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Windows 7: Image 3TB HDD (GPT) from 2T image (MBR) - Is it possible?

17 Sep 2014   #1

Windows 7 Professional - 64 bit
Image 3TB HDD (GPT) from 2T image (MBR) - Is it possible?

My original hard drive failed on me a week or two ago and is completely unusable. I do have a backup image of the drive on an external hard drive. When I first set out to remedy this, the plan was to simply image the new 3TB disk with the system image on my external.

So, I inserted the Win7 installation dvd, booted to it, selected the image option, navigated to my external hdd and selected the timestamped image to use. Hit OK and it was off and running. Approximately 2 hours later it was done imaging my new hdd and asked me to restart... and I did.

Here is where I've been stuck ever since. When the machine rebooted, I received a BSOD and it showed a stop code of : 0x0000007B - which I think is a hardware related issue. For grins, I removed the hdd at this point and loaded it into an enclosure and attached to another running pc via usb - that machine mounted the drive and my old filesystem was there and my files were in tact. So... what I took away from that is that the hdd was written to, but it's still not booting (perhaps not a hardware / driver issue after all?).

A few more hours of research uncovered the fact that Windows 7 can't necessarily use all of the 3TB drive unless you use GPT partitioning. Obviously, I liked the idea of a larger replacement drive and that's why I bought it, but now, I'm wondering, is it even possible to image it from my backup image seeing how the backup image surely used MBR partitioning.

I'm hoping someone knows how to do this relatively easily. Otherwise I may need to attempt to return the drive for a 2TB replacement.

Finally, one thing I did try was to image the hard drive, and then place it in the enclosure and attach it to another computer. From there, I used AOMEI Partition Assistant Lite to convert the MBR disk to GPT. This completed successfully. I placed the hdd back in it's computer and it just shows a blinking underscore when turned on and doesn't do anything. Diskpart shows the disk and it has 3 partitions. But I don't know what I'm doing from there. I also tried bootrec /fixboot and /rebuildbcd... nothing has helped. Bootrec /ScanOs did find one Windows installation E:/Windows it said.

Please Help! Thanks in advance.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Sep 2014   #2

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit

Welcome onboard Goldstar1382.

Can Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows Server 2008 read, write, and boot from GPT disks?

Yes, all versions can use GPT partitioned disks for data. Booting is only supported for 64-bit editions on UEFI-based systems.

Windows and GPT FAQ (Windows Drivers)

I think that should answer your query straight from the horse's mouth. Get a 2TB drive.

EDIT: Since you were experimenting with the 3TB drive quite a bit, here is something more you can try.

I refer you to the last figure in this post Benefits of GPT vs MBR Primary and MBR Logical Partitions ?

The backup GUID Partition Entry Array exists in LBA n-32 to LBA n (n=last Sector). Even if the Primary GUID Partition Array in LBA 1 to LBA 33 gets destroyed or corrupted it will be read automatically from the backup and the GPT nature of the drive will still be maintained.

Using Bootice (64bit version - since your OS is 64bit) write zeros in sectors LBA n-32 to LBA n. This should disable the GPT regeneration. As an additional precautionary measure also write zeros in sectors LBA 1 to LBA 33.

Now put your 3TB drive into the system and install using the image.(Better still, preformat it as a 2TB MBR drive and then install the image. ITB will remain as unallocated.)

Boot and check whether everything works fine. If it works give me a pat. If it doesn't - no boot - just forget.

(If successful you will only be able to use 2TB)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Sep 2014   #3

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit

Image 3TB HDD (GPT) from 2T image (MBR) - Is it possible?

In spite of what I had stated above, it may still be possible to eat the cake and have it too.

I just came across this article Booting Windows 7 from a GPT Disk Using BIOS (non-UEFI)
Booting Windows 7 from a GPT Disk Using BIOS (non-UEFI) | Windows OS Hub

If I have understood correctly, the process basically involves installing Windows on an MBR disk as usual, then converting the MBR disk into GPT using a program gptgen and booting the system with an MBR USB flash drive (64 MB at least) or an SD-card, on which Windows Boot Manager (bootmgr) is stored. The boot flash drive provides initial boot and transfers control to the loader of the main system stored in the GPT volume.

May be of interest to you, if you still want to retain the 3TB HDD.

(You may also see milindsmart's post here Boot Windows 7/8 from GPT on BIOS system : No hybrid MBRs or DUET! Milindsmart commented on the above article stating in many ways it is similar to his post here. And the author of the GPTgen+USB boot article said that he had not seen milind's post and what he did was his own. Anyway it would seem there are atleast two ways of doing it.)
My System SpecsSystem Spec


 Image 3TB HDD (GPT) from 2T image (MBR) - Is it possible?

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