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How to copy a secondary partition to the C: partition?

What I am trying to do and need advice with is:

With one large internal Hdd:in my laptop:

  1. Set up my C: drive / partition, XP Pro, and all my software on this partition, without regard to effectiveness / “optimal-ness” of the setup, just to get this computer up and running quickly; then

  2. Set up a second partition with an optimal install of XP and all my applications (and create an image of it); then

  3. Replace the sloppy, initial C: partition installation with the with optimized XP & applications image residing in the second partition.

I was going to make an image of the sloppy initial C: partition (just in case I needed it later), then move the optimized partition to the C: partition, to take advantage of it’s faster location on the outer tracks of the hdd.

I was thinking I’d do this overall process by creating a dual-boot of XP.

So: I need advice -

Am I going about this properly?

How do I copy and overlay the second partition (which has the clean install of XP & my applications), on top of the C: partition, while the computer is still running? Doesn’t the system crash if I copy over the running version of XP with the optimized image?

I have used Macrium Free for imaging and was going to use a freeware partition manager. Are these the apps to use? Other recommendations?

Thanks for your help and thoughts in advance.


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The critical flaw in your plan is while the computer is still running? Most files you can just copy over, but files in-use will fail. In addition Windows will protect, certain directories and files. The windows registry, in particular is locked (C:\windows\system32\config and I know of no way of replacing any of these files while the system is running.

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