Backing up a Windows 7 Boot Camp installation and restoring it to a smaller partition.
I had set up a Boot Camp installation yesterday for a user, who wanted to use it for both dual-booting and so he could use VMWare (using the Boot Camp partition for the VMWare Windows install.) I’d set it for 100 GBs (20%) of the disk and delivered it, but I got a follow-up email from the user asking if the Windows partition could be made smaller (50 GBs).
Since there’s no easy way I know of to shrink a Windows partition (plenty of options if you want to grow it), I was looking at a multi-hour re-install of Windows 7 which I had just done.
That’s when I remembered my (possible) savior: Winclone . The venerable tool was no longer being updated, but it could still save my bacon. At least, that’s what my hope was.
After some Googling, I happened across this Apple Discussion thread and saw Toocool4‘s post at the bottom of the thread. That was the key information I needed and it helped me immeasurably with avoiding the pain of reinstalling Windows 7 again. See below the jump to get the procedure I used.
Backing up the Windows 7 partition
1. Set up a external boot drive with a 10.6.7 installation that could boot the user’s laptop. (The external drive had about 250 GBs of free space.)
2. Installed Winclone on the laptop.
3. Installed the NTFSProgs Precompiled Binary package:
4. Launched Winclone and opened the Preferences.
5. Unchecked Check for new version at startup
6. Checked Remove pagefile.sys from source partition prior to imaging to save space
7. Chose the Use ‘special’ compressed image format that is not mountable, but is smaller and restores faster option. The other mountable option will not correctly back up a Windows 7 partition.
8. Unchecked all other options (as I wasn’t installing XP or Vista.)
9. Closed the Preferences window
10. In the Winclone Tools drop-down menu, I clicked Shrink Windows (NTFS) file system.
11. Selected the Boot Camp partition.
12. Waited a bit for the shrinking to complete.
13. Had Winclone do a backup of the Boot Camp partition to the external drive.
Resizing the Boot Camp partition:
1. Booted off of the internal Mac OS X boot partition.
2. Opened the Boot Camp Assistant.
3. Clicked I already have….the Windows support software for this Mac..
4. Clicked Create or Remove a Windows partition
5. Removed the Windows partition and allocated all space to the Mac OS X boot partition.
7. Logged back in and re-opened the Boot Camp Assistant.
8. Clicked I already have….the Windows support software for this Mac..
9. Clicked Create or Remove a Windows partition
10. Created a 50 GB Boot Camp partition.
11. After the partition was created, I quit the Boot Camp Assistant.
12. Restarted and booted off of the Windows 7 install DVD.
13. Started a Windows 7 custom installation. When I reached the part where the drive to install on can be chosen, I clicked on Drive options (advanced) and formatted the Boot Camp partition (to format it as NTFS.)
14. After the format completed, I quit out of the custom installation and restarted.
Restoring the Boot Camp partition:
1. Booted off of the external boot drive with a 10.6.7 installation that could boot the laptop.
2. Launched Winclone.
3. Clicked the Restore tab
4. Selected the Winclone image I made earlier and selected the new NTFS-formatted 50 GB Boot Camp partition.
5. Waited a bit for the cloning to complete.
6. Went into Startup Disk, selected the Windows boot partition, and rebooted.
7. On boot, the Windows boot manager gave an error and said it could be repaired by the Windows install DVD.
8. Booted off of the Windows 7 install DVD, used Repair Disk to fix the problem and rebooted.
9. On boot, CHKDSK came up and wanted to run a check of the disk. The disk check passed.
10. Logged into Windows 7 with an AD account and verified that everything seemed to be working properly.
11. Booted back to the internal Mac OS X boot partition to check VMWare, as the user wanted to run Windows 7 in VMWare while using the Boot Camp partition.