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Windows 7: How do I clone a System Partition onto a new Drive


08 Apr 2012   #21
Microsoft MVP

 

If you move the User folders from your new install on SSD then Windows 7 backup imaging and some other imaging apps consider them System files and wants to include them in the image, plus there can be other complicated permissioning issues that have caused us to stop recommending it and instead use the much easier rightclick to Add to Library - Include a Folder - Windows 7 Forums.

All of the User folders have a Library except Downloads which you can create yourself from that rightclick menu.

I would install as many programs to SSD until it becomes close to full, to benefit from increased speed. Then you can install programs to the HD but I would keep them in a Programs partition which is imaged along with C. The problem with moving programs off of C is that they write themselves to the OS and really become a part of it until uninstalled, so should remain on C for imaging purposes - however including a Programs partition in the backup image can help.

So you could use free Acronis Seagate edition and back up the 100mb System Reserved boot partition and C, and eventually a Programs partition on the second hD, to the third HD or external. If Windows 7 ever becomes irreparable just boot the Acronis boot disk, reimage those three partitions to their original locations.

Keep the data folders OUT of the image and in a separate partition not included in image so they will be current and in their partition if the need arises to reimage in place of a reinstall.

There are other ways to do it but this is easiest. I personally will not move Programs off of C and would want an SSD large enough to include them, but it is your choice.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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08 Apr 2012   #22

Windows 7 Professional 32-bit
 
 

Quote:
If you move the User folders from your new install on SSD then Windows 7 backup imaging and some other imaging apps consider them System files and wants to include them in the image, plus there can be other complicated permissioning issues that have caused us to stop recommending it and instead use the much easier rightclick to Add to Library - Include a Folder - Windows 7 Forums.
I guess I don't understand this part. How can I move the data off of my C drive if I'm only creating a library shortcut to it? I was going to go into my C:\User\<username> and right click each folder (Downloads, Documents, Music etc...) hit properties then click the "Location" tab and move it to my E: Drive (which is Data)

Quote:
Keep the data folders OUT of the image and in a separate partition not included in image so they will be current and in their partition if the need arises to reimage in place of a reinstall.
This makes sense, once I have all my Data folders/files on my E: Data partition I won't have to re-image it if the system goes bad, because it will automatically have all the latest data stored safely in this partition for my programs that get re-imaged.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Apr 2012   #23
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Anything that is in a partition - OS or data - I would image. Imaging compresses the data and needs less space on your backup drive. Figure that the image is about 60% of the imaged data amount.

Whilst you are imaging, you can run other things. The Macrium imaging process can run in the background - just 'hide' it. You will see, there is a 'hide' button. I have imaged the OS in anything from 4 minutes (to an internal HDD) to 14 minutes (to a USB2 attrached HDD).

With Macrium, restoring the OS from an image on an external disk to a SSD takes about 20 minutes. Restoring the data partition to a HDD may take a tad longer depending on the amount of data and the speed of the disks.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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08 Apr 2012   #24

Windows 7 Professional 32-bit
 
 

Okay so here is my set up just to run it by.

1 SSD HD 120GB
  • Has system files, some core programs
  • Has "shell" (Is that right?) user folders that are located on....

1 WD Caviar SE 250GB
  • Has two partitions, 1 for data, 1 for extremely large programs, projects, or files
  • Data Partition holds User folders (Downloads, Document etc.) that I moved there by right clicking -> properties -> location -> move

External 1 TB
  • Holds images of all my partitions in case of disaster
  • And pictures of bunnies hopping around with easter eggs

I'll make some tweaks as I go but mainly my big data folders will be on my WD. I just don't understand what all the Adding Libraries was about. I want to understand because if I can make my life easier and this more efficient, I am very willing.

Maybe give an example in context with my set up? Thanks for helping!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Apr 2012   #25
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

This looks like a nice setup. The 'adding libraries' can mean two things:

1. You make a different library for a set of folders that sit on any disk - internal or external

2. You add folders that sit anywhere on internal or external disks to an existing library

In both cases you would right click on the respective folders and INCLUDE that folder into the library of your choice.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Apr 2012   #26

Windows 7 Professional 32-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by whs View Post
This looks like a nice setup. The 'adding libraries' can mean two things:

1. You make a different library for a set of folders that sit on any disk - internal or external

2. You add folders that sit anywhere on internal or external disks to an existing library

In both cases you would right click on the respective folders and INCLUDE that folder into the library of your choice.
Ohh, thanks for the clarification. So libraries are more of a way for me to easily access data that is on separate partitions and organize it with similar folders that I don't necessarily want in the regular User Folders.

So I can put a folder on my data partition and add it to a library so that I don't have to navigate to it every single time I want something from it...brilliant!

I'm thinking this is good and I'm going to finish setting things up. Thanks so much for everything you guys have been extremely helpful!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Apr 2012   #27
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

I think you got the idea. Libraries are an excellent means to organize distributed folders for easy access. If you want to create a new library, just right click on "Libraries" in the left pane and click on "New". But you can also INCLUDE folders into existing libraries.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Apr 2012   #28
Microsoft MVP

 

If you move location of Shell User folders to data partition, then there is no reason to use libraries. I didn't recommend it because it can cause some problems by forcing the inclusion of User folders on the data partiiton in image (using Windows 7 backup imaging) since these are deemed System files. I have also had permissioning issues with my download installers when linking to another partition. This has caused me to link files to libraries instead. But you can try it to see how it works out over time.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Apr 2012   #29

Windows 7 Professional 32-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by gregrocker View Post
If you move location of Shell User folders to data partition, then there is no reason to use libraries. I didn't recommend it because it can cause some problems by forcing the inclusion of User folders on the data partiiton in image (using Windows 7 backup imaging) since these are deemed System files. I have also had permissioning issues with my download installers when linking to another partition. This has caused me to link files to libraries instead. But you can try it to see how it works out over time.
I think I see what you are saying now. So you don't even use the default My Document folders or Music or Download folders. You just create your own on your data partition and then link them to those libraries (or ones you created) and save all your files there.

But what happens when programs automatically install their data into the default My Documents folder in the Users and it starts to clutter up the SSD?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Apr 2012   #30
Microsoft MVP

 

Point browser downloads to the data partition, choose the data partition when you Save files, in library you will see which files are falling into C: so just drag them down to D.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 How do I clone a System Partition onto a new Drive




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