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Clone WindowsToGo VHD Onto HDD -Vs- Install


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#1 Noer5

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Posted 25 January 2015 - 08:45 PM

If one has a WindowsToGo (8.1 as a VHD on a UFD) all tweaked & updated, what would be the best way to clone that onto an internal HDD (as a bootable OS for that system)?
And wouldn’t this be a lot faster / easier than trying to install, and then tweak & update?
Thanks
 



#2 steve6375

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Posted 25 January 2015 - 10:04 PM

Depends what is already on the system?

 

If it had no other OS, then just copy across the files (\bootmgr, \boot folder, \EFI folder and .vhd file), tweak the BCD(s) and boot.



#3 BobxT

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Posted 26 January 2015 - 05:22 AM

I have done it by using Acronis.

 

I imaged the WindowsToGo external USB drive to an Acronis image file then restored that image to 3 computers. I have found though that a more reliable installation is best made with a normal DVD install on a HP N40L and N54L micro server..

 

The HP's are very low powered AMD CPU systems.

 

YMMV.



#4 Noer5

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Posted 28 January 2015 - 04:10 AM

Thanks for the replies / valuable expertise.
I sampled a few cloners and AOMEI Backupper seemed to work the best – for cloning a booted system (the WTG stick) from that system to another partition without rebooting. It was very fast and defaults to only occupied sectors. Just need to install it to the WTG stick.  It was 3 minutes for clone -vs- 5 minutes to copy over the VHD file. Once I came across AOMEI Backupper, I stopped sampling different apps, so Acronis might be just as good or better.

Did this both ways -- cloned onto one partition, VHD on another -- on an HP laptop that had only ever had Win7 64 bit.  .

Depends what is already on the system?

If it had no other OS, then just copy across the files (\bootmgr, \boot folder, \EFI folder and .vhd file), tweak the BCD(s) and boot.

Thought I had the newly placed BCD edited properly, but kept getting this error:
   File: \windows\system32\winload.exe
   Status:  0XC0000428
   Info:  Windows cannot verify the digital signature for this file.
        F8 just goes back to same error screen == no advanced options.


Used e2b to boot to a Linux ISO and deleted all the old Win7 versions of BOOTMGR (374 KB), then copied the Win8 BOOTMGR (394 KB) to the small active ‘MS System’ partition.
Then used EasyBCD (on WTG stick)  > File > Select BCD Store > to select & edit the BCD on the laptops ‘MS System’ partition.
Good to have a small active ‘MS System’ partition (150 MB should be plenty) at the beginning of HDD for your boot loaders so that you know where your BCD editing should be focused – rather than on some other ‘System’ partition.
Also helpful is a good partitioning tool that shows exactly where partitions are located, and on which disks – I used Partition Wizard.

Now all three boot (Win7 64 bit ---- WTG81 32 bit Clone ---- WTG 81 32 bit VHD) ! ! !

Anyway, hope this helps.


Edited by Noer5, 28 January 2015 - 04:12 AM.


#5 Noer5

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Posted 12 February 2015 - 01:54 PM

Just in case anyone tried to do the same thing as I did above – having a WTG Clone on one partition and a WTG VHD copied to another.  If I remember right, I first did the clone and got that working, and then did the VHD copy and booted to that.

Later on I went back to boot the WTG clone and got the ‘Circling Dots Preparing Windows’ logon screen that after a few minutes results in a blank screen.
I’m guessing this is some kind of OS GUID conflict or MS Windows limitation??
The WTG VHD still boots fine.
Anyone know a workaround for this?

Thanks
 



#6 Noer5

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Posted 18 February 2015 - 08:26 PM

Pretty sure I narrowed down the problem to either a target partition being too small or some values imported to the Mounted Devices key that caused a conflict.
The target partition was plenty big (20 GB) for the cloning operation from the WTG host to clone itself,  but the original dynamic VHD was created as 25 GB.  So resized the target to 25 GB and the clone booted fine.
Yet when I tried to tweak the Mounted Devices key, the Preparing Windows error was recreated.
Many attempts failed to narrow this down further.

VHDs are probably the best way to go regardless, especially if you have a convenient way to access them.

I was having trouble with my VHD context option to “Mount as ImDisk Virtual Disk” – since it always wanted to format the new drive rather than just mount it – so found very nice utility called VHD Attach.

Another option to clone your WTG – as opposed to just pasting the VHD – is to mount ‘ attach WTG’s VHD and clone that mounted partition onto another partition.

Does anyone know a trick for taking a bootable windows OS that say boots as drive W (when not booted is on drive D), and editing the mounted devices so that this same OS boots as drive D (or whatever letter it is otherwise on)?
I tried loading system hives from other drives to get values to paste, but no joy.
 


Edited by Noer5, 18 February 2015 - 08:28 PM.


#7 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 23 February 2015 - 11:52 AM

Does anyone know a trick for taking a bootable windows OS that say boots as drive W (when not booted is on drive D), and editing the mounted devices so that this same OS boots as drive D (or whatever letter it is otherwise on)?
I tried loading system hives from other drives to get values to paste, but no joy.
 

There isn't "a" trick, there may be a complex, prone to error/issues, procedure to change the "system" drive letter, but I am not sure to understand if this is what you really would like to do (and actually the reason for doing that).

 

It seems to me that you may get away the other way round, i.e. assigning in your example the drive letter W (the one that an enormous number of Registry entires, configuration files and what not use, because the OS and all programs were installed to it when it had drive letter W assigned)  to the volume that the Mount Manager would otherwise assign automatically the drive letter D, but this depends on the actual scope of this.

 

Can you try to expand on your request, describing also the actual GOAL?

 

:duff:

Wonko






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