Cloning hard drives

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Cloning hard drives

Postby chris » Fri Feb 14, 2014 4:51 pm


I would appreciate some help with this:

My computer has two hard drives and one contains Windows 7 while the other contains Ubuntu. Both drives are of low capacity and are nearly full so I want to replace them both with a single drive of 1 TB.

My problem is that I don't know how to set about it so that i will end up with a single dual boot drive. I have experimented on a spare drive using Acronis True Image and although it appeared to work for Windows, the spare drive was not bootable.

What I do not know is whether I have to create partitions in advance for both Windows or Ubuntu and whether dd will clone Windows as well as Ubuntu.

I know a clean install might be the best option but I will then have problems with getting Windows 'activated'

Any help would be greatly appreciatd
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Postby johnhudson » Fri Feb 14, 2014 10:06 pm

You can certainly copy both Windows and Linux partitions with dd (or dd_rescue for an easier interface) but you will need to re-configure Grub and you may have problems with the partition table.

You may find you have two partition tables which cannot be integrated. So, you may be able to copy the Windows disk with dd but you may then need to partition the rest of the disk and copy the contents of the Ubuntu partitions as folders rather than as partitions.

If you call Grub from the Windows MBR, you won't be able to boot anything after you have copied Windows to the new disk because it will be looking for Grub on a non-existent partition.

Not sure if Ubuntu comes with a Grub reconfigure utility but you can download the Super Grub Disk which will do it for you.

If you call Grub from a Windows utility, you will need to re-configure the Windows utility and possibly Grub as well.
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Postby nelz » Fri Feb 14, 2014 10:21 pm

Don't try using dd, a new 1TB drive may well have 4k blocks and a bit for bit copy will result in misaligned data and horrible performance.

I'd clone Windows onto the new drive, then install Ubuntu afresh to that drive with the old drives disconnected, to avoid confusing GRUB. The reconnect the Ubuntu drive and copy your home directory and any other important data across.
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Postby chris » Sat Feb 15, 2014 9:12 am


Many thanks to you both for your replies. I will see what happens and let you know in case anyone else is interested.
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