Copying a boot drive to a smaller size partition


J

J.Voorhees

I wish to copy a boot drive. However the Boot drives partition is
about 90GB where as the drive I am copying it to is about 80GB. The
thing is there is only about 50GB of data so I assumed it would be
fine. Unfortunately Drive Image wont let me do it unless the new
partition is bigger or equal to the old one.

Is there any way around this?

I considered re-partitioning the old drive to make the partition with
the data smaller, but Im not sure if there is a risk in doing that (of
losing data etc)
 
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P

Paul

J.Voorhees said:
I wish to copy a boot drive. However the Boot drives partition is
about 90GB where as the drive I am copying it to is about 80GB. The
thing is there is only about 50GB of data so I assumed it would be
fine. Unfortunately Drive Image wont let me do it unless the new
partition is bigger or equal to the old one.

Is there any way around this?

I considered re-partitioning the old drive to make the partition with
the data smaller, but Im not sure if there is a risk in doing that (of
losing data etc)

A partition manager can be used. An example would be Partition Magic,
a commercial one. Or, there are some free ones.

(One report of a problem with this one. This is a Windows tool.)

http://www.partition-tool.com/personal.htm

(GParted LiveCD. Boots Linux, so your Windows boot volume is not in use.
Has a relatively intuitive interface, for a Linux program.)

http://gparted.sourceforge.net/download.php

(GParted shows a view similar to a partition manager.)

http://gparted.sourceforge.net/screens/gparted_1_big.jpg

In either case, making a complete backup of the drive you're resizing
first, might be a good idea. You should always have at least one
spare large hard drive, for making backup copies for safety.
A 1TB drive costs about $100. Even Partition Magic has been known
to ruin a drive, so a backup first is good insurance.

*******

I have successfully copied a boot partition, using free tools. I
have two hard drives, one with WinXP, one with Win2K. If I want to
copy or move the WinXP drive, I can boot the Win2K drive. That way,
the WinXP volume is no longer "busy" and is effectively a data drive.
Otherwise, if you only had one OS to work with, certain boot partition
files will be "busy", and you'll have problems.

1) ( Make a backup first, in case something goes wrong. )
2) Use Microsoft Robocopy, to copy files to the new partition. Make sure
to use enough command line options, to copy ACLs or whatever. I use
Robocopy version XP026. There are minor improvements between versions.

robocopy F:\ L:\ /mir /copy:datso /dcopy:t /r:3 /w:2 /zb /np /tee /v /log:robocopy_f_to_l.log

3) Use the WinXP installer CD, and the recovery console, to do "fixboot"
on the newly copied partition. This is necessary, because Robocopy
only copies files, and doesn't copy the partition boot sector
(which is separate from the Master Boot Record or MBR).
4) Use the VolumeID utility from Sysinternals.com, to restore the
same Volume ID on the clone, as the original partition had. My
assumption at this point, is you're not going to use the original
any more. Volume IDs should be unique within a system, so you
should not have two identical ones when booted into Windows.
VolumeID is one tiny item included in Windows Activation, and
counts as a change. The change in the drive serial number is
unavoidable.

As far as I know, that would make a pretty good copy of a Windows
partition. I've done this a couple times, and my WinXP partition
seems to be behaving normally. My WinXP partition is FAT32 by the way.
The above Robocopy command has options to help with NTFS, and when
applied to FAT32, some of the options don't do anything. The first
time I did a Robocopy, the dates on the files were wrong, so make sure
you understand what the options do.

Using the Robocopy method, you could define whatever sized target
partition you wanted first, and that would take care of your
resizing requirement.

But notice that I used two Windows OSes to do the above recipe, so
this is hardly practical.

Paul
 
G

GlowingBlueMist

J.Voorhees said:
I wish to copy a boot drive. However the Boot drives partition is
about 90GB where as the drive I am copying it to is about 80GB. The
thing is there is only about 50GB of data so I assumed it would be
fine. Unfortunately Drive Image wont let me do it unless the new
partition is bigger or equal to the old one.

Is there any way around this?

I considered re-partitioning the old drive to make the partition with
the data smaller, but Im not sure if there is a risk in doing that (of
losing data etc)

I believe XXCopy will do what you want. If memory serves correct it does
not care about the size of the partition as long as the data copied has
enough room for it. The program is able to make the drive bootable using
stuff under the "Cool Tools" tab.

You can download the freeware program at www.xxclone.com. The freeware
version only supports total volume copying (what you were asking about).
The licensed version allows for incremental backups for those who don't want
to regularly keep copying the entire volume to keep a backup copy current.

Either way it can't hurt to give it a try as it won't affect the origional
boot partition in any way unless you tell it to modify the boot.ini file to
allow for dual booting from the origional and backup copy. Nice to know the
backup can actually be booted if placed online...
 
J

John Doe

J.Voorhees said:
I wish to copy a boot drive. However the Boot drives partition
is about 90GB where as the drive I am copying it to is about
80GB. The thing is there is only about 50GB of data so I assumed
it would be fine. Unfortunately Drive Image wont let me do it
unless the new partition is bigger or equal to the old one.
I considered re-partitioning the old drive to make the partition
with the data smaller, but Im not sure if there is a risk in
doing that (of losing data etc)

Since you already have at least one backup of important data/files
from your hard drive to removable media...

Disk managers (like PartitionMagic, Disk Director, Partition
Manager, and Partition Master) have been around for a very long
time and can resize partitions that are being used. They can also
do the work of copying the partition to another location on the
same drive or to another drive. Restoring the active partition can
be tricky, especially if you are using an SSD drive as your main
drive.

Good luck and have fun.
 
J

J.Voorhees

Thank you for the XXcopy tip. However while it made a backup
perfectly, I cant seem to get it to boot :( I tried "making it
bootable" via the cool tools menu but unfortunately the pc just hangs
before anything starts booting (just a flashing cursor in the top left
of a black screen). I have no idea why this is.
 
J

J.Voorhees

Thank you for the XXcopy tip. However while it made a backup
perfectly, I cant seem to get it to boot :( I tried "making it
bootable" via the cool tools menu but unfortunately the pc just hangs
before anything starts booting (just a flashing cursor in the top left
of a black screen). I have no idea why this is.
 
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J

J.Voorhees

Thank you for the XXcopy tip. However while it made a backup
perfectly, I cant seem to get it to boot :( I tried "making it
bootable" via the cool tools menu but unfortunately the pc just hangs
before anything starts booting (just a flashing cursor in the top left
of a black screen). I have no idea why this is.
 
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G

GlowingBlueMist

J.Voorhees said:
Thank you for the XXcopy tip. However while it made a backup
perfectly, I cant seem to get it to boot :( I tried "making it
bootable" via the cool tools menu but unfortunately the pc just hangs
before anything starts booting (just a flashing cursor in the top left
of a black screen). I have no idea why this is.

Hmmm, when you told XXCopy to make the drive bootable, did you check all
three options, Write MBR, Write Boot Sector, and write Boot.ini? At the
same time did you actually wait until the program came back with the "Exit"
prompt? The first time I tried I hit cancel thinking the program was stuck
rather than waiting for it to actually finish.

One other thing, in your BIOS do you have an option that says something like
"allow boot from other devices" rather than just those that are in your boot
list? Some motherboards need to have the second boot drive be part of the
boot list and others can use the Boot from other Device option.

Hmmm, one last thing, did you tell the program to Duplicate the Volume ID?
I think that XP might balk when it finds two drives actually connected to
the motherboard that have the same ID. You should be able to test this by
unplugging your original drive and see if the new one takes over. I seem to
remember way back that the first time I cloned my drive I used the Duplicate
Vol ID option and it would not boot with both drives still attacked. I did
all later backups with out duplicating the volume ID and that seemed to have
taken care of my boot problem.
 

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