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I've just bought the components for a new PC (Win7-64) but I want to reuse the disk from an existing one (Win7-32). I want to move aside all the existing contents, install the new OS and then move the desired directories back.

The question is, how can I move all the directories? I can't do it from windows as the directories will be in use. Are there any boot disks or LiveCDs that will allow you to mount an NTFS disk read-write? Will something like BartPE do the job? Or can I do it from the windows rescue console?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

I don't know much about Windows-based solutions like BartPE, but any Linux LiveCD that includes ntfs-3g will give you NTFS read-write support and I suspect most (probably all) of the big-name ones do these days.

Update: I know from personal experience that SystemRescueCD and Knoppix include it and that you can also use the Slax website to generate a Slax LiveCD or LiveUSB image with it. (All three support booting into a GUI, complete with web browser, though Slax can be troublesome with ATi graphics)

SystemRescueCD's website also has instructions for how to use ntfs-3g in a terminal which can be used anywhere that a GUI file manager, for any reason, prefers the read-only NTFS support when auto-mounting the drive.

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+1 cause thats what i was about to suggest ;) – Journeyman Geek May 11 '11 at 0:18
+1 do most of them support this? – the_mandrill May 11 '11 at 7:06

If you're not interested in trying to move your installed programs (bad idea anyway), check out Windows Easy Transfer (WET). It's built into Windowss 7.

Windows Easy Transfer is a step-by-step guide for transferring files and settings from one computer running Windows to another. It helps you choose what to move to your new computer, such as user accounts, Internet favorites, and e‑mail. It also lets you decide which method to use and then performs the transfer.

It provides a way to save to an external device (networked computer, USB drive, DVD, etc.) for doing an 'in-place' reinstall/upgrade to the same hardware. (See here for more info)

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in this case I don't have a spare drive available with enough space for everything I want to save, so I wanted to keep the data on the same disk. – the_mandrill May 11 '11 at 7:06

The easiest way would be the WET mentioned above. However, If your more selective or want some adventure, try booting into GParted. You could make a second partition for everything you need, then just leave a main partition for your system. That would help for the future if you ever consider installing linux, or any other OS. Then just overwrite the current partition, and you'll be set.

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I was wanting to avoid re-partitioning the disk as I'd prefer to keep everything on one partition. – the_mandrill May 11 '11 at 7:11

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