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Archive for July 2010

Cloning Windows 7 onto yer SSD (Yet Another Method Of)

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I bought a SSD (the Intel X-25M) for my computer, partly because I read on the interwebz that running a virtual machine on a separate physical drive would greatly improve its performance. I also read on the interwebz that it’s possible to clone an install of Windows 7 from a HDD onto the SSD.

Well, it’s all gravy until things don’t work. And they sure it didn’t for me. I tried various tools in many different combinations over two long night. The steps below are what worked for me. YMMV (but probably not).

First, if you are reading this on the Windows 7 instance you want to clone, resize the OS partition to a size smaller or equal to the size of your SDD minus 100MB. It is easier to just make it slightly smaller. A perfect match in sizes is not necessary. You can do this with Windows 7’s Disk Management tool, which you can find by typing “partition” into the start menu search. Now download and install DriveImage XML. It’s free (as in beer).

Now shutdown your computer, disconnect your HDD, and start installing Windows onto the SSD. The install process will reboot the computer at some point. When that happens, interrupt it by going into the BIOS or something, and then shut the computer down. You don’t not need to finish the install.

Next, plug your HDD back in and change the BIOS to boot from it. Once you are back in Windows 7, you can see in Disk Management that there are two partitions on your SSD. One system reserved 100MB partition and the rest of the disk in a second partition. Neither of these have a drive letter assigned.

Fire up DriveImage XML. Select Drive to Drive copy. While selecting the source partition, check the “Raw Mode” option for some hardcore sector by sector cloning action. Then select the unfinished Windows 7 partition on your SSD as the destination.

Once DriveImage XML finished copying the partition, reboot the computer. Go into the BIOS and change the settings to boot from the SSD.

It should boot. You will see a screen saying that Windows was not properly shutdown. That’s because it was cloned while it was running. It’s cool. And you’re done. (And you know what, you’re welcome.)


Written by Barry

July 9, 2010 at 3:34 pm

Posted in Nerdy

Tagged with ,