Cloning Vista HD and booting from the copy


New Member
Hi all
:happy:I need to make some deep modifications to my Vista installation, but don't want to risk that it'll become unbootable or instable. So I decided to clone my first internal HD C: on my second (and identical) internal HD F: and reboot after having, in BIOS setup, set the second drive as the first one in the booting sequence. This way, I thought, every change should be done on drive F:, without affecting drive C:.:frowning:But life isn't so smooth, and my system was booting from F:, but continued to get some data (e.g. the desktop configuration and icons) from C:. :angry:So I tried adding a new entry in my multiboot configuration; used EasyBCD for that, and the new entry points to my F: drive. The result is that now I can select at boot time if I want to boot from C: or from F:, but in the last case Vista "reconstructs" a new desktop (with only a few icons), and boots with a very limited user. :??Does anyone suggest me a procedure to achieve my goal without going mad? It seems simple: I want two identical internal drives, with the same OS, programs, configurations, etc, and want be able to choose which to work on without affecting the other one!
Last edited:


Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
Hi Bruno, welcome to NST.
Disk letters are an internal construct of the running system (entries in its Registry). They are not physically attached to the HDD the way the partition label is.
If you are booting an OS as notC:\ and it can see another disk called C:\ which isn't the OS, you will get problems with 3rd party apps putting things in the wrong place. It seems from your experience that Windows can get confused too.
Try cloning the 1st drive to the 2nd, boot it with the 1st disconnected, and if it is not seeing itself as C: (which it should be, as the only show in town), then use this to make it do so.
When you reconnect the 1st disk, give it the letter that you want No 2 to see it as, and when you boot No1, give No 2 the letter you desire.
(My Vista boots as C: and sees W7 as I:, W7 boots as C: and sees Vista as I:, all the other drives are identical letters seen from either OS)