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Restoring Windows 7 System Image to a smaller Disk

    Question

  • Hi,

    I want to change a Win7 64 system on an notebook with a 250GB HHD to a new 160GB SSD.

    • Is it possible to restore a Win7 system image to a smaller drive?
    • Is it necessary to shrink the partion on the source drive before creating the image?
    • There are other parameters to consider?

    I´ve just searched the internet and read this post from the sorage team blog but I can´t find a conclusive answer for that question...

    thanks in advance

    Friday, March 19, 2010 11:52 AM

Answers

  • Hello,

       Thanks for bringing your concern to us.

         - For Win7/Win2k8R2 the answer is Yes and No. For Vista/Win2k8 the answer is No.

         For Win7/Win2k8R2, if the source disk size is say 250 GB with two partitions of 100GB each and 50GB of unallocated space at the end of the disk then the minimum disk space required for the BMR recovery to succeed is 200GB and not 250GB. However if the unallocated space is in the middle of the disk then again minimum 250GB of space would be required.

        So if are planning to recover to a smaller disk then you need to shrink the source volume before taking a backup and then use that backup for recovery.

        For more information on BMR recovery the following are some useful links that would be useful.

       http://blogs.technet.com/askcore/archive/2009/02/04/windows-server-backup-2008-restore-from-network-location.aspx 

       If you are planning to recovery to an alternate machine with similar hardware then the following link contains some useful information.

    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/249694

     


    Thanks, Bikash Agrawala [MSFT] --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights
    Friday, March 19, 2010 12:37 PM

All replies

  • Hello,

       Thanks for bringing your concern to us.

         - For Win7/Win2k8R2 the answer is Yes and No. For Vista/Win2k8 the answer is No.

         For Win7/Win2k8R2, if the source disk size is say 250 GB with two partitions of 100GB each and 50GB of unallocated space at the end of the disk then the minimum disk space required for the BMR recovery to succeed is 200GB and not 250GB. However if the unallocated space is in the middle of the disk then again minimum 250GB of space would be required.

        So if are planning to recover to a smaller disk then you need to shrink the source volume before taking a backup and then use that backup for recovery.

        For more information on BMR recovery the following are some useful links that would be useful.

       http://blogs.technet.com/askcore/archive/2009/02/04/windows-server-backup-2008-restore-from-network-location.aspx 

       If you are planning to recovery to an alternate machine with similar hardware then the following link contains some useful information.

    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/249694

     


    Thanks, Bikash Agrawala [MSFT] --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights
    Friday, March 19, 2010 12:37 PM
  •      - For Win7/Win2k8R2 the answer is Yes and No. For Vista/Win2k8 the answer is No.

         For Win7/Win2k8R2, if the source disk size is say 250 GB with two partitions of 100GB each and 50GB of allocated space at the end of the disk then the minimum disk space required for the BMR recovery to succeed is 200GB and not 250GB. However if the unallocated space is in the middle of the disk then again minimum 250GB of space would be required.

        So if are planning to recover to a smaller disk then you need to shrink the source volume before taking a backup and then use that backup for recovery.

    Hi,

    thanks for your answer.

    Some of that is ambiguous for me yet.

    At first: I don´t know the exact HDD partitioning of the source drive because I don´t have the notebook already.

    • You write "if the source disk size is say 250 GB with two partitions of 100GB each and 50GB of allocated space at the end of the disk" - I think you mean unallocated isn't it?
    • Is it right that I need at least approximately 100GB of unallocated space at the end of the 250GB Source HDD to create the image so that it will be possible to restore that Image to a new 160GB SSD Drive?
    • The key points are: The allocated space of the source drive may not be larger than the whole target drive - thats right?
    • There are some possible issues because different "allignments" in the HDD and SSD? (I´dont know much about storage internals ;-))

    Thanks

    Thorsten

    Friday, March 19, 2010 1:28 PM
  • Hi Bikash,

    you said you would add a link with information about recovery to an alternate machine.

    You forgot to add it. Please give the information because I'm very interested in the subject.

    I have the situation with a 500Gb disk and a C-partition (now about 150GB, after shrinking it from about 300GB)

    and a D-Partition (about 200GB), now with a gap of unallocated space between them. My recovery of C to a

    smaller disk didn't work even though I excluded the D-partition from the image. If I understand you right I only have

    to delete the D-partition for the recovery to work ?

    Best regards, Wolfgang

     

    Friday, March 19, 2010 5:00 PM
    • You write "if the source disk size is say 250 GB with two partitions of 100GB each and 50GB of allocated space at the end of the disk" - I think you mean unallocated isn't it?
    • Is it right that I need at least approximately 100GB of unallocated space at the end of the 250GB Source HDD to create the image so that it will be possible to restore that Image to a new 160GB SSD Drive?
    • The key points are: The allocated space of the source drive may not be larger than the whole target drive - thats right?
    • There are some possible issues because different "allignments" in the HDD and SSD? (I´dont know much about storage internals ;-))

    I will pick up my last questions again. The first three are mostly clear but for the last one I need an answer...

    In other words: Would it be problematic in any way to restore an image taken from an HDD back to a solid state drive (SSD)?

    Thanks in advance

    Tuesday, March 23, 2010 9:45 AM
    • You write "if the source disk size is say 250 GB with two partitions of 100GB each and 50GB of allocated space at the end of the disk" - I think you mean unallocated isn't it?
    • Is it right that I need at least approximately 100GB of unallocated space at the end of the 250GB Source HDD to create the image so that it will be possible to restore that Image to a new 160GB SSD Drive?
    • The key points are: The allocated space of the source drive may not be larger than the whole target drive - thats right?
    • There are some possible issues because different "allignments" in the HDD and SSD? (I´dont know much about storage internals ;-))

    I will pick up my last questions again. The first three are mostly clear but for the last one I need an answer...

    In other words: Would it be problematic in any way to restore an image taken from an HDD back to a solid state drive (SSD)?

    Thanks in advance

    Tuesday, March 23, 2010 9:45 AM
  • Hello Thorsten,

       We have not tested image recovery from HDD backup to SSD drives. However technically I do not see any issue. It should work.

        In case you plan to try out then please update the forum on your findings for the benefit of others.


    Thanks, Bikash Agrawala [MSFT] --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights
    Tuesday, March 23, 2010 2:20 PM
  • Hello Thorsten,

       We have not tested image recovery from HDD backup to SSD drives. However technically I do not see any issue. It should work.

        In case you plan to try out then please update the forum on your findings for the benefit of others.


    Thanks, Bikash Agrawala [MSFT] --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights

    Hello,

    I did a succesfully restore of an windows 7 system image from a  500 Gb SATA HDD to a  90 GB SSD.

    OLD situation

    500 Gb SATA divided in an 120Gb partiton for windows and a 360 gb partition for data.

    First of all I had to shrink the windows partition to 80 Gb because SSD was smaller. Than I had to copy all the data of the second 360 gb partition to a spare HDD that I had in my system. Then I deleted this partition.

    This way my disk looked like this

    -100mb  partition for the GPT (partition is created when you install windows7)

    -80gb partition for windows

    -all the rest of the 500gb was unallocated

    After this I took a system image with the Windows 7 system state backup tool and put the backup an my spare HDD .

    Shutdown the computer  and disconnected the 500 gb SATA HDD. Then I connected the new SSD on the same SATA connector on my motherboard. Otherwise systemstate restore wouldn't work.

    Booted the computer with the recovery cd you can burn with the Windows 7 backup tool.

    Restored the image back to the SSD succesfully.

    This was the only way that i could restore my system state backup to a other smaller disk.

    Then I booted my windows from my new SSD. At first sight everything looked ok , but then came the problems. Errors came from dinotify.exe saying that a16 bit command was not supported on OS. Can't connect to networkdrives anymore. Simpel programs like ping doesn't work anymore.

    According to my securitylog of windows I can see that several file can't be authenticated anymore. HASH is wrong.

    It seems that during my original windows 7 installation on my sata drive several files were being hashed with the hardware id of my sata HDD. Now  that the same windows installation is running on my new ssd these files cannot be used anymore.

    I tried to do an sfc /scannow but this was unable to repair the corrupt system files.

    I'm still figuring out how to resolve this problem but If somebody have any ideas , always welcome.

    Regards,

     

    Pj

    Wednesday, January 05, 2011 1:49 PM
  • Hi PeterjanB,

    You did everything correctly and in some cases it will work, but I had many problems with mine when I upgraded to SSD 160GB from a 350gb disk it seemed OK when I upgraded from my 300GB Raptor to the 160 SSD.

    Try using another vendors Image software to backup (some can reajust the destination partition as long as the data will fit on the new partition.

    Ghost works reasonably (version 15 for win 7) but some very good if not better disk image software is available free. I unfortunately no longer trust Microsofts built in backups, when a recovery of ones system is needed it often does not work, Good backup or image software will restore a backup image irespective of partition size as long as the data will fit the new partition.

    Just try the following: Disable all Restore Points on the system disk, delete all temp files and do a good cleanup first, then shrink the partition to about 10GB if possible below the size of your new SSD destination disk.  Run Windows 7 "Create a system Image", this image should restore fine.  Do this prior to using ant Image backup software gust in case it fails to repartition to destination size.

    Run multiple images for safekeeping with at least two to three diferent image software applications if your system recovery is critical to you. and store in a safe place, you never know when you will need it. 

    Expand your new SSD disks partition to maximum or whatever you need when all works again.

    Good luck, hope this helps most of you out there.
    Len

    Sunday, February 27, 2011 9:23 PM
  • I am also planning for migrating my current Win7 HDD to a 120GB SSD.

    Can you reference one or more of the free image backup/restore utilities that will work for this?

    Also, how exactly can an existing partition be resized smaller while retaining the data files?
    Does this require a third party tool, or can it be done with Windows 7 standard utilities?

    Thanks for any advice.

     


    Rick H
    Friday, March 18, 2011 5:59 PM
  • hi guys, I am facing same issue. when I tried to restore system image from 750GB sata hdd to 250 GB SSD restore is failing. I have created system image for c:\ partition only (100GB size), now it wont work on 250GB SSD. I guess its not working because my other partitions (650GB) were still there when I created system image.

     I am thinking of possible solution like first installing win 8 on new ssd then creating VM in hyper-v and restore image on VM, then shrink partition to minimum and create new system image. not sure if that would work?

    Tuesday, March 26, 2013 12:15 PM
  • I just came to this issue while trying to restore a system imagem from a big dead HDD to a smaller backup HDD. If the tool only restores to bigger disks, the it is HALF-USELESS. In fact, I could not get a new image from my system (duh, the disk died suddenly) and all I had was a completely useless system image. 

    As this was a desktop, I just installed Windows again. But will not trust in the builtin tools anymore.

    For anyone with this trouble on server-side, pls read the following links, there seems to exist some options. Good luck though.

    http://forum.wegotserved.com/index.php/topic/28675-server-restore-failed-disk-size-to-small/

    http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/windowsserver/en-US/63159837-734e-425a-aa52-6a39691c1cca/restoring-windows-7-system-image-to-a-smaller-disk

    Monday, September 30, 2013 2:25 AM
  • This boggles my mind. I can't believe that in this day and age Microsoft can't resize a partition during a restore from a system image!

    Fortunately, if the HDD is Seagate or Western Digital, then there's a free version of Acronis TrueImage which will do the job. I'm going to just wipe the stupid system image, and store an Acronis backup in the recovered space.

    Monday, December 30, 2013 7:15 AM
  • I did this with my new laptop a few years ago.  I went from a Seagate 750 7200 HDD, to a Crucial M4 512GB.  I bought the drive with the transfer kit.  As long as the data from the larger drive will fit on the smaller drive, it works.  It also automatically aligns things.  Then I put both drives into my laptop, and set it to boot from the new SSD.  After Windows starts back up, it sees the SSD, and reconfigures Windows by turning a bunch of stuff off normally used to speed up mechanical drives, disables defrag for the drive, etc.  Now I have a C: and D:, and I can boot off either.  I'd be surprised if the SSD manufacturer doesn't publish multiple ways of migrating to their SSDs.  Crucial/Intel does.

    • Edited by IT Architect Thursday, May 01, 2014 8:27 PM Spelling error
    Thursday, May 01, 2014 8:26 PM