My Windows 7 started to display the “Windows detected a hard disk problem” error message. While I first ignored it, I finally ran chkdsk /f /r on all disks just to make sure erroneous sectors would not cause the error to show again.
Unfortunately, this did not work out, and the error message became more persistent.
A look into the event log presented more and more warnings (Event ID 52, Source Disk)
The driver has detected that device <device> has predicted that it will fail. Immediately back up your data and replace your hard disk drive. A failure may be imminent.
and errors (Event ID 7, Source Disk)
The device, <device>, has a bad block.
(The Events and Errors Message Center does not even know these event IDs exist.)
Restarting the PC would stop the boot process with the message
S.M.A.R.T. Status: BAD. Backup and Replace
Press F1 to continue
The dying disk is a Seagate, so I tried the SeaTools (both Windows and DOS) because they might help resolve the errors, but they didn’t.
Fortunately, the new disk is also a Seagate, a different model but the same size as the old one, so I downloaded Seagate DiscWizard on my laptop to create a bootable CD. Unfortunately, DiscWizard setup requires Seagate disks installed in the PC, which the laptop does not have. Back to square one.
In the end, I mounted the new disk in the PC, installed DiscWizard, and started it. The selection of source and destination disks cause adrenaline levels to jump, but the selection dialog (of both disks) always displays the partitions of each selected disk, so the the likelihood of selecting both drives wrong due to poor UI is greatly reduced (see screenshots in the HowTo).
After disk copying completed, I disconnected the old disk and left the new disk connected on the same cable as during copying, booted, and, voilà, logged into my old new Windows 7.