How do I transfer my operating system from a smaller to a large hard disk on the same laptop?

The laptop is a Toshiba Equium, with 2.87GB memory. The OS is Windows Vista Home Premium with Service pack 2.

The OS is installed on the C: drive, which is about 30GB in size. On the C:\ drive currently there is only 213 MB free.

The E:\ drive has 118 GB of which 110 is free.

In have the Vista installation key
Michael MurphyAsked:
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Gary CaseConnect With a Mentor RetiredCommented:
I suspect your laptop only has one drive -- probably a 160GB drive that has been partitioned into two partitions -- C: and E:

To confirm that's the case, right-click on Computer; select Manage;  then click on Disk Management.    This will show your disk structure pictorially -- and I suspect you'll see it is as I just described.

Assuming that's the case, your drive "looks" like this:

... where the C's represent the C: partition; and the E's the E: partition.

You don't need to move your OS at all => you simply need to do a bit of manipulation of the partitions.   You need to do 3 operations:

(1)  Reduce the size of the E: partition ("Shrink" the volume).    This will make the disk "look" like this:
... where the x's represent free (unallocated) space

(2)  Move the E: partition to the right, so the free space is next to C: ... i.e. make the disk look like this:

(3)  ReSize (expand) C: to use the additional space ... resulting in this:

Vista supports #1 and #3, but does not have any provisions for doing #2, so I'd do all 3 using the excellent Boot-It BM.    Download the free demo version [ ];  extract the files and create a bootable CD using the included MakeDisk utility;    boot to the CD, selecting CANCEL at the first prompt; then OK.    Then click on Partition Work.    Now highlight the partition that corresponds to E:  (should be the 2nd partition, although your system may have some additional OEM partitions -- NOTE that if it does and they are "between" C: and E: you'll have to do a bit more manipulation ... if that's the case, post EXACTLY what Partition Work shows);  and then click on ReSize.   Make E: as much smaller as you want to add to C:

Then, with the same (E:) partition highlighted, click on Slide, and select 0 space "after" -- this will move the partition so all the free space is before it.

Now just highlight the first partition (this corresponds to C:) and click ReSize -- choose the max available size and let it finish (this will be VERY quick).

Done :-)     Just reboot the system and your C: drive will have plenty of space :-)
Connect the larger drive you want to replace your small drive with to a USB - HD device like the one below:

Then connect that to your laptop. Now boot it using the PartedMagic LiveCD and use CloneZilla which is included on that CD to clone your internal disk to the external one. When done replace the internal disk with the external one you just cloned to:
Guru JiCommented:
You can clone in your existing hard drive to the new drive.

Free software to accomplish this is

cloning ATA/SATA/USB media with up to 600 MB/min

Also there are some pro and cons of cloning rather than installing from scratch.
Here is a guide of moving OS from one drive to another
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If you don't have an external to use, try resizing the partitions.



Just download the demo;  create a bootable CD with the included MakeDisk utility;  boot to the CD; select CANCEL, then OK;  then go to Partition Work.
Boot-It BM will even work with GPT disks ... its predecessor, Boot-It NG, would only work with MBR disks.
: D
Michael MurphyAuthor Commented:
I think Garrycase is correct. One disk, two partitions. I am attaching a screenshot of the management screen for verification.

With regard to making the boot disk mentioned by Garrycase and Coral47 above: I need a little help.
I downloaded the file and see in the file folder a file called makedisk. I tried running this file but a lot of options came up and I did not succeed. When I inserted it into the laptop (having changed the boot order to start with the CD/DVD option) nothing happened. I might need a little more help with this.
rindiConnect With a Mentor Commented:
As it's just one disk, there could be an easier option for you. Copy whatever data you have on E:\ away to some other place (provided there is anything of importance on it). Then within diskmanagement just delete that partition. After that right click your C:\ partition and you should have an "Extend Volume" option. With that you can easily enlarge the size of your C:\ partition, and it takes almost no time. After that you can create a new E:\ partition in the space you have left, and copy the data you backed up earlier back to it. You wouldn't need any third party tool that way.
Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
Two thoughts ...

(1)  r.e. Makedisk.    You simply run Makedisk, and accept all of the default options.   This should let you burn a CD that will be bootable.

To be precise, you click Next,  Next,  click on the "I accept the agreement button" and then Next,  Next, Next, Next, Next, Next, Next, Next, Next, Next, Next, highlight your CD drive in the "Select Target" window and then click Finish.

Did you highlight your CD drive when you ran it??

That should easily let you do what I suggested earlier.


(2)  As rindi noted, you could simply copy all of the data from E: to an external drive;  then delete that partition;  use Disk Management to Extend the C: drive as much as you want;  then recreate the E: volume and copy the data back.     The only potential glitch with this approach is if you have any system files that are located on E: -- or if, for example, you have your documents folder relocated there, then you'll have to redo those mappings after you recreate the partition.    Also, if you chose this approach, first change the View options in Explorer so you can "see" all hidden and system folders so those will also be copied.

The safest approach in terms of retaining all current configuration options, etc. is to use Boot-It as I noted above.   You ARE using a blank CD (NOT a DVD) when you try to create the disk -- right??
>> ...accept all of the default options

Yeah, I just burned a new copy to refresh my memory, and used all the default options (except I changed to 800x600 - 256 rez).

And you DO have to pick the burner drive, or it makes an .ISO in what ever folder you are running Makedisk from.

>> ...using a blank CD (NOT a DVD)

Worked fine on a DVD disc for me, though a CD is more versatile.
Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
Good to know it will burn/boot from a blank DVD as well -- I've simply never tried that :-)
It's just a huge waste of space. If I'm not mistaken bootit-bm still fits on a floppy!
Michael MurphyAuthor Commented:
Have transferred all material from E to an external hard disk. However I notice that there are still nearly 8 GB registering as on the disk (even though I checked the 'show hidden files and folders box'). Yet when I open the volume it says it is 'empty'.

When I opened disk management the option to 'delete the partition' was blanked out - in shadow.

I notice, on the other hand,  when I left-click My Computer  that the Format option is available  for this partition E ?
rindiConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Your pagefile is on that partition. disable it. After a reboot you should be able to delete it. You can also use the builtin backup utility of your OS to backup the partition to the external disk. Then you are sure you missed nothing.
Michael MurphyAuthor Commented:
It worked. I was able to delete the partititon. Now there is plenty room for the OS and I can create a partition later if I want to.
Thanks so much for your expert help in this.
Will award points tomorrow
Glad to hear you got it.   : )

>> ...If I'm not mistaken bootit-bm still fits on a floppy!

yeah, but floppy drives are getting hard to find.   ; )
Jackie ManCommented:
It is too risky to do migration this way as you will end up in a partition with error which leads to a non bootable OS.

The better method is do a backup of the OS C partition (including the MBR) and the data in E drive to an external USB storage device or network drive with any clone imaging software, such as Acronis True Image Home 2011.

Then, merge the two partitions into one using the partition software or use Acronis to merge and format the HDD and restore the C partition and the MBR into the new enlarged C drive.


In short, do a backup of the OS image to an external storage if you want to play around with the partitions.
Michael MurphyAuthor Commented:
Before the last post arrived i followed the advice given by Garrycase,  and it seems to have worked. So far no ill-effects. But I will reopen this if there are.

One thing, I deleted the larger partition (after saving material on it to external drive). I did not create a new partition.  Effectively he OS is on  an un- partitioned disk? Is this alright.  Am not sure of the purpose of creating partitions? If I dont need to do it I wont.

I am sorry for not awarding points yet ... but will do
No, the OS is always on a partitioned disk, but you probably currently have only one such partition. Having more than one partition helps you separate your data from the OS. That helps making backups simpler, and it is also a tidier approach.
Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
"... Effectively he OS is on  an un- partitioned disk? Is this alright ..."  ==>  EVERY disk is partitioned.    You may only have one partition (what you've done here) ... but it's still an entry in the partition table.

But the answer is Yes, it's fine to just have one partition.
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