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My current hard drive has an 80 GB NTFS partition running Windows (/dev/sda1) in addition to several Linux partitions. I purchased a new hard drive and want to move my Windows 8 partition to a new NTFS partition (/dev/sdb1) where size(/dev/sdb1) >= size(/dev/sda1). Are there any pitfalls to simply running this dd command from within my Linux distribution running on /dev/sda2?

dd if=/dev/sda1 of=/dev/sdb1 bs=32M


  1. My Windows partition isn't currently mounted in Linux
  2. I don't need to fix the MBR, because when I reinstall Linux on the new drive, GRUB2 will overwrite it anyway.
  3. I know there are other options for performing this, like Clonezille, GParted, Acronis, Norton Ghost, Drive Image XML, ntfsclone, etc. but a single command seems the simplest and dd is highly versatile.
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FWIW, I've used this approach successfully in the past. – Harry Johnston Feb 28 '13 at 2:32
@HarryJohnston I didn't run into any problems when I used this approach this time, so I'll probably use it in the future too. – Ricardo Altamirano Feb 28 '13 at 2:35
up vote 2 down vote accepted

it looks like you have considered the problems I would have (size, MBR, etc) so I'd say you are fine to proceed. the only caution I give is they call DD 'Destroy Disk' for a reason. it is most unforgiving and quite capable of trashing your system beyond recognition. just make sure to triple check your disk file names (/dev/sdaX) and your syntax just to make sure.

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Good advice. Frankly, if this Windows partition were to be trashed, it would not be a problem since I use it about once a year, but copying the partition requires less effort than reinstalling the system. – Ricardo Altamirano Feb 20 '13 at 21:29
Even if you do mess it up, if you can still boot from the old windows partition, do so (with the new/broken partition accessible to it), and use either the windows installer recovery console ( or EasyBCD ( to try and fix issues with the GPT or windows' final-stage bootloader. Both take a lot less time and headache than a full reinstall. – Zac B Feb 20 '13 at 21:57

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