08 Oct 2008

A few weeks ago, I posted about my experience of using Vista Complete PC Backup and Restore feature. I struggled a bit to use it, but I finally managed to do what I wanted to do.

Quick reminder: I had a WD Raptor 74 Gb hard drive that was not working properly. The system was installed on that drive, so I had to copy it to as second drive (a WD 320 Gb disk), in order to send the Raptor back to WD support.

Two weeks ago, I received a package from Western Digital. Very nice surprise, the package contained a brand new WD Raptor 160 Gb drive! Guys, you have a customer for life!

Anyway, the next actions were obvious:

  1. Make a Complete PC Backup of the system partition onto one of the other partition of the 320 Gb drive;
  2. Restore that system on the brand new 160Gb Raptor drive.

Sounded easy (too easy?), I was already seeing myself with my PC up and running in less that an hour.

As you can guess, I was wrong, very wrong.

When I tried to restore the system partition (40 Gb) on the Raptor, I had an error saying that the target drive was not big enough. Not big enough? I don't have the exact error message, but I was quite shocked.

Some research quickly revealed that you cannot restore a backup made from a drive A onto a drive B if A > B, even if the partition that you want to restore is smaller than drive B . You read correctly, drive size is the thing that matters, not partition size! So the Complete PC Restore tool was not able to restore my 40 Gb partition on a 160 Gb drive.

So from there, there are two solutions I could think of:

  • The hard way: restore the system in a virtual machine on a bigger drive, then resize the drive to make it smaller than the target drive, backup the system in the virtual machine, then finally restore it on the physical drive. I didn't try that one, but I'd like to, one of these days. I figure that they will be some hardware issues, though.
  • The easy way: use a third party tool, like Acronis True Image.

After installing Acronis True Image free trial version (15 days), I could copy my system partition on the new drive, in a few minutes. I then rebooted and the system magically restarted on the new drive.

So, there is still some work to be done on that Complete PC Backup and Restore tool...

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