Storage, Drives & Media

2 Bronze

How to transfer Windows to a new HD

Just bought 2 refurbished Optiplex 745 computers - now I need to know if it's possible to get Windows 7(which the new machines came with installed) onto the 500 gig HD which came out of my old machine. It has 6 partitions one of which is empty so Windows could go there....could it not ? The other partitions have 2 versions of Linux on them...and I'd like to have the choice of booting any of them. That I can accomplish with GRUB, the Linux booter...which I **think** will also boot Windows.

The problem is getting Windows from the original 80 gig HD from the Dell machine onto the 500 gig HD.

Any suggestions would be more than welcome.

Solution (1)

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3 Zinc

For the novice, it would be much simpler to use the windows 7 "backup and restore" function found under the maintenance tab within start button (all programs) to make a "system repair disk" and then make a "system image" saved to a usb hdd. Then you remove the old 80Gb hdd and install your newer 500Gb hdd into your old 745 and use the "system repair disk" your previously created to boot your OP745 (from CD) and recover the "system image" you previously saved on the usb hdd to this newer 500Gb hdd. Note that this will normally destroy all data on your 500Gb hdd and create the various boot and system partitions that Win7 requires (just as it was on teh 80Gb hdd), so be warned. Then you can repartition the hdd as required and reinstall the other linux os's to these new partitions as desired.

More advanced users may be able to copy the required Windows partitions from one HDD to another using a partition cloning tool and then rejig their GRUB install to also boot the new Win partition. But that's rather more complex and may still result in issues with your linux OS which you are now booting on a different machine (assuming your old machine that donated the 500Gb hdd was not also an Optiplex 745 which had failed (hence possibly why you bought 2x refurbished machines))...

Oh,and windows can indeed be transferred from an old HDD to another newer bigger HDD contained within the same system (mobo, processor, graphics card, etc) without any reactivation issues, otherwise one can not update their hdd which we have all done without running foul of our license conditions.

What you can not do is take a win7 key from say an old Dell Optiplex 745 and move that license to a newly built PC using a new mobo, cpu, graphics card, hdd, etc all in the same old case.... it's not allowed with these ~$50 OEM restricted licenses, though you can indeed do such with the $300 retail full licenses...

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Replies (11)
4 Beryllium

Hi Frankzen,

Optiplex 745 is not tested by Dell with Windows 7. You may check this link http://bit.ly/13osKHK to know how to upgrade to Windows 7 and what all are the system requirements.

The operating system cannot be transferred from one hard drive to another as such. You need Windows 7 disk along with the licensing key to install Windows 7 on the new system. a single key is valid for a single system.

Hope this helps. Please feel free to reply for any further assistance.

Thanks & Regards
Amogh G
#iworkfordell

3 Zinc

For the novice, it would be much simpler to use the windows 7 "backup and restore" function found under the maintenance tab within start button (all programs) to make a "system repair disk" and then make a "system image" saved to a usb hdd. Then you remove the old 80Gb hdd and install your newer 500Gb hdd into your old 745 and use the "system repair disk" your previously created to boot your OP745 (from CD) and recover the "system image" you previously saved on the usb hdd to this newer 500Gb hdd. Note that this will normally destroy all data on your 500Gb hdd and create the various boot and system partitions that Win7 requires (just as it was on teh 80Gb hdd), so be warned. Then you can repartition the hdd as required and reinstall the other linux os's to these new partitions as desired.

More advanced users may be able to copy the required Windows partitions from one HDD to another using a partition cloning tool and then rejig their GRUB install to also boot the new Win partition. But that's rather more complex and may still result in issues with your linux OS which you are now booting on a different machine (assuming your old machine that donated the 500Gb hdd was not also an Optiplex 745 which had failed (hence possibly why you bought 2x refurbished machines))...

Oh,and windows can indeed be transferred from an old HDD to another newer bigger HDD contained within the same system (mobo, processor, graphics card, etc) without any reactivation issues, otherwise one can not update their hdd which we have all done without running foul of our license conditions.

What you can not do is take a win7 key from say an old Dell Optiplex 745 and move that license to a newly built PC using a new mobo, cpu, graphics card, hdd, etc all in the same old case.... it's not allowed with these ~$50 OEM restricted licenses, though you can indeed do such with the $300 retail full licenses...

Community Accepted Solution
2 Bronze

This sounds more reasonable. I think I will try to partition cloning. Thanks VERY much!!

4 Beryllium

Hi Frankzen,

@skylarking: Thank you for the inputs; appreciate it.

As skylarking mentioned you may create the recovery media then put the new HDD and reinstall the operating system on new HDD from that recovery media for the same system.

Keep me posted with the results. I will be glad to assist you.

Thanks & Regards
Amogh G
#iworkfordell

2 Bronze

Well I guess we can put an end to this thread :emotion-1: It all worked fine - Windows did insist on running chkdsk on the first boot but it found nothing wrong and then happily booted.

I then partitioned....installed Fedora 19 and Grub2 found  all the installations including Windows. It was all much simpler than I imagined.  I used all Linux utilities including gparted booted from a live disk.

I still have one more Linux installation to go --- but it's no problem.

Thanks to all.

2 Bronze

The problem I am having with my newly purchased second hand XPS 701 is the backup is not succeeding.  And of course the guy didn't have the original disks.  What are my options?

3 Zinc

Kevin, you don't mention what version of the OS you are using and what specific error you get or at which point you get it that stops the backup or restore from succeeding !

If you have windows7 and using "backup and restore", were you able to actually burn a "system repair disk" and create a "system image" on your usb HDD with only the restore process failing? Or did you have issue with creating the "system image" itself?

Note that you can not create a "system Image" and save it to another partition of the same HDD that contains the operating system itself. The system image must be saved to another HDD which must also have enough free space to be able to save the image itself... I find that most people cope better when they use a USB drive at least the same size as their internal (c:) drive...

And if you have a very big internal HDD with lots of user data, you may find it better to burn this user data to DVD or BD disks and delete this data from your internal HDD which will allow you to use a smaller external HDD.

So assuming you have 1 internal HDD with only the default partitions, do the following:
1. Backup your user data (videos, music, files, etc) to DVD or BD
2. Check you can read the data you just backed up to DVD or BD and if so delete this data from your internal HDD
3. Turn off system restore on all drives as this will allow you to make a smaller system image (at the cost of loosing your restore points)
(Control panel -> System -> Advanced system settings -> System protection)
4. Defragment your HDD as this is good practice
5. Shrink your os (c:) partition as much as you can
(Control panel -> Administrative tools -> Computer management -> Disk management & right click c: & select shrink volume)
6. Connect a usb hdd and create a system image on this drive
(Control panel -> Backup and restore -> create system image & select "on a hard disk" choosing your USB HDD)

Doing the above, you should not find it too difficult to shrink your system image down to 20GB or less using such methods.. Heck, if you have a very small usb HDD you could even uninstall some programs to make the image even smaller..

Note that you must save the Windows system hidden partition (which has no drive letter and can be 100MB, 200MB or even up to 2GB in size) as this contains the windows boot files but luckily "backup and restore" should automatically select this along with your c: drive by default...

Also note that you could possibly include some of the Dell recovery and/or diagnostics partitions within the "system image" should you desire these but i've never bothered and don't know if the Windows restore process will save & restore the Dell boot block or the standard MS boot block so i can't vouch if these dell partitions will indeed work post restore. Obviously if you have a working dell recovery partition, you would use this to return the system to as delivered condition but at the expense of having to again install all your applications and customize setting to your preference.

If you were able to save the system image, ensure BIOS is set to boot in the following order: DVD drive, then HDD drive. Then use the system repair disk to boot your XPS with the usb HDD connected and restore the latest image on the USB HDD to the internal HDD inside your system (but note you will need to reformat the internal HDD so select "format and repartition disk" within the restore tool). Here is a tutorial on how to do a restore. After you restore the image, you can expand the volume to the size you had previously used or to the full size of your HDD (making updating to lager HDDs easy). Then finally reconfigure system restore should you desire this feature..

If you had any errors occur, note them down along with where they occurred within your workflow and specify such information in any subsequent posts so others can provide more insight as to what is the cause of your difficulties.

An alternatively action is to ask Dell for the appropriate disks for your system... You may have to pay a small fee but it may be less trouble for you in the long run...

This should cover all your alternatives, except the one where you go to a shop and buy another machine :emotion-5: just kidding :emotion-4:

4 Beryllium

Hi Kevinhey,

Please elaborate the issue. Are you trying to create a recovery media, do you want to back up the data or you want to restore the system back to factory settings?

Please share the error message you are getting and the operating system.

Keep me posted with the information. I will be glad to assist further.

Thanks & Regards
Amogh G
#iworkfordell

4 Beryllium

Hi Frankzen,

Thank you for the response. I am glad the issue has been resolved.

Please feel free to reply for any other questions. I will be glad to assist you.

Thanks & Regards
Amogh G
#iworkfordell

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