Can I reinstall a Win 7 Image to a larger partition?


I had fist installed Win 7 in a separate partition so that I could dual boot between XP and Windows 7 until I was confortable that Win 7 was for me. I'm now happy with Win 7. XP is now on partion D:\ and Win 7 is on partion C:\. I just took an image of drive C:\ onto an external DVD.

If I reformat my hard drive, collapsing the two partitions into one, can I re-install the saved image onto the larger partition. The drive will be the same drive as before - just with one partition instead of two.

Or, am I asking the wrong question. I wanted to delete the XP partition and expand the Win7 partition to swallow it up but that doesn't seem to be working. I have managed to change the 'Active' partition from D to C so I think I'm half way there.

I am doing this on a laptop that only has a small hard drive. Each partition is 30 Gigs now and I want one large partition with 60 Gigs.

I don't want to do a complete reinstall of the OS if possible because I have configured all my apps just so and it took months (through the Betas, to RC1 and now RTM) to get all my Lenovo device drivers to work properly.

Any ideas would be helpful.



Yes, Maybe, No......

Those answers all depend on the software used to make the image... Generally,, all third party imaging software will do this.
I am not familiar enough with Windows Backup to say if it can nor not.

There are some tird party imageing software that do have problems if the drives size is different by even 1 number.

You can not with any software, image to a smaller drive. That I know of.

What manufacturer HDD is it?

Seagate has a free version of Acronis that should assist with this. But will only run on a Seagate HDD.
Western Digital might have something similar.

Np problems ...use Acronis Trueimage 2010 home I created an image of a 40 gig drive ..replaced drive with a 250 restored image no wucking furries

Glitch Re: Network Drive Credentials - glaring glitch
This is not a glitch. Windows 7 requires better overall security than XP.
This is by design and not a glitch.

I also,, highly recommend Acronis

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Thanks chebacca

OK, but I don't have Acronis. Is it open source or is this some kind of purchased imaging/ghosting program?

If possible I'd like to use the built in Windows 7 tools if they will work. I don't see why they shouldn't but I don't want to wipe my drive until I know for sure. If I discover that I can't use Win 7's built in tools, then I'll consider something like Acronis.

Tepid, re 'glaring glitch' (you are responding to my blog post here). It's one thing to impose that kind of security in an office environment, but in a home environment, its overkill, in my opinion. I don't need or want security as between my computers on my internal network. It is a needless pain in the butt without any benefit to me. I don't want to have to login with security credentials every day to my own PCs in my own home.


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That is certainly your prerogative, but that is the design.
Many Many Many people complained relentlessly about XP security. So.....

I do not know about the windows imaging,.,,


New Member
I use the open source tool partimage (on the SysrescCD) to image all my OS partitions. If the windows imaging tool is similar
it should restore to a larger drive just fine. When you perform another imaging with partimage it adjusts the image to fit the larger partition/drive so that subsequent restores must be to the larger partition/drive.
As suggested earlier partition will not restore to a partition that is smaller by even one byte.
If you find that the tool you use can't accomodate you try partimage. it is available on the SysrescCD at the site below.


I create images of all my OS partitions every couple of weeks or if I plan on doing something risky like doing a large update on a Linux distro. I use the moderate compression option built in to partimage to create images.
Doing so creates an image that is much smaller than the original. The tool only copies the used space.
eg: my Win 7 RC partition is 23 GB with Win 7 using 9.75 GB of that space. With compression the image is 4.86 GB.
This fits nicely on a 8 GB Cruzer Titanium.
Partimage runs outside of Windows (SysrescCD is a bootable CD).

With partimage I save the image to a fat 32 formatted drive partition on the same drive or directly to a fat 32 thumb drive.
I then copy the images to an external drive for safekeeping.

It takes about 25 minutes to create an image of my Win 7 install (partimage does NTFS) but you can't restore from an NTFS formatted storage location, hence the fat 32.
Restoring from my thumb drive takes about 3-4 minutes including boot time for SysrescCD.

Using either method you may have to use the repair option of your Win 7 install media to restore the bootloader, no big deal.

As an example of how handy partimage is I recently purchased a 320 GB drive to replace my 200 GB drive.
I partitioned my new drive to have exactly the same sized OS partitions as my smaller original HDD, using the greater capacity to create much larger Fat 32 and NTFS storage partitions than the original.
Using partimage I was able to restore all my OS's to the new drive (in about 45 minutes).
I did have to repair the Win 7 bootloader using my Win 7 install USB flash media, no big thing, took about 2 minutes.
And then restore my Grub bootloader using SuperGrub CD to allow access to all my OS's (4 linux installs).

Of course what you're proposing is much simpler.

If I get some time I will try the tool you used to see if I can answer your question, I have a spare HDD I can experiment with.

BTW, partimage will transparently break up an image larger than 4 GB into smaller images to allow storing and recovering from a fat 32 partition or thumb drive. You actually can specify the point where a new image is created.
In my case I specify 3.8 GB as the cutoff point, so for instance with my Win 7 image I get two images, one 3.8 GB and the other 1.06 GB. An example of this, again using my Win 7 is that the resulting images win7rc.000 and win7rc.001, the restore process seamlessly combines the two.

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Wow, thanks Frank. I'd be really curious to hear how it goes if you do the test with the Windows 7 tool. I'm not really in any rush. I just want to do this someday in the next while so I can wait a bit to see if anyone can tell me for sure it will work with the built-in tool before I purchase others to do it.

Thanks again.


Wow, thanks Frank. I'd be really curious to hear how it goes if you do the test with the Windows 7 tool. I'm not really in any rush. I just want to do this someday in the next while so I can wait a bit to see if anyone can tell me for sure it will work with the built-in tool before I purchase others to do it.

Thanks again.

Dale, I'm trying it right now. Be aware that Partimage and the SysrescCD are absolutely free.
If needed I can walk you through creating and restoring an image using partimage, I know for a fact that partimage would work.

Hi Dale,

No need to purchase anything.

Macrium Reflect free version is awesome. You can image your partition/ drive from within windows - and restore with the cd you run off from within the program ( Select the Linux option for the cd ).

It is much much more user friendly than the free stuff like clonezilla etc.

It also allows you to schedule backups, and mount an image to restore individual files, instead of the whole partition.

Incredibly small and fast.

You might make an image with Macrium.

Then try restoring the Windows Backup image - if the windows one doesn't work, then restore the Macrium image instead.

My guess is you will find Macrium so much better than Windows backup - you will use it all the time.

Macrium Reflect FREE Edition - Information and download

Well Dale, while the Windows Imaging tool seemed to create an image OK.
It failed, with an error, to restore. Something about invalid parameters.

I really didn't expect it to work.

If you use partimage you can restore to a spare HDD to make sure it works ok.

I perform a restore immediately after creating each image to ensure the image restore will work.

I restore to a second HDD that is identical to the original (it is the same smaller drive I duplicated as noted in my earlier post). I run the second drive in a HDD docking device (USB).
If the restores work ok then I save the new images to my
external drive, replacing the older images.

For future restore purposes I restore from my thumb drives.

I have a 16 GB flash drive with images for XP, Intrepid Ubuntu 64 bit, PCLinux09 Gnome and PCLinuxOS KDE.
My Win7 image is on an 8 GB flash drive.

I've only had a couple of failures, caused by my thumb drive becoming jostled during the restore, thereby interupting the connection.

I've since learned to stay well away from my thumb drive during a restore.

I am afraid I have seen quite a few examples of Windows failing to restore the image - sometimes even unable to locate the image although it is visible in explorer.

I recommend using something else.


Excellent Member
Microsoft Community Contributor
Windows will put the partition back just like it found it. Once that is done, just use the Disk Management in Administrative tools to enlarge.

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