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I have a somewhat strange setup. My drive layout currently looks like this:

current setup

Disk 0 is my main OS drive right now, and as you can see, the 3rd partition is my C:. The other partitions are two different linux OSes I've used in the past, and the linux swap partition. I use GRUB to allow me to boot any of these.

I'd like to get rid of Disk 0 (since it's an old 80GB drive and fairly slow), and get rid of GRUB and the multi-boot setup (since I only ever use Windows on this system now). My goal is to move the C: partition to Disk 2.

I have no problem with the actual copying of the partition (Using GpartEd Live), but after I do that, it won't boot. I've tried running the Windows Setup repair tool, and it told me that it found a Win7 installation, so I told it to repair, but:

  • It said the partition was D:, instead of C:
  • It didn't work (I just got a "Grub: cannot find partition xxx-xxx-xxxx" message

I also tried saying No to the repair prompt, and selecting the "Startup repair" option, but I gave up after it spent 30 minutes telling me to wait while it worked.

So what am I missing? How do I clone my disk over to the new drive, and get Windows booting again (and using C:, so nothing will seem to have changed)?

On a side note, with a default Windows 7 install, setup creates a 100MB "System Reserved" partition, which I guess is used as the boot, and has recovery options?

enter image description here

How do I get it to create one of those, and is it even worthwhile?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

The system reserved partition will not be created as long as setup can find an active, formatted partition to install to.

What you can try to do is :

  1. Disconnect all disks except disk 2
  2. Connect this disk as disk 0
  3. Do a full installation of Windows 7. Delete and re-create any existing partitions if required.
  4. Copy the old Windows 7 partition as the second partition on this disk.
  5. Execute Startup Repair while still keeping this disk as the only disk 0.
  6. With a bit of good luck, the boot will now be from right disk.

You will need to keep this disk connected as disk 0, since Windows refers in the registry to disks and partitions by their positional numbers. But the other disks can now be connected as disks 1, 2 and 3.

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Step 4: Is that a partition copy, copying over top of the newly-installed partition? (eg, at the end of this, I have only 2 partitions: system reserved, and my old, existing OS?) – gregmac Mar 23 '11 at 7:23
Yes, I meant overwriting the partition. If you don't have too many installed products, you may just keep the new partition and discard the old one. – harrymc Mar 23 '11 at 9:15
To follow up: I did steps 1-3, and then for step 4 used parted Live to copy the old partition into the new one (overwriting its contents). I did not have to do step 5: the first boot (which I did with only the new disk connected) it did a quick chkdsk, but then booted fine. I then shutdown and connected the other 2 drives, and now I have a working system that runs from the 1.5TB drive but is otherwise identical to what I had before (and has the system reserved partition), and the 80GB drive is officially retired. Thanks. – gregmac Apr 3 '11 at 18:01
Hi @harrymc, I'd like to try your approach. I'm cloning using Ease ToDo, but I can't get the boot sector to clone as well. Also, when I try to restore from external HDD Windows 7 installation says that the disk can't be used. – EHorodyski Sep 25 '14 at 23:24

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