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Old 02-07-2010, 02:26 PM   #1
Registered: Jun 2008
Location: Peterborough, Ontario, Canada
Distribution: Ubuntu 16.04, Unity & Gnome-shell
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cloning mixed Linux - Win xp on new SSD for laptop

I have a multi-boot system in my MSI Wind netbook that includes Win xp home, Ubuntu, and another Linux distro. The internal HD is 160gb, but most of it isn't used. I just bought a 60gb SSD, and would like to use it as the primary disk in my netbook. I would like to clone the Win xp and Ubuntu volumes to the SSD, which would leave me plenty of space, even if I added another distro later. With gparted, I can see that there is an initial logical volume of about 4gb (dev/sda1) with 775mb used, and by mounting and checking it I can see that it has a boot folder in it. It is formatted as ext3 (no flags). I don't understand the MBR concept very well, so I'm wondering if this is where the MBR is stored. The next volume is my Windows volume and is formatted NTFS with a boot flag. Subsequent volumes are clearly Linux volumes, including swapfile volumes. I have already formatted the SSD as NTFS, but as of yet haven't added any partitions.

My question:
(1) How do I clone the volumes I want onto the SSD? (Presumably with dd or a similar utility).
(2) Does the destination volume have to be initially set to be the same as the source volume?
(3) Do I need that first partition or would a new one automatically be created if I reinstall Ubuntu or any Debian-based distro from scratch or use a utility to fix the MBR?

Old 02-08-2010, 11:07 PM   #2
Registered: Feb 2009
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If you clone, the disk being used needs to be the same as the disk being copied. Windows is not as portable as the unices.
You're better off doing a new install of XP on the disk on a pre-set size partition formatted ntfs.
Old 02-09-2010, 04:40 PM   #3
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When I was a kid they used to say GIGO. Garbage in garbage out. That was a LONG time ago and still holds true.

I am not a fan of cloning unless the system is exactly the same hardware and I use only base installs for images. Too many oddities can happen later or with changes. For example the linux distro might have a deal about ssd's somewhere.

Two basic tasks are either to file based copy or bit based copy.

When I do clone I tend to use g4u which is dd and have used to up-size and down-size drives.

File based you might look at any number of apps from live cd's to partimage and clonezilla and OEM software.

It doesn't take that long to load it all up.

Last edited by jefro; 02-09-2010 at 04:41 PM.
Old 02-09-2010, 08:46 PM   #4
Registered: Jun 2008
Location: Peterborough, Ontario, Canada
Distribution: Ubuntu 16.04, Unity & Gnome-shell
Posts: 83

Original Poster
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Thanks for both of your replies. I ended up using a hybrid approach. I cloned the Windows xp volume, the small bootloader volume and the UNR 9.10 volume with dd, one at a time after first making a partition on the SSD large enough to hold each volume. The Windows and UNR had a lot of work put into them, and I didn't want to lose that. I also wanted grub, not grub2 as the bootloader, so after I verified that the Windows partition worked, I reinstalled CrunchBang 9.04 from scratch. The grub that resulted had all three OSes on the menu, and all worked.

Bootup time saving with Win xp and CrunchBang was spectacular. XP booted up in about 50 seconds on my netbook, a saving of more than a minute. CrunchBang and UNR used to take 55 sec to a minute to boot up to a working desktop (including wireless connection) on the old HD. The SSD cut that in about half for CrunchBang, and took off about 10 sec for UNR. I wonder if Jefro's point explains the bigger saving in CB, since it was installed from scratch and UNR wasn't. It won't matter - as soon as UNR 10.04 is released, I'll be replacing 9.10.


cloning, mbr, netbook, ssd

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