Merge two small disks into one large

Colin Law clanlaw at
Sat Apr 17 20:58:29 UTC 2010

On 17 April 2010 21:22, Liam Proven <lproven at> wrote:
> On Sat, Apr 17, 2010 at 9:12 PM, Colin Law <clanlaw at> wrote:
>> Hi
>> I have two 40MB disks in a PC with XP and an ntfs share partition on
>> one and 9.10 on the other in a dual boot setup with grub2.
>> I am getting a larger disk and wish, if possible, to merge the data
>> from the two disks onto the new one.  I see how to clone the first one
>> using something like
>> dd if=/dev/sda of=/dev/sdc bs=64k
>> which I believe will copy the XP and data partitions to the new disk.
>> Should I then make a new partition on the new disk and copy the second
>> disk to it by
>> dd if=/dev/sdb of=/dev/sdc2  (or whatever the new partition is)?
>> My intended result is of course that I can then make the new disk the
>> boot device and my dual boot system should work as it did before.
>> Usually when I have such questions I am happy to experiment and learn
>> by my mistakes but I have not used dd and am a little nervous in the
>> face of it's potentially disastrous power.  My data will of course be
>> backed up but I do not particularly relish reinstalling XP since my
>> install disks are at least a couple of service packs behind.
> I think you mean 40 *G*B, not MB. If you've installed anything much
> newer than Windows 95 into 40 meg, I'll be impressed!

Yes, of course.  Showing my age I think.  My first PC did have a 10MB
hard disk and was the size of two CD drives.

> Boot off the Ubuntu install CD and use Gparted, it's *much* easier and
> will do this for you. I recommend copying XP first, getting it
> booting, then doing Ubuntu, as you are going to have to reinstall GRUB
> afterwards.

When you say it is much easier, is there a fundamental flaw in my
suggested technique or is it just more complicated than I imagine?  I
would like to understand the issues.  Also I don't see how to copy a
partition using gparted.  If I just copy the XP partition will it boot
at all?  I thought that by installing ubuntu and hence grub that I had
overwritten the boot bit of XP, though I am out of my comfort zone

My plan was to boot off the live CD to do whatever I have to do,
though I did not mention that.

> Note, you can only have 4 primary partitions on a single PC hard disk.
> The /recommended/ "standard" config is one primary, one extended & all
> the others as logicals in that. I'd make your XP C: drive the primary
> & all the others logicals, if I were you.
> Afterwards, your Ubuntu root FS - assuming it's the 1st in the
> extended partition - will be /dev/hda5 or /dsev/sda5.

Understood, thanks.


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