Vista: Best (free?) utilities to clone/resize partitions?

Discussion in 'Operating Systems' started by annoyed, Dec 28, 2007.

  1. annoyed

    annoyed n00b

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    Suggestions and experiences appreciated:

    I have a Win2k install on my main drive and a Vista install on an old 2nd drive. Vista has passed its audition, so I would like to make it my main OS.

    The old drive is really noisy compared with the new one, so I'd like to swap the OSes around and also resize the partitions too.

    Can anyone vouch for any of the free utilities? What is your favourite commercial package?

    I need to be able to non-destructively resize the partitions first - Win2K does not need the space it has, and won't be getting bigger in the future as I won't be using it. Vista took all the drive I gave it, but I would like to limit C: to 64GB for when solid state drives of that size become affordable.

    Then I want to clone (or 'ghost') the partitions around to get them the way I want them.

    One tricky part is that the Windows bootloader will need to be updated to know that the OSes are in different partitions now. Can you sort this on the command line?

    Thanks.
     
  2. digital_exhaust

    digital_exhaust [H]ard|DCer of the Month - May 2008

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    PartedMagic is a great free disc partitioning utility, works very well for me. As far as free cloning software is concerned, I can't really recommend any as I haven't yet found one that I would trust, but that's just me....
     
  3. LstOfTheBrunnenG

    LstOfTheBrunnenG [H]ardness Supreme

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    Any linux LiveCD with GParted.
     
  4. jason93

    jason93 Limp Gawd

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  5. LstOfTheBrunnenG

    LstOfTheBrunnenG [H]ardness Supreme

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    Vista can't magically move itself to another partition while running. If he had a second Vista PC, that might be viable.
     
  6. yossarian

    yossarian Gawd

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    If you have a Maxtor or Seagate hard drive in your computer, you can download and use Maxblast or Disc Wizard to clone or create partition images. You can download them here: http://www.seagate.com/www/en-us/support/downloads/

    I've used Disc Wizard several times in the last few weeks (don't ask) and it's cloned my drives perfectly and quickly every time. Both are limited versions of Acronis True Image. Maxblast won't work unless it detects a Maxtor drive on your system, same for Disc Wizard for a Seagate drive.
     
  7. Mabrito

    Mabrito [H]ardness Supreme

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    QFT

    Great program, works very well. Used it when I wanted to take my Vista partition and seperate it into two partitions so I can install XP on the other partition.
     
  8. digital_exhaust

    digital_exhaust [H]ard|DCer of the Month - May 2008

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    GParted is awesome, but it's being replaced with PartedMagic... and the really big difference right now is that PartedMagic is "Vista Ready" so to speak.... I have had several issues with GParted and Vista partitions... don't know why, but every time I have used it to resize a Vista partition, it has left it unbootable.....
     
  9. DeaconFrost

    DeaconFrost [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I believe DriveImageXML is Vista compatible as well, and free.
     
  10. annoyed

    annoyed n00b

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    There have been loads of helpful replies - I am trying out the Seagate DiscWizard now.

    A related question is how to update the bootloader. Vista's bootloader is installed in the MBR and it can boot Vista or the older operating system. Now I am going to move the partitions around and Vista is going to be on a different physical drive.

    Can you update the MBR and keep the duel boot capability?
     
  11. eeyrjmr

    eeyrjmr [H]ardness Supreme

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    headache waiting to happen in all honesty
     
  12. JC634

    JC634 Gawd

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    I agree. I tried something similar to this. Royally screwed up the drive letters and I ended up with pure crap. Only the 1st OS would boot and nothing else. This was with a 5-boot 2-drive setup.

    Ended up getting a hot swap rack. 1 OS per disk, which works perfect for my needs.

    This: http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16817990001 is the one I got.
     
  13. annoyed

    annoyed n00b

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    Disc Wizard is unsuitable unfortunately - it will not clone or restore an image without removing any existing partitions.

    What I need to do is move Vista from a second (old, slow, noisy) drive I used for trying it out, on to my main drive. On that main drive there is Win2k and a data partition and some unused space.
     
  14. annoyed

    annoyed n00b

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    That would be overkill - I am migrating from Win2k to Vista and would like to dual boot for a while.

    The Vista is on a second noisy drive and I would like to move it, and I hoped to avoid the hassle of installing Vista again and installing other apps and making configuration changes.

    What did you use to adjust the bootloader?
     
  15. bbz_Ghost

    bbz_Ghost 2[H]4U

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    Simple solution:

    Take the hard drive that you want as your primary hard drive (I'm not talking about partitions here, that's not relevant yet, I'm talking about the physical hard drive itself) and hook it up to the machine. Hook up the optical drive if it's not already, and remove all other physical hard drives from the machine. Install Vista and use its own partitioning tool to set up that primary hard drive however the hell you want.

    When Vista is installed on that partition/drive, then you can install the other drives or have it however you want.

    You said you're not going to use Win2K anymore, hence there is no reason to leave it on any drive whatsoever. Get rid of it and reclaim the space used as storage space. Why you think you need to do this with cloning partitions and "moving them around" is beyond me. You're shooting yourself in the foot multiple times over and in the long run it'll be more than a headache, I assure you.

    Do it the right way the first time and you'll never need to worry about it again. Shifting partitions around is just going to cause issues regardless of whatever free or commercial software you're using.

    Your intention as I understand it is to have Vista as your primary and only OS - that means everything else can go.
     
  16. annoyed

    annoyed n00b

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    That is the only part of the puzzle I am missing: If Vista is now on the main drive, I need to change the bootloader to load Vista from that partition, rather than the second drive. The option to boot an older version of windows (2K) will not need to change at all.

    I should be able to do everything else using either Vistas partition resizing or PartedMagic, and clone using DriveImageXML, except for the bootloader part.
     
  17. JC634

    JC634 Gawd

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    Part of the problem with what you want to do is that by moving OS's from one HD to another is the order of booting and associated drive letter that is assigned to a disk.

    If you want to physically move an OS from one HD to another, fork over the $'s and get either Symantec Ghost or Acronis True Image. I am not aware of any "free" utilities that will clone an OS from one drive to another, except perhaps for the aforementioned DriveImageXML.

    The nice thing about the utilities above is that you can backup the complete HD, try what you want to do, if (when) it fails miserably, you can alway revert the setup back to the original configuration and not lose anything.

    I have used True Image recently to move both XP Home and Vista Ultimate 64 from smaller HD's to larger ones. Be sure to use the "clone" method. XP went quite smooth. Vista required me to re-validate my license. Both of these were single-boot machines.

    True Image: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16832200004 at Newegg, $36. Also, you might want to ask the Acronis tech support how to do this.

    FWIW, I would not worry about partitions until you after you get the OS's switched. IF the cross migration of OS's does work, simply use Vista's disk mangement utility. It actually does allow you to resize partitions.