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Windows 7: recovery to smaller hard drive

23 Dec 2011   #1

windows home preminum 64bit
recovery to smaller hard drive

hp win7 won't let me recover os to a smaller hard drive original 1ter to 250gig.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Dec 2011   #2
Mark Phelps

Win7 Pro 32-bit, Win8 Pro 32-bit

I think you're basically "stuck" at this point. Third-party products, from Macrium Reflect and from Paragon (and maybe even EASEUS) have add-ons that will allow you to "restore" to a smaller drive -- but they do so by forcing you to select which types of files will NOT be included in the Restore.

The only way (I believe) that you'd be able to use any of these is to make a new backup using their product.

But, I don't use the Win7 builtin backup feature -- so others here may know better about this.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Dec 2011   #3

64-bit Windows 10 Pro

Hello Tony, and welcome to Seven Forums.

Unfortunately, when doing a system image recovery, you will only be able to restore to a HDD that is the same size or larger than the one when the system image was created from.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

23 Dec 2011   #4

Windows 7 Pro x64 SP1

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by tonyspar View Post
hp win7 won't let me recover os to a smaller hard drive original 1ter to 250gig.
Welcome Tonyspar to the windows 7 forums.

1. what size is your boot drive C:

One option that I have succeeded was to shrink my C drive to a smaller size
than what the max disk size was. Like if your boot drive is a 1 gig and you really only want to image the necessary files. You can shrink your C drive to like 200 gigs and then do the windows image to an external hard disk. Then when you go to restore, it should restore to any disk that is at least 200gigs in size.

Give it a shot as it should work.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Dec 2011   #5

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1

A clean install may be more straightforward. If for you would like to move an old Windows image to a smaller HDD you can try this procedure.

When you made the Windows image you will find a number of vhd files equal to the number of partitions imaged.

1) Download Macrium Reflect V5 - free version. Make and check that the linux boot recovery DVD works on your PC. If not you need to make the pe DVD.
2) Go into Disk Management and attach the large vhd from the desired image.
3) Select the mounted drive and resize down so it fits well within your new HDD. Image this resized mounted partition with Macrium.
4) Prepare the new HDD by making 2 primary partitions. First 200MB and marked active.
5) Boot Macrium restore DVD and reimage the new HDD OS partition (the second partition) with the Macrium image. Make sure it is NOT selected as "active".
6) You will need to rebuild the system reserved partition. Make sure the system reserved partition is marked "active". Boot the Windows system repair CD and run the repair operation 3 times.
If this doesn't work then (& I prefer to do this) Boot the system repair CD and go into a command prompt and type:
>bootrec /fixmbr
>bootrec /fixboot
>bootrec /rebuildbcd
Then reboot.

You may need to regain a bit of unallocated space at the end of the new HDD.

Update: Resizing in Step (3) is not required for the latest V5 Macrium. You can "drag and drop" a larger partition image to a smaller partition provided the actual used size fits.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Dec 2011   #6
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8

mjf, this is a superb guidance. Would rep you but first have to spread some more.

@OP, if you use free Macrium, go with what mjf says. Else you can try free Paragon. That is able to resize - provided all your data fits into the target partition. Else you have to "lighten" the partition before you image it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 recovery to smaller hard drive

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