Until several months ago, I had a 64-bit installation of Windows 7 running very smoothly through Boot Camp on my iMac (iMac7,1). I was going to give the computer to my parents, and to spruce it up, I decided to swap out the internal HDD with a small (60GB) SSD (the operation went well, and the computer runs great). I stuck the old HDD in an external enclosure and stowed it away.
Now, I got my computer back from my parents, and it's still running on the SSD, which is great, except I don't have room to reinstall Boot Camp, and I can't use the old Boot Camp partition I had made (as far as I can tell, you can't boot Windows 7 off of an external USB drive). So, I installed VMware Fusion to at least attempt to virtualize the old drive, except that the partition seems to have lost its bootability, for whatever reason. I cannot boot up the Windows installation in VMware Fusion - it simply gets stuck trying to load SATA drive 1, and I cannot boot it up through the normal ways (System Preferences doesn't list the partition as bootable, and pressing option at boot up only gets me stuck at the
No bootable device stage).
After spending a full day attempting to repair this Windows 7 installation (the farthest I got was a tip about booting the virtual machine from the Windows installation CD and through the command line running
bootrec.exe /fixmbr, but Mac OS X has a security feature which disallows VMs to change their boot sectors, and I couldn't find any sort of way to disable that), I realized I would just have to salvage my files from the partition into a VM. (I had also tried using the recovery tools on the disc, but none helped).
Cherry-picking and manually transferring files and folders will not only take forever, but I'm sure to miss something. Unfortunately, every migration tool I could find (including Microsoft's own easy transfer and VMware's conversion tool) requires launching a client on the old drive, which isn't possible since the drive is no longer bootable.
It's incredibly frustrating, but is there a way I can salvage my files without having to transfer them individually?
(For completeness, just going to mention what I've tried: rEFIt, which didn't change a thing; importing the Boot Camp partition into Parallels Desktop - which couldn't boot it up either, and failed anyway; running the recovery tools while booted up from the Windows 7 installation CD, which says that the recovery tools differ from my installation of Windows and that I cannot use them - strange, since the problem isn't presented when operating in VMware; playing around in VMware even trying to get it to register the drive as a possible source for a VM, which it refuses to do; banging my head against the table, which was simply detrimental.)