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Windows 7: Move OS from System Partition (Win XP & Win 7 Dual Boot)

09 Apr 2013   #31
Microsoft MVP


I find it better to back up the OS partition(s) separately. The data can be backed up using a method like Sync, Backup and Store your Files to the Cloud with Skydrive - Windows 7 Forums

My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Apr 2013   #32

Windows 7 Professional 64 bit

Greg, Sigma6, etc.:

Just curious, have you ever looked at this process? Any thoughts about success?

This looks exactly like what I was trying (unsccessfully) to describe.

How to create a separate system partition for dual booting Windows XP or Windows 2000 with Windows 7
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Apr 2013   #33
Microsoft MVP


There is no reason to do that. If you want to create a dedicated boot partition which is not necessary, I'd shrink from the left using Partition Wizard CD Resize Partition (Video Help). create Primary NTFS partition marked Active then run Startup Repair - Run up to 3 Separate Times . You'd then have to add XP from Win7 using EasyBCD. It isn't guaranteed, hardly worth the risk.

If you'd prefer having Win7 as the System partition now, mark it Active in Disk Mgmt, then power down to boot into the Win7 installer or Repair CD to run Startup Repair - Run up to 3 Separate Times until Win7 boots again and holds the System Active flag.

Then you can add XP using EasyBCD (click Download - no Name or Email required) and since it will no longer be the System partition can be deleted at any time in Disk mgmt. Then you can resize to the left into its space using Partition Wizard Resize Partition Video Help.

Otherwise wait until you are ready to remove XP and follow the same steps to change Win7 to System partition.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

17 Apr 2013   #34

win7 32bit

Well I have continued in my playing with these and getting a lot of great mileage (feedback) on this thread - How can I make a bootable DVD?

But I like your questions Roxie, it is pretty close to my kind of questions... ; ) I used to use Ghost, (but think they have fallen behind, moved to Acronis 11, and 13 and just tried Clonezilla (good program, not enough flexibility) And since I have torn apart my system and have most everything backed up and waiting for parts I have been tinkering with blank hdds. Getting my knowledge updated on Win7 from my outdated (but still fundamentally useful DOS, NT, Win98, 2K background... knock on wood...) But it is accurate to say us Windows (suckers) are behind the curve on Boot software. And that is an achilles heel. I fully concur, thus my interest in getting up to speed here. I do like my "dual boot XP back up OS".

That said, in general cloning a disk is great if you like your existing set up and don't want to change anything. Personally I have different partitions dedicated to mp3, internet video, drivers, install downloads, etc. Some get more access and modification and therefore require more frequent backup. So I have a 2nd smaller hdd, with very similar partition layout that I back up full partitions to. I don't like the idea of incremental, and it's a simple hardware solution that works for me.

So the idea of compartmentalizing my data, and backing up different partitions at different times according to need, simplifies management and maintenance. I think it makes for a more stable disk too (less defragmentation, etc) And lets me spread out and target defragging efforts. Like I don't like to defrag video and mp3 data at all but copy them back and forth to straighten out files, etc... and things like that...

Now that I have a positive clean Win7 install, seen the creation of the 100MB partition, and cloned it disk to disk successfully. I want to see if I can add another OS (XP) and then install GrubforDOS and see how that works. And if I can get all that down which is a nice conservative target. I will be happy! (for now...)

When I used Acronis for back up, so far I did a clone. But that was only a test situation, I had a clean hdd with no other real partitions. Now because I am a partition 'junky'. You have just made me realize I want to make my next test a partition backup / reinstallation to see how that works before I add on the 2nd OS. I will keep you posted.

I will add. I gathered from the others, that to create the 100MB partition you need a clean unpartitioned drive. But... if you have existing partitions and you want to install a new OS version (for whatever reason) or you want to re-install your OS. You can recreate the same 100MB partition config by deleting both partitions (the 100MB System Reserve Partition (ie. not assigned a letter) and the C) and reinstalling fresh into that unallocated space. My understanding is that it will recreate the 100MB and C again even with existing partitions sitting there. Although I haven't done it myself. It makes sense.

Also... I am NOT sure but I think it was also said you can create an unassigned 100MB at the beginning of the disk, then the C, make the unassigned (first 100MB) active (in another OS using computer management for ex) and then do your install onto C, (but DO NOT quote me on this, I am not sure if he then said that wasn't a correct interpretation or not) So I think that will be on the test list. and I will update you with results... (or bug me if I forget...)

to summarize
ie. going to try the install into unallocated space at beginning of partition with existing primary/data partitions left on the hdd (predict it should work very well)
creating the 100MB and the C at the beginning and trying to recreate the same config manually (not sure how that will go)
and backing up 100MB and C as partitions and reinstalling to an unallocated space on existing hdd (predict that should work fine)

And finally (just to throw a monkey wrench in the works... never say never) this whole thing started when I cloned my entire 1TB to another 1TB (XP on C (fat32), W7 on logical D plus multiple partitions) and it DIDN'T WORK. Which makes me want to change the XP to a NTFS from now on and also install W7 on C. I really hate changing two variables like that at the same time, but oh well... "the times they are a changin'"
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Apr 2013   #35

win7 32bit

updated results,

ok I tried backing up partition images of my reserved 100MB partition and C: then I tried to recover them onto another hard drive. I set the two hard drives so that the system would boot from the newly recovered partition and the other was set to non booting in CMOS. What happened next was a surprise. I found it started up the OS on the hard drive in the non boot section of the bios! This tells me that the copying of the MBR is like copying a shortcut from one computer to another. Sometimes the shortcut will still point back to the original file on the the other computer! (smart little shortcuts... maybe too smart!) I think this is what happened here too. The MBR on the newly installed hdd was telling to system to go back to the original hdd (set to non boot) and it started it back up again! Just to confirm this. I shut off the original hdd and reboot and sure enough I got the "inaccessible device" error. Very interesting insight on backinup/restoring and the MBR. It is telling it to go back to the original drive!

Man this boot thing is hard to tame...

So this time I looked around and pulled some advice from one of Greg posts (this one here) Bootmgr is missing,startup repair doesn't work

I tried various things but eventually what got it working was the following: through to Recovery Tools list to open a Command Line,
type: bootrec /fixboot then bootrec /fixmbr to see if it forces installation to show.

Then ran "Startup Repair repeatedly". (did it just once)
and it started right up... now that felt good... to feel like I was getting a little control

But here is the weird thing... I made to two additional partitions after C: just to format the leftover space. It made the 3rd partition (D: ) the active system partition! Removed the letter and made it A Reserved System partition! WTH!

just when I thought it was making sense... (lol)

So... I reactivated the 100MB (again!) copied the boot files from D to the Reserved partition, (note: the bootmgr file is 'immovable') took the letter off the 100MB and put it back on the D: and ran the Win7 Disk again... again I did a repair and again it booted up

(At this point I am thinking that bootrec /fixboot then bootrec /fixmbr is a winning combination)
Checked in Computer Management (fingers crossed)

Would you believe it? It worked!
It set up the boot files on the Reserved 100MB assigned C: D: and E: correctly... (I'm stunned)

I then reformatted D: as the only way to remove the boot files from it...

Moral of the story:
So much for transferring the MBR when recovering image partitions of the Reserved Partition and C Drive, I am not sure what the hoyle strategy should be for future recoveries at this stage... hmmm
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Apr 2013   #36
Microsoft MVP


The procedure is the same as it's been since we developed it here while Win7 was in beta:

Mark the intended System partition Active and run Startup Repair up to 3 separate times with reboots.

Bootrec and bootsect commands are all automated in Startup Repair and don't need to be run manually unless the OS is not seen to repair in WinRE. Then bootrec /fixboot and /fixmbr can jumpstart it to appear.

The System partition can be changed with commands but not all parameters are covered without the multi-faceted approach of Startup Repair, e.g. the Repair console disappears off the F8 Boot Tools menu.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Apr 2013   #37

win7 32bit

That just gets me, it seems a complicated and crude way to move a partition image of an OS to another hdd. MS making it difficult no doubt. And it showed me the MBR image is taking things a little too literally. And needs to loosen up a bit... as in ... "like hey just point me to the bootmgr and load the winloader.exe and don't get so caught up what hdd your on!"

Sounds like we are really dependent then on that Startup Repair on the Install DVD. Is there any way of extracting out a faster installing slimmed down version?

Also I was reading somewhere someone mentioned not using System Repair on a USB but stick? but to use the DVD... has anyone heard that or know what the reasoning behind that was?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Apr 2013   #38
Microsoft MVP


No, you can repair Win7 using stick as well as using DVD or REpair CD.

I explained the reason why Startup Repairs are the comprehensive method.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Move OS from System Partition (Win XP & Win 7 Dual Boot)

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