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Windows 7: Transferring my Win 7 installation to an SSD in a dual-boot system

20 Dec 2011   #1
urf

Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
 
 
Transferring my Win 7 installation to an SSD in a dual-boot system

Hello!

I've got a brand new SSD waiting for me at the post office, and what I need to do is the process described in this helpful tutorial SSD - Install and Transfer the Operating System -- but my specific situation is that I've got a dual-boot system:

There's drive C with Windows 7 64-bit,
drive D for general storage,
and drive E housing Windows Vista 32-bit, into which I sometimes boot for running incompatible software.

When I boot into Vista, drives C and E swich places in the nomenclature (E becomes C in Vista and vice versa).

There's also a special guest, drive B which is my big external HDD, powered only when I back up or restore my stuff.

So here's my current plan.

1) I back up everything using my backup software, which is Paragon Backup & Recovery 2010 Free Advanced.

2) Using the backup image of C, I copy my C drive (or most of it) over to the SSD (after having prepared it as per the instructions in the tutorial).

3) Not 100% sure what happens next. I have to edit the drive letters and boot settings (using EasyBCD, perhaps?) so that the SSD takes the place of drive C in the drive setup and in the windows boot manager. Ideally, the dual-boot with Vista remains intact and everything remains seemingly the same, the C drive just housed in a different piece of hardware, and the old hdd (now drive X or whatever) becoming a (second) generic storage drive.

I don't feel like doing this trial-and-error just on my own. Any tips? What do you think about this project? Should I just uninstall Windows 7 and reinstall it from scratch onto the SSD? I'd hate to do that, because then I have to reinstall a lot of stuff and configure my system back to how I like it.

Many thanks!

My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

20 Dec 2011   #2
Microsoft MVP

 

I would clone the HD to SSD using free Acronis premium cloning/imaging program which comes free with any WD or Seagate drive in the mix.

Otherwise use free Macrium Reflect which includes cloning in the latest version.

After cloning unplug the source HD. If Windows 7 fails to boot, boot into the Windows 7 DVD Repair console or Repair CD to run Startup Repair 3 Separate Times after marking it Active and setting it first HD to boot in BIOS setup.

Once it starts, try booting Vista using the one-time BIOS Boot Menu key wihch is the preferred method of Dual Booting with separate HDs because it keeps them independent. If it fails to boot either add it from Windows 7 using EasyBCD 2.02, or unplug Windows 7 HD to mark Vista Active then run Vista Startup Repair 3 times to make it's bootmanager also independent and bootable via BIOS.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Dec 2011   #3
whs

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Your plan looks good exccept for the bootmgr in the 100MB system partition. that you have to fix (which might be a bit of a pain) PS; just saw that Greg gave you the answer how to deal with that.

I myself would do that differently in order to get independence of Windows 7 and Vista:

1. Make an image of your Windows 7 from the HDD (the C partition only, not the 100MB partition)

2. Install a new Windows 7 on the SSD with the HDD disconnected - then you do not have to worry about alignment and you get a new 100MB partition and bootmgr

3. Replace the newly installed Windows 7 on the SSD C partition with the image from the HDD. Just make sure that the sizes fit.

4. Reattach the HDD and switch between the 2 operating systems with the BIOS boot sequence

5. Delete Windows 7 on the HDD - but not the 100MB partition which is needed for Vista.

What do you think.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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20 Dec 2011   #4
Microsoft MVP

 

Can you post back a screenshot of your maximized Disk Mgmt drive map with listings, using Snipping Tool in Start Menu. We can advise you better.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Dec 2011   #5
urf

Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by gregrocker View Post
Can you post back a screenshot of your maximized Disk Mgmt drive map with listings, using Snipping Tool in Start Menu. We can advise you better.
Not sure what you mean by drive map with listings, this is my Disk Management after installing the SSD and before initializing it:

Transferring my Win 7 installation to an SSD in a dual-boot system-diskmanagement.png

Obviously there's still too much data on C at this point for it to fit on the SSD. I'll make some room today and back up my stuff.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by whs
Your plan looks good exccept for the bootmgr in the 100MB system partition. that you have to fix (which might be a bit of a pain)
So this is something that will appear once I prepare the SSD? What is it and why will I have to fix it?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Dec 2011   #6
urf

Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
 
 

This is my Disk Management after initializing the SSD. I looked in Diskpart as well, no sign of a 100MB partition anywhere. I guess that means I don't have to worry about that?
Transferring my Win 7 installation to an SSD in a dual-boot system-diskmanagement2.png


My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Dec 2011   #7
Microsoft MVP

 

If D is your storage drive it should not be marked Active. I would mark it Inactive now: Partition - Mark as Inactive - Windows 7 Forums.

I'd also have my SSD in DISK0 position if possible, which can be done by swapping cables if possible.

When installing, imaging or cloning to the SSD, I would unplug all other HD's except the external holding the image or the source if cloning. Make sure after install/cloning/imaging the Windows 7 on the SSD is marked System Active and set first HD to boot in BIOS setup.

Then when you plug back in the other HD's, boot the other OS's using the one-time BIOS Boot Menu key.

You'll need a separate license for Windows 7 on the SSD if you don't delete Windows 7 on the HD. If you decide to do this, you'll need to recover the System Active boot files into Vista first so it will boot on its own and not using the System boot files on C as it does now.

To do this, mark Vista Active, unplug all other HD's, boot into Vista Install DVD Repair console or Repair CD to run Startup Repair up to 3 separate times with reboots until Vista starts on its own.

Then boot the preferred OS by setting it first to boot in BIOS, boot the other OS HD using BIOS one-time Boot Menu key at boot. This keeps the HD's independent to come and go as you please instead of interlocking them with a Window-managed Dual Boot.

Only the OS SSD/HD's should be marked Active. To boot them independently as suggested they must also each hold the System flag.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Dec 2011   #8
whs

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Right, no 100MB active partition to wrestle with. That makes the task easier. Hopefully you have aligned the partition you created on the SSD.

In any case, you have to make sure that the data on your HDD partition fits on the SSD. You currently have far too much data on C for it to fit on the SSD. I suggest you move your own data temporarily to the other disks because you cannot shrink C enough at this time. Then you can shrink C (you will have to use Partition Wizard bootable CD - last entry on the webpage) make a new partition from the free space and consolidate all your folders there. Later you can INCLUDE those folders into the SSD Windows 7 from the SSD Windows 7.

Once you cut C down to size, you can image it and dump the image into your C partition on the SSD. Since your C partition on the HDD will most likely still be larger than your SSD partition, I suggest you use free Paragon for the task. It can adjust the partition size. Free Macrium cannot do that - it requires that the originating paertition be equal or smaller than the receiving partition.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Dec 2011   #9
urf

Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by gregrocker View Post
I'd also have my SSD in DISK0 position if possible, which can be done by swapping cables if possible.
Is it important to have your main OS in DISK0? Why?

Thank you both for the protips, it is much appreciated :-----)

This is what I'm thinking of trying out tomorrow:

First I'll unplug everything but the CD drive, the SSD, and the external backup drive. I will then install a fresh Windows 7. Then I'll boot into the backup disc, select some directories from the backup image like Windows, Program Files etc. and see if I can just overwrite the ones on the SSD, boot Windows and ... if it doesn't work, I'll think of something else.

Vista probably won't boot after this, hopefully I can use EasyBCD or something to fix this.

One other question came to mind; Will I be able to change the files on the HDDs after installing the "new" Windows 7 on the SSD, eg. delete the other Windows 7? Will the file system let me, or will it give some sort of access denied error because I don't have the permissions or something?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Dec 2011   #10
Microsoft MVP

 

The reason for having OS in Disk0 is because if you install, reintsall or repair Windows 7 and it isn't in the first hD slot, any data partition which precedes it in order that is accidentally marked Active will have the System boot files mistakenly written to it.

We have to fix this a lot here. So, we warn.

I like your idea to clean reinstall, but I would not copy in Windows or Program Files as this is fraught with potential problems. But I'm glad you asked, if that's what you're doing.

Your best of all choices is to clean reinstall adapting these tips to get a perfect reinstall: Reinstalling Windows 7

Next would be to clone over Windows 7 with the System MBR and Active flag included. If it still doesn't start follow the repair tips I gave earlier.

The best overall way to delete an OS after it's no longer needed is from Disk Mgmt after marking it Inactive: Partition - Mark as Inactive - Windows 7 Forums. You can also use the Diskpart "Delete Partition Override" command on the partition, or if you want to clean the entire HD use Diskpart "Clean" command which has the benefit of cleaning the boot sector of potential problem corruption.

I gave you the steps in my previous post to boot Vista or Windows 7 if they won't boot.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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