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Relocating System Partition

Last response: in Windows 7
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March 10, 2011 12:03:39 AM

Hello!

There have been some similar questions to this, and while I may use those solutions I'm hoping for a better answer to my particular conundrum:

I recently (~2-3 months ago) installed windows 7 on a brand new 1TB hard drive. This hard drive is broken into two partitions - C & G. Windows 7 is installed on C; and G is only for data storage etc. Here is the description of partition C from Disk Management:

C: Simple Basic NTFS Healthy (Boot, Page File, Active, Crash Dump, Primary Partition) 98 GB


Unfortunately, "System" is missing from that description. Somehow "System" ended up on hard drive L - an old 80GB IDE drive that has migrated from build-to-build. This drive has just started on the *hopefully* slow road to death. I decided to retire this drive when I discovered I couldn't securely erase it because it is the System partition (there is only one partition on this drive).

So, I would like suggestions on how I can relocate the system drive data to another drive (preferably C) in the safest way possible. I found a solution here:

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/253599-32-copying-boo...

But I don't want to copy the entire contents of L to a new drive, all I want is the data needed for booting, and to securely erase everything else on L. Looking around, it seems I may be able to boot from a Windows 7 repair disk and recreate the system files on C, but this seems risky and likely to require a full re-install if something goes wrong.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
a b $ Windows 7
March 14, 2011 8:14:53 PM

UnknownEntity said:
HBut I don't want to copy the entire contents of L to a new drive, all I want is the data needed for booting, and to securely erase everything else on L. Looking around, it seems I may be able to boot from a Windows 7 repair disk and recreate the system files on C, but this seems risky and likely to require a full re-install if something goes wrong.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

You already got it!

If you installed Win7 on the new drive while the old boot drive was still attached to the system,then the Master Boot Record and Boot Loader were put on the old IDE drive. So you can't boot without it.

I always recommend unplugging all drives except the one with your OS installed on it and doing a repair install. Before doing this you back up the entire drive to some external device, so if the process destroys your disk you just restore from the external drive. Don't have an external or removable drive and software to clone partitions and disks? Go buy the drive; you can get the software for free, from Clonezilla or EASEUS (free version) or the source of your choice.

BTW, did you get all those high-in-the-alphabet drive letters by assigning them, or by having 10 or more partitions / drives?

Edit:
Here is a longer rant that I wrote on the subject: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/15904-63-boot-require...

SATA drives have a Secure Erase command; IDE drives don't. The best way to erase an IDE drive, which is also fun, is to take it apart and destroy the platters. If these are glass-based platters, put them in a strong plastic bag before destroying them. Presto! Massive disk fragmentation.
March 22, 2011 11:31:28 PM

Well then that's what I'll have to do, I'm just going to wait until I get some important work finished before trying it. As for the drive letters, that happens when you have:

2 External Drives
3 Internal Drives

2 of the internal drives each have two partitions (actually one has 3, but windows can't see the linux parition)

One dvd drive

letters skip A,B, and K.

Total of 8 partitions/drives, the number grows every time I rebuild my computer etc.
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a b $ Windows 7
March 23, 2011 12:05:17 AM

UnknownEntity said:
Well then that's what I'll have to do, I'm just going to wait until I get some important work finished before trying it. As for the drive letters, that happens when you have:

2 External Drives
3 Internal Drives

2 of the internal drives each have two partitions (actually one has 3, but windows can't see the linux parition)

One dvd drive

letters skip A,B, and K.

Total of 8 partitions/drives, the number grows every time I rebuild my computer etc.

Umm, you have a mess?

I cheat: since I've got multiple boots, I use assigned drive letters for key partitions, assigning the same letter in each OS instance. If I care to be able to find it, I assign a letter, otherwise I look for it when I need it.

I once successfully installed XP with the OS partition defined as D - colon (if I put D:, it gets interpreted as a smiley). That was more of an exercise than anything else.
March 23, 2011 1:26:49 AM

It really depends on how Windows 7 installed on your system. When you say "system" partition are you referring to the 100Mb partition Windows 7 likes to put at the beginning of the boot disk? If this partition isn't present on the disk you want to boot from then no amount of Windows 7 rescue disk magic will fix that.

Windows 7 is more like Unix style OS's in that it likes to keep parts of its boot files / kernel (init only) on a separate partition located at the beginning of the disk. Inside this partition are the files that actually access the main OS disk and boot the rest of Windows up. Whack this Partition and the recovery CD can put it back in place, but only if it exists somewhere in the first place.

What you can try to do is shift partitions around on your main disk to create the 100mb first partition and then use the recovery disk to reinstall the boot
environment into that partition for booting windows. For the partition part I'd suggest downloading Gparted live CD, that should take care of all your partition issues.
!