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Best way to switch to new system disk?

Posted on 2013-01-26
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I just recently purchased 2 SSDs that I formatted into a dynamic disk (RAID 1) within Windows 7.  I used Acronis True Image 2013 to backup my system partition and recovered it to the dynamic disk.  Now I am wondering what would be the best way to switch the system disk I am booting to?  The dynamic disk is currently my G: drive.  I could create a dual boot, but I'd prefer to just switch out the disks completely and once I verify that everything works, repurpose the original system disk.  Any help is greatly appreciated.  Thanks!
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Question by:Dustin23
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rindi earned 200 total points
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Do you want to boot off the SSD array?

If yes, how large is your system partition, or what is the space reserved for it, and how large are your SSD's?

If the SSD is smaller than your System disk, first resize your System partition so it is smaller than your SSD. Then make another backup of it, but not to the SSD's, rather to an externall disk attached via USB or similar. Then remove your old disk and one of the SSD's and restore your backup to the SSD you have left. When done boot from it to check whether it runs OK. If it does, convert it to dynamic, then add the other SSD and make the RAID of both.
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by:David Johnson, CD, MVP
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you probably forgot to image and copy the system reserved partition
you will need to image both the system reserved partition and the system partition and restore them to the ssd's
then you can boot into the windows 7 dvd go to a command prompt
diskpart
list vol
exit

check the drive letter of the ssd
bcdboot x:\windows -- replace x with the drive letter of the ssd
you now can boot off of the SSD
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by:noxcho
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In BIOS simply change one of those two SSD drives. If the restore was done ok then it must boot.
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by:Dustin23
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@ rindi
Yes I do want to boot off the SSD array.  The original system disk is larger than the SSDs, but the used portion of the disk is less than the size of the array.  I did back up to an external disk first, then restored to the array I had already created.  What was weird was that the system reserved partition would not restore to the array using True Image.  I will attempt the restore again using just the one SSD as a basic disk.  I shouldn't have any problem making it a dynamic disk and creating the array with data already on it?  How would I force the machine to boot to it rather than the C: drive?
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by:Dustin23
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@ ve3ofa
Do I need to force it to restore the MBR as well, using the True Image software?  What command would I use to change the drive letter of the array to C:, once the original has been removed from the system?
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by:Dustin23
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@ noxcho
What do you mean by "change one of those two SSD drives"?
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by:David Johnson, CD, MVP
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yes you will have to copy the mbr as well.. also you have to set your boot order to boot from the ssd's first. The Windows Drive letter will always be C:, don't forget to remove the drive letter from the System Reserved partition.. once this is done, and you've checked that boot and system reside on the SSD, as a test I'd unplug the spinning hard drive, check that things work as expected, then you can then plug in the spinning hard drive and then format or do whatever with it.
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by:Dustin23
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Ok I am trying this tonight.  I'll report back...
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by:nobus
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by:noxcho
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By change I meant change boot priority or order of the drive n BIOS.
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by:rindi
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You shouldn't restore to the array, but rather to a single SSD and then create the array from within Windows again. For that reason I suggested first only installing one SSD (If you have other drives in the system during the restore you might get issues with mixed up drive letters etc.).
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by:Dustin23
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Ok I created a new system partition on the single SSD without a drive letter and a data partition with a drive letter.  I then used True Image to restore the MBR, system partition, and Windows partition all to the SSD.  That ran last night.  I will try the BIOS adjustment and booting to the new disk this afternoon.

Thanks guys.
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by:noxcho
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Actually you wouldnt need so much work if you follow the link given by nobus to Migrate OS To SSD tool.
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by:Dustin23
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Ok noxcho, I will take a look at that as well.
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by:Dustin23
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Ok, here's where I am.  I have scrapped the original copy idea (using True Image 2013) and decided to go with EaseUS Partition Master 9.1.1.  I first took the second disk of the potential array offline (at this point both disks are basic and not yet mirrored).  I used Partition Master to copy the System Reserved partition and the OS data partition to the new SSD.  I then went back to Disk Management in Windows and converted both SSDs to dynamic and created a mirror of both partitions on the 2nd SSD.  So now, with the array created, I restarted and from BIOS tried to boot to the new drive.  It did not work, so I created a Windows Recovery boot USB drive and booted to it.  Once booted into Windows Recovery, I used DISKPART to mark the Windows partition on SSD disk 1 as active.  I then restarted and again tried to boot from the array from BIOS.  Windows booted, but from what looks like the original system disk (the original C: drive).  What else do I need to do to get this working?  Am I missing something??
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by:noxcho
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First of all you need to test if system is bootable after the copy not after the converting. Copy the partitions and then disconnect all other drives but one which is newly copied. Does it boot?
Also I do not know if this tool can correctly copy the partitions like Migrate OS to SSD does it. Migrate OS for SSD for example does align partitions automatically which is ver important for SSD drive. Does Partition Master do it?
Try this tool: http://www.paragon-software.com/technologies/components/migrate-OS-to-SSD/
First clone the drive. Then boot from it. If it boots ok convert it to dynamic and build your mirror.
After that play with drive order changes in BIOS to check the bootability.
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by:nobus
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i suggested using that tool - very easy
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by:rindi
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I don't think you need the migrate to SSD tool for Windows 7, as that OS is already built to align properly itself for the SSD. It is more for older OS's like XP.

If you had done as I mentioned earlier, remove all the disks except one SSD, then restore your backup to that, and then try booting, you would have seen whether it boots or not. If if didn't boot, a startup repair from the Windows 7 DVD should have then been able to make it bootable. After that just add the other SSD and build the array....
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by:noxcho
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Yes nobus, I know. I mentioned it and pointing the attention to it again
Rindi, you made an interesting inpunt. Can you explain me how does Windows 7 align itself when it is being moved from another HDD to SSD drive? Especially when using third party tool. I've never heard about this clever side of Windows 7 abilities.
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by:rindi
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Windows 7 has native support for SSD, and as far as I know it does the alignment automatically. How exactly I don't know, though.
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by:noxcho
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I think you mixed up something. Windows 7 creates partition with proper alignment if you create this partition with Windows Disk Management or during Windows installation.
XP did this with 63sector offset and Windows 7 uses 1MB offset.
If you clone the system partition to another drive then Windows has absolutely no way to align the partition. If the software used for cloning does not do this alignment (in other words does not create the partition with correct offset) then user needs to use third party Partition Alignment Utility which will align the partitions to correct offset. And again Windows 7 is just watching the whole process only.
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by:rindi
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If you use any current, not out-of-date utility to do the backup (like CloneZilla on the ParteMagic LiveCD, or paragons backup and recovery tool etc.) it'll have this ability. It's just ancient software that doesn't do that.
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by:Dustin23
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Yes guys, I know you mentioned Migrate OS to SSD.  I do not want to purchase another tool.  I think there is enough out there to get the job done without spending more cash...
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by:noxcho
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rindi, yes, that's why I wrote:
Also I do not know if this tool can correctly copy the partitions like Migrate OS to SSD does it.
concerning Partition Master.
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by:Dustin23
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Ok rindi, I am trying the restore again from a fresh full backup (resized within Partition Master to account for the difference in size between the HDD and SSD) of my OS disk.  I will then unplug all disks except the SSD and the backup disk.  I will report back as soon as I have a verdict.

Everyone else...I will keep Migrate OS to SSD if every other avenue fails.  About the partition alignment, I was reading here earlier, and the OP claims that after multiple clones of OS disks to SSDs he never had alignment issues using Clonezilla.  Rindi, do you think I should be ok in this arena using True Image 2013?  You specifically mentioned Clonezilla, PartedMagic and Paragon B&R, but not my Acronis software...
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by:Dustin23
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...sorry, here is the page i was referencing...
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by:rindi
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That's because I never use the Acronis or Symantec products. I guess Acronis should be capable.

I always first prefer using OpenSource, free products (the PartedMagic LiveCD)), and after that the free, non OpenSource products (paragon's free tools).
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by:Dustin23
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Understandable Rindi...really the only reason I have TI is it came with a Newegg purchase.  I did purchase the plus pack, however.  Anyway, my full backup is now running.  I will attempt the full partition restore once it is complete.
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Author Closing Comment

by:Dustin23
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Thanks for all the help.  I ended up figuring out why I was unable to access the Marvell RAID configuration menu for my mobo array ports.  So, I didn't have to set up a mirror within Windows after all.
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