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I want to copy a Windows 7 partition that came installed on my laptop to my desktop computer.

I've tried:

# bzip2 -c /dev/sda5 | nc 2222 # on laptop
# nc -l 2222 | bzip2 -d > /dev/sda1 # on desktop

But gparted tells me the partition is corrupted with a lot of error messages.

I also tried:

# dd if=/dev/sda1 | gzip -1 - | ssh user@hostname dd of=image.gz # on laptop
# dd if=image.gz | gunzip -1 - | dd of=/dev/sda5 # on desktop

It worked for a small partition (35 Mb), but didn't for larger ones (18Gb and 120Gb). The ssh pipe keeps breaking and one attempt that completed gave errors in gparted.

What would be a better way of copying the partitions?

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What does "gpared tells me the partition is corrupted with a lot of error messages" mean? Be specific. Also you need to make sure that the destination partition is at least as large as the source. –  psusi Dec 3 '12 at 16:33
dd, with netcat might give better speed? bzip2 is SLOW... ssh -C is easier to work with than a manual gzip... (at leas if you have dd directly writing to disk...) For the dd example, using cat > image.gz (via SSH) to write the file will reduce the number of layers... –  Gert van den Berg Dec 4 '12 at 7:40

2 Answers 2

up vote 1 down vote accepted

I finally copied using a tar pipe.

# cd /mnt/sda1/ && tar cf - * | nc 2222 # on laptop
# cd /mnt/sda5/ && nc -l 2222 | tar x # on desktop

Copying was way faster and seemed to work.

I wasn't able to boot in Windows 7 thought. I only saw a black screen when booting in it and the recovery partition freezes at Starting Windows.

I think that you need two licences to use Windows 7 on two computer so I don't think it would have worked.

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Adding gzip/gunzip in fast-compression-mode in that pipe might help on low-bandwidth-connections. I would also have used "dd" with a block-level of at least 8K for reading (and for writing). –  Nils Dec 5 '12 at 21:43

Tar is not the way to copy bootable partitions. You'll get only your files, but not the on-disk structure. If you want to clone a disk, you'd better use Clonezilla. Often the boot manager is on the master boot record so you'll need to copy it, and windows7 has a hidden primary partition (about 100MB) which may be also needed. I'd reccomend you to just install virtualbox, create an image of the disk & restore it inside the virtual machine with CloneZilla. Thus you''ll have your windows7 in your VM.

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