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Windows 7: Moving Win7 Partition to Another Drive

02 Jan 2010   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit
Moving Win7 Partition to Another Drive


I am using Windows 7 Home Premium N and XP Home on a dual-boot system but I want to move my Windows 7 partition from one drive to another but am not sure how to do it. Currently XP is on partition C: and Windows 7 on partition O: and essentially, what I want to do is to move partition O: to my main drive where space is already available for this to be done.

I have seven drives on my system amounting to 6.5Tb (2Tb on external drives) and currently Windows 7 is on a partition on one of the internal 1Tb drives. However, I would like to free up the space being used and place Windows 7 in a separate 50Gb partition at the end of my main drive (500Gb). Since I pre-partitioned the current Windows 7 partition before installation, I do not have the 'hidden' partition I've read so much about.

I have an old DOS version of Ghost on a boot CD and can readily back up the current Windows 7 partition ready for recovering to the prepared partition on my main drive. Once transferred I then want to delete the current Windows 7 partition. However, I know there is more to it than this! I am quite happy to reletter the partition to drive O: since I have software installed on the Windows 7 partition which is referred to in the registry. All this I'm fairly confident about doing - but it is operations involving the boot manager that I am completely unsure of. How does the system know where the boot info is located? What points it to the right partition/drive? Does it refer to the drive and/or partition? Is there anything else I just may have overlooked? Finally, should I perhaps just leave it where it is until I'm ready to do a reinstall on the appropriate partition?

A lot of questions I'm afraid but I would appreciate some help as I'm fairly new to the question of dual-boot systems and boot management. Thanks very much.

Tracey Woodmason

PS I have been looking for info on this in all sorts of places but have not so far found the answers to my questions. Sorry for any inconvenience if the info I'm looking for is already on this, or another, site. It's just that I've not found the info so far and any help being pointed in the right direction would be appreciated. Thanks. I also trust this is the right forum for this message.

My System SpecsSystem Spec

02 Jan 2010   #2

Windows 7 Professional x64

Hello, Welcome to the Forums!

Certainly, this is the right place to post. With the number of members we have, your question is almost guaranteed an answer.

Go ahead and move the partition using whatever tools you want. You are right, there will be issues after that. Fortunately, it is simple to fix these.

After you move the partition, run a Startup Repair 3 times, fewer is it works sooner.

If that does not work, post back. There are other tools we can use to repair it.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Jan 2010   #3

Windows 7 x64

Could you attach a picture of your Disk Mangement Window and possibly a printout of the bcdedit screen if you open an administrative command prompt and type:


Do this from within Win 7.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

03 Jan 2010   #4
Microsoft MVP


Hi Tracey - You can attach the requested Disk Management and bcdedit screenshot using the cool new Snipping Tool in Start Menu, attaching file with paper clip in reply box

Then we can advise you better what exact steps are needed.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Jan 2010   #5

Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit


Thanks for the replies folks. I hope they're not too small to read but I attach screenshots of my disk layout and BCDEdit screen. Hopefully it'll be more clear as to what I want to do if you relate it to my initial post. As you can see, Windows 7 is on disk 4 but I want to move it to the end of disk 1. I should also add that since my initial post I've absorbed the space made available at the end of disk 1 into my video partition (G but I can quite easily create that space again.

Part of the reason for wanting to do this is that currently disk 0 is a data storage disk of 1Tb but that in turn is backed up to a partition of only 950Gb the remaining 50Gb being taken up by Windows 7.

Again thanks for your help.

Tracey Woodmason

PS: I assume that Disk 0 is showing up as disk 0 since it is attached to a SATA add-in card as my mobo only has four SATA connectors.

Attached Images
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Jan 2010   #6

Windows 7 x64

Just some comments and observations:

Your boot files are in the C: partition, so moving the Windows install would not effect those.

You would have to edit the BCD store to change the O: to G: --can you edit the store and can you set it back to O: if necessary using a command line?

You will be moving the install into a logical partition, which can never be made active. If you decide to take XP out for some reason, you would still need a primary partition to boot from.

I personally like having my OSes on separate, independent hard drives so I can remove one for whatever reason and still have the other.

If you want to wait till some of the others come back, probably a good idea. You might try moving the files, and make sure you move the hidden system files as well and then change the BCD store as indicated. If you need to change it back, you can use the Win 7 Install DVD by booting to it and possibly startup repair or using bcdedit.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Jan 2010   #7

Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit

Hi Saltgrass

Thanks for the reply. As far as the partition I would create is concerned, that would be a primary partition appearing AFTER G:. This would be done using Acronis Disk Director from XP to reduce the current size of G: by 50Gb and then using the space freed up to create a primary partition of 50Gb into which Windows 7 would be placed. The reduction in the size of G: is no real hardship as there is plenty of spare space available - I've never used it all and what does go on it is only transitory.

As for editing the BCD store I really don't know if I can edit it or not. If you're talking about using BCDEdit then I think it'll be a case of using EasyBCD as I understand this does just about everything that BCDEdit does and more. Whatever, if you don't mind, I'll wait until the others come back to the forum and see what they have to say before I do anything.

Generally I get the feeling there are some people who have no problem at all in moving their Windows partition. However, as I said in my initial post, I'm new to the idea of dual-booting and I definitely don't want to make a mess of it. I'd sooner wait to see what others have to say so I can consider all comments/advice as well as the implications of moving Windows 7. It's NOT something I'm approaching without a great deal of thought and care!

My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Jan 2010   #8
Microsoft MVP


We help with these resize/move operations all the time here with nearly complete success as long as the steps are followed.

But resize/move ops can fail so back up your files on the HD's involved, including a Windows 7 Backup image so you can start over if necessary after reimaging the HD in 15 minutes.

Wouldn't you rather have the Windows 7 partition in the lower address of the HD where the laser is parked, for faster read? Please consider that and let us know.

Whichever you decide, logical partition would need to be shrunk to make unallocated space for the Windows 7 partition to be copied into, where it will remain Primary Active boot partition. Copying may require the MBR to be repaired which is achieved by booting the Windows 7 DVD or Repair CD to run Startup Repair 3 times.

The best tool in Windows 7 to achieve resize, move and copy operations is bootable Partition Wizard CD. Norton Ghost is fine if you prefer it for copying.

We can advise you the exact steps once you make a final decision where you want Windows 7 placed.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Jan 2010   #9

Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit


Thanks for your reply and you've certainly given me food for thought. I suppose I could move Windows 7 to a partition next to drive C: and still have the same drive letter, i.e. O:, thus retaining the integrity of the programs I have installed on other drives. Must admit I hadn't really considered that but will sleep on it overnight and get back to the forum in the morning but I suspect that will be the way I shall go.

I'm afraid I am one of those people who like to be sure I have all the tools I need in case of an emergency and as part of that preparation I already have Partition Wizard together with an associated boot disk. As I said in an earlier post, I already have Acronis Disk Director Suite but it doesn't work in Windows 7. Neither does the TrueImage version I use so I also have Todo Backup (a free disk imaging program). Nevertheless, I suspect I would probably use Disk Director from within XP to make space available.

As for carrying out partition resizing exercises, I must admit to having done it many times, plus I ALWAYS make a backup of all my main partitions (including XP and Windows 7) every Saturday using TrueImage. In addition I also backup XP and Windows 7 from DOS using the old version of Ghost I spoke of. I generally make sure to retain at least five such backup sets although this only includes drives C: to F:. Perhaps its time I started backing up G: as well.

Anyway, will get back to the forum in the morning.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Jan 2010   #10

Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit

Hi gregrocker

I've now had a chance of thinking about your suggestion and yes, I think I'll go with it. So, this morning I shall make sure I spend some time making 50Gb of space for Windows 7 immediately after my drive C:. I'll also copy my Windows 7 partition into the space made available using Partition Wizard. Since I know how to that perhaps you could give me advice as to where I go from there. As I said at the very outset, its the operations involving the bootloader that bother me. How do I tell the system where Windows 7 is located? If its any help, I do have the beta version(!) of EasyBCD installed which also deals with Windows 7. Thanks for all your help.

My System SpecsSystem Spec

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