Moving Windows HDD - copy and paste?

Discussion in 'General Off-Topic Chat' started by VashTS, Oct 24, 2013.

  1. VashTS
    OP

    VashTS Beat it, son

    Member
    3,898
    701
    Mar 14, 2009
    United States
    Upstate NY
    So I just got 6tbs from newegg, and I need to do some moving around. I don't want to re-install! I just did it about 3-4 months ago to upgrade to 64 bit Win 7. So heres the scoop:

    I have a 500gb hdd that has windows on it right now. The total used space is less than 325 gb, just to be clear lol.
    I have a 1.5tb that is split into 3 partitions, 2 x 325 gb and 1 750

    I want to move the entire C: contents to the 325 gb partition and remove the 500 gb altogether. I have hirens boot cd or I could boot into Puppy Linux.

    Does anyone know if this config will work if I move everything from the 500gb and then assign the 325gb partition to C:?
     
  2. KDH

    KDH GBAtemp Regular

    Member
    241
    29
    Apr 26, 2007
    United States
    Kansas
    No, that won't work. First, the only way to preserve your Windows installation is to clone the entire partition to the 1.5 TB drive. That means wiping out at least one partition. Second, you cannot shrink your Windows partition to only 325 GB because your operating system requires some free space just to function -- 5-10% of it's partition being the general rule of thumb. If you absolutely do not want to wipe the 1.5 TB drive then your best bet is to delete either the 750 GB partition or the two 325 GB partitions and clone the Windows partition into the free space that creates. Just remember that the partition you cloned will need to be both a primary partition* and marked as "Active" or "boot" (depends on what tool you use) before it will work.

    * I'm assuming you're working with MBR here, if the 1.5 TB drive uses GPT ignore this first bit.
     
  3. VashTS
    OP

    VashTS Beat it, son

    Member
    3,898
    701
    Mar 14, 2009
    United States
    Upstate NY
    just to simplify - so if i copy the entire contents of C: to I:, change I: to C: (in some other OS, like a live linux or hirens boot cd) and boot, the computer will not take the changes?

    i may try it anyway since im not erasing the current C:, just removing it so i can always plug it back in. i dont see how this will fail. its just transplanting the contents of one drive to another.
     
  4. Nebz

    Nebz The N00b

    Member
    1,220
    30
    Jul 1, 2010
    United States
    Rhode Island
    DELETE. I should read more.
     
  5. KDH

    KDH GBAtemp Regular

    Member
    241
    29
    Apr 26, 2007
    United States
    Kansas
    That is almost correct. You cannot change Windows drive assignments in other operationg systems. As for why it won't work, I think it's because certain system files need to be in certain locations relative to the beginning and/or end of the partition. Don't quote me on that though, it's been years since I've messed with Windows partitions. It might just be because there would be no way to reassign the drive letter.
     
  6. Nebz

    Nebz The N00b

    Member
    1,220
    30
    Jul 1, 2010
    United States
    Rhode Island
    It may be right.... When it comes to OS builds I'm nowhere near being the top guy to ask about things like this but with some bit of troubleshooting experience that sounds pretty reasonable as one of many reasons. I'd think there would need to be some sort of setup format on that particular drive and partition as mentioned but there's more that I'm just not capable of answering as of yet.

    Deleted my comment because I read it twice and thought I may not have understood what OP was trying to get at but my opinion still stands. Testing can be done, since the space is there for it, but I really just don't think it'd work for many reasons beyond what I actually know.
     
  7. Fishaman P

    Fishaman P Speedrunner

    Member
    3,240
    507
    Jan 2, 2010
    United States
    Wisconsin
    That's basically correct. Another major aspect is the bootloader, which cannot be copied through a simple file transfer.

    Partition cloning is the way to go.
     
  8. marcus134

    marcus134 GBAtemp Advanced Fan

    Member
    584
    80
    May 7, 2011
    Canada
    Qu├ębec
  9. VashTS
    OP

    VashTS Beat it, son

    Member
    3,898
    701
    Mar 14, 2009
    United States
    Upstate NY
    ive finally found time to read up, and thanks for all the answers here! cloning is my obvious choice here.
     
  10. The Real Jdbye

    The Real Jdbye Always Remember 30/07/08

    Member
    GBAtemp Patron
    The Real Jdbye is a Patron of GBAtemp and is helping us stay independent!

    Our Patreon
    12,080
    5,154
    Mar 17, 2010
    Norway
    Alola
    Yes and no. The best way would be to use disk imaging/cloning software, but you might get away with simply copying all the files, and then writing the correct bootloader to the MBR to allow Windows to boot, you will also most likely have to edit the BCD entry for Windows. You can't simply "assign" the partition to C:\, however. Windows will assign new drives the way it sees fit, and if it assigns it to the wrong drive letter on the first boot, you will get a BSOD and be unable to boot. You may have higher chances of success if you remove the old HDD after cloning and before trying to boot Windows since it will keep trying to assign the old drive to the same drive letter giving the new drive a different one.
    I am not sure what the steps are to guarantee success when cloning your Windows install onto a new drive, there are many things that may go wrong when you make hardware changes that affect the Windows boot process. Cloning is probably your best bet, but there may still be some steps you have to take afterwards to make Windows bootable again.

    I have not had to move my Windows install onto another drive before, but I did find out that if the Windows drive is not on the drive letter it expects it to be, it will shit bricks (my Windows drive was somehow mapped to D:\ and when I manually changed it, it would no longer boot until I edited the correct files/registry settings). The disk cloning software may take care of making these modifications, or they may not be needed in your case.