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Windows 7: backup/restore from different sized drives

16 Jun 2011   #1

win 7 ult 32
backup/restore from different sized drives

I have win7 on an 80 gb ide boot HDD. I performed a image backup using the win7 tool found in control panel - put to an external drive.

Next, I successfully restored this to the only HDD I had laying around, which happened to be a 1 tb SATA drive. But, as you wd expect, it made the 1tb drive into a 80 gb drive. And everything worked.

NOW, I want to replace this 1tb (80 gb) boot drive with a real 80 gb drive, a ocz vertex2 ssd sata2 drive.

So , since I had installed gazzillion of important programs on my boot drive since my original backup, I backed up this boot drive to another location (happened to be another internal drive).

I replaced the old sata drive with the new vertex 2 ssd drive (same drive positions).

*BUT* , the restore to this new ssd drive did not work.

Is the problem that I am trying to restore to an ssd drive from a non ssd drive?


is the problem that the ssd drive , tho nominally an 80 gb drive, really nets out ALOT less than an ide 80 gb drive? I noticed that the net available is something like 74 gb ( I know there is always less available than the gross capacity that is stated on the box).

maybe the previous backup - restore worked fine because I was putting an 80 gb drive image onto a 1 tb physical drive?

When I clicked DETAILS from the win recover dialog from the repair disk, it suggested that I was probably trying to put the drive image on to a non system disk. Am I supposed to pre-format the drive telling the system that it is a system drive before putting the image onto it? It was my understanding that the restore process wd do the necessary formatting (I had done this successfully before).

I have not yet formatted the new ssd drive. just took it out of the box and installed it into the case.

I guess I cd try to install the original image that I had done from the original 80 gb ide drive, but then I wd have to reinstall all the tricky programs that I had installed afterwards, which is no fun.

Was it relevant that for this failed restore I had put the image backup onto a internal drive? windows recommends to put it on an external drive (does nt give the reason for this, however). I had tried to put the image on to an external drive , but there was a i-o problem, I just selected an internal drive and the back up process then worked fine.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Jun 2011   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient


Use the backup from the 80gb IDE HD.
Take a look at this Tutorial:
SSD - Install and Transfer the Operating System
SSD Tweaks and Optimizations in Windows 7
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Jun 2011   #3

win 7 ult 32

thanks. that's a thorough tutorial on what I want to do. I didnt know there would be that much detail involved to execute this os/drive migration.after all, I had previously had done this 1-2-3, lickety split w/o a thought when I went from 80gb ide to the 1 tb sata (and also when i went from 80 gb ide to 80 gb sata). I didnot have to worry about 100 mb partitions or anything of the like.

so it looks like going to ssd from non ssd AND from a diff sized drive is what makes this more complex apparently.

one thing I s/ clarify is that while my boot drive is physcially 1 tb, it is really a 80 gb image. also, there is only 35 gb of os and pgms on it . it is not like i am trying to shrink 1 tb of data into 70 gb.

one line in the tutorial that I wondered about is (my emphasis on automatically)
You can also use the Windows7 imaging, which has the advantage that it deals with the 100MB active boot partition automatically.

There does nt seem to be much 'automatically' using W7 backup/restore from non ssd to ssd at least. I am tempted to buy that paragon product since I really do not want to have to reinstall and re-tweak the huge number of video editing pgms if I use the original 80 gb ide image.

But the guy did say that there were numerous free apps to accomplish this trick of bigger size to smaller size
The OS transfer

This is done with an image. There are a variety of free imaging programs (e.g., the free editions of Macrium, Paragon, Acronis, etc.) that are suitable for the task. You can also use the Windows7 imaging, which has the advantage that it deals with the 100MB active boot partition automatically.

My System SpecsSystem Spec

16 Jun 2011   #4

Windows 7 Enterprise X64/Windows 10 Enterprise X64/Windows 10 Pro X64/Linux Mint

The issue you are going to have to deal with using most of the mentioned programs is alignment of the SSD. The programs align the destination drive the same as the source drive. That and selecting what to transfer is what sets the Paragon data migration drive apart from the others for this circumstance. It is not an issue with macrium in restoring an image from the SSD back to the SSD, as the image will be aligned and I believe Acronis is the same.

I use Macrium and Acronis. That has been my experience with them.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Jun 2011   #5

win 7 ult 32

does the w7 backup-restore function found in the w7 control panel align correctly on to the new drive (ssd in this case), or is this, too, subject to the alignment issues?

I just successfully executed the restore from the original 80 gb ide drive backup that I made last yr. the pc is restarting now. When I started this thread, the procedure ended with an error.

How do I know if I have an alignment error? how will this show up? will my files be missing the last byte or something

It is re-booting now. - after I changed the boot sequence to use the new ssd drive. Of course I see that there is NOTHING on there and is trying to install the missing drivers and then I 'll have to install everything I put on in the last yr.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Jun 2011   #6

Windows 7 Enterprise X64/Windows 10 Enterprise X64/Windows 10 Pro X64/Linux Mint

The easiest way to check alignment is to download AS SSD benchmark tool. Open it and select your SSD. Dont run the tool, but look in the top left corner it will show the firmware, the driver and the alignment. The alignment must be divisible by 4.

The other way is to open an elevated command prompt
type diskpart then press enter
type list disk -enter
select disk # where # is the number of your SSD
type list partition
you will see a listing of size of the drive and an offset size. The offset is your alignment. it should look like this
backup/restore from different sized drives-check-alignment.png
The AS SSD should look like this. In both cases my alignment is 1024
backup/restore from different sized drives-iastor-asssd.png

My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Jun 2011   #7

MS Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-bit


I've done numerous backups & restores between different size disks.

Don't sweat it. All should go just like your initial experience.

Oh yes, using and not using SSD.

Win 7 is going to take care of alignment for you, despite all of the dire warnings and advice you may receive.

Now what I need to know is:
The size of the disk that you desire to backup and
The size of the new disk.

If the "source" disk is in your computer presently, then a display of the output of Disk Management will be helpful.

Please read the description I give, especially regarding making all of the info visible.


Run disk management:
WIN is the key with the wavy flag.

Maximize the output of Disk Management:
ALT-Spacebar key combo (this pops up a menu) |
X key (selects Maximize) |
Drag the field separators (such as between Status and Capacity) to show entire field. This is very important, otherwise, needed info is not visible.

Make a snapshot:
Click the New button.
Drag the cursor around the area you want to snip.
File | Save as | select save location and name | Save button

Post the snapshot:
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Jun 2011   #8

win 7 ult 32

according to the german sounding tool essenbe referred me to, I am OUT OF ALIGNMENT after restoring from a W7 backup using W7. In the last few hours, I have been using this OS back and forth installing the programs that need to be installed (since last yr's backup that I used here), and nothing blew up ; s/ I be concerned about a 'bad ' alignment? I wonder if possibly the bad is like a german spring of water as in marianbad or baden bad

also, I notice that the firmware says 1.27.
apparently this is not the newest firmware version per ocz's website,_Agility_2/

Can I update firmware w/o redoing everyhithng I have just done? I really hope I do not have to do this mess all over again.


size of disk I want to back up=
a) 1tb physical drive imaged with an 80gb drive; windows says it is an 80 gb
b) size of new (ssd) disk = 80 gb

I tried to back up the (a) drive described above using W7 and it indicated 'errror' - thus this post.

However, since the OP, I went back to my original 80 gb back up from an ide drive from last yr, and then imaged THIS to the new 80 gb ssd (b) drive. it seemed to work as easily as my other experience except for the 'bad' alignment - noted above.

the reason I did not want to go back to last yr's back up was that there was a YEAR of pgm installs and tweaking that I would have to manually re-do ; I am doing this now and it is a royal pain in the AS*.

Attached Thumbnails
backup/restore from different sized drives-bad.png  
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Jun 2011   #9

MS Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-bit

What would you like to do?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Jun 2011   #10

win 7 ult 32

What wd I like to do? When I opened this thread, I wanted to simply restore my 8gb imaged 1tb drv onto my new vertex2 ssd 80 gb since I did not want to use a one yr old 80gb image (that was on top of a phys 80 gb drive).

But I encountered an error doing this - thus my post.

During problem rez, theog suggested to use the one yr old image - that is, I would NOT be able to use an image that was from a 1tb drive (to be clear, and reiterating, there was not 1 tb of data on it; rather , there was 80 gb of data on top of a phys 1tb drv).

Despite me not wanting to do this , I tried this just to see how it wd work; and yes, karls, it did work nicely - except for the fact that the german tool says 'I am out of alignment'. In fact, I am typng on this out on an out-of-aligned drive now.

This begs the question in this thread - what are the (adverse) consequences of an out of align boot drive from a W7 back/restore?)

-will it still 'work'? well, it seems to work now
-will it work, but it will not work as efficiently as when it is in alignment? How bad will this inefficiency express itself?
-will it lead to the ssd's early demise?
-will it cause apps to suddenly die?

Only one time so far in my testing out my new ssd based sys did an app suddenly die. But I am not sure if it was due to an out of aligned boot drv or if the app were not installed correctly. I think it is the latter, since this app is sensitive to install (thus the desire to use a later backup).

Performance observation/question
One of the things I did in trying to bring my pc up to date from a yr of updates was to run the w7 perf test. I went from an overall 5.9 to 7.1 W7 perf rating/experience, a 20 pct increase. curiously, the low score in the lot was SSD (writes, I think).

I am pretty happy for a 20 pct increase in perf, but the passmark of this vertex2 ssd was 1500 and my prev boot drive, a barracuda, was a 679, which by itself , of course, is roughly a 100 pct increase in performance. Darn it, I forgot what the HDD portion of the composite 5.9 was , but I am pretty sure it was not 50 pct of the number when the ssd was the boot drv. since all other elements of teh system are the same , one can safely conclude that all of this 20 pct gain was due to the ssd; therefore , I'd expect an even higher improvment in overall perf - maybe not 100 pct, but maybe 50 pct?

what say you all , you experts in upgrading to an ssd (using the backup restore method)?

Since I just put this ssd online, I bet there are further tweaks to it such as firmware update, eg, which I alluded to above. But this might be another thread, tho it is in the context of doing a w7 restore fr a w7 backup.

but back to the last question, what do I want to do now?

First, I want to make sure this system based on a w7 restore of a w7 backup is working fine. How can I ascertain this?
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 backup/restore from different sized drives

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