Is this correct? Would you be able to send a screenshot of how Windows reports the drives as not initialized?


Don’t worry. I solved the problem. I will simulate it again and I will tell you the results. The source was the hd of a computer I bought. I urgently need to pu it to work, so I downloaded Windows and I will install it again.

Thanks a lot and sorry for teh English

Nicolas Tzovanis via balenaForums <> escreveu no dia sexta, 6/11/2020 à(s) 17:45:


No worries at all, let us know the results once you’re finished. By the way, if you found the problem it would be great if you can post it here so the whole community can benefit from it ;).

hi there, i have the same issue, and what you described here is my symptoms too.

i cloned, and both drives asked to be initiated after. windows does not pick it in bios also

please help - i waned to clone the drive for a backup, and now i have nothing


Hello @chris865

Sorry about the inconvenience.
Please update etcher to 1.5.112 so this won’t happen again.

I’ve provided some instructions on getting the data back here Balena Etcher - clone drive, now have two blank drives

They require a Linux or macOS computer. This is probably also doable on WIndows but I’m not sure how.
The partition table is missing on your drive.
The key point is to find the offset of your partition and copy that partition to a disk image.

Hello. I am not fully aware of whether it is possible to clone a hard drive as I have done before with other clone tools!

That is: I have a Win7 desktop with a hard drive I want to clone, and which will boot up when it is inserted into the Win7 computer!

The goal is whether I will get a usable extra Hard Disk in reserve in case of a disk crash?

If I remove the hard drive from the Win7 computer and insert it into an external usb adapter, and another hard drive into another adapter to plug into my win10 laptop and then clone with BalenaEdcher - will this work 100% when inserted in my Wi7-PC?

Etcher does not clone drives, only burns them from images. So you’d need another program to clone your disk.