Merge two small disks into one large

Liam Proven lproven at
Mon Apr 19 17:30:43 UTC 2010

On Sat, Apr 17, 2010 at 9:58 PM, Colin Law <clanlaw at> wrote:
> 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?

DD is the hard way. You will have to manually make partitions and so
on. Why bother? Gparted is designed for this. Select, copy, go to new
disk, paste, repeat, click apply. It does all the work for you.

> would like to understand the issues.  Also I don't see how to copy a
> partition using gparted.

Copy is one of the main menu options!

>   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
> here.

The way I'd do it, as I said:
 - copy XP
 - reboot
 - use XP boot CD to run CHKDSK, ensure it's OK, make it bootable

If all works, repeat to copy Linux.

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

Well, no, but I'd hope it was!

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