Reformating a dual boot

By Kruptid
Oct 7, 2010
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  1. Ok I need some info and potentially some tips on what the best way to reformat my setup would be.

    I have:

    C: Partition 128 GB - Windows Vista
    D: Partition 137 GB - Windows 7 and all of my user programs, files, etc.
    G: Partition 20GB - Warhammer Online (MMORPG partition used for quick defrags)

    I would like to backup and keep alot of my files and then reformat this computer and eventually have it set up as:

    C: Partition 30-40 GB - Windows 7
    D: Partition 200+ GB - All user files and folders
    G: Partition 20GB - WAR

    So basically I would like to remove Windows 7 from the D drive and replace it into the C: drive. I would like to decrease the space of the C drive and reallocate it to the D drive. As well as keep the Warhammer partition the same.

    I expect I need to do this process in this order.

    1) Backup all desired files and folders from D and G drives to external hard drive.

    2) Make a list of all large software to re-download later. (All my programming software, OpenOffice, Warhammer, any software that includes an installer in the download)

    3) Obtain a new version of Windows 7 (mine came from MSDNAA which is a free software deal between my school and Microsoft)

    4) Burn the Windows image to a disc.

    5) Change BIOS to boot from disc, then run the Windows ISO from boot.

    6) Delete all current partitions and then install Windows 7 onto C: drive.

    7) Allocate my desired space to different partitions.

    8) Reinstall all large software covered in step 2.

    9) Copy backup files/folders to my D drive.

    10) Profit?

    I've only done a reformat once, a while ago, which was all on one partition.
    The step I am most unsure about is step 2 so if anybody is uncertain about any of it please discuss it with me.

    Thank you so much for your help.
  2. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +116

    I would back up EVERY partition fully, so you have an entire image of your current system.

    Then delete all partitions, and start afresh. Assuming C/D partitions are on the same HDD, your not going to be able to resize C, or even delete it, and then resize D, purely because you can't make it start earlier, only extend it from the end backwards and forwards. I'm 90% sure this is the case, but if I'm wrong feel free to correct me.

    I would also consider a partition larger than 40GB if you plan on using it to also install games and software along with the OS. I'm now using 55GB of my SSD, and thats only used for W7 Pro x64, Office 2007 Ultimate, Project 2007, Adobe CS5 master suite, the usual openoffice, and common utilities (approx 1-2GB in total), and 4 games. Every single item of my media (and anything contained in "my username") is kept on a seperate hard disc.

    The last thing you want is to run out of hard disc space!
  3. Kruptid

    Kruptid TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I realize I can't Delete the C drive with my current setup which is why I wanted to reformat and resize from there. I assumed that when I only have 1 drive (which would be the case when I first reformat) i would be able to take space from it.

    Is the purpose of "I would back up EVERY partition fully, so you have an entire image of your current system." in case I have any errors during my process?

    The 40 GB partition i was planning to have nothing but the OS on it. I assumed that was a decent way to secure my OS from viruses since I only have 1 hdd. The D drive is meant for everything except my OS and my games, which would be on the C and G drives respectively.

    I don't think I am fully understanding what you are saying but if I am then all the programs you listed, Office 2007 Ultimate, Project 2007 etc. (if I had those programs) would be on my D drive.
  4. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +116

    I get you now (sorry for the misunderstanding). Starting from fresh with a new partition table would be best. :)

    Yes, but also because no matter how organised you are with setting everything up across multiple partitions, Windows always has a habit of slipping something in your unaware of. This way, you have a full image you can mount should you miss something unintentionally from your Vista partition.

    Yeah you are, sorry I could have worded it much better. What I meant was all of those programs, as well as the OS are all kept on my C partition (which is my entire SSD).

    I can't really comment on your thoughts with virus protection, but from my personal perspective, I choose to just use my SSD for applications, OS and games purely as its more simplified. I do however make regular images of the entire SSD though, so should something happen, the worst case would be having to do a few updates; not the end of the world.

    In respect to hard disc failure, with two partitions (or more) on one physical disc its unlikely any of it would be recoverable anyway, so I've never seen any advantage to keeping software/programs etc seperate from my OS.

    What works for me though, may not for someone else. :)
  5. Kruptid

    Kruptid TS Rookie Topic Starter

    If I were to make a full image of Vista, but something went wrong in WIndows 7. Is it possible to just take specific files/folders/drivers from the disc image? Or would I basically be reloading my current setup overtop of my new setup because I messed something up?
  6. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +116

    It depends on what you use to make the images. I use Seagate Disc Wizard, which is basically Acronis True Image made for Seagate drives.

    That utility enables you to mount your images, and navigate them like any other disc you would normally navigate.

    The other option of course would be to restore the entire image, which I doubt you want. lol.
  7. Kruptid

    Kruptid TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Ok so based on everything your saying. The only things I should do differently from my original post is backup everything using Acronis True Image (is this free and your reccomended software?)

    As well as not splitting the C and D drives due to it being pointless. Is my theory for putting games into a separate partition for quick defrags viable?
  8. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +183

    If i may add my 1 1/2 cents worth....

    Leeky's advice to backup all your partitions before any reinstall is very wise advice! :grinthumb. Beats the heck out of any chance you missed something or even giving you the option to restore a partition if need be.
    > I use Acronis True Image myself, and it's full functionality is well worth its fee (usually $50USD but sometimes on sales)
    > There are some free versions of Acronis available if you have a Seagate or WD hard drive
    > But still i think buying a home license of ATI is absolutely worth it to backup and manage your archive data, I'll add there's a freeware alternative EASUS Todo Backup that could meet your immediate needs
    ===> Tho this freeware also has its limitations.. like you can't recover by booting from Rescue Media if your computer crashes
    ===> It doesn't provide incremental or differential backup options

    Also you might want to scan these posts as well for some tips to consider before a full reinstall
    > Also see this post for some suggested steps to prepare before doing a full reinstall
    > See How to backup your drivers (and reinstall them later if and when needed!)

    /* EDIT */
    Hmmm.. somewhere, i once updated and provided a newer post about "Steps to take before a full reinstall" but it seems the only link i still find (and I gave above) was to the older version. Ignore the reference in that post about using DriverMax and instead use DoubleDriver to do your driver backups
  9. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +116

    I guess in regards to your games yes, but defragmentation of a hard disc with only software and the OS shouldn't really take that long, so its arguable if its even needed really.

    Then again, you don't defrag a SSD, so in my case it doesn't apply.

    If you have a Seagate or WD hard disc, I seriously recommend the Acronis utilities, as LookinAround commented above, you can't do incremental backups, but in your case you want full backups of your entire disc setups, so you won't need that function anyway.

    This thread here on TechSpot contains the links to the free WD/Seagate utilities. Though as LookinAround also states, its well worth the premium to use as a long term backup utility.

    I personally use the Seagate DiscWizard utility to do all of my backups, and highly recommend it if you have a Seagate drive.

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