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Windows 7: Might be missing MBR & 100MB partition on Boot SSD

27 May 2011   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
Might be missing MBR & 100MB partition on Boot SSD


I want to transfer my C: drive, a 64GB SSD that contains my Win 7 Ultimate 64-bit and several Microsoft programs, to a new Intel 320 series 120GB SSD using an Acronis True Image Home 2011 backup of that drive. I went to the Acronis forum to get some information and it was suggested that I take a look at the 'alignment' of my SSD boot drive - in particular my MBR. Apparently, mine is missing although I do have a 'Boot' file folder and a 'bootmgr' file on my drive. I seem to be able to boot without problems and have been using this system configuration for about a year now.

The three images I'm showing below are of this drive. The first is a screen shot of the Disk Management of Win 7, the second a screen shot of the Acronis Disk Director of the same drive, and the third a screen shot of Win 7 System Information/Disks.

Might be missing MBR & 100MB partition on Boot SSD-diskpartitions.jpg

Might be missing MBR & 100MB partition on Boot SSD-diskpartacronis.jpg

Might be missing MBR & 100MB partition on Boot SSD-diskpartsysinfo.jpg

I was told on the Acronis forum that I need to allocate 1MB of disk space for the MBR. Although no one on that forum mentioned this, I thought that I was supposed to have a 100MB Win 7 system partion on my OS boot drive. I cannot seem to find this.

So here are my questions:

1. Is my boot drive, C:, correctly partitioned as it now stands?

2. If it isn't, what do I have to do to make it correct prior to backing up and moving my boot drive to a new SSD?

3. There was no mention of me having to install the Intel 320 Series 120GB SSD prior to my transferring my old drive to it. In fact, I'm supposed to delete any partitons that are on the new drive prior to moving the system files over. Do I have to do anything with regards to 'installing' the Intel drive prior to or after I transfer my old drive to it?

4. Would making a Windows 7 system copy of my 64GB SSD and transferring that image to my new drive be a better option? (The Acronis program lets me resize my partitons either up or down. I don't know if I can do that with the Win 7 backup/transfer.)

The more I explore this, the more confused I get. Your help will be very much appreciated.



My System SpecsSystem Spec

27 May 2011   #2

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1

Your C: looks fine to me. You either have a 100MB separate system reserved partition or include it's booting in the OS partition. Your's is included in the OS partition (System, active, boot). Your Disk 1 looks a bit odd. Your 1st partition has a pagefile and the 2nd is active.

I don't know what the talk about 1MB in connection with the MBR is all about.
Have a look here
reflect updates

Reimaging to a new HDD which is the same size or larger (like you) shouldn't be a problem. You can use Windows imaging if you like or Macrium. Windows will copy the MBR to the new HDD automatically. With Macrium you tick the box saying you want it to be copied. I don't know why Acronis would give you a problem - I don't use it.

NB: When using imaging do not have the old and the new HDDs connected at the same time.

Also, SSD specific alignment issues I'll leave to someone else to comment.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 May 2011   #3
Microsoft MVP


I would delete the page file from Disk1 so it recreates on Disk0 as it should.

In addition I would use Diskpart or a partition manager to mark the Active partition on DISK1 Inactive.
Partition - Mark as Active
Partition Wizard
My System SpecsSystem Spec

28 May 2011   #4

Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit

Hello MJF and GregRocker,

Thank you for your suggestions.

As you suggested for DISK 1, I was able to mark the Active partition Inactive.

A little more information about the Program Files partition on DISK 1. This is my Program Files partition. It inlcludes almost all of the programs I am using except for those few Microsoft programs I placed on my SSD C: drive. There is nothing else (That I've placed) on this partition except for the Page File.

The Page File is on DISK 1 because of my SSD. When I set up this system, I had a printout list of things to do to maximize the life and performance of an SSD in Windows 7. (I think I got this off of the OCZ SSD forum.) If I remember correctly, it suggested NOT to have a Page File on the SSD because it would have a bad effect on the NAND and decrease the life of the drive. So I set up the Page File manually to match the 12GB of RAM I have on my system. I had forgotten about this until now. However, my system has been running well - at least I think it has - for the 14-months since I built it. So my question is:

If it's best to keep the Page File off the SSD, is there any harm in having the Page File where it is?

Thanks again for your help. I appreciate it.



My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 May 2011   #5
Microsoft MVP


You cut off the drive size listings in Disk Mgmt so we can't see how much unused space is on the SSD.

Normally I would leave the Programs on the OS HD since they write registry keys which integrate themselves into the OS, unless you have space problems. It's better to link the User data files to another HD: User Folders - Change Default Location

But if performance is fine and you're tight for space already on the SSD, then I'd just leave it the way it is and keep those ideas in mind for a reinstall.

Remember for reimaging that you need to include the Programs partition in the image. This will totally flummox the Windows 7 backup imaging utility when it comes time to reimaging since a second HD is involved, so I would use free Acronis premium imaging app if you have a WD or Seagate HD, or freeware like Macrium Reflect or Paragon 11.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 May 2011   #6
Microsoft MVP

Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 X64 (Windows 10, 8.1, Linux Mint, Windows XP and others in VM)

You could alsao use the clone function in Acronis. I have used it several times. If the source drive is aligned and the destination drive is aligned and marked active, the cloned drive will be aligned.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 May 2011   #7

Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit

Greg and essenbe,

I only have 15GB of space left on my 64GB SSD C: drive. Although I have just enough space to put the rest of my program files on that disk, I would be left without enough room for disk maintenance.

You hit the nail on the head with the link to move the User data files to another HDD. Thanks for that information. I found it helpful.

My new SSD is an Intel 320 Series 120GB. I have been thinking about using the Intel/Acronis data migration feature, but that's basically a disk clone and leaves me with unallocated space on the new disk. So I'm going to use Acronis True Image Home 2011 backup and restore feature. This will permit me to 'align' - in Acronis terms - my SSD and to make the primary OS partition open to all available space. A person by the name of GroverH, along with PatL have been very helpful in my understanding as how to achieve this. Still, I've had a series of Windows 7 specific questions that have confused me and you have been very helpful in addressing those and putting me on the right track. This forum has filled in the gaps of my knowledge and will help to make this transfer actually work.

My new SSD will have enough space for my program files. I'm running Adobe Design Premium C4 (with plug-ins and updates) and I don't want to register an uninstall and reregister a new install and have to recreate my working environment. Is there a way to move all of my program files over to the new SSD C: drive without having to uninstall/install programs?

Once again, thanks for all of your help and advice. I'll let you know if this transfer is a success.



My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 May 2011   #8

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64

You may be able to find the registry entries and change the paths - quite fiddly I would imagine - the number of entries associated with Adobe.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 May 2011   #9
Microsoft MVP

Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 X64 (Windows 10, 8.1, Linux Mint, Windows XP and others in VM)

SIW2, is there any reason he cannot clone the drive then extend the C drive in disk management? The clone feature would solve his problems of activating software.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 May 2011   #10

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1

Especially with the larger SSD I would have the page file and installed programs on it even if it involved reinstalling all the programs. Around 120GB should be easily big enough to hold your programs and some data. Isn't program load time one the nice things about an SSD?
Certainly locate appropriate data off the SSD.

Maybe even consider a complete clean install OS & programs.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Might be missing MBR & 100MB partition on Boot SSD

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