Saturday, September 8, 2007

Ultimate Image Backups

As part of my upgrades, I had the opportunity to play with several new Vista features. Because I had already had a copy of Ultimate installed when the new hard drive arrived, I used the Vista Backup and Restore Center to create an image backup of the laptop on an external drive that I already own.

I then swapped the old HDD for the new one, booted from the Ultimate install CD and requested that the image on the external drive be used to install the OS instead of clean-installing it.

It worked perfectly.

The second feature I used was the built-in partition manager. When I installed Ultimate to the 80GB drive, I set aside 64GB for the OS/boot/system partition, and the remainder was created as a data partition. With the drive upgrade, I had an additional 20GB available. Given that this is a very new laptop, I could've simply deleted the data partition and recreated it with the 30GB+ free space. However, that wouldn't have helped me test the graphical partition tools built into the OS.

"Diskpart", the command-line partition manager for Windows, has been around a while; I use it regularly on SAN-attached systems to handle partition offsets, etc. It's also available on Vista, but there is also diskpart-type functionality in the Disk Management MMC snap-in. I was able to right-click on the small Data partition and select "Extend Volume..." from the popup menu.

After a few seconds, the partition was resized to ~30Gb, and I was done with the setup.

Of course, the MFT and metadata for the partition wasn't optimal for the new volume, so I ran PerfectDisk against it in both offline and online mode.

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