Mirrored Vista Partitions for Win 7 Testing

Y888

New Member
#1
I hope I'm not entering already well-tread ground with this query. In preparation for testing Win 7 upgrade paths, I want to create a mirror of my main Vista partition in another partition on the same drive, then do the Win 7 install over the Vista on that second partition.

Creating the partition has already been done, and creating the mirrored copy is straightforward.

However, I am unclear about how to set up the boot parameters on the second (testing) partition so that it will boot properly when set as the "active" partition, or what other issues will come into play when I want to specify booting the Vista copy on the first partition vs. on the second partition.

Obviously, I don't want to get myself into a deadly embrace kind of situation that prevents booting (an Ubuntu partition is also present on this drive).

Any clues appreciated. Thanks!
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#2
Hi Y, welcome to NST.
When you install the 2nd Vista, it will not install boot files in the new partition, but add itself as an entry in the pre-existing BCD on the 1st Vista.
You won't make the new partition active (if you still want your system to boot) because that would point the MBR to a partition without any boot files !
There will just be the single copy of the BCD and bootmgr in the original partition, which will automatically contain entries for both Vistas after the 2nd install completes.
You shouldn't need to do any manipulation of boot parameters.
Have a read of the link in the 1st part of the sticky thread for background on how multibooting works.
 
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Y888

New Member
#3
The problem is that I won't be "installing" Vista on the second partition. I need to test against the exact configuration of the Vista installed on the first partition, so I'm just going to mirror the entire first partition over to the second partition, with all of its configuration elements intact. I would assume that without some changes, that second partition Vista is not going to boot properly!
 
#4
The problem is that I won't be "installing" Vista on the second partition. I need to test against the exact configuration of the Vista installed on the first partition, so I'm just going to mirror the entire first partition over to the second partition, with all of its configuration elements intact. I would assume that without some changes, that second partition Vista is not going to boot properly!
Yes, you are correct. Clones of Vista often do not work (without a few changes), due to the nature of the BCD.

You can read up on the process at this link.

Not sure why exactly you want to clone Vista to the second partition, and then later install Win 7 onto the cloned Vista's partition, but anyway...good luck! :brows:

Jake
 

Y888

New Member
#5
The idea is to avoid disruption of the main (working) system at all costs. By creating a mirrored copy for testing, I can determine which applications (including ones with complicated registrations like from Adobe) will continue working after a Win 7 upgrade.
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#6
If you're cloning rather than installing, the BCD will contain invalid disk IDs for the new copy (Vista doesn't describe the location using the BIOS like XP, making it a more difficult proposition to clone, see another section of the previously linked site.
I've successfully cloned my Vista, XP and W7 to a new HDD and used the Installation DVDs "auto-repair" to get the boots working, but they were not cloned to the same HDD as the original.
In your case, fixing the boot on the clone will probably cause it to take over the boot of the 1st copy.
 

Y888

New Member
#7
Missing one step in Vista clone?

Hmm. OK, I've now successfully cloned (using Easeus) my Vista C: drive partition to another disk (L). Then, using EasyBCD, I created a new bootloader entry that shows

Drive: L:\
Name: Vista TEST
Bootloader Path: \Windows\system32\winload.exe
Windows Directory: \Windows

I can select Vista TEST at boot time and the system comes up fine. But in reality, it's bringing up the original system on C: not the test system on L: (as indicated by slightly different files in the root dir and other factors).

Obviously I missed some aspect of the BCD file or another critical point.

Any clues? Thanks much!
 

JustinW

Super Moderator
Staff member
#8
The bootloader is labeling the drives differently at boot time. Try changing it to c: like it was when it was orginally cloned and see if that fixes things...
 

Y888

New Member
#9
If I change it back to C: what will differentiate it from the original Vista OS on the "actual" C: drive at boot time? How will the "Vista Test" entry know to boot off of L: at all?
 

JustinW

Super Moderator
Staff member
#10
The bootloader may consider the cloned Vista C: until you actually boot into it but each OS should be considered C: depending on the install you're in. Its confusing I know, but when you clone a system and throw it on top of other working systems in a dual-boot stuff happens...
 
#11
If I change it back to C: what will differentiate it from the original Vista OS on the "actual" C: drive at boot time? How will the "Vista Test" entry know to boot off of L: at all?
The drive letters are specific to the OS being booted into. Each booted system could care less what another system calls everything when it is booted. From inside the original Vista, the drive letter for your cloned Vista's partition will be seen with a different drive letter than C. In the entry in the original Vista's BCD, your cloned Vista's entry will need to be pointed at whatever drive letter your cloned Vista's partition is seen as from the original Vista.
 
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#12
I understand this. What I don't understand is where I specify that the "Vista Test" (3rd entry) at boot time needs to boot off a particular disk, different from the normal default disk.

There are three entries. On the original C: drive:

Vista
Ubuntu

On a completely different drive:

Vista Test

Vista Test is an exact clone of the C: partition of "Vista"

Obviously I have to somehow associate that third entry with the other disk. Or isn't this possible?

Thanks.
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#13
Merged with your previous thread to keep all the information available in one place.

Have you repaired the boot process on the cloned version to get round the incorrect UIDs as described in the link I gave you.
 
#14
The same rule applies regardless of the fact that you put the clone of Vista on a different hard drive than the original Vista.
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#15
Just seen your latest post. On a different disk you should be able to fix the boot on the clone by booting the DVD and "startup repairing" the cloned copy.
 
#16
Yeah, I had actually found that document independently before approaching this forum. That doc is comprehensive, and also a bit opaque in terms of exactly where I should be concentrating. In particular, I really, seriously don't want to screw up the MBR, even with a backup available.

I spend most of my time in the Linux world where this is all quite straightforward, so the Vista hoops are painful.

But to answer your question, no, I have not made any manual changes as per that document, since it is not clear to me which changes are safe to make at this point.

Thanks again.
 
#17
If he's using the original Vista's BCD (and bootmgr) to boot the original Vista and the clone (assuming the boot drive is the original Vista's hard drive), then what need is there to use Startup Repair in this case?
 
#18
I already obtained and attempted to use the Vista Repair disk. Unfortunately,
it failed to list any drives or systems. If I plowed ahead it apparently acted
on the original C: drive, but there were no listings at all so no way to specify
the clone on the other disk (L: from the standpoint of the original system).
These are both SATA disks directly driven from the motherboard.
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#19
Disconnect your original Vista disk, then run the startup repair on the new disk so that it's leaving the original alone and definitely fixing the clone. (It'll repair the cloned (incorrect) UIDs Jake, which are still describing the other disk)
When it boots OK from the new HDD and you switch back to booting the old disk 1st in the BIOS, then the entry you add in the old BCD, should find the repaired clone OK I think.
 
#20
Will give this a try. Thanks.

Addendum:

No go. Result is same -- boots continue to occur off the original C: drive
in all cases.
 
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