Copying a Hard Disk Containing Windows With Fedora

jdow jdow at
Mon Mar 17 20:01:51 UTC 2008

From: "John Summerfield" <debian at>
Sent: Friday, 2008, March 14 17:13

> Oliver Ruebenacker wrote:
>>      Dear friends,
>>   I need to copy the hard disk of a Windows computer to a new hard
>> disk of equal size. I was thinking of connecting both drives
>> (SATA/150), booting from the Fedora 8 Rescue Disk and then do
>>   dd if=/dev/hda of=/dev/hdb
>>   in hope that after that, the second hard disk can be used in place
>> of the first one (including booting Windows, of course).
>>   Does this work? Thanks!
> It probably will work[1], but I would worry that the disks' gemoetries 
> may differ a little. Not all 120Gbyte drives have the same number of 
> cylinders.
> I copy Windows immmoderately often. My preferred tool is a bootable CD 
> including ntfs-progs - think the latest Knoppix.
> ntfsclone does an excellent job of copying a partition.
> If you need to change a partition's size, there's ntfsresize.
> I'd probably copy (extremely carefully) the first sector with dd, then 
> use hdparm to make Linux reread the partition table on the target drive.
> To be safe, I might resize the source partition(s) to a little smaller 
> using ntfsresize.
> Then copy with ntfsclone, and resize again at the destination to make 
> sure the data fit snugly into the partition.
> [1] I used dd to copy an 80 Gbyte drive to a 320 Gbyte drive. I'm happy 
> with the results, but then if it went wrong I know what to try next. It 
> would not work if the target drive was even one sector shorter. 
> Depending on partitioning.

Indeed, John. There is an important data block stored on the very last
block of each partition, a duplicate of the partition's boot block.


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