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Moving Bootable Partitions Across HDDs


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#1 Quevvy

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Posted 21 August 2014 - 12:17 AM

I have a laptop with 2 HDDs and Windows 7 originally. I currently have a dual-boot of Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 set up on it (setup below), but would like to be able to triple-boot Linux Mint after moving the partitions. [I’m posting in the Windows 7 forum because I foresee the Windows parts generating the most issues.] The only issue is that my current partitioning setup is not exactly how I want it to be.

 

Is there a way to move partitions to another hard drive while retaining the booting capabilities? Like since the W: drive is bootable, if I can move it to a partition of the other physical drive, how do I update the MBR to reflect this change? I found answers about moving/copying partitions for non-booting partitions, but couldn't find answers to my more specific situation.

 

Also, what utility would be the best to make these partition changes: GParted from a Live Linux, or Microsoft’s built-in partition manager?

 

---------- HDD Setup ----------

 

Current setup:

    C: [Windows 7] Physical drive 1, 500GB

 

    D: [ no OS ] Physical drive 2, Partition 1, 300 GB

    W: [Windows 8.1] Physical drive 2, Partition 2, 200 GB

 

Ideal setup:

    C: [Windows 7] Physical drive 1, Partition 1, 400 GB

    D: [Windows 8.1] Physical drive 1, Partition 2, 100 GB

 

    L: [Linux Mint 17] Physical drive 2, 500 GB

 

    (The drive letters/numbers don’t really matter though)



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#2 cat1092

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Posted 21 August 2014 - 02:28 AM

Quevvy, let's see what we can do for you here.  :)

 

Are you familiar with the backup software Macrium Reflect? That tool can be used for cloning your Windows 8.1 partition to the drive beside of Windows 7. Download & install from here. When creating bootable media, I suggest you create the WinPE media, it's more flexible, but will require the download of some files. 

 

http://www.macrium.com/reflectfree.aspx

 

However first, some things has to be done. First off, create disk images of what you have for safety, this can be done with Macrium or the backup tool you've been using. And be sure to have install media for Windows 8.1, or a repair one. 

 

Then you want to defrag Windows 7, really good, like twice, Using the built in Disk Management tool, you can shrink that partition to fit Windows 8.1. And do the same with Windows 8.1, defrag & shrink. You will have to run a good Disk Cleanup & delete some restore points, then work on the shrink. It may be better to go with 350GB with Windows 7 & leave the rest of the space on that drive for 8.1. 

 

Once you have both OS's shrank, make sure that both are bootable, if so fine. Now boot into the Macrium media you created, what you want to do is Clone the Windows 8.1 partition beside of the Windows 7 one. You'll click onto that partition, the options to Image & Clone this partition will be shown. Choose Clone. Then select the Destination. That's beside of Windows 7. If there's not enough space, Macrium can adjust it a bit (not to worry, I cloned a 1TB HDD to a 120GB SSD with the tool). Click Finish & the Clone will begin. This will take a bit, but not real long. Once finished, disconnect the drive that you cloned from & then boot the computer. Hopefully Windows 7 & 8.1 will boot (I know Windows 7 will). If by chance Windows 8.1 won't boot, this is where your install media or Repair media comes to use. 

 

Once both OS's are booting fine & there are no problems, shut down & replug the drive back in. Now you're ready to install Linux MInt 17 to the 2nd HDD, but there won't be any drive letters, Linux doesn't work that way. Are you sure you want to dedicate a whole 500GB HDD to LInux MInt? I ask because I have a 120GB SSD & am barely using 20GB of it, have a lot of software installed too. 

 

This is my suggestion. Using any bootable partition tool (GParted from Live Linux) is fine, format & delete the Windows 8.1 partition. Create yourself a nice 200GB Data Partition as NTFS at the right end of the HDD (the slower portion). Then use the rest for your Linux Mint install. Create a 25GB (25600MB) partition as you main or "/" partition from the drop down list, format as ext4 & be sure the Format box is checked. Doesn't matter if it's Primary or Logical. Than create your Swap partition, at the end of the empty space, of about 4GB (4096MB), the Swap won't be formatted, just marked off. Create the rest as /home from the drop down list, choose ext4, and again, be sure the Format option is checked. 

 

Once this is done, click next, the things will begin to happen. You'll create a username (the actual one will be lowercase), a login password (accept the defaults, don't encrypt your Home folder), then you'll be asked to test your keyboard, select time zone & the rest will take care of itself. When complete, you'll be asked to remove the media & press Enter, do so. The computer will reboot, update the OS & enjoy. 

 

BTW, I have 3 triple boot computers the way yours will be, only mine are on SSD's, the main one all three OS's. the other two, Windows on SSD, LInux MInt 17 on HDD. 

 

Good Luck! :thumbup2:

 

Cat


Performing full disc images weekly and keeping important data off of the 'C' drive as generated can be the best defence against Malware/Ransomware attacks, as well as a wide range of other issues. 


#3 Quevvy

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Posted 06 September 2014 - 04:16 PM

Sorry it's taken me so long to get around to doing this, but I have finally started. I was able to shrink the Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 partitions and then cloned the 8.1 to the same drive as the Windows 7 partition. However, I have not been able to get it to boot into Windows 8.1 (Windows 7 still boots fine). I think I need a bit more explanation of "If by chance Windows 8.1 won't boot, this is where your install media or Repair media comes to use." I created a recovery USB from the windows 8.1 tool, but am not sure what options to choose to allow it to boot into the new cloned partition.



#4 cat1092

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Posted 06 September 2014 - 08:51 PM

Quevvy, you use that bootable recovery USB to repair Windows 8.1 with, there should be an Automatic Repair option. Try that first. If you have install media, you can try that too. 

 

EasyBCD 2.2 can also help to make Windows 8.1 bootable, if the repair option doesn't work. Download the software from here. Choose the Major Geeks site, just worked for me. 

 

http://www.majorgeeks.com/files/details/easybcd.html

 

Install the software on Windows 7, then open it. You want to Create New Entry from the left. There's a small interface, choose Windows 7/8, type on Windows 8.1 in the place for it & manually add the partition where 8.1 in installed. Click "Save Settings. Both entries should be shown. You can also add Linux MInt to this, but later. 

 

Reboot & see what happens, be sure to select Windows 8.1 from the menu. If it's successful, there's a high chance it'll need a reboot, so watch for it. This worked for me one time when I had to move Windows 8 myself & the Automatic Repair reported it couldn't fix the error. 

 

Please report back with the results, hopefully all will work out.  :thumbup2:

 

Cat


Performing full disc images weekly and keeping important data off of the 'C' drive as generated can be the best defence against Malware/Ransomware attacks, as well as a wide range of other issues. 


#5 Quevvy

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Posted 06 September 2014 - 11:30 PM

So I installed and used EasyBCD, which was pretty straightforward. I made an entry called "Windows 8.1 New" (since I already have one listed as "Windows 8.1" (original)). I booted into it and it got to the login screen. The first thing I noticed was the splash screen was completely light blue, but I have it set to a geometric design. It had my login username already in, so I thought that was a good sign. I entered my password and then it said "Preparing Windows" for several minutes, until finally it turned black, but I could still use my mouse. Ctrl+alt+delete still worked, which is how how I could logout. However, the power menu did not work - when I clicked it, it went to black and then reloaded the login screen.

 

I shut it down and tried it again, with the same results. Then I wanted to boot into Windows 7, but it forced a disk check of both partitions. After the check disk completed, I tried to boot into Windows 8.1 again, with the same results. I shut it down and booted into Windows 7 (another disk check too...)



#6 cat1092

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Posted 07 September 2014 - 12:48 AM

Probably because of the new environment, the Disk Check was done. Macrium Reflect has always been a good choice for me to clone drives. Cloned my Dell OEM Partition, plus the other needed partitions, from a 1TB HDD to a small 120GB SSD. Fired right up. 

 

BTW, there's an option on the bootable media to "Fix Windows Boot Problems". Haven't had to use it, but it's there. You may want to try this first. 

 

I take it that you did backup before beginning as I advised? If so & the above doesn't work, here's another. Reinstall your backups the way you had them, reboot to ensure that all is OK. Leave Windows 7 & the drive it's on alone. With a bootable partition tool, such as Mini tool partition Wizard, simply more the Windows 8 partition all the way to the left. Reboot afterwards to ensure all is booting OK. 

 

http://www.partitionwizard.com/free-partition-manager.html

 

To the left, there's an option for a Free Bootable CD. That's what you'll move Windows 8 with. 

 

Once all is working, install Linux Mint beside of Windows 8. Issue fixed. The end result will be a triple boot computer. 

 

Cat


Performing full disc images weekly and keeping important data off of the 'C' drive as generated can be the best defence against Malware/Ransomware attacks, as well as a wide range of other issues. 


#7 Quevvy

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Posted 07 September 2014 - 01:14 PM

So what I did was I deleted the clone of the 8.1 partition and recloned it over to the drive with 7 on it. That worked!

 

I haven't yet installed Linux Mint or formatted the second drive at all. How would you suggest doing the bootloader? Linux Mint will install GRUB; can Windows 7 and 8.1 be booted from GRUB? Or will I have to choose which disk to boot from every time? and then it'll either bring up the Windows Boot Menu or GRUB?



#8 cat1092

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Posted 07 September 2014 - 10:30 PM

You can let GRUB do it, or you can do it from the EasyBCD 2.2 app. 

 

A 3rd option would be to disconnect the Windows drive, install Linux Mint, update it, shut down & then re-plugin your Windows drive. Then hit the right "F" key at startup to select the drive to boot from (may be best option to start with), then add it to EasyBCD 2.2, once you see you like it. A "try & see" approach. You can even perform the install so that it can be done with EasyBCD, but that would be a Linux install topic, rather than a Windows 7 one, where we're at now. 

 

The other thing to consider, if you allow GRUB to be the bootloader for all, the Windows one is overwritten & if you choose to remove Linux Mint for whatever reason, Windows will require repair. So it's either toggle the "F" key at boot, or EasyBCD 2.2. That is, unless you already know you like Linux Mint & don't mind having GRUB as the bootloader for all. 

 

Here is a Topic that may be of assistance w/out me having to repeat all of the instructions. Read through it, it may be helpful. 

 

http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/540870/replace-lm17mq-64bit-with-32bit/

 

The key is in installing the Linux Mint bootloader to the proper device (the drive it's installed to), not the partition. Then it will boot back into Windows 7 & you can add Linux MInt 17 to EasyBCD 2.2 (you need to make 7 the default OS to boot into from Windows 8.1 from the "msconfig" panel). EasyBCD 2.2 won't install on Windows 8 or 8.1, this is why 7 needs to be the default OS to run it this way. 

 

And when you add Linux MInt 17 as a boot option in the EasyBCD control panel, make sure to select GRUB 2 from the drop down menu. I made the mistake of legacy GRUB 2-3 times in one day. Select the main partition that Mint is installed on, name it Linux MInt 17 (or whatever you want) & click Save Settings. 

 

Now you should be able to boot into Linux Mint 17 from the Windows 7 boot menu. 

 

Any further questions, please ask in the Linux section of the forum, as this is now the OS we're dealing with. You can PM me & point to your new Topic if needed. 

 

One final thing, be sure to backup your dual boot of Windows 7 & 8.1 as they are now, if you already haven't. It's important to have a good backup of this new configuration. 

 

Best of Luck. 

Cat


Performing full disc images weekly and keeping important data off of the 'C' drive as generated can be the best defence against Malware/Ransomware attacks, as well as a wide range of other issues. 





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