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Question How can I clone Operating Systems on 2 different HDDs into 1 SSD?

amirm42

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Apr 24, 2014
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Hi,

I have two versions of Windows 10 installed on two different 1TB hard drives and I want to migrate/clone both into a 1TB M.2 SSD.

These are the partitions on the two disks when the OS on Disk 1 is running:


It is the same structure when the OS on Disk 0 is running but different drive letters:


The ~637GB partitions are data which I don't want to migrate to the SSD. So all the OS related partitions should fit on the SSD.

I am aware that you can clone partitions and/or migrate a single OS using EaseUS or other cloning software. However, I have not found much information about what happens if I clone multiple OS partitions. Will there be a conflict between the boot settings, recovery partitions, etc? Will I be able to boot both operating systems or do I need to modify/repair certain records?

I would be grateful if anyone can clarify this or point me to an existing thread that shows how to accomplish this.

Thank you in advance.
 

Math Geek

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that's what i was thinking as well.

personally i'd do a fresh install of everything but for some reason most folks would rather mess about for days on end trying to get cloning to work rather than a couple hours with a fresh install.

will save a ton of frustration trying to get both os's working on a single drive with cloning.
 

USAFRet

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Mar 16, 2013
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If I were to try this....(and I probably wouldn't)

Disk 0 as the running OS.
Take the first 3 partitions on that, leaving off the 637GB.
Also, the fist partition from Disk 1. Only that partition.

Clone.
When it finishes, power OFF. Resist the temptation to poke around.
Disconnect ALL drives except the new SSD.
Power up and see what happens.
 

USAFRet

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wouldn't that second recovery partition be needed as well?

i'm not 100% sure what windows uses it for, but i've deleted it before and caused issues for myself.

just a thought anyway.
It isn't.
It doesn't even exist in a brand new install.

But the above is just a trial, to see what happens.
If it works, great.
If it fails, try something else.
 

amirm42

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@USAFRet
I have two OS's because one is optimized for my work (music production and audio editing) and another is for regular use.

Currently I select which OS to boot from the blue Windows Boot Options at Startup (Choose an operating system...)

Thanks for your suggestion. I will try it and see what happens. Although I've read on other forums to not mess around with the recovery and system reserved partitions. I fear copying only one of them will result in the other OS not booting properly.

@Math Geek
I agree. However, there are tons of software, plugins and tweaks which would take me days to reinstall and reconfigure.

Additionally the Windows 10 was an upgrade from Windows 8 and I don't have the original product key. I'm not sure how the digital licence will work when reinstalling twice. Only one of the OS's can be linked to my Microsoft Account since they are both on the same system.
 

USAFRet

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One or the other may indeed fail to boot up.
Again, this is a trial, just to see what happens.

Your boot menu WILL be screwed up. It won't know where to find the second OS.

Cloning is a great concept, when conditions are perfect.
With a config like this, you're out there in Experimental Land.
 

amirm42

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Do you have 2 individual OS licenses?
No. I only have one OS license. That's why I mentioned to @Math Geek I'm not sure what happens when installing fresh copies of Windows 10 twice.

With the original product key for Windows 8 I was able to do it and just enter the product key. But since the upgrade to Windows 10, they have switched to digital licenses (not product key). However, only one of them can be linked to my Microsoft Account because they are both on the same system. So I don't know how I would be able to authenticate two installs of Windows 10 with one digital license.
 

USAFRet

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No. I only have one OS license. That's why I mentioned to @Math Geek I'm not sure what happens when installing fresh copies of Windows 10 twice.

With the original product key for Windows 8 I was able to do it and just enter the product key. But since the upgrade to Windows 10, they have switched to digital licenses (not product key). However, only one of them can be linked to my Microsoft Account because they are both on the same system. So I don't know how I would be able to authenticate two installs of Windows 10 with one digital license.
Exactly.
Eventually, one or the other may Unactivate itself.
 

amirm42

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Thank you for the advice.

I have another question about the boot menu getting screwed up. Do you think it would be possible (at least in theory) to clone only the system partitions and then use a Windows 10 repair boot USB to repair/rebuild the boot menus and recovery partitions?
 

USAFRet

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Thank you for the advice.

I have another question about the boot menu getting screwed up. Do you think it would be possible (at least in theory) to clone only the system partitions and then use a Windows 10 repair boot USB to repair/rebuild the boot menus and recovery partitions?
Anything is a possibility. Nothing is guaranteed.
Also, EasyBCD might be able to "fix" things.
 
I have two versions of Windows 10 installed on two different 1TB hard drives and I want to migrate/clone both into a 1TB M.2 SSD.


It is the same structure when the OS on Disk 0 is running but different drive letters:
Actually it's quite easy.
1st - target SSD has to be partitioned in MBR (same as source drive containing bootloader).
2nd - you have to clone to new SSD (partition to partition clone mode) :
100MB System Reserved partition - this contains bootloader,​
and both C: partitions.​
Rest of them are not needed.

When cloning is done, disconnect both source drives and boot windows. Try to boot into both windows instances. It may be necessary to use bcdboot command to fix bootloader.

You can perform cloning using Minitool Partition Wizard free, with Macrium Reflect free too.
There should be no conflicts.
Recovery partitions are not essential, you can get same functionality using windows installation media.
Should be able to boot into both windows instances just fine.
 

amirm42

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Actually it's quite easy.
1st - target SSD has to be partitioned in MBR (same as source drive containing bootloader).
2nd - you have to clone to new SSD (partition to partition clone mode) :
100MB System Reserved partition - this contains bootloader,​
and both C: partitions.​
Rest of them are not needed.

When cloning is done, disconnect both source drives and boot windows. Try to boot into both windows instances. It may be necessary to use bcdboot command to fix bootloader.

You can perform cloning using Minitool Partition Wizard free, with Macrium Reflect free too.
There should be no conflicts.
Recovery partitions are not essential, you can get same functionality using windows installation media.
Should be able to boot into both windows instances just fine.
Wow! Thank you so much for the clarification. I assume one of the OS's should boot normally but the other one may have issues due to the disk change which I'll try to fix with bcdboot.
 

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