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Windows 7: Imaging windows partitions to smaller disk

06 Nov 2011   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
Imaging windows RAID0 partitions to smaller single disk


I have a 2TB RAID0 array (2x Seagate 1TB disks) with two partitions, dual booting Windows Server 2008R2 and Windows 7x64 Ultimate.

- Windows 7 Partition is 1,2TB but almost empty (around 1,1TB free)
- Windows Server partition is 600GB with only 35GB of data inside it (560GB free)

Lately one of the member disks is showing signs of death - many bad sectors appearing daily and today an 'error occured' message in Intel Storage Matrix.

Yet both partitions remain bootable and would be great if I could save them.

Now the only spare disk I have is a WD 500GB but the known problem of restoring windows image backup to smaller drive had me stuck.I googled around and tried to shrink the partitions but the win7 partition refuses to shrink under 931GB (the size of each member disk) and that's where I am asking for your help.

At the moment I installed Paragon Backup and Recovery (Advanced) Free and (crossing fingers to complete) am backing up whole disk to an external USB drive.I will then try to restore to the WD but I am not that optimistic.

Any suggestions are welcome.

Thanks in advance.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Nov 2011   #2

Windows 7 Ultimate x64


I finished backing up and restoring to the smaller disk all three partitions (boot, W7, W2008).Boot menu displays correctly.But when selecting either OS to launch, both crash at the splash screen (windows logo formation) and a reboot occurs

I then rebooted from the windows 7 DVD and chose to repair my installation.But when the repair process starts it doesn't detect a windows installation!? All I get is a blank box as if the disk was empty.

Launching a cmd and diskpart doesn't show the disk either.Must have missed something but what?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Nov 2011   #3

Windows 7 Ultimate x64

After being doing some more research it seems the RAID0 driver is preventing the OS to boot - the OS doesn't have the IDE driver configured (current BIOS disk drive setup) hence it hangs.I had the disk being installed in my current 'bad' windows and it shows fine, all partitions are present and the data is there. So I guess the solution would be to uninstall or replace the RAID0 driver from the OS.But the clone isn't bootable (even safe mode) so here's the challenge.Maybe it is not doable at all but I will give it an extra go.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

07 Nov 2011   #4

Windows 7 Ultimate x64

The problem was the driver as suspected.Here follows the full solution for anyone that may need it.This is being written from my new disk 'installation'.:)

The Challenge: a disk volume consisting of one or more partitions hosted on a RAID array (in my case RAID0).In real life this could come in handy, where a smaller size disk is available or more commonly a transition to an SSD.

  • The partitions that contain an OS must be bootable.
  • Total partitions' actual size can not exceed the size of the target disk.If there is more than the size of the target disk we should backup data files (movies, music,etc) separately.
  • Paragon Backup and Recovery (Advanced) Free.
  • The spare disk where we want to migrate.
  • An external USB drive for backing up our RAID volume.
First we install our new disk on a separate disk controller.For most modern motherboards there is always an extra SATA controller - in my case (Asus P8Z68-V Pro) I used the Marvell PCIe SATA on-board controller.
** If no extra on-board controller is present you could use any PCI express SATA controller card and install your disk there.

Then we enter BIOS and set the disk into the appropriate mode (IDE, AHCI), more commonly AHCI for modern systems and SSD disks.

We boot into our OS and install the controller and the drive attached on it.In most cases we need to manually install the SATA controller driver.After rebooting as asked our new disk will be shown on the Disk Management Console (diskmgmt.msc).Now we can create a new basic volume on our target disk.

** If we are dual-booting the same driver installation procedure must be followed for the second OS.

It is now time to backup our volume.We do this by using the excellent application from Paragon.Install and run.Both the backup and restore procedures are done through wizards and are very simple to understand.
After completing a wizard you have to press the Apply button so the relevant operation begins (extra notifications will guide you too).
  • Backup the RAID volume (all partitions) to the external USB drive.No need for extra settings, use the default ones.Just click on the volume and press all 'Next' buttons till 'Finish'.
  • Now use the Restore wizard to define the restoration process.I did it one partition at time.First we restore the boot partition (the 100MB one) selecting it in the wizard from our restore location (the USB drive) and as target we select the new disk.No need to do anything here, just all the 'Next' till 'Finish'.
  • It's now time for restoring our OS partition.Remember we have a bigger partition size (theoretically as real data is a lot smaller in size).Paragon has already identified that and compressed it when it created the backup image.So we choose our OS backup partition (where the OS resides) as shown in the wizard and press next.In the target window we choose the Unallocated Space area of the target disk (to the right of our newly created 100MB partition).
  • At the next step we have Geometry Restore Options.This is where we tell Paragon to restore our 'bigger' partition to a smaller sized one.We need to modify the 'Please specify the size of the restored partition' telling the software exactly the size we want.

    Example: I had Windows 7 installed in a 1,2TB partition but actual OS size was only 120GB.So in the geometry restore step I need to define a new partition size of at least a 120GB size (or 122880MB since the value is being calculated in MB and 1 GB=1024 MB).
** The last two steps are repeated if we have another OS partition.We always choose to create the restored partition in the unallocated space and define the desired partition size (according to actual partition size of the backup).

That' all.We now have our previous RAID volume, on a new single disk volume.Only thing left is to change the boot order inside BIOS and instruct the new disk to be the first one in the boot order.

It took me some time to find all the info needed and having success in my little project, but having a RAID0 member disk with lots of configuration and installations dying, is a strong motive to work harder and harder.

*My gratitude and appreciation to this guy that showed me the way with his ancient yet invaluable article.

** Kudos to Paragon for their SUPERB software.I used to have faith in Acronis but I feel something changed inside me, lol.The restore geometry option, its reliability, the ease of use and the FREE price are giving this software the edge among competition.

I really hope someone finds this helpful.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Nov 2011   #5

Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-Bit

Hello Mr909.

Firstly, apologies that you didn't get a timely response to your problem.

Secondly, thanks for posting a great solution that is bound to help others in the future.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Nov 2011   #6

Windows 7 Ultimate x64

Hello seavixen32 and thanks for the kind words.

In the past I have taken lots of advice from this nice forum so I felt it was time for a small payback.:)

It would be great if a mod could edit the original title to 'Imaging a windows RAID0 volume to a smaller single disk' so it would be easier for users that may deal with a similar situation to find this post.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Imaging windows partitions to smaller disk

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