Month: May 2010

Easy Windows 7 system disk migration

I’ve been having a problem with my Windows 7 desktop, in that often, probably once a day, the system panics, I get a BSOD and subsequently I have to reboot. It usually happens when the system wakes up from sleep. I’ve also noticed occasionally I receive errors that W7 couldn’t read the hard disk. The Windows 7 crash analyzer so far has been useless in pin pointing the problem.

At any rate, I started to wonder, maybe its the POS Hitachi Deskstar drive, so I thought I’d see if I could migrate the system over to a Seagate drive I had. Not reinstall, migrate.

Researching possible solutions to do this, I read some promising articles that the built in Windows Backup and Restore could be used. So I attempted to use this method first. But, I got a big, fat, nowhere with that. Windows Restore really did not want to restore to the destination drive.

So, next possibilities. I had read some good things about Clonezilla, and also Macrium Reflect. I had used Reflect in the past for backups, so I figured I’d give that a try, and if it failed, try Clonezilla.

Good news, Macrium Reflect Free worked!

Here’s what I did.

  1. Grab a copy of Macrium Reflect Free version and install it. Easy.
  2. Use Reflect to backup your System drive somewhere. I had a USB drive, but you could also backup to a Network drive for example. My System drive had two partitions – System Reserved & Drive C . I backed them both up.
  3. Use Windows Disk Management to create the two partitions on the target drive with the same size as the source partitions. I formatted the partitions but did not assign drive letters.
  4. Now, use Reflect to restore the backup onto the target drive. I made sure to select to restore the Master Boot Record (MBR) onto the target as well.

Now the tricky part. I’m sure there are easier ways to do this, but this worked for me.

  1. In order to make sure the system would boot from the target drive, I removed the source drive and replaced it with the target.
  2. Now, get out your Windows 7 Install DVD or Repair Disk and boot into the repair environment. When repair starts to analyze your disk, it will realize some “Boot Settings” are incorrect and prompt you to “Repair and Reboot”. Confirm it.
  3. And now, finally, boot from your target drive.

And Voila. Worked like a charm for me, now lets see if it fixed the BSODs.


Windows 7 on Eee PC 1008HA

I decided to upgrade my Eee PC 1008HA to Windows 7 the other day. Finally finished with all the tweaks I could think of to maximize battery life. Here’s a run down of what I did.

First off, make sure to upgrade the BIOS first. I thought I could do that later, but was a pain in the arse because I could not get the Asus Update to work correctly in Windows 7, nor could I make EZ-Flash (ALT-F2 at the BIOS) to work. I ended up having to make a bootable USB stick to put a copy of asudos.exe and the BIOS file on and upgrade that way.

Since the Eee PC doesn’t have a DVD drive, I found one of the multitude of articles on the web describing how to make a bootable USB Stick for the Windows 7 install. I don’t recall the specific article, but this¬† Maximum PC article is a close approximation of the procedure I used.

The actual install was trivial. No surprise problems during the install and subsequent boot/post install process.

After install, first thing I did was run a Windows Update to get the latest (and greatest?) bits from Microsoft. A few boots later I had a basic system running. Now the tweaking.

First thing was to install some Asus applications/services/drivers to get the functionality I had with XP. Asus has a lot of Windows 7 stuff for the 1008HA already, which is great, but for now I only installed the following.

  • Super Hybrid Engine 2.09
  • Synaptics Pointing Device Driver
  • KB Filter
  • Hotkey Service 1.11.01

These few gave me the power saving Super Hybrid Engine, the multitouch features of the mousepad, and all the Fn keys back, like volume louder/softer/mute.

One thing I made the mistake of installing, and caused me to subsequently reinstall Windows 7 without is the Asus Chipset drivers. Something in the drivers that get install appear to cause the Intel Video driver to stop responding and reset every 20 minutes or so. So far, installing Windows 7 w/o the Chipset drivers has circumvented the problem.

Now, a few tweaks to Windows 7 services to increase battery life –

  • Disabled the SuperFetch service – Although SuperFetch sounds like an interesting way to cache frequently used executables in unused memory, it causes additional disk activity reducing battery life. And I would guess there is very little spare memory anyways in a 2GB netbook.
  • Disabled Offline Files – As I watched processes perform disk I/O in the Resource Manager, I noticed process called mobupd.exe performing quite a bit of disk activity. It appears to be part of the Offline Files feature, I’m not even sure what that is, so I disabled it.
  • Disabled Windows Search Indexing – I don’t really do many searches of documents on the Netbook anyways, so why spend the extra disk I/Os indexing everything on the disk anyways.
  • Disabled Defrag Task – Although the scheduled task only runs occasionally, it didn’t seem like is worth it to even spin the cycles.¬† One would hope that the NTFS engineers at Microsoft have tuned the strategies to reduce fragmentation over the years anyways.

That’s about it for now. I’m sure there are some UI features I can disable though, some of fancier things that might tax the GPU for example.