since my original wouldn't boot, I installed a minimal FreeBSD on the new disk, mounted the old partitions under /mnt and copied from the original to the new partitions by using:

dump 0af - /dev/ad2s1[adef] | restore xf -

(the partitions adef where done one by one)

The /usr/ partition was 74Gb, and it took (according to dump 52631 seconds (~ 14.5 hours) to copy. Both disks are IDE, in the same machine on different IDE controllers.

Is it normal for a backup/restore to take this long? Or could this be due to my failing disk?

if you don't use softdeps on destination disk - it will.

or if it had so slow reads because of hardware problem.

rather be happy it succeeded :) if your disk is failing
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