I've done some research and the most common answer seems to be to just reinstall Windows, but I really want to avoid that.

I'm attempting to move my Win7 install, including applications, documents, etc., from my 300GB laptop to a new 240GB SSD. I've got multiple versions of Visual Studio, IIS, photoshop, 3ds max, etc etc etc., and reinstalling will be non-trivial.

I've read about shrinking the partition to fit on the SSD and cloning it to the new drive., so I cleaned up temp files and downloads and some other unnecessary stuff and managed to get down to 180GB. However, I can't shrink the partition below 290GB. I've defragged, etc., but it looks like the OS is keeping some files at the end of the partition which prevents me from shrinking it to a sufficiently small size.

Any suggestions? I've seen references to different methods for moving those files, but no clear instructions or explanations.

  • Did you defrag the disk afterwards? You might have freed up the space, but the data is still scattered around the partition. Defragmentation should move it towards the front allowing you to shrink the partition. – dwolters Feb 10 '12 at 19:18
  • I defragged using a 3rd party tool (Win7 does it automatically in the background anyhow), but the immovable files at the end of the partition weren't moved. Since they can't be moved. Apparently. – 3Dave Feb 10 '12 at 22:35

Use Clonezilla (or similar) to clone your drive, you will need to resize the partition first. You can use Parted Magic to do both the resize using Gparted, this should move the Windows files, and then use Clonezilla (built in to Parted Magic)to copy to the new drive

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You could make a backup image using Windows 7 backup. Then install a clean copy of 7 on the ssd and restore you backup.

This should work as long as there was no additional hardware changes.

If this doesn't shrink the image under the space on your ssd it looks like the ssd is to small. You can try moving some doc, files, etc to a secondary drive and the making the image.

Windows 7 backup and restore a system image

Before attempting you may want to check out this forum thread.

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    If the downvote is in regards to this solution not working from HDD to SSD the second link verifies that it does. The backup image should not be bigger than the SSD size unless the HDD has more than 240GB of space on it – sealz Feb 10 '12 at 17:34

My recommended option is to use a Linux LiveCD and boot into the CD. You can use GParted to shrink the partition. Note, there is a very small risk that your data could become corrupt.

Another option is to boot into a Windows PE disk, like Hirens or UBCD4WIN and use MyDefrag to move all the files to the front of the partition and shrink the partition.

I'd go with the first option as it is very straightforward, takes little time to setup, and relatively foolproof.

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