Merge two small disks into one large

Colin Law clanlaw at
Mon Apr 19 20:06:22 UTC 2010

On 19 April 2010 18:30, Liam Proven <lproven at> wrote:
> 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!

I see that now, I don't know how I did not see it before. A case of
seeing what I thought I knew, I think.

>>   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

Unfortunately I now realise (following a comment in one of the
replies) that my whole plan is flawed anyway.  The second stage of the
plan is to move to a new motherboard, and unfortunately, since Windows
is rubbish, that means I will have to re-install it anyway.  I think I
may look at VirtualBox rather than a dual boot system since I only
need Windows for a couple of legacy apps anyway.

Many thanks for the suggestions from all, I have learnt a lot.


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