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Cloning a MacBook’s HDD with BootCamp

I bought a nice Samsung 500GB SSD recently to replace the ol’ spinning disk that came with my 2010 15″ MacBook Pro (Snow Leopard). Pricing had finally come down to reasonable levels ($280) and this helps stave off my itch to upgrade (eyeing the 13″ Retina MBP).

Prior to the upgrade, I was running a triple-boot setup with Mac OS X, Ubuntu 12.04, and Windows 7 x64. I didn’t use the Ubuntu partition much, so I decided to dump it and fold the space into the Windows partition, with the intention of running Ubuntu in a VM (or just using Cygwin more).

My first problem came when I discovered that my utility for disk cloning, Acronis True Image, didn’t work on MacBooks due to the weird way Macs boot. I cloned the Mac OSX partition using a trial copy of Carbon Copy Cloner, with my new drive plugged into a SATA to USB/eSATA dock that I have. That left me with Mac OS X taking up the entire drive. I installed the SSD in my MacBook, following the instructions from iFixIt. I skipped the battery removal – it’s not really required and I don’t have the tri-wing driver needed to do so. Used pliers to get the screws off/on the side of the drive since I couldn’t find my Torx kit.

After booting into Mac OS X with my new drive, I used the Boot Camp Assistant to shrink the Mac OS partition down. At this point, I tried using Clonezilla to clone my old Windows partition over into the newly created Boot Camp partition, but I could not get it to boot, no matter what. I tried the Windows Startup Repair tools, various command line bcdedit things, etc., to no avail. I would always get “A disk read error occurred. Press Ctrl+Alt+Del to restart.” The partition was readable in Mac OS X, but it just wouldn’t boot.

I finally found this post over at Mark’s Machinations, who had similar issues when moving to a larger drive. I started where he says:

Now exit DiskUtil and fire up the BootCamp Assistant and create your BootCamp partition to whatever size you want.  Follow all of the instructions including inserting your Windows 7 installation disk and the click the “Install” button.

and continued from there. Reinstalled Windows. Cloned my old Windows partition on top (with the -m and -r flags and without the -j2 flag in Clonezilla, as stated in the instructions). Did the bdcedit bootrec dance to rebuild the BCD. After all that, all was well, and Windows 7 boots speedily!

I’m not entirely sure what the problem was – it might have been because I had GRUB installed previously. Or maybe it was an issue with the BCD store in Windows.

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Moot Booxle July 21, 2013, 9:20 pm

    Hey there, I found this post in a search for solutions to this very problem. I pretty much understand what you’re talking about – several people have recommended both Carbon Copy Cloner and Clonezilla – but I don’t quite grasp what bcdedit is and why I need it.
    I’m going from a 1TB HDD to a 2TB HDD in my Mac Pro, and I only want to increase the size of the OS X (Snow Leopard) partition – I’m cool with the 500GB size of my Windows 7 partition.
    Do you care to shed a bit more light on your process?
    The Mac partition seems simple enough to clone, as I suspected, but I’m a bit lost on what to do to get the Win7 partition moved over and functioning properly.

    So far I understand this:
    1. Use Carbon Copy Cloner to clone the OS X partition onto new HDD
    2. Do a fresh installation of Win 7 using Boot Camp Assistant on new HDD
    3. Use Clonezilla with -m and -r flags but not -j2 flag to clone the existing Win7 installation over top of the new one
    4. ??? bcdedit? I dunno.

    Thanks for any help you can provide.
    Moot B

  • RoboGourmet July 29, 2013, 12:46 am


    Sorry about the slow response – hopefully you’ve figured a solution out already, but just in case… I may be incorrect about using bcdedit, which is a utility in the Windows 7 Recovery console. It’s be awhile, but I think what I meant to write was that I did the bootrec commands at the end of the post I linked to at Mark’s Machinations, which does rebuild the BCD (boot configuration) but doesn’t actually involve the bcdedit tool.

    Hope that helps!

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