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Occasionally I get tasked with literally swapping the installation locations of Windows/Ubuntu. We build PCs for developers and by default they come with a 120GB SSD and a 2TB 5400 split into two partitions. Windows is installed onto a 60GB partition on the 5400 WD Green, and Ubuntu is installed onto a 90GB partition of the 120GB SSD (The Swap space can be removed)

What's the most efficient and safest way to swap the locations of these without losing any data? You'd think I'd have access to an unprecedented amount of storage space working for a mid-sized IT Infrastructure company, but I don't. I only have access to the storage available in the PC and a 2GB external USB 3.0 7200rpm drive on which I'm not allowed to modify partitions.

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One idea is to create an image for both Ubuntu (90GB) and Windows (60GB) Partition .. say maybe using Clonezilla, and dump both images into your external USB HDD, and then re-clone them into the correct HDD...? (Sorry I haven't personally tested this so I don't want to put this as an answer) – Darius May 8 '13 at 9:06
Make images of HDD and restore them to those HDD, which you see fit. – STTR May 8 '13 at 9:30
@Darius: Cloning a 90GB Partition image to a 60GB Partition might come with its share of problems...Windows Backup & Restore for example doesn't like this at all... – M.Bennett May 8 '13 at 11:09
@M.Bennett - Which is the reason you use the correct tools for the job at hand. Windows Backup and Restore is great if you have nothing else but there are tons of good tools ( like Clonzilla ) that can do a much better job. Its not clear the reason "data cannot be lost' because data backup which would be required if your going from a large partition to a smaller one no matter WHAT tool is used. Since SSD partitions can still have fragmentation you can't just shrink that partition ( certainly cannot remove the fragmentation either ). – Ramhound May 8 '13 at 11:58

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