Is it Possible to Merge Two W7 Boots into a Single W8 boot?

Monopoly money comes in many flavors: 7, Vista, XP, 2K, ME, 98, etc.

Moderators: Flying Fox, Ryu Connor

Is it Possible to Merge Two W7 Boots into a Single W8 boot?

Postposted on Sat Dec 22, 2012 2:10 am

That would be the desired end-result, anyway.

Here's the setup:

On one hard drive, I have the following partitions (lettered in the order that they appear, not necessarily how their drive letters appear in Windows Explorer):

C: Office Boot
D: DAW Boot

Both boots currently run Windows 7, 64 bit, full retail version.

F: Office Programs
G: DAW Programs

H, I, J, K, etc... : Office Data, VST sample data, Photos, MP3s, etcetera

Question 1:

Is it possible to merge partitions C and D together into a new consolidated "C:" which would be a single Windows 7 system/boot partition, containing applications and boot-drive data for use on a new motherboard/CPU? And then upgrading that system to Windows 8?

The new consolidated C: might exist on an SSD or on an HDD, I haven't decided on that just yet.

Question 2:

Alternatively, would it be possible to consolidate C: and D: into a consolidated, cocooned system that's no longer Win 7 but could be deployed as a new Windows 8 system with all software apps, data, and common settings intact? I'm willing to buy the full Windows 8 license if necessary, and if the process works correctly, I would retire the original Windows 7 systems. I have neither the time nor interest to try to keep multiple images with multiple versions of Windows alive. :x

I have all of my application installation discs, keys, and hard drives for all software, but man oh man, I do not relish the idea of reinstalling all that stuff one-by-one. And I think I want to get back to one single OS image to maintain, for simplicity. I was wondering if I could do this in a way that would not require weeks of software reinstallation tedium.
BIF
Gerbil Jedi
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 1563
Joined: Tue May 25, 2004 7:41 pm

Re: Is it Possible to Merge Two W7 Boots into a Single W8 bo

Postposted on Sat Dec 22, 2012 2:34 am

The registry is the hitch. You could do a mass export and then import, but I'm uncomfortable suggesting that as a good idea. It will likely result in you doing the very thing you were looking to avoid; have to reinstall the entire OS.

The easiest and cleanest method is to keep one install, blow up the other, expand the partition via Disk Management, and then re-install your programs from which ever side you didn't retain. Just a half install so to speak. :)

If none of your applications need/leverage the registry then perhaps we can cook up a more clever solution.
"Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends. We're so glad you could attend. Come inside! Come inside!"
Ryu Connor
Global Moderator
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 3540
Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2001 7:00 pm
Location: Marietta, GA

Re: Is it Possible to Merge Two W7 Boots into a Single W8 bo

Postposted on Sat Dec 22, 2012 3:56 am

If you get an SSD... the re-installation process of the programs you have to reinstall from whichever drives you don't image will be soooo fast you will stop complaining about it, and probably stop updating your OS image.
Core i7 4770K | eVGA GTX770 SC ACX | 16GB DDR3 2133mhz | Asus Z87-PLUS | Corsair HX650 | Fractal Define R4 | Samsung 840 Pro 256GB | Windows 8 x64
yogibbear
Gerbil Elite
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 670
Joined: Fri Feb 08, 2008 11:30 am

Re: Is it Possible to Merge Two W7 Boots into a Single W8 bo

Postposted on Sat Dec 22, 2012 9:32 am

Ryu Connor wrote:The easiest and cleanest method is to keep one install, blow up the other, expand the partition via Disk Management, and then re-install your programs from which ever side you didn't retain. Just a half install so to speak. :)


That hadn't occurred to me. Thanks. So in theory I could sysprep/Imagex the DAW system, then upgrade it to Windows 8, then install my office and game software to it.

yogibbear wrote:If you get an SSD... the re-installation process of the programs you have to reinstall from whichever drives you don't image will be soooo fast you will stop complaining about it, and probably stop updating your OS image.


LOL, funny. But ever increasing software titles require (or force) installation of some components to the C drive, which ends up putting dynamic data on the SSD. Some of them (in the DAW world) have gobs of data. This is the main reason I've not yet decided whether to use an SSD for the C partition.

--------------------------------
This came to me just this morning. When all is said and done, I may be better off reinstalling everything manually anyway just to validate that the installer discs and ISOs still work correctly, and to validate that my software licenses are still valid and functional.
BIF
Gerbil Jedi
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 1563
Joined: Tue May 25, 2004 7:41 pm

Re: Is it Possible to Merge Two W7 Boots into a Single W8 bo

Postposted on Sat Dec 22, 2012 1:48 pm

BIF wrote:
That hadn't occurred to me. Thanks. So in theory I could sysprep/Imagex the DAW system, then upgrade it to Windows 8, then install my office and game software to it.


The sysprep is only necessary if you're moving it onto a new motherboard (I do see you mention the possibility of that).

Then boot into WindowsPE and use ImageX (Windows AIK, deprecated) or DISM (Windows ADK, new hotness) to capture the DAW image. Then using diskpart to sort out the partition structure into a new unified drive. (quick and easy)

BIF wrote:--------------------------------
This came to me just this morning. When all is said and done, I may be better off reinstalling everything manually anyway just to validate that the installer discs and ISOs still work correctly, and to validate that my software licenses are still valid and functional.


There are advantages to this. Windows 8 has a new partition layout (recovery, system, boot) and If you have a UEFI system it prefers to setup using GPT disks. While setting all this up is possible without a fresh install, it is more work than just letting the installer do the task for you. Whether or not that is a good tradeoff versus all the installing you have to do, well, that's a decision for you.
"Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends. We're so glad you could attend. Come inside! Come inside!"
Ryu Connor
Global Moderator
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 3540
Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2001 7:00 pm
Location: Marietta, GA

Re: Is it Possible to Merge Two W7 Boots into a Single W8 bo

Postposted on Sat Dec 22, 2012 2:16 pm

Oh yeah, GPT disks, I had forgotten about that. The motherboard is scheduled to be an Asus P9X79 WS, which I believe does have a UEFI BIOS.

Another twist in the plot! Although I have some self educating to do, wow what a great time to be alive!

Hmmm, just thinking here. For my "big data" partitions, namely the ones holding over a TB of VST sample data, can I use DISKPART to create empty GPT disks, then copy the files from my existing NTFS partitions to the new GPT partitions? Some of those files are upwards of 1.8 GB per file. Some of the more frequently-used ones will end up on SSDs (high read, limited writes), but others will stay on spinning disk partitions.
BIF
Gerbil Jedi
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 1563
Joined: Tue May 25, 2004 7:41 pm

Re: Is it Possible to Merge Two W7 Boots into a Single W8 bo

Postposted on Sat Dec 22, 2012 2:46 pm

BIF wrote:Oh yeah, GPT disks, I had forgotten about that. The motherboard is scheduled to be an Asus P9X79 WS, which I believe does have a UEFI BIOS.

Another twist in the plot! Although I have some self educating to do, wow what a great time to be alive!

Hmmm, just thinking here. For my "big data" partitions, namely the ones holding over a TB of VST sample data, can I use DISKPART to create empty GPT disks, then copy the files from my existing NTFS partitions to the new GPT partitions? Some of those files are upwards of 1.8 GB per file. Some of the more frequently-used ones will end up on SSDs (high read, limited writes), but others will stay on spinning disk partitions.


Yes, the P9X79 WS has UEFI firmware and supports GPT. I use GPT on my P9X79 Deluxe.

The disk being converted to GPT must be completely empty. No data, no file systems, and no partitions. The clean command from diskpart can remove all three of those for you. From there you type convert gpt to shift the disk from MBR to GPT. It gets more involved (not necessarily hard, just many steps) from there to setup a UEFI Windows boot from the command line.

So long as the disks are empty of data, partitions, and file systems when you reach the graphical partition menu that is part of the Windows 8 setup, you will create GPT disks automagically.

GPT defines the structure of partitions, it is not a file system. So, yes, you can move all your files off to another disk, create the GPT disk, and then move the files back once the disk setup is complete.

To give some context here are the full set of commands to make a usable GPT disk (non-bootable):

diskpart
>select disk X (where X is the drive you've backed up and want to convert into GPT)
>clean (wipes the disk)
>convert gpt
>create partition primary (this will create a single full disk partition)
>format fs=ntfs quick
>assign (give the drive a letter)
>exit

Now the disk is ready for use.
"Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends. We're so glad you could attend. Come inside! Come inside!"
Ryu Connor
Global Moderator
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 3540
Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2001 7:00 pm
Location: Marietta, GA

Re: Is it Possible to Merge Two W7 Boots into a Single W8 bo

Postposted on Sun Dec 23, 2012 12:04 am

Whoops, just saw this. Thanks Ryu!
BIF
Gerbil Jedi
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 1563
Joined: Tue May 25, 2004 7:41 pm


Return to Windows

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Majestic-12 [Bot] and 3 guests