I don’t mind if I’m incomprehensible

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

with 4 comments

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 ,

4 Responses

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  1. I just want to say that this absolutely does NOT work. I understand that the concept seems to be to let the Windows installer do the dirty work of partitioning, possibly creating the ‘hidden’ 100MB partition, etc, and then imaging onto that partition, but A.) DriveImage XML wipes this partition anyways to raw-copy the first OS partition onto your new drive and B.) the Windows installer doesn’t restart until it’s pretty much completed installing anyways. These instructions rendered my SSD (not SDD) unbootable and it appeared to have moved the boot files over to the SSD so I had a hell of a time even booting from the HDD after I plugged it back in.

    To those who’s gray hair I saved, you’re welcome. I was not so lucky. There are plenty of methods out there for cloning your OS install to a new drive, follow those, not this Frankenstein method.


    June 2, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    • Sorry to hear that Kyle. :( I tried various methods from the web and none of them worked for me, so when I found something that worked, I posted it as an alternative to those that I found but didn’t work.


      June 2, 2012 at 5:49 pm

      • I’m still trying, stubborn as a mule. I’d love to hear if this works for others but I’m not doing to well with it.


        June 2, 2012 at 6:39 pm

  2. Thanks a million! Worked after the first try. It does install most of Windows when it reboots, but after that I just replaced the unfinished windows partition with the one I backed up with DiXML. I did use the same windows installation disk from the computer however, so I don’t know if the nature of the windows DVD can change anything. Also, I backed up without raw mode activated without problems.


    July 3, 2012 at 5:41 am

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