Install SSD drive in dual boot without re-installing Windows 7

Vakils
Vakils used Ask the Experts™
on
My PC has dual-boot option between Windows XP Pro and Windows 7 Ultimate, how do I install  120 GB SSD Drive for Windows 7 without re installing Windows 7.
The Windows 7 partition has 80 GB full, so I can move to SSD. I want to move Windows 7 to SSD and boot.  
 Current Partitions. I have O/S CD's for both.
B: FAT32  (System, Active, Primary)
C: NTFS ,  (Windows 7) (Boot)
D: NTFS, (Windows XP)

I have attached Disk Management snap-shot from Windows Management Console. (SSD not yet installed)
I noticed, drive B (FAT32) has all boot loading files:-
boot.ini
ntdetect.com
bootmgr
ntldr
No other partition has these files.
C:(Win3kSrv) has Windows 7
D:(WinXPro) has Windows XP.
Windows MMC for Disk Management.
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Seth SimmonsSr. Systems Administrator

Commented:
The Windows 7 partition has 80 GB full

according to the screenshot, C has about 136gb used
VakilsDeveloper

Author

Commented:
I have trimmed it down to 90 GB. Thanks for pointing it out.
VakilsDeveloper

Author

Commented:
Sorry trimmed to 80 GB
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Gary CaseRetired
Most Valuable Expert 2013
Top Expert 2009

Commented:
It's complicated by the fact that your OS's aren't installed in their own partitions -- they're in extended partitions in the same physical partition.   The boot partition (B:) is a primary partition, but all of the OS partitions are simply logical drives in the same physical partition.

IF your boot manager supports it, you could simply clone the Windows 7 partition to a single primary partition on the SSD, and it should boot fine.   The actual boot will still start with your current drive (through the boot manager on B:), but it will quickly switch to using the SSD when you've selected Windows 7.

If your boot manager doesn't support that, I'd recommend switching to one that does (e.g. Boot-It BM).
Gary CaseRetired
Most Valuable Expert 2013
Top Expert 2009

Commented:
Note also that the ability to clone the OS partition to an SSD is not only dependent on the amount of data on the drive being less than the size of the SSD; but it also depends on whether or not the software you use to move it will do a dynamic resizing, which is needed to allow you to clone a 505GB partition to a much smaller 120GB SSD.
VakilsDeveloper

Author

Commented:
I cloned C partition to SSD using EaseUS ToDo Backup, partition cloning.
I cannot disconnect C as it is extended partition.
Should I mark SSD as active, remove Windows from C, and set Bios to boot from SSD.
Will that work?
noxchoIT Product Manager
Top Expert 2009

Commented:
Should I mark SSD as active, remove Windows from C, and set Bios to boot from SSD.
Will that work?
No. It will not boot. Your Boot data is located currently on B: partition. And if you simply copy C: and change the boot order then it will not find that data.
You need to find on B: Boot folder and BootMgr file. These are normally hidden protected data. Thus enable viewing hidden and system files in file options.
As you copy the Boot folder and BootMgr to C: drive on SSD then change the partition on SSD drive to Active and only then change the boot order in BIOS so that your SSD drive would be the first one to boot. This way it must work.
VakilsDeveloper

Author

Commented:
As you copy the Boot folder and BootMgr to C: drive on SSD
Do I have to assign C drive letter to SSD? Can you please elaborate?
IT Product Manager
Top Expert 2009
Commented:
No, the drive letter will be assigned automatically as soon as the system selects it as first boot device.
The boot process works this way:
At PC start it searches for first boot device such as HDD or CD or USB. Then on HDD it looks in MBR if this device has boot manager. When found it searches for active partitions on this device/drive.
Then on the active partition it looks for boot manager files such as NTLDR (for XP) or BootMgr Boot and BCD on Vista+.
For Vista and higher OS the boot files are in MSR partition (does not have drive letter) and Windows folder is on C: partition. Thus is starts booting from MSR - then switches to Windows containing partition. In case the drive letter is missing or wrongly assigned - it will automatically restart in loop after the Windows starting screen is shown.
VakilsDeveloper

Author

Commented:
Worked! Excellent solution.
Thanks.
noxchoIT Product Manager
Top Expert 2009

Commented:
Thanks for feedback!

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