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Windows 7: restoring saved image to smaller hard drive

03 Dec 2010   #1

restoring saved image to smaller hard drive

i created a windows 7 image of a 80 gig drive and now i need to put it on a 40 gig drive but win7 is not letting me. the entire windowsimagebackup folder is only 9.71gig.

i am able to open the image in winimage but i dont know what to do next to make it think it belongs on a smaller drive. any help?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Dec 2010   #2

Windows 7 Home Premium x64

Welcome to SF! A Great Place to be...

I would be able to help you better if I had an idea of what type of hardware you have.
Fill in your System Specs (this can be done within the User CP at the top of any SF Page); what I need to know is what HDD(s) you have.
I happen to use third-party imaging software so I'm certainly no expert on Windows' built-in imaging tools...
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Dec 2010   #3
A Guy

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium x64 SP1

Windows requires you to restore to a HD that is the same size of the original, regardless of the amount of data in the image. Hopefully someone will know of a workaround. A Guy
My System SpecsSystem Spec

04 Dec 2010   #4
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8

Yeah, that is a problem with many imaging programs. The free Paragon can do it though. Else I suggest you reduce the size of your current C first to a bit less than 40GBs and take an image of that. Then the restore to the 40GB partition/drive should work.
Btw: the image size is so little because of compression. The actual data size on your C was probably appr. 20GBs. The compression is usually around 50%.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Dec 2010   #5
Microsoft MVP


In addition to Wolfgang's excellent suggestion of Paragon free imaging software, another good free app is Macrium Reflect. These allow more flexibility to reimage than does the built-in imaging which has only made it's debut in Win7.

If you have WD or Seagate on either end, then they also have excellent free Acronis cloning and imaging apps on their Support Downloads webpage for your HD model.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Dec 2010   #6
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8

I could not agree more with Greg's proposition. Free Macrium is an excellent imaging program. It can, however, not shrink an image into a smaller partition. For that you would need Macrium Pro or shrink the partition beforehand to the appropriate size. If you want to inform yourself about free Macrium, I suggest you watch my video tutorial. Another tutorial I made is about imaging strategies which is a more general outline of the odds and ends of imaging.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Dec 2010   #7


well thanks unfortunately those arent valid options since the drive is dead. im going to try to find a larger hd to restore it to, resize the partition, recreate the image, then restore to teh smaller hd.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Dec 2010   #8
Microsoft MVP


I believe you can shrink the image during reimaging process using free Paragon 10 Backup. Paragon Backup & Recovery Free Advanced Edition - Free Download

If not, Acronis has excellent free apps which can do this if you have a WD or Seagate HD on either end of the imaging being done: | Seagate
WD Support
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Dec 2010   #9

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1
Potential workaround

I highlight POTENTIAL because I've only carried out part of the process.
Ideally you would shrink the volume before imaging and avoid the hassle below.

When you made the Windows image you will find a number of vhd files equal to the number of partitions imaged.
I'll use examples I tried.
Say one of the vhds is an image of partition c: with a partition size of 456GB and used space of around 40GB.
1) Attach the vhd under disk management.
2) Shrink the mounted volume by say 250GB which becomes unallocated.
3) Image the smaller volume with Macrium
4) Extend the mounted drive to recover the unallocated region and unmount.

You end up with a macrium image which will mount via Macrium at a partition size equal to the shrunken volume. The contents look ok but I have never restored Macrium image to disk.
It may be a way to recover "lost" windows images.

I'd only try it as a last resort.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Dec 2010   #10

Win 7 Ultimate 32bit

I am not sure that would work,,, the geometry needs to be exact
If the partition/drive size is off by 1 less than the image size, or some other parameter is wrong, it will still fail on most imaging applications.

I have tried this in the past....

Try taking a 40G drive and image it.....

Then on a second larger blank drive,,, partition out a 40G partition and try to restore it.
More than likely it will fail. Something with the geometry will be messed up.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 restoring saved image to smaller hard drive

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