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Old 19th Jun 2011, 10:59 AM   #1
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Clone NTFS partition to smaller HDD

In the past this would have been a trivial problem as I could have just used Disk Director Suite or True Image (both by Acronis), but unfortunately the versions I own are quite old and incompatible to my hardware and Win7.
So I was looking for a free solution to the problem and only found "shrink partition, copy, then restore to original size" as solution. How come there are so many open source programs for partition editing/copying, but none of them manages to apply the resize step to the cloned data instead of having to mess with the original partition?

Anyway, what I'm actually trying to do is copy my Windows 7 system partition on my notebook to the new SSD I installed. Unfortunately the SSD is much smaller than the original system partition, so the usual live CD tools (e.g. Clonezilla) won't work. GPartEd could resize the original partition, but I'd prefer not touching it until I know the cloned partition works as desired.
So, does anyone know a free tool (Windows or on a live CD) that can clone a partition to a smaller target disk?
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Old 19th Jun 2011, 12:19 PM   #2
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Been a while since I've used this so I'm not sure if it can do what you want but have a look at http://ping.windowsdream.com/
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Old 19th Jun 2011, 03:43 PM   #3
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To resize during copy you have to understand the file system. That's much more work than to just copy every block. That's why it's pretty easy to find tools that just copy everything over.

If you don't find something that can handle the file system you might still not want to use a tool that just copies all blocks after shrinking the partition. At least not before doing some research: The SSD will think that the empty blocks are actually used because they've been written to, and unless you leave a lot of unpartitioned space on the disk, that will lead to bad write performance.

Now, AFAIK Win 7 supports ATA-TRIM so it should be able to tell the SSD which ones are empty. But I don't know if you have to enable that functionality and at which point it kicks in. So, do some research if you take the block copy route.

If you feel uncomfortable about shrinking the partition all you need to do is getting a spare HDD from somewhere. Clone to that disk, then resize the partition on that disk and clone from there to SSD.
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Old 26th Jun 2011, 04:44 AM   #4
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Ah well. Went the shrink/clone/grow way via GPartEd.

Hint for everyone ending up with wrong drive letters after something like this:
  1. Boot Windows in safe mode.
  2. Run regedit.
  3. Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\MountedDevices
  4. Rename the \DosDevices\X: values to change drive letters.
  5. Reboot in normal mode.
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<elmuerte> you shouldn't do all-nighters, it's a waste of time and effort
<TNSe> nono
<TNSe> its always funny to find code a week later you dont even remember writing
<Pfhoenix> what's worse is when you have a Star Wars moment
<Pfhoenix> "Luke! I am your code!" "No! Impossible! It can't be!"
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Old 26th Jun 2011, 12:43 PM   #5
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And ATA-TRIM?
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Old 27th Jun 2011, 12:28 PM   #6
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Was already enabled before.
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Everything you ever wanted to know about replication| UnrealScript security considerations
<elmuerte> you shouldn't do all-nighters, it's a waste of time and effort
<TNSe> nono
<TNSe> its always funny to find code a week later you dont even remember writing
<Pfhoenix> what's worse is when you have a Star Wars moment
<Pfhoenix> "Luke! I am your code!" "No! Impossible! It can't be!"
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Old 27th Jun 2011, 05:16 PM   #7
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To clone laptop/Notebooks.
I bought a 2.5 SATA Upgrade Kit from Apricorn.
1.Install software.
2.Plug USB into laptop/Notebook.
3.Plug new hard drive to cable.
4.Do some clicking.
5.Switch out hard drives.

Only downside to the kit.
Is.
You don't have 12volts to do desktop hard drives.
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