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Windows 7: Safest Way to Clone Windows 7 Volume for Dual Booting

25 Oct 2010   #61
mjf

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by GeneO View Post
Here is a link I found useful. The did not do advice for a generalized BCD before cloning, but did afterward and it does work.

Multibooters, Vista Dual and Multibooting - Cloning Vista

I also wonder if having a separate system and boot partition make a difference (i.e. installing windows 7 on an existing partition where boot and system are the same vs. reformatting and letting windows 7 install create a separate 100MB system partition and boot partition). I have the system=boot.

- Gene
I'm hesitant to enter the discourse again...........
People who are unsure just need to realise that if you have the system reserved active partition it serves an important booting function and you can't simply delete it and walk away. How to incorporate it's function into the Boot partition and have "System, active, Boot.." in one partition has been done to death on this forum.

Can I suggest that if Gregrocker is willing we let him and him alone assist the OP with any further guidelines for this particular issue in order to bring it to a close.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
.
25 Oct 2010   #62
Bare Foot Kid
Microsoft MVP

W 7 64-bit Ultimate
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by GeneO View Post
Here is a link I found useful. The did not do advice for a generalized BCD before cloning, but did afterward and it does work.

Multibooters, Vista Dual and Multibooting - Cloning Vista

I also wonder if having a separate system and boot partition make a difference (i.e. installing windows 7 on an existing partition where boot and system are the same vs. reformatting and letting windows 7 install create a separate 100MB system partition and boot partition). I have the system=boot.

- Gene


Hello Gene.

There are other ways to create the 100MB SysResv boot partition; have you seen this; and it can be done with Windows own disk management, have a look at the second one.


System Reserved : Create for Dual Boot

Boot Windows 7 from a Logical Partition
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Oct 2010   #63
GeneO

Windows 10 Pro. EFI boot partition, full EFI boot
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by mjf View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by GeneO View Post
Here is a link I found useful. The did not do advice for a generalized BCD before cloning, but did afterward and it does work.

Multibooters, Vista Dual and Multibooting - Cloning Vista

I also wonder if having a separate system and boot partition make a difference (i.e. installing windows 7 on an existing partition where boot and system are the same vs. reformatting and letting windows 7 install create a separate 100MB system partition and boot partition). I have the system=boot.

- Gene
I'm hesitant to enter the fray again...........
People who are unsure just need to realise that if you have the system reserved active partition it serves an important booting function and you can't simply delete it and walk away. How to incorporate it's function into the Boot partition and have "System, active, Boot.." in one partition has been done to death on this forum.

Can I suggest that if Gregrocker is willing we let him and him alone assist the OP with any further guidelines for this particular issue in order to bring it to a close.
If the original poster wants me to not assist I won't but I don;t think that is your call.

And since when did this become a fray? Those are fighting words (literally)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

25 Oct 2010   #64
mjf

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by GeneO View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by mjf View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by GeneO View Post
Here is a link I found useful. The did not do advice for a generalized BCD before cloning, but did afterward and it does work.

Multibooters, Vista Dual and Multibooting - Cloning Vista

I also wonder if having a separate system and boot partition make a difference (i.e. installing windows 7 on an existing partition where boot and system are the same vs. reformatting and letting windows 7 install create a separate 100MB system partition and boot partition). I have the system=boot.

- Gene
I'm hesitant to enter the fray again...........
People who are unsure just need to realise that if you have the system reserved active partition it serves an important booting function and you can't simply delete it and walk away. How to incorporate it's function into the Boot partition and have "System, active, Boot.." in one partition has been done to death on this forum.

Can I suggest that if Gregrocker is willing we let him and him alone assist the OP with any further guidelines for this particular issue in order to bring it to a close.
If the original poster wants me to not assist I won't but I don;t think that is your call.
It is absolutely is not my call. Just merely a suggestion as I clearly stated

"Can I suggest that if Gregrocker is willing we...."

If I was asking the question I would simply want an answer from whoever, not a saga (the thread is at page 7 already).
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Oct 2010   #65
Night Hawk

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

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Trailerman View Post
Sorry guys - was away for a few days.

The more I read, the more terrified I become about trying this at all - once bitten twice shy I guess.

I don't mind using a BIOS switch to choose boot drive (the system in question is a Dell - so F12), but I don't have clean drives to work with. Because I'm now booting using a clone (on an otherwise clean drive) of an original which then refused to boot, I somehow need to try and find a way to reclone my clone back over my currupted original, which shares a drive with 2 other partitions (both of which I need to keep).

I do also have a 3rd drive in the system, which I can use to create a backup image to restore from, but I'm concerned about some suggestions that the only safe way to do this is to clone onto a clean (and preferably identical) drive.

I will try and wade through the extensive set of posts above and hope I've understood everything before I embark.

Jules
You best option while trying to get the original up and running is to set one of the others up as a primary storage and backup device where you can manually copy things over to that as well as imaging the source drive using the system image already included in 7.

First you would start fresh with the dedicated storage even if you need to wipe it clean to insure the best results. The second step is having the destinattion drive(new OS HD) installed as the second drive until cloning or seeing a working restoration of the image before seeing that made Disk 0.

The backup option in 7 will preserve everything including the 100mb and any other partitions on the source drive without worry. A second image even with Acronis free or full version regardless will allow you to mount the image as a second C drive for incremental backups and allowing you to delete as well as add more files to it.

If any problems are seen from cloning or imaging the last option would be the Windows Easy Transfer tool to restore files and settings following a clean install on the new OS drive. The important thing is getting the new drive up and running along having all your files backed up on a safe location.

The images attached here examine the "boot" folder seen on C following a prepartitioning and format of a drive seeing a fresh install of Windows compared to one not seeing that having the 100mb system reserved.


Attached Images
Safest Way to Clone Windows 7 Volume for Dual Booting-bcd-folder-revealed.jpg Safest Way to Clone Windows 7 Volume for Dual Booting-bcd-store-revealed.jpg Safest Way to Clone Windows 7 Volume for Dual Booting-bcd-store-revealed-2.jpg 
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Oct 2010   #66
Trailerman

 
 

Two points:

First, I think I've flogged to death the case of the original OS volume failing to boot after I cloned it - all documented here. I have given up on that partition and am now looking to go about creating a new clone more 'scientifically' than I did last time.

Second, I have no issues with everybody throwing in their tuppence worth. It's clear that this is a complex area, and there are multiple approaches, all of which are equally valid and more or less suitable to specific cases. I'm just grateful for all the help.

My hope when starting this thread (aside from solving an issue I personally have to tackle) was to try and get a pool of information together which might serve as a resource for others. There is clearly a huge wealth of knowledge and experise on this forum, and there are no really thorough and concise guides on how to create a totally robust multi-booting environment using clones, at least not that I've found.

Thanks again for all the help. If I can wrap up some mixes quickly, today should be D-Day for the clone.

Jules
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Oct 2010   #67
Trailerman

 
 

Sorry guys, I know there are reams and reams of detail above on how this should be done (all of which is taken on board and I hope understood), but I still have some specific questions which I need some guidance on.

A screengrab of my disk management window is pasted below. It shows four drives:

Disk 0 - is my working Windows7 disk - one OS volume (Drive C) and a bunch of unallocated space. This was cloned from what is now Drive Z (Disk 2), but that process left Drive Z unbootable.

Disk 1 - is a data drive. I can use this to create backup images of my OS volume, which enables me to unplug OS drives whilst keeping my backup image available, for the purpose of restoring the clone to a different physical drive.

Disk 2 - contains my old corrupted OS Volume (now relabled Drive Z) and is where I would ideally create my clone, overwriting Drive Z. It also contains two other partitions which I need to retain, although they could be moved to Drive 0 if absolutely necessary. This disk presumably also contains its own MBR, as it was bootable prior to the last cloning operation.

Disk 3 - is not relevant for this exercise, but contains an old WinXP volume (Drive L), which I was using until a month or so ago. It therefore also has it's own MBR (I assume) as it has been a bootable drive in the past.

I realize this setup makes the cloning process more complex than in an ideal world. Therefore, please can I get some feedback specifically on the following points:

1. Is it safe or even possible to reliably carry out the cloning operation as proposed, at a partition rather than a physical drive level, given that I don't have clean drives to work with? I may as well know if I'm playing Russian roulette, and make the decision if I should buy a new drive and reorganise things?

2. My intention is to use Acronis to create an image backup of Drive C (my current OS volume), onto Disk 1, and then restore that image to what is currently Drive Z (which could be wiped first)? This could be done (I believe) with Disk 0 unplugged. Is this the correct approach?

3. As I am cloning a partition, NOT a physical drive, I have no option to clone the MBR. Does this render the plan unworkable, or does it not matter. Bear in mind that the target disk (disk 2) presumably has an existing MBR (?) and has a history of failing to boot - 'autochck not found' errors, followed by a blue screen. I am concerned that if I don't clone the MBR I will just be creating a new OS volume which is equally unbootable - what's the best way of tackling this?

If there was any chance of getting feedback specifically on these three points, I would be hugely grateful. I'm going to hold off proceeding until I hear back, because I think there are still some uncertainties here.

I'm grateful for all the help, and fully understand if the response is - "don't do it, it's not safe and it might not work".

Jules


Attached Thumbnails
Safest Way to Clone Windows 7 Volume for Dual Booting-drives.jpg  
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Oct 2010   #68
gregrocker

 

I explained in the previous thread that when your drive letter slips during cloning, it can only be corrected by using Paragon Rescue CD to change it back in the registry. Moving Win7 Partition to Another Drive

The best way to Dual boot with separate HD's is to set the preferred HD as first to boot in BIOS setup, then to boot the other HD tap the one-time BIOS Boot Menu key at bootup. In order to set this up, you'll need to mark Active any OS HD which is not currently System Active, unplug all other HD's while you run Startup Repair up to 3 separate times to write the System MBR to it. Then you can plug back in the other HD's and boot whichever via the BIOS.

DISK3 XP appears to have lost its bootability as it no longer is marked System Active. It may need to be repaired if you want to boot it again.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Oct 2010   #69
Trailerman

 
 

Greg, Bare Foot (thought I saw a post earlier but looks like it got deleted)

I really appreciate the responses. Reading between the lines, I'm understanding that the procedure I outline 2 posts above is basically ok, subject to possibly needing to rebuild the MBR on the disk with the new clone by running startup repair 3 times. Therefore I assume it's ok to work at a partition image (rather than a drive image) level, as proposed. I'm cool with the BIOS boot menu approach to dual booting.

Re. your point on drive letters, I did this successfully to get the current clone to work, by using a registry hack, which I presume is what Paragon does. Whilst on that subject, will Windows automatically assign C: to whichever partition it boots into, or do I need to take extra steps to ensure only one partition is given letter C?

Disk 3's OS partition is basically redundant Greg, but I take your point on making it system active if I ever need to use it again.

Cheers

Jules
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Oct 2010   #70
Night Hawk

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

Disk #3's OS primary is already active as you can easily see with one look at the snipping you took from the DM. You'll find the option for marking that active in the 7 boot drive's DM greyed out. To see that working again you would need to set that up as the Disk #0 long enough to perform a factory restorary as the default drive and move it over one notch as your second OS drive.

Disk #1 would be better in the Disk #2 spot as your main storage device. As far as cloning or restoring a disk image for an OS drive if the original installation saw itself as C that would be the drive letter the clone or restored image would see when booting into that drive.

The option for everything there however would have been seeing a clean install of 7 on the new drive which would have also seen a fresh registry and no hidden problems to suddenly come up on you rather then trying to expand into the large amount of unallocated drive space from cloning from a 200gb onto a 500gb drive. The drive could easily end up being seen as "raw" if the partition table information is lost.

To illustrate a multiboot setup across multiple drives that worked during the testing stages of the 7 RCs I still had this one from last year showing the first two drives as stand alone installs with the first unplugged for the second drive's install of the 64bit RC and followed by the custom install of the 32bit on a 3rd drive. Note one 500gb Green Power drive had been replaced by the two 1tb GPs and a new tb Black edition just before the retail release.

The situation then was the 32bit installer not adding the second drive's RC into the changed boot options while having taken over as the default OS adding Disk #0's install there. The first drive still remained the boot drive. When inadvertently booting from the 64bit RC disk instead of the 32bit not knowing if a problem with detection was seen the startup repair (recovered) the second drive's RC and added that into the boot options.

Now removing one drive from the equation since you have four there:

Disk #0 = host/boot and default OS drive,
Disk #1 = OEM XP drive,
Disk #2 = Main storage(if planning to eventually remove original 7 drive) or source for clone.
Disk #3 = Second storage drive once clean install seen on host and WET Backup restored. (WET = Windows Easy Transfer)

Cloning drives as seen with businesses to identical drives not mixed sizes to save on costs and tech down time. The findings here when comparing full system images made and restored with the 7 option as well as with Macrium's Reflect and the free as well as full version of Acronis True Image saw the best and most reliable results when going to restore the host drive with the 7 Backup & Recovery option. And this is why the best option for having a reliable OS on the first drive and avoiding problems was the not so fast option of using the WET tool with a clean install.

As for the option to add the XP entry into the 7 BCD that wouldn't prevent selecting and booting into XP using the F key boot device menu to select the drive. You would need to back things up from that drive before the factory recovery option was used for XP however.


Attached Thumbnails
Safest Way to Clone Windows 7 Volume for Dual Booting-rc-testt-partitions-.jpg  
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Safest Way to Clone Windows 7 Volume for Dual Booting




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