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.


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