• Guest, The rules for the P & N subforum have been updated to prohibit "ad hominem" or personal attacks against other posters. See the full details in the post "Politics and News Rules & Guidelines."

Can't clone large laptop drive to smaller SSD

Fardringle

Diamond Member
Oct 23, 2000
8,768
298
126
This could be an operating system problem since it's an error with the files/partitions on the drive instead of the drive itself, but I figured I'd start here to see if anyone has any ideas how to resolve it.

I am trying to clone a 1TB Toshiba mechanical drive in a Dell Inspiron 15-7548 laptop to a new 256GB Samsung EVO 850. The Toshiba drive only has about 110GB total used including all special and recovery partitions, so the size shouldn't be a problem, and I'm using a Norton Ghost USB boot drive for the cloning so it automatically resizes the primary data partition and leaves the other smaller partitions intact. This _should_ work, and did work on another almost identical machine last week. I've also done it on many dozens of machines at work (although those got 850 Pro drives instead of EVOs) and never had a problem.

However, when I try to clone this drive I keep getting errors when the cloning process tries write to the recovery partition at the end of the disk. The error message is "Unable to allocate enough contiguous free space to load run. Increase the destination partition size or run Ghost with -NTEXACT switch." I've tried doing this on the laptop with an external USB to SATA adapter and also with both the Toshiba 1TB and EVO 256GB in a desktop machine and get the same error either way. I checked the drives using GPARTED and it shows that all of the partitions on both drives have exactly the same amount of used data except the RCV partition which has about 6GB used on the original drive but only 56MB used on the SSD, so it's definitely not writing all of the data.

Normally I wouldn't worry about it since the RCV partition is for the original Windows 7 Home that came with the laptop, and the computer is running Windows 10 now, but the SSD won't boot in this condition and gives a very unhelpful "Error: Windows failed to start" and doesn't even give the option to try the startup repair. I could probably just delete the RCV partition from the original drive so Ghost doesn't even try/fail to clone it, but the inability to boot from the SSD makes me wonder if there are some important system boot files on that partition.

I have tried cloning with other software including Macrium Reflect, Clonezilla, and Samsung's own cloning software that came with the SSD, but they all complain that they can't clone the drive because the destination is smaller than the source even though the actual data will fit on the SSD.

I ran a full CHKDSK /f /r on the source drive to check for file system corruption but it said there were no errors at all, and both HDTUNE and SPINRITE report zero bad sectors on the drive.

I can't think of anything else to try at this point. Any ideas?
 

Elixer

Lifer
May 7, 2002
10,378
763
126
I know True Image could do it, but, since you are running into bad luck, I would shrink the partition in question to 120GB or whatever, and then clone it over.
Do note that Ghost does NOT align the partitions correctly on the SSD!
 

Fardringle

Diamond Member
Oct 23, 2000
8,768
298
126
The data partition is cloning and resizing fine. It's the 7.6GB recovery partition at the end of the drive that is getting the error..
 

Elixer

Lifer
May 7, 2002
10,378
763
126
Oh, sorry, but, I would still shrink the main partition down, and then I would clone/copy the recovery (are we sure it is the recovery partition? That is usually at the start, don't think I have seen it at the end?) partition on the HD, and see if that works.
 

Dahak

Diamond Member
Mar 2, 2000
3,749
23
81
The data partition is cloning and resizing fine. It's the 7.6GB recovery partition at the end of the drive that is getting the error..
If its like what happens when I used to clone HP drives with ghost, I used to have to edit the partition sizes as ghost kept saying it ran out of contiguous space.

so when it shows the partitions on the destination drive, I usually tell it to shrink the main one by 1 - 2 gbs and then in crease the recovery partition by the same 1-2 gb
 

corkyg

Elite Member | Peripherals
Super Moderator
Mar 4, 2000
27,368
232
106
As has been said, current TI using Proportional setting will handle this. Use bootable media - don't do it from qithin Windows and you should have no problem.
 

Fardringle

Diamond Member
Oct 23, 2000
8,768
298
126
It's definitely the RCV partition where Ghost is failing since after Ghost goes through the process to about 95% and then gets the contiguous space error, I have looked at the partitions on the SSD using Gparted and can see that all partitions look intact with exact matching data sizes as the original drive, except for the RCV partition that only has about 56MB used on the SSD compared to a bit over 6GB used on the source drive.

I'll try TrueImage tonight to see if it gets better results.
 

Fardringle

Diamond Member
Oct 23, 2000
8,768
298
126
So maybe I won't try TrueImage. It looks like the only way I can _try_ it to see if it will work on this drive is to buy the full version. I don't mind paying for software that I can use, but $50 is steep for something that I'm afraid probably won't work.

It's starting to look like a fresh install of Windows is in the near future for this laptop, even though I really don't want to do that since my wife has lots of programs and old games that will be difficult to find and reinstall since many of them came from now non-existent online sources..
 

Fardringle

Diamond Member
Oct 23, 2000
8,768
298
126
If its like what happens when I used to clone HP drives with ghost, I used to have to edit the partition sizes as ghost kept saying it ran out of contiguous space.

so when it shows the partitions on the destination drive, I usually tell it to shrink the main one by 1 - 2 gbs and then in crease the recovery partition by the same 1-2 gb
Interesting. I might try that to see if it gives a different result.
 

Auric

Diamond Member
Oct 11, 1999
9,596
2
71
I generally use DOS Ghost for backups and clones too but managed a similar transition recently with Reflect by booting from the WinPE Rescue media, selecting clone this disk and the target disk, then dragging each partition from source to target and adjusting the cloned partition's properties as necessary for reduced size and alignment. In this case, the OS partition had been reduced previously so all were direct copies except "D:" which was originally just a recovery partition but expanded for backup/media/download. If Over Provisioning is desired as recommended by Samsung Magician then leave about 10% free after the last partition.
 

Elixer

Lifer
May 7, 2002
10,378
763
126
So maybe I won't try TrueImage. It looks like the only way I can _try_ it to see if it will work on this drive is to buy the full version. I don't mind paying for software that I can use, but $50 is steep for something that I'm afraid probably won't work.
Hmm? They have a free version, and also free versions from HD makers (and some SSD makers). Check their websties and see if they offer a free version of TI.
 

Fardringle

Diamond Member
Oct 23, 2000
8,768
298
126
Hmm? They have a free version, and also free versions from HD makers (and some SSD makers). Check their websties and see if they offer a free version of TI.
The Acronis True Image web site only has the options for a free trial that specifically does not include disk cloning, or the purchased version to get access to cloning. I might be able to find a download from another hard drive manufacturer, but I'm not sure which companies make use of it.
 

Batmeat

Senior member
Feb 1, 2011
771
34
91
Acronis true image will do it. I have True Image 2016. I literally did this yesterday to my mother-in-laws laptop. You can choose automatic mode (set it and forget it) or advanced mode to tinker with settings. I cloned a 320gb hitachi to a Samsung 840 250gb. Plugged in the SSD when it was done and booted without issue. The only thing it didn't do was align the partition. This is easy to do though. There's a few free software titles out there that will do it with ease.
 

Fardringle

Diamond Member
Oct 23, 2000
8,768
298
126
I realized that I have a 2 TB Western Digital storage drive in my desktop PC so I downloaded WD's branded version of Acronis and cloned my wife's laptop hard drive to the SSD with both connected to SATA ports in my PC. Acronis didn't report any errors, but the laptop still could not boot from the SSD.

Thinking that it might be a bad SSD, I cloned the 500GB system drive in my PC to the 256GB SSD, letting Acronis automatically resize the system partition and it works perfectly in the PC. I did it again with the Norton Ghost boot USB that I had originally tried on the laptop and it also worked perfectly in the PC, so it's starting to look like one of two possibilities:
1) There's something screwy with the data on one or more of the partitions on the laptop, even though CHKDSK and other drive test utilities say it's fine.
2) The EVO 850 drive is somehow not compatible with the Dell Inspiron 15-7548 laptop.

Either way, I'm annoyed since I specifically wanted to get an SSD in the laptop since my wife uses it to work from home. Having an SSD in my desktop PC is nice, of course, but really not needed at all since it's primarily used for me to check email and for the kids to play games.

So...any ideas how to either resolve the problem on the laptop short of a clean OS install (she'd rather keep the old mechanical drive rather than reinstall Windows)? Or if there is a hardware conflict, which SSD would be compatible with the laptop?
 

tcsenter

Lifer
Sep 7, 2001
17,848
24
81
I just did this successfully with Macrium Reflect Free version (latest 6.x build as of six days ago), to clone a 1TB HDD to 240GB SSD (HDD had ~120GB used after doing cleanup). I created bootable Rescue media (USB flash drive) so that I could do it 'offline', but probably could have done it 'online' from Windows, too. My case had complexities in that it was a Lenovo laptop with SEVEN factory created partitions, four of which were hidden for things like system restore and diagnostics partition(s).

There was a (visible) partition named "Lenovo" that was only 25GB appeared to be repository for drivers and bundled application installers. I didn't worry about including that one since I have complete system restore DVD set including application(s) disc, plus I can download most of that stuff from Lenovo, anyway. Connected the SSD via USB external enclosure.

So when booting to Macrium, detecting available devices and all that, get to the screen where you can select to 'clone this drive' to target/destination drive. I selected source drive and it automatically checked all partitions for cloning. I cleared the check for the 25GB 'Lenovo' partition because I didn't want it. Then selected destination drive and it visually represents how the destination drive will look, giving an error that not all partitions could be copied (due to size). At this stage it is not actually cloning, just confirming/checking that all partitions will copy.

The problem was the large main partition that was like ~780GB, which Macrium resized up to the maximum space available but this left no space for partitions coming after it. So I selected that partition (on the destination/target) side, and clicked "Cloned Partition Details/Properties" which will bring up a screen allowing you to resize/customize that partition. I changed the partition size to fit the new drive, allowing for the remaining partitions to be copied (leaving 500MB as unallocated), then dragged the other outstanding partitions to their respective position on the visual representation of the destination drive. It proceeded just fine and all partitions were cloned (except that Lenovo partition). It didn't give me any error on first boot into Windows, even though Secure Boot and all that was enabled.
 

Fardringle

Diamond Member
Oct 23, 2000
8,768
298
126
Macrium Reflect is a good program. Unfortunately, neither it or any other program I've tried has resolved the problem for this one computer. It has to be a data problem in one or more of the partitions, or a compatibility issue with the laptop and the EVO 850 SSD.
 

Fardringle

Diamond Member
Oct 23, 2000
8,768
298
126
I can make an image on my 2TB USB drive, but attempting to put that image on the SSD still fails in the same way..
 

tcsenter

Lifer
Sep 7, 2001
17,848
24
81
Is it possible there is existing partition/boot sector on the SSD that is different from the HDD (e.g. GPT v. MBR)? Try using diskpart to nuke all partition tables/descriptors, start with a truly unprepped SSD. Have you tried manually adjusting the partition sizes as I described above? If that largest partition is the last partition on the disk, Macrium will handle it but it seems to fumble when there are additional partitions that come after the main (largest) one. It resizes the large partition using up all the remaining free space on the drive, leaving no free space for partitions coming after.
 

Fardringle

Diamond Member
Oct 23, 2000
8,768
298
126
The SSD was completely wiped of all data and partitions before each cloning attempt. I did try manually adjusting the partition size before cloning as well with no change, which is why I really think it's a compatibility problem, or possibly some bizarre data/corruption issue that affects cloning but doesn't affect normal operation of the computer. The recovery partition is the last partition on the disk, and the cloning fails on that partition even if I manually verify that the allocated partition size on the SSD is exactly the same as the original drive.

I'd really like to put an SSD in this laptop, but I gave up on trying to clone it to the smaller SSD for now, and my wife does not want a clean install of Windows so she'll just keep the mechanical drive until she either decides to let me do a clean install, or until I'm willing to buy a bigger SSD that doesn't require resizing the partitions.
 

tcsenter

Lifer
Sep 7, 2001
17,848
24
81
OK I'm convinced. Something funky non-standard about Dell's partition table/descriptors that is causing the cloning software to choke on it.
 

Fardringle

Diamond Member
Oct 23, 2000
8,768
298
126
OK I'm convinced. Something funky non-standard about Dell's partition table/descriptors that is causing the cloning software to choke on it.
That's my conclusion as well, unless it's simply a hardware incompatibility (I've read a few reviews of people having trouble with some older Samsung SSDs in this laptop). So my wife will just keep using the slow mechanical drive until (or if) she eventually decides that a faster computer is worth possibly losing some old downloaded games with a fresh install of Windows without the extra partitions.
 

sdifox

No Lifer
Sep 30, 2005
81,292
7,599
126
I just did this for my wife's inspiron 1564 and this is what I did.

reduced the combined combined size down to below ssd size.

I used some partition utility (i think it was ease us) and it took a while since I was resizing the boot partition and the recovery partition. Would have been faster to pull the drive and do it from another machine. Dont know why I bothered with the recovery since that it is not win10 anyway.

then used Macrium boot mode to clone directly to target. Target was a crucial mx500. Swap and boot.


Now I just need to figure out why win10 is stuck doing shutdow forever. Probably win10 driver hell. I told her to just hybernate ;)
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY