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Windows 7: General partioning & OS migration questions


11 Apr 2010   #1

Win 2k8 R2 64bit
 
 
General partioning & OS migration questions

Hi,

In the old days, I seem to remember doing a basic 'copy the current os partition to a new hard drive' procedure, to be much easier. but in windows 7, I always seem to be doing something wrong.

What is it that I don't understand about Windows 7 in general that makes this difficult for me, or maybe is just something about hard drives as a whole.

I've been doing installations with Windows 7 since Oct/09 at the release, and each time I've done an install, maybe 10/20 different occasions, each one has shown me a subtle difference and I really just wanna get the facts straight.

If I have just a basic standard install partition setup, why can't I just copy it to a new drive, then re-purpose the old drive? or is it that easy for everyone else, and I'm just crazy.

Some installations make use of a smaller partition ahead of the main, that stores.. something, not sure what. where as others seem to be one solid partition.

My main objective in most installs, is to have the bios boot from the new drive it's self, and not be reliant on the older drives master boot record?

right now, I have a 320gb hd, that I'm trying to migrate to a smaller 80gb drive. I run across this scenario a lot with new computer purchases, b/c the new comp comes with a big-fancy drive that should really be used for storage, but the os drive was purchased separately, thus a migration of the os is kinda the next step for me.

I'd like a workflow for the above, b/c otherwise I end up doing a clean install on the new drive, which isn't always a bad thing, but some times I dont WANT to reinstall drivers, etc.

If I were to just copy the entire 320gb drive, and move it over to the 80gb, then try to boot from the new clone, I'd end up with a: no boot device available msg

Been using EASEUS Partition Master 4, as my main tool.

I miss the days of EIDE, when you could just copy the old install, swap the cables, and said ta-da. again, my issues might have something to do with the whole sata evolution b/c it really doesnt seem to matter if I swap the cable positions any more, right?

so what is it that I'm so blind to in doing this most simplistic of tasks?

Thanks,
Dev.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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11 Apr 2010   #2
Microsoft MVP

 

I would use free Partition Wizard bootable CD, as it is the best tool we've found for Windows 7 partition management.

The exception would be to Shrink Volume which I would attempt first in Windows 7 Disk Management which will not fail, whereas 3rd party partition managers can fail, although we've not had PW fail on Resizing yet.

You want to shrink Windows 7 so it will fit comfortably on the new HD, then rightclick the partition from booted PW disk to Copy it to new HD which you have also plugged in.

This will likely still require recovering the MBR into Windows 7. After copying unplug the old HD, boot the Windows 7 DVD Repair console or Repair CD, click through to Recovery Tools list to run Startup Repair up to 3 separate times with reboots until Windows 7 starts on new HD.

Some cloning software will allow you to copy over with the MBR intact so it starts without this recovery. Often it is included in the purchase of a new HD, so you might check the model's Support Downloads webpage or the literature with your HD.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Jul 2010   #3

Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 (64 bit), Windows XP SP3, Linux Mint 17 MATE (64 bit)
 
 
I have a similar question

I have recently upgraded my PC, I want to put the old 320 GB drive back in the old box and install another 1TB drive in my main PC.
I still haven't finished setting up Windows 7 on my new machine and I don't fancy having to re-install everything again if I get a new HDD.

Last year, when I previously tried to use my backup HDD images (Windows XP SP3 and Windows 7 b7100), it was a debacle.

XP worked, no problems (it didn't "skip a beat").

Windows 7 totally c*****d itself.
The repair tool wouldn't fix the problem, so I went back to using the 320GB drive and put data on the 1TB drive (video files and backup images).

Do I need to install Windows 7 on the new drive and then migrate the data from the old drive, to complete this operation successfully?

Am I missing something obvious?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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26 Jul 2010   #4

Windows 7 Professional x64
 
 

You should be able to clone the drive using a free program such as CloneZilla.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Jul 2010   #5

Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 (64 bit), Windows XP SP3, Linux Mint 17 MATE (64 bit)
 
 
Thanks Jonathan_King

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Jonathan_King View Post
You should be able to clone the drive using a free program such as CloneZilla.
I may have to try that out (when I get my new drive).
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Jul 2010   #6
Microsoft MVP

 

Save also a Windows 7 Backup image externally as it should work to reimage the HD if cloning doesn't, or vice versa.

The complication with your dual boot reimaging was likely the dual boot itself. You most likely needed to mark Windows 7 active to repair its MBR and start it up, then add XP back to Dual boot using EasyBCD 2.0 from Windows 7. XP almost always holds the MBR so Windows 7 can't be repaired until MBR is recovered back into it by marking Active and running Startup Repair up to 3 separate times with reboots. Sorry we weren't able to help you with that in real time.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Aug 2010   #7

Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 (64 bit), Windows XP SP3, Linux Mint 17 MATE (64 bit)
 
 
Thanks gregrocker

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by gregrocker View Post
Save also a Windows 7 Backup image externally as it should work to reimage the HD if cloning doesn't, or vice versa.

The complication with your dual boot reimaging was likely the dual boot itself. You most likely needed to mark Windows 7 active to repair its MBR and start it up, then add XP back to Dual boot using EasyBCD 2.0 from Windows 7. XP almost always holds the MBR so Windows 7 can't be repaired until MBR is recovered back into it by marking Active and running Startup Repair up to 3 separate times with reboots. Sorry we weren't able to help you with that in real time.
Thanks.

I used Macrium Reflect for my images (I thought I told it to use the MBR from the images).

I also read somewhere, that Windows didn't like being swapped between IDE and SATA drives.
I think that statement was about XP (but I didn't have any trouble with XP).
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Aug 2010   #8
Microsoft MVP

 

Normally XP requires a Repair Install from boot when changing hardware - especially with mobo change.

If you were able to tell the imaging app to preserve the MBR it might only be for the OS which holds it, which is normally XP in such a dual boot. If it looked for an MBR on Windows 7 it wouldn't find it because it was on the XP System partition.

That said, the best dual boot config for separate HD's is to not interlock the HD's using a Windows-managed Dual Boot, but instead recover the MBR into Windows 7 and have either OS boot independently via BIOS boot order or one-time Boot Menu key. This leaves them to come and go as you please.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Aug 2010   #9

Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 (64 bit), Windows XP SP3, Linux Mint 17 MATE (64 bit)
 
 
I'm not sure I followed that

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by gregrocker View Post
Normally XP requires a Repair Install from boot when changing hardware - especially with mobo change.

If you were able to tell the imaging app to preserve the MBR it might only be for the OS which holds it, which is normally XP in such a dual boot. If it looked for an MBR on Windows 7 it wouldn't find it because it was on the XP System partition.

That said, the best dual boot config for separate HD's is to not interlock the HD's using a Windows-managed Dual Boot, but instead recover the MBR into Windows 7 and have either OS boot independently via BIOS boot order or one-time Boot Menu key. This leaves them to come and go as you please.
The imager asks, for each restored partition, whether or not to replace the MBR.
At that time, I only had XP and Windows 7, on my PC (now I've got Ubuntu 10.04 as well).

I had "fun" recently trying to get all 3 working (when I did my upgrade).
I ended up installing Windows 7 (64 bit) because my old 32 bit version totally "brain locked".
When I ran the repair tool, it said there was nothing wrong (but Windows 7 wouldn't boot).

That may have been caused by the on-board network controller, going stupid.
Just recently the PC wasn't booting properly and I eventually discovered that the on-board network controller, was switching itself on and off at random.
I don't know why that would stop my PC from booting, but since I put in a Network card, I haven't had any problems.

I am a bit strapped for cash at the moment, since I just started a training course (Network Administration).
This means it will be a while, before I buy a new HDD (it should also be cheaper).
When I get the new HDD, I'll be able to experiment.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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