error EA3905FE Cluster Not Allocated when restoring Drive Image

I recently restored an old Powerquest Drive Image in order to retrieve some old files. The Drive image was made when I suspected problems with the hard drive, so I was not too surprised to receive the error “EA3905FE: Cluster Not Allocated”. I had previously restored the same disk image (without checking the file system) and received the error “NTLDR is Missing, Press Ctrl+Alt+Del to restart”.

This time, I rebooted the PC with the original Windows installation disk in the CD drive and pressed a key when prompted to boot from CD. Once setup had run I selected the Repair option and booted into the Recovery Console, which is effectively a very basic DOS window with a limited set of commands. I tried to list the contents of drive C by typing DIR at the prompt. However the directory was obviously corrupt as the “Documents and Settings” folder had zero size and there was an error message at the end of the listing.

I had restored the disk image of three partitions. By default, Windows had allocated these to C:, D: and E: despite the fact they were originally located at C:, P: and S:. The CD Drive was therefore allocated to drive F:. I extracted chkdsk from the CD to drive C and repaired the drive (Command sequence: F:, cd i386, expand chkdsk.ex_ c:\, c:, chkdsk /r). All the files now appeared correctly.

While I was there, I also check the status of the other drives I had restored and although not flagged as dirty, they both had problems. (chkdsk d: /r, chkdsk e: /r)

When I rebooted, the installation started up but died with the dreaded BSOD and instantly rebooted. This is probably because I have restored my disk image onto different hardware… So off to create a BartPE Boot CD. More on that here