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Windows 7: Safest Way to Clone Windows 7 Volume for Dual Booting

03 Nov 2010   #121
Night Hawk

W7 Ultimate x64/W10 Pro x64 dual boot main build-remote pc W10 Pro x64 Insider Preview/W7 Pro x64

One of the main reasons besides the flexibility for having an identical second OS drive beside for testing as well as looking at dual booting is any possible hardware fail of the main drive. There I can restore an image made until eventually seeing another clean install at some point which is not uncommon.

It does preserve the software purchased however which won't always allow continous reinstalls rather then the need to buy the same versions of the same programs over and over. The actual fast and reliable way of seeing any dual boot setup is not restoring images but clean installs on each drive.

Here everything is already covered on one drive alone as far as softwares and running several VMs to look at other OSs. Anything on the second drive is merely a temporary option.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Nov 2010   #122



The disk repair activity on the source drive seems to have fixed the issues Acronis was having restoring or cloning the OS volume. Chkdsk and fsutil seem to have done the trick. Clearly my assumption that MFT errors whilst restoring suggested a faulty destination drive cost a load of time and extra frustration.

So here's what's been done:

1. I created a new backup of the source volume using Acronis.
2. I restored it (without the MBR) onto my newly fromatted destination drive, using Acronis from within Windows.
3. I shut down and disconnected the original source drive (to avoid booting issues on the first run).
4. I booted and used F12 to select the new boot drive - this failed, presumably because I had not copied the MBR (the boot drive selector simply froze when I tried to select the new OS drive).
5. I reconnected the old OS drive and rebooted into Windows.
6. I copied the MBR (on its own - Acronis lets you do this) onto the new destination drive.
7. I shut down, disconnected the old OS drive and rebooted, and again selected the new OS drive.
8. This time it gave me a boot error - 'Boot selection failed because a required device is inaccessible'.
9. I ran the Win7 startup CD and Startup Repair 3 times (you see - I do read these posts!).
10. I then booted into the cloned OS no problem.
11. I reconnected my original OS drive and rebooted, and selected the original OS - no problems apart from a Windows authentication warning which allowed me to re-authenticate without issue.
12. Rebooted again and selected the new volume (with both OS drives present in the system) - again booted into the cloned OS no problem.

Every time I reboot, the unused OS volume is relabelled as drive H:, and from what I can see there is no cross-linking between operating systems. In short everything looks good.

From here, I should hopefully be able to run a simple clone (or backup/restore) of my working OS volume, over the backup volume (without MBR), in order to keep both versions of Windows syncronised.

Can I please offer a final big "thank you!" to everyone for all the help and support. We got there in the end - and it only took 13 pages!

My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Nov 2010   #123

Windows 10 Pro. EFI boot partition, full EFI boot

great news Jules!
My System SpecsSystem Spec

04 Nov 2010   #124
Night Hawk

W7 Ultimate x64/W10 Pro x64 dual boot main build-remote pc W10 Pro x64 Insider Preview/W7 Pro x64

Glad to hear the good news! Now that you have the new drive OSed and running use the option in 7 for creating a full image to store on another drive in case you ever need to restore.

That should take about 100gb or more so store that on the 3rd drive you have there. With that you can keep the mbr info as well as the entire C volume intact and restore at any time. With a second image made by Acronis you can use the Utility & Tools section to see the image mounted for incremental backups for any new files added.

Note the images here where the image made of the previous Vista installation was mounted and accessible.

Attached Images
Safest Way to Clone Windows 7 Volume for Dual Booting-mounted-drive-image-1.jpg Safest Way to Clone Windows 7 Volume for Dual Booting-mounted-drive-image-2.jpg 
My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Apr 2016   #125

Windows 7 Home Prem 32 bit

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by mjf View Post
"This quote could be relevant to the discussion:
Source: "Acronis True Image WD Edition", 2000-2010, pp.48

When MBR recovery is chosen, the "Recover disk signature" box will appear in the bottom left corner at the next step. Recovering disk signature may be desirable due to the following reasons:
1. Acronis True Image WD Edition creates scheduled tasks using the signature of the source hard disk. If you recover the same disk signature, you don't need to re-create or edit the tasks created previously.
2. Some installed applications use disk signature for licensing and other purposes.
3. If you use Windows Restore Points, they will be lost when the disk signature is not recovered.
4. In addition, recovering disk signature allows to recover VSS snapshots used by Windows Vista and Windows 7's "Previous Versions" feature.
If the box is unselected, Acronis True Image WD Edition generates a new disk signature for the recovered drive. This may be needed when you use an image backup not for disaster recovery but for cloning your Windows Vista hard drive to another one. Trying to boot Windows after cloning with both drives connected will result in a problem. During Windows booting, its loader checks the disk signatures of all the connected drives, and if it finds two identical disk signatures, the loader changes the signature of the second disk, which would be the clone disk. Once this happens, the clone disk would not be able to boot up independently of the original disk, because the MountedDevices fields in the clone's registry reference the disk signature of the original disk, which will not be available if the original disk is disconnected."

The section of the same reference:
14.3.6 Cloning with Manual Partitions
may also be of interest
Not sure if this thread is being monitored any longer, but I will try for a response. In line item #3 pertaining to RESTORE PTS, is this stating that RESTORE PTS can be preserved in a clone if the disk signature is identical to the source disk? So far in every instance my clones do not contain the same RESTORE PTS as the source from which the clone was created. In fact, NO RESTORE PTS exist because SYS RESTORE is not enabled for the cloned partitions.

If indeed item #3 suggests that the RESTORE PTS can be preserved how do I make sure the disk signature is transferred identically?

I will also create a new thread to be sure that someone will view my ??'s.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 May 2016   #126

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1

It is a very old thread! Contributors will be flagged so I'm responding.

I think my main comments related to disk signatures. I have system system restore turned off on my SSD and rely exclusively on system images. Some years ago I found system restore unreliable.

I also use Macrium Reflect for system imaging and don't know if a system image restore will maintain "restore points". I'm also not sure about the case with cloning. As I have indicated it isn't an issue for me but someone else may care to comment.

You shouldn't have a problem with disk signatures using system imaging. The disk signature is stored as 4 bytes in the Master Boot Record (MBR) which will be replaced by the original when you perform a system image restore unless you go out of your way not too.

If you want more responses a new thread is a good idea.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

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