Windows 7 Forums
Welcome to Windows 7 Forums. Our forum is dedicated to helping you find support and solutions for any problems regarding your Windows 7 PC be it Dell, HP, Acer, Asus or a custom build. We also provide an extensive Windows 7 tutorial section that covers a wide range of tips and tricks.

Windows 7: Ghosting a win7 install to separate hard drive

30 Jul 2009   #1

Windows 7 RC
Ghosting a win7 install to separate hard drive

I'm in IT (surprise surprise) and I have extra hard drives coming out my ears. I want to move my Win RC x64 install to a larger hard drive.

Whats the easiest way to do this? I know its possible, I used to ghost XP machines at the local highschool (dont fret, they were all licensed).

I'm toying with the concept of making a fresh install, and doing something to the effect of a system restore to it, or something like that.

On a slightly less related note, my system is more powerful a machine than i ever expected to own two years ago. Its a core i7 machine with 12gb of ram and win7 installed on a raptor. Why doesn't a fresh install of win7 simply fly? Sure, multitasking can be done almost infinitely (lol), but there's literally no speed increase in app startup times, opening "my computer" or the device manager. None of it works as quickly or smoothly as i would have thought.

Also, again, where can i find a simple list of changes between RC and RTM?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Jul 2009   #2
Night Hawk

W7 Ultimate x64/W10 Pro x64 dual boot main build-remote pc W10 Pro x64 Insider Preview/W7 Pro x64

Hello there! JustSuds and welcome to the Se7enforums!

You'll find out fast that a clean install on a new drive will be the route you will need to take there. Cloning back with XP was from drive to another identical drive seen often at larger corporations. The newer hardware profiling seen in Vista and now 7 will stall that for the most part especially to a different sized drive to start off with.

A "Clean Install" and then using the tutorial for creating a full system image is the recommendation from the start. Backup Complete Computer - Create an Image Backup[2]=Backup Restore
My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Jul 2009   #3


I'm not sure if the Backup and Recovery options would allow you to create an image then transfer it to a different drive.

You could probably use the Windows Easy Transfer thing to transfer most stuff over after simply doing a fresh install.

Don't think you're going to find a "simple" changelog going from RC to RTM. Not only would there have been tens of daily builds in the two months or so between the two, you're assumably looking into the hundreds or even thousands of things done with bugs, compatibility, optimization, etc.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

30 Jul 2009   #4

Windows 7 RC

Thanks for the replies guys.

Lol, by simple changelog, i didnt mean every bugfix or security update, i meant the larger more noticable changes, like new or dropped features, ui tweaks, that sort of thing.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Jul 2009   #5

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 (Retail)

I frequently clone my C: drive which contains my W7 installation over to another drive as a back up so I can just swap drives to restore if necessary. I use Acronis True Image Home for this. If you look under the "Disk Utilities" section in Acronis, there is a disk "clone" wizard there. Acronis offers two cloning methods, "automatic" and "manual." With the automatic method, when cloning to a target drive that is larger than the original, each partition on the source will be proportionally expanded to use all the space on the new larger target drive. If you have more than one partition on the source, this automatic proportional expansion might lead to a result (i.e., partition sizes) that are not ideal. So if that's the case, the "manual" method will allow you to resize each partition on the target drive exactly as you wish. The "automatic" method is great for when you are making a clone backup to a target drive that is the same size as the source because it is quicker to configure than the manual method because you don't have to deal with manually setting the partition sizes.

Once you start the clone procedure with Acronis from within Windows, it locks the partitions, reboots into its own environment and makes the clone which usually takes 30 minutes give or take depending on the size of the drives. Then you shut down, swap or remove and reinstall the new clone and you should be good to go.

When you boot from the newly cloned drive, Windows will not know the difference and it just works fine. At least that has been my experience with it and I have installed several of my clones of my W7 installation made in the manner described above and they all have booted up and worked absolutely perfectly.

This clone procedure is, imo, a lot easier than doing a clean install and reinstalling a bunch of programs and settings and transferring data.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Jul 2009   #6
Microsoft MVP


At work other techs will frequently clone Vista installations for customers onto larger hard drives and there haven't been many issues with it. They use Acronis True Image and it seems to work well. I'd suspect that Win7 would be the same. It's much easier than doing it with XP (which caused me to lose a lot of hair!).

I've got a Core i7 920, hardware RAID 5, and 12 gB of RAM. System performance isn't much better than on my tablet PC with 4 gB of RAM

Why? Because the limiting resources of my system aren't being taxed by what I'm doing (but I can run the latest games without lag while having all my applications open). I've also got a theory that older 32 bit apps just don't know how to handle the extra RAM - and, as such, are limiting their virtual memory usage due to assumptions based on the 32 bit architecture (where they've gotta conserve RAM usage). I'd expect to see this improve as 64 bit becomes more mainstream - and coders start coding apps to be able to use the extra RAM.

FWIW - I do get lag when my antivirus scanners are running, but they'll take all the resources that they can get in order to run. Usually I find that the CPU is the limiting factor in that.

I feel that having 12gB of RAM on my system is a waste, and will give 6gB of it to my wife when I build her Win7 system.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Jul 2009   #7

Win7 & XP

I use Acronis, but Macrium Reflect should do the job and there is a free version.

Resizing onto a different drive will not be an issue, but be careful if you have hidden recovery partitions - I have found that keeping them the same size on the new drive is most reliable, but cannot given you a technical justification.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Jul 2009   #8
Night Hawk

W7 Ultimate x64/W10 Pro x64 dual boot main build-remote pc W10 Pro x64 Insider Preview/W7 Pro x64

The free for home use previously only seen as a shareware version of Reflect is available at Macrium Reflect FREE Edition - Information and download

One problem I ran right into when backing up a clean install of Vista with both SPs on is running smack into invalid errors once I freed up the same drive I was running the 32bit RC on.

When things were goofed up lately on the host 64bit RC I simply nuked one installation to see a fresh one go on since 7 installs in less then half the time it takes the older versions especially 98-XP and Vista! A 20 minute average when replacing an existing installation due to packing things up in the Windows.old folder whiile others report as little as 12 minutes on a fresh bare primary. Now consider that to the 40-45 minute average seen with XP and Vista alike.

With everything running ideal on the second host also a 64bit installation I'll be working with the steps seen in the guide posted before for dropping an image on one of the two 1tb drives and then restoring it to the former Vista drive to see how that goes! Both the second host and former Vista drive are identical same make and model.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Mar 2011   #9

Windows 7 Ultimate N 64-bit

paragon is the best i have used so far, only issue is slight problem with SSD drivers.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Mar 2011   #10

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1

I used to be a huge Ghost fan for over a decade, but the enterprise version I had been using doesn't support Windows 7, and the newer products are less than....good. I made the common switch to Acronis, and it's been working out great for me.

That being're in IT and running the RC version? You don't need to see a list of changes. I'm surprised you can still run the RC version, as I thought they had an expiration. There's no reason not to get the final code now. It's been out for almost 18 months, and we're already passed the SP1 mark.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Ghosting a win7 install to separate hard drive

Thread Tools

Similar help and support threads
Thread Forum
Restore backup from separate hard drive.
Hello I'm new to this site and am not very techinally minded so will need simple explinations of how to do things! Due to my HP Pavilion g7 being stuck in a loop of diagnosing and repair which I couldn't get it out of I have done a factory reset. In one way I am pleased to have done this...
Backup and Restore
How to install win7 on two separate hard disks?
Hello everyone, i want to attempt something but im unsure, hope u could help me out :) So basically, i have a win7 hm basic original cd. 1. Win7 is already installed on one of my hard disks and the os is used by pretty much everyone in the family. 2. I want to install it on a second hard...
Installation & Setup
A Virtual Hard Drive? Two separate hard drives now run Win 7 x64
While looking into another possible problem with a hard drive on my system,I began unplugging the devices (there are four of them) to isolate the problem and in doing so, I I seriously corrupted C drive, and began getting 0x7b BSOD messages. First I tried to do a System Repair with the Repair...
Backup and Restore
Will XP overwrite my 7 bootloader if it's on a separate hard drive?
This might sound stupid, but if I dual boot with Windows 7 on a physically separate hard drive, as well as XP, will XP still override my Windows 7 bootloader since it tends to get jealous? :p
Installation & Setup
External Hard Disk Drive won't boot after Ghosting
Hello, My internal laptop hard drive is a Hitach HTS725050A9A360 and it recently started to get bad sectors. Given that my laptop is under warranty, I decided to ship it to Sony to have it replaced. Problem is, they don't restore data and their service centre is in the US and I am in the UK. So...
Hardware & Devices

Our Sites

Site Links

About Us

Find Us

Windows 7 Forums is an independent web site and has not been authorized, sponsored, or otherwise approved by Microsoft Corporation. "Windows 7" and related materials are trademarks of Microsoft Corp.

Designer Media Ltd

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 21:29.
Twitter Facebook Google+