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I recently upgraded my work computer with SSD drive. I recommend it to everyone – what a speed boost! 🙂 The tricky part was to transfer partition with Windows 7. I didn’t want to reinstall Windows because configuring everything again would be a very tedious task (i.e. Visual Studio 6, some emulators etc.).

I had two gotchas: 1) my Windows partition was bigger than SSD drive 2) it wasn’t the only partition so I couldn’t just clone drive to drive. After about 2 hours I succeeded with following procedure:

STEP 1: Making an image of Windows partition

I was lucky because I have Western Digital drive so I could use freely available Acronis True Image 2011 WD Edition (you need at least one such drive in your system to run it):

http://support.wdc.com/product/downloaddetail.asp?swid=119

You can use other programs for that task but with Acronis True Image it was very easy:

  1. From main screen choose “Disk and partition backup”
  2. Select partition you want to move (usually C:\)
  3. In “Disk backup options” select “Sector by sector”
  4. Set destination e.g. other partition or network drive

STEP 2: Restore backup onto SSD drive

Your SSD shouldn’t have any partitions. If it has, remove them with Windows Disk Management tool.

  1. You should see your backup from step 1 one on Acronis main screen – click “Recover” button
  2. Select option “Show MBR” (Master Boot Record)
  3. Set destination for both MBR and Windows partition to SSD drive

Acronis is able to shrink partition you want to restore to the size of SSD drive (another option is to shrink your partition before backup).

STEP 3: Moving data from Windows Recovery Partition

It is hidden partition located before your main partition (sized usually about 100MB). I choose to combine both Recovery and Windows partition into one on my SSD drive. Well, it was by accident because didn’t know how to setup them separately. 😉

  1. Assign letter for that partition with Windows Disk Management Tool (e.g. X:\)
  2. Assuming F:\ is SSD partition run following commands:


    > reg unload HKLM\BCD00000000
    > robocopy X:\ F:\ bootmgr
    > robocopy X:\Boot F:\Boot /s

STEP 4: Setup boot configuration

Assuming F:\ is SSD partition run commands:

> bcdedit /store f:\boot\bcd /set {current} device partition=F:
> bcdedit /store f:\boot\bcd /set {current} osdevice partition=F:
> bcdedit /store f:\boot\bcd /set {bootmgr} device partition=F:
> bcdedit /store f:\boot\bcd /set {memdiag} device partition=F:

STEP 5: Fix MBR record

You can use Windows 7 installation disk for that, but it’s faster to use MBRFix tool from:

http://www.sysint.no/products/Download/tabid/536/language/en-US/Default.aspx

  1. Find your SSD drive number (starting from 0) e.g. check:

    > MbrFix.exe /drive <num> listpartitions

  2. Assuming your SSD drive has number 1:

    > MbrFix.exe /drive 1 fixmbr /win7

Done. Now you can restart your computer and set correct boot order in BIOS. Windows should start from the new SSD partition. Just to be 100% sure you can disconnect your old drive and check if system still boots properly.

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