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What happens to restore partitions when upgrading to win10?

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[OP]
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Jul 15, 2003
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What happens to restore partitions when upgrading to win10?

What happens to the restore partitions when old win7 dell machines are upgraded to windows 10? I'm doing an SSD install and upgrade on a machine for someone and wondering wether i should blow away the restore partition or not.

Current plan is...
- do a restore from restore partition.
- clone drive to 250GB ssd (should fit after a fresh restore)
- do online windows 10 upgrade

After this point isn't the restore partition now useless as it contains the old windows 7? Should i just leave it like this or go further and ...

- download windows 10 install image to usb
- using win10 usb and do a fresh clean install that deletes all partitions and formats the entire drive
- manually install all the dell drivers and do all win10 updates.
- make a bootable restore image usb with acronis (or whatever program i end up using) and give them this usb as their emergency restore disk

Any thoughts appreciated.
9 replies
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Mar 20, 2009
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If you plan to commit to Win10 and never go back, there's no reason to keep old Win7 copies around longer than it takes you to verify that everything is working ok with Win10. You can delete any old Win7 partitions and merge the space into your main system or data partition. Be careful not to lose any of the new partitions required by Win10. Back up everything before experimenting with partition layout.

A few things to consider:
- A fresh Windows install is always preferred, but you will lose any software or drivers you previously had installed in Win7, and will have to re-install in Win10. Do you have all the discs, install files, and keys?
- Many systems require custom drivers that are not available directly from Microsoft. Do you know for sure that you can get the required Win10 drivers for your system from Dell?
[OP]
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Do any of the free tools out there let you clone a larger (but mostly empty) drive to a smaller one by letting you choose which partitions to resize?
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Yes, most of the partition-copying and backup tools will do that, including the free ones.

Review and list here, to which I would also add the Easus products.
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on a Lenovo with windows 7 and backup partition, upgrading to win 10 totally hoses the win 7 recovery partition. Levono's win 10 recovery disc actually has no backup recovery partition. Press the button upon boot up for OS recovery or whatever you call it, and it goes straight to win10's advanced menu for fixing bootup problems etc
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In the old days it used to be that the MBR on track 0 of the drive contained both the partition table and simple code to jump to the boot partition and run the OS launcher at the start of the partition. Many older systems and smaller drives like SSDs still have this.

But that was too simple for Microsoft.

Now with UEFI there's a boot manager that jumps to a separate hidden boot partition containing a mini-OS that in turn loads specific boot files from within the OS partition. The whole process is more complex and fragile, and the benefits are nebulous at best.
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In my Lenovo desktop that I bought in December, after upgrading form w8.1 to W10, it did not erase or destroy the old recovery partition. So when I did a full restore last week on the desktop, it installed w8 instead of w10. Not a huge issue since I then upgraded to w10 but if the w10 upgrade seizes to be free it could be an issue in the future. I'm thinking of erasing the partiion so that restore only sees w10.
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peelhic wrote: In my Lenovo desktop that I bought in December, after upgrading form w8.1 to W10, it did not erase or destroy the old recovery partition. So when I did a full restore last week on the desktop, it installed w8 instead of w10. Not a huge issue since I then upgraded to w10 but if the w10 upgrade seizes to be free it could be an issue in the future. I'm thinking of erasing the partiion so that restore only sees w10.
I should have qualified what I said by saying it was a Lenovo x1 carbon gen 3. They have different versions of the product recovery disc for each product they put out. Each will be a bit different. Lenovo did warn me this would happen so I got their win 7 recovery disc before I tried this.
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Feb 9, 2008
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JamesA1 wrote: The whole process is more complex and fragile, and the benefits are nebulous at best.
The benefit is that it's much easier to implement DRM and keep other operating systems off of Windows PCs.
[OP]
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So i ran into a few snags during this process. Here's a breakdown for anyone interested.
This was a dell optiplex 7010 from 2012 with windows 7. Updated bios to the very latest from dell.com. Bios was set to (and always had been) Legacy compatable boot mode instead of strictly UEFI. AHCI SATA mode. Existing harddrive (250GB seagate) was MBR partitioned. I stuck the new SSD (a simple kingston v300 250Gb) on the 2nd internal sata connector.

Acronis true image 2016
- refused to partition the SSD as MBR. Weather i used the Clone tool or did a backup to image, then restore from image it always auto partitioned the SSD as GPT with no way i saw to override it (and subsequently rearranged the partitions a bit) and then the system was unable to boot from it. The boot priority list has it try drives then network, and it always stops at the end of a failed network boot. Noticed that in the f12 boot menu it separated legacy boot devices from UEFI boot devices into two separate lists. an entry for kingston showed up in both lists. Doing nothing would have it just end up at a failed network boot. Forcing it to legacy kingston would end with a Not a bootable device message. Forcing it to UEFI kinston would make the screen go black then immediatly back into the f12 boot menu. Booted from a Windows 7 system repair disk and it refused to recognize a valid windows install to repair. Trying the MBR repair failed with a message about not finding a MBR of course.

Clonezilla
- does not have the ability to automatically resize partitions. So it refused to clone the existing harddrive which was about 10Gb larger than the SSD.

EaseUS free version
- Clone disk tool automatically redistributes the partitions evenly on the target drive. So the original drive's 27Gb restore partition, 300 Mb System partition, and 200GB OS partition were going to be copied into three 76GB partitions on the SSD. I did find an edit mode but you could not enter numbers for the target sizes. Just graphically drag the edges of the partitions around. I ended up cloning to 20-ish GB, 500-ish MB, and 200-ish GB partitions. It didn't boot from this drive. Same Not a bootable device as when done with Acronis.

Macrium Reflect free edition.
- Success. Cloned the disk as MBR and automatically resized the OS partition the few MB needed to fit on the new drive. Turned off, disconnected old drive, turned back on and it booted directly into windows 7 on the SSD. No issues whatsoever. In F12 boot menu the kinston only shows up in the legacy section.

I then did the free win 10 upgrade on the ssd. No problems there. system running smooth on win 10.

After that, downloaded win10 to usb and booted off the USB stick (which showed up as a UEFI USB boot device in the F12 Boot menu). Deleted all partitions on the SSD during install and had it do a fresh install. After install it rebooted and couldn't find a boot drive, and as usual ended up trying a network boot. The F12 Boot menu showed the Kingston in the list of Legacy boot devices and a Windows Boot Manager in UEFI devices. Forcing it to the kingston came up the the same old not a bootable device. I tried to force it into the Windows Boot Manager but it tried to go into it and ended up hanging.

Went back into the bios and set boot mode to UEFI only. repeated the whole process of boot from USB, delete all partitions, reinstall windows 10. This worked. it auto rebooted and launched right into windows. no problem. System is running fine. Apparently even when the bios boot mode is set to UEFI only the F12 boot menu still lists separate legacy and UEFI sections. Legacy still contains an entry for kingston and UEFI contains Windows Boot Manager, a new UEFI NIC item and any UEFI USB drives i have connected.

Done

I actually hadn't dealt with any GPT partitioned drives before this. And barely any UEFI compatable motherboards. I was stuck for a while wondering why the Acronis clone didn't work until i started reading about the MBR vs GPT differences and figured i should try to do a straight MBR clone. And thinking back on it, is it possible that the reason acronis refused to partition as MBR was because the bootable acronis USB stick i was using was apparently GPT partitioned? If i'd had an MBR partitioned stick it would have done an MBR partition automatically? Maybe.

So thanks for the advice. glad it's done.

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