Cloning System Partition, Recreating EFI and Recovery partitions...

TheMystic

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This tutorial attempts to achieve the objectives using built-in tools, without use of 3rd party software.

A fresh and clean installation is always the best thing to do, because in addition to a bug-free Windows experience, everything outside the Windows environment like the EFI partition, Recovery partition, and overall system integrity remains intact and well maintained.

However, there are times when simply cloning the current system is preferred. This is not just to save time, but also because the existing system may contain drivers (e.g. BootCamp drivers) and other factors that setting up everything fresh becomes too much time consuming, and sometimes not possible too.

Under these circumstances, the following guide will ensure that you can quickly clone your current system to an external SSD (or an internal one) that can be used on both Windows PC as well as a Mac (assuming the existing system already has the required BootCamp drivers).


BASICS

Before explaining the steps, just know some basics of how the computer functions.

Every time you power on your computer, your system firmware first loads a hidden partition on the boot device called the EFI partition. This partition contains information about the installed operating systems as well as their paths (on the disk). In my experience, simply cloning an existing system partition to another device will often not be enough to make it bootable. This is probably because it breaks the OS paths in the new EFI partition that is automatically created in the cloning process. When that happens, you cannot boot from the target device unless the EFI partition is fixed with the correct path to the OS installed in the target disk.


LESSONS IN THIS TUTORIAL

So in this tutorial, we will see 3 things:

1. How to clone the system partition.
2. How to fix the EFI partition.
3. How to restore the native Windows Recovery Environment (if that gets broken too in the cloning process).


CLONING THE SYSTEM PARTITION


Things Required

1. Backup/ Cloning software: Most cloning software allow system cloning only in their paid version, so keep that in mind. See comment 1 if you don't want to use 3rd party software.

2. External SSD/ HDD/ Flash Drive.

3. External keyboard and mouse (only if you want to boot from the target disk on a Mac and your existing system doesn't have BootCamp drivers).

Process

This is a very straight-forward process.

1. Ensure that the target disk is partitioned as GPT. This is best for Windows 10 and newer. If it is not partitioned as GPT, you can use a partition assistant software that will allow you to convert the partition from MBR to GPT without losing data. Most free versions of well known partition softwares will allow you to do this.
2. Clone the system to the target disk (or a partition in the target disk) using the cloning software. If you are cloning the system that you have booted into, use the System Clone feature. If you are cloning the system partition on another disk/ partition, use the Clone Disk/ Partition feature.
3. When using the System Clone feature, you will see that the hidden EFI partition is automatically included. This EFI partition is often broken in the target disk, and we will see how to fix this in the next section.
4. Once cloning is complete, try booting from the target device. If it boots fine, great. If it doesn't boot, then here are the steps to make it boot.


RECREATING THE EFI PARTITION

Things Required

1. Windows Recovery Disk (if you can't boot into Recovery or if the native Recovery doesn't have command prompt feature)

Process

1. Boot to Recovery. If you don't have one or if it is broken, then connect your Windows Recovery Disk (you have to create one if you don't already have it).
2. Go to Command Prompt while in Recovery:

diskpart
list vol
sel vol x
(here 'x' is the volume number of the EFI partition of the target disk; check the result from the previous command)
format quick fs=fat32 label="EFI T5" (you can give any name that helps you to identify the partition easily; in my case, I was installing Windows 10 on my Samsung T5 SSD, hence I named it as EFI T5; you can replace the text within the quotes with one of your choice)
set id=C12A7328-F81F-11D2-BA4B-00A0C93EC93B
assign letter=a
(you can replace 'a' with any alphabet that is not currently in use)
list vol (make sure that all the windows partitions in the target disk have a letter assigned to them; if any does not have a letter assigned, then assign a letter to each one of them as in the previous steps: select the correct volume number of the OS partition first and then assign a letter)

exit

Now we have to copy the boot files (which contain the OS paths) from each of the installed Windows OS to the EFI partition.

Pass the following command(s):

bcdboot c:\windows /s a:
(here, I'm assuming that the letter for the OS partition is 'c'; check the letter in your case as it need not be 'c'; use the correct letter for the OS partition that you see in your case; repeat this command for all the operating systems installed in the target disk, replacing 'c' with the corresponding letter of the OS; also remember that 'a' is the letter I used for the EFI partition; if you have assigned a different letter, then replace 'a' with the letter you have assigned for the EFI partition)

exit

Reboot.

If the disk has multiple OS installations, the OS Boot Manager should now show all of them, so you can choose which one to boot from.

If your target disk has multiple OS installed, you will see that there is an EFI partition for each of them. You can safely format/ delete all those except the first one. The system prefers the EFI partition to be installed at the beginning of the disk, so keep the 1st one and format the rest. In our case, it is the one that we assigned the letter 'a'.

To format the additional EFI partitions in the target disk, use DISKPART in command prompt:

diskpart

lis vol

sel vol x
(where 'x' is the volume number of the additional EFI partitions in the target disk; repeat this for all the additional EFI partitions)

format quick fs=fat32

Remember, that you must only delete the extra EFI partitions on the target disk, not the ones on other disks that are attached to your system.

Every bootable disk needs just one EFI partition (preferably at the beginning of the disk because that is where the firmware first looks for one) and one Recovery partition. If you are using a multi-boot disk (assuming they are all Windows), a single EFI partition is enough that should contain the paths of all the OSes in the disk. The process above will accomplish this.

Also, each disk needs to have just one Recovery partition. You don't need a separate EFI or separate Recovery partition for each of the OSes installed. Having one EFI and one Recovery on the disk itself would suffice.



RECREATING THE RECOVERY PARTITION (can be done from inside Windows)

Things Required

1. Windows ISO (preferably the latest one)

2. 7zip or any archiver installed


Sometimes, the recovery partition can become corrupt. If that is the case, you won't be able to boot into Recovery or create a recovery disk. Troubleshooting Windows from recovery won't be possible in such cases. But we can restore it as follows:

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

If the recovery partition does not exist, create it as follows:

Open command prompt with administrative privileges:

diskpart
list vol
(note the volume number for Windows partition)
sel vol x (where x is the volume number of the Windows partition from above result)
shrink desired=1024 (this will create a Recovery partition of size 1 GB)
create par pri
format quick fs=NTFS label=Recovery
set id=DE94BBA4-06D1-4D40-A16A-BFD50179D6AC
(this is the id for Recovery partition)
gpt attributes=0x8000000000000001
exit


____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

If the recovery partition already exists but is corrupt, then format the recovery partition using command prompt:

diskpart

list vol
sel vol x
(where 'x' is the volume number of the recovery partition from the result above)
format quick fs=NTFS label=Recovery
set id=DE94BBA4-06D1-4D40-A16A-BFD50179D6AC
(this is the id for Recovery partition)
gpt attributes=0x8000000000000001
exit


____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

ENABLING THE RECOVERY ENVIRONMENT (do it from inside Windows)


1. reagentc /disable (you may see an output that says it is already disabled; it doesn't matter)

2. Go to C:\Windows\System32\Recovery and delete all files there.

3. Copy* WinRE.wim and the uninitialized ReAgent.xml files from the installation Media (ISO file) to C:\Windows\System32\Recovery

4. reagentc /enable (this will move WinRe.wim to the Recovery partition and set the GUID and location in ReAgent.xml)

After restoring the recovery partition, you'll be able to create a recovery disk on an external USB device.


*Here are the steps:

1. Right click the Windows ISO file
2. Use 7zip to open archive (just open; don't have to extract it)
3. Sources
4. Locate the install.wim (or install.esd) file
5. Right click and open
6. Choose the correct folder for your edition of Windows:

1 - Windows 10 Home
2 - Windows 10 Home N
3 - Windows 10 Home Single Language
4 - Windows 10 Education
5 - Windows 10 Education N
6 - Windows 10 Pro
7 - Windows 10 Pro N
8 - Windows 10 Pro Education
9 - Windows 10 Pro Education N
10 - Windows 10 Pro for Workstations
11 - Windows 10 Pro N for Workstations

In case of Windows Home, choose the folder '1'; for Windows Pro, choose folder '6', etc.

7. Go to Windows\ System32\ Recovery
8. Copy the two files (ReAgent.xml and Winre.wim) to your system (C:\Windows\System32\Recovery)



IN ALL OF THE DISKPART COMMANDS, BE EXTREMELY CAREFUL IN SELECTING THE CORRECT VOLUMES/ PARTITIONS/ DISKS. YOU MUST ONLY SELECT THE CORRECT VOLUMES IN YOUR TARGET DISK. DOUBLE CHECK THIS BEFORE PASSING THE COMMANDS.


DISCLAIMER

With the process above, you will have a bootable system with its own recovery environment. I am not sure if this breaks anything. Everything works fine as it should as far as I have tested. Your mileage may vary depending on the hardware you use and the way you use your system.

.
 
Windows Build/Version
Windows 11 21H2 Build 22000.282
Last edited:

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    HP
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TheMystic

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There are methods where 3rd party softwares are not required. I'll post the details here later.


1. Creating an image of the existing system:

Create an empty folder called 'Scratch' in a partition with atleast 20 or 30 GB free space. This can be done via command prompt too while in recovery. This folder will be used to store temporary files during the image creation process, and these files will automatically be deleted after the image creation process is completed.

dism /capture-image /imagefile:E:\install.wim /capturedir:\ /ScratchDir:E:\Scratch /name:"AnyName" /description:"Description you want to provide for the image" /compress:maximum /checkintegrity /verify /bootable

Replace drive letter E in imagefile switch with the drive letter and folder path of the target drive where you want your custom install.wim be written (saved), drive letter D in capturedir switch with the Windows system partition, and temporarily working folder Scratch path with correct path.

2. Writing the new image to the target disk/ partition. The command is as follows:

E:dism /apply-image /imagefile:install.wim /index:1 /applydir:T:

Replace 'T' with the drive letter of the target disk/ partition where you want to write the image created in the previous step.
 
Last edited:

My Computer

System One

  • Operating System
    Windows 11
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    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    HP Envy dv7
    CPU
    Intel Core i7 3630QM
    Motherboard
    HP
    Memory
    16 GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Intel HD Graphics 4000 & Nvidia GeForce GT 635M
    Sound Card
    IDT High Definition
    Screen Resolution
    1080p
    Hard Drives
    250 GB Samsung Evo 860 on bay 1.
    1 TB Seagate HDD on bay 2.
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TheMystic

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My Computer

System One

  • Operating System
    Windows 11
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    HP Envy dv7
    CPU
    Intel Core i7 3630QM
    Motherboard
    HP
    Memory
    16 GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Intel HD Graphics 4000 & Nvidia GeForce GT 635M
    Sound Card
    IDT High Definition
    Screen Resolution
    1080p
    Hard Drives
    250 GB Samsung Evo 860 on bay 1.
    1 TB Seagate HDD on bay 2.
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    Windows Defender

cereberus

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Frankly, who in their right mind would clone like this!

It is far easier and quicker to install Macrium Reflect Free or similar and clone using that, with very little user knowledge needed.

Also, I hate it when people say a clean install is the best. "Best" is a very subjective term.

It is funny when people say that, they neglect to tell people they need to make sure they have all installation keys for software available. I have lost count of number of times people find they cannot reactivate say Office after a clean install!

In my opinion, a clean install is a last resort.
 

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  • Operating System
    Windows 10 Pro + others in VHDs
    Computer type
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    Manufacturer/Model
    ASUS Vivobook 14
    CPU
    I7
    Motherboard
    Yep, Laptop has one.
    Memory
    16 GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Integrated Intel Iris XE
    Sound Card
    Realtek built in
    Monitor(s) Displays
    N/A
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    1 TB Optane NVME SSD, 1 TB NVME SSD
    PSU
    Yep, got one
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    Yep, got one
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    Stella Artois
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TheMystic

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Frankly, who in their right mind would clone like this!

It is far easier and quicker to install Macrium Reflect Free or similar and clone using that, with very little user knowledge needed.

Also, I hate it when people say a clean install is the best. "Best" is a very subjective term.

It is funny when people say that, they neglect to tell people they need to make sure they have all installation keys for software available. I have lost count of number of times people find they cannot reactivate say Office after a clean install!

In my opinion, a clean install is a last resort.
When cloning the system partition to a partition on another disk which has Windows installed in another partition, the target disk fails to boot if cloned using 3rd party software. In that case, the EFI partition needs to be updated. Likewise, the Recovery partition too has been seen to stop working properly with a lot of options missing, especially command prompt, so that too has to be recreated.

This tutorial does just that. It does use a 3rd party software to clone the partition, although it can be done without use of 3rd party softwares too.

I'm not claiming this is the best method. You are free to pitch in with better methods, and I'll improve the OP with those, if they are good enough.

Also, I said clean install is best because it creates all the required partitions properly. Also, I see that some commands don't work properly from Recovery (e.g. bootrec /fixboot) when we don't use clean install. So that explains the statement.
 

My Computer

System One

  • Operating System
    Windows 11
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    HP Envy dv7
    CPU
    Intel Core i7 3630QM
    Motherboard
    HP
    Memory
    16 GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Intel HD Graphics 4000 & Nvidia GeForce GT 635M
    Sound Card
    IDT High Definition
    Screen Resolution
    1080p
    Hard Drives
    250 GB Samsung Evo 860 on bay 1.
    1 TB Seagate HDD on bay 2.
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender

cereberus

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When cloning the system partition to a partition on another disk which has Windows installed in another partition, the target disk fails to boot if cloned using 3rd party software. In that case, the EFI partition needs to be updated. Likewise, the Recovery partition too has been seen to stop working properly with a lot of options missing, especially command prompt, so that too has to be recreated.

This tutorial does just that. It does use a 3rd party software to clone the partition, although it can be done without use of 3rd party softwares too.

I'm not claiming this is the best method. You are free to pitch in with better methods, and I'll improve the OP with those, if they are good enough.

Also, I said clean install is best because it creates all the required partitions properly. Also, I see that some commands don't work properly from Recovery (e.g. bootrec /fixboot) when we don't use clean install. So that explains the statement.
This is just not the case.

I and many here have cloned drives many times using Macrium Reflect and it just works. It is a piece of cake to drag and drop all partitions in correct order.

Of course, some people have screwed up their partitions such the efi partition is on a different drive to windows but is take seccnds to sort that out even with relatively minimal knowledge.

There are excellent tutorials on Reflect here.

It is just so much simpler using Reflect.

Ok the tutorials do not specifically cover cloning but are more geared to making and restoring image backups but the basic principles are the same.

Select partions, drag and drop to reorder, hit clone.

My point is your approach is really only for people with a good understanding (and they will know how to clone anyway). Lesser experienced people will just get lost - few understand how winre works for example.

There are loads of youtube videos on how to clone with Reflect as well. There are other tools AOMEI, minitool, Easeus etc and although guis may differ, cloning principles are similar.

In the end, this tutorial is useful for education I guess but I cannot really see end users using it over a tool like Reflect as it is overcomplicated and requires a detailed understanding most users just do not have.

For more info, see

 
Last edited:

My Computer

System One

  • Operating System
    Windows 10 Pro + others in VHDs
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    ASUS Vivobook 14
    CPU
    I7
    Motherboard
    Yep, Laptop has one.
    Memory
    16 GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Integrated Intel Iris XE
    Sound Card
    Realtek built in
    Monitor(s) Displays
    N/A
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    1 TB Optane NVME SSD, 1 TB NVME SSD
    PSU
    Yep, got one
    Case
    Yep, got one
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    Stella Artois
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    Bluetooth , wired
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NavyLCDR

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I've clone many drives using either Macrium Reflect Free or Minitool Partition Wizard and they have booted just fine.

Now, personally, I do like doing things with the built-in manual Windows commands. So the DISM method is interesting. But cloning partitions to other drives, even I am going to stick with Reflect or Minitool!
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • Operating System
    Windows 11
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Homebuilt
    CPU
    AMD Ryzen 7 3800XT
    Motherboard
    ASUS ROG Crosshair VII Hero (WiFi)
    Memory
    32GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Education
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Inspiron 7773
    CPU
    Intel i7-8550U
    Memory
    32GB
    Graphics card(s)
    Nvidia Geforce MX150
    Sound Card
    Realtek
    Monitor(s) Displays
    17"
    Screen Resolution
    1920 x 1080
    Hard Drives
    Toshiba 512GB NVMe SSD
    SK Hynix 512GB SATA SSD
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Winuser

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Frankly, who in their right mind would clone like this!

It is far easier and quicker to install Macrium Reflect Free or similar and clone using that, with very little user knowledge needed.

Also, I hate it when people say a clean install is the best. "Best" is a very subjective term.

It is funny when people say that, they neglect to tell people they need to make sure they have all installation keys for software available. I have lost count of number of times people find they cannot reactivate say Office after a clean install!

In my opinion, a clean install is a last resort.
I truly believe that unless someone is having a problem that they can't fix a clean install is unneeded. I have programs that I have to go online and deactivate before I can reinstall them. I have at least one program that I would have to buy again if I wanted to move it. I also have some programs on my old desktop that were downloaded from the Free Give Away sites that are a onetime install only.
Edit: I wonder how many users that recommend clean install to remove all the junk files to speed up the computer think that Reg cleaners are snake oil?
 

My Computer

System One

  • Operating System
    Windows 11
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    PowerSpec B746
    CPU
    Intel Core i7-10700K
    Motherboard
    ASRock Z490 Phantom Gaming 4/ax
    Memory
    16GB (8GB PC4-19200 DDR4 SDRAM x2)
    Graphics Card(s)
    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 TI
    Sound Card
    Realtek Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Samsung SAM0A87
    Screen Resolution
    1920 x 1080
    Hard Drives
    NVMe WDC WDS100T2B0C-00PXH0 1TB
    Samsung SSD 860 EVO 1TB
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Quandary

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I recommend a clean install, when it is practical. The quality of reg cleaner can/might change over the years, but my experience from some time ago were not good.

This has led me to the current plan of not messing with registry changes (disable show more for Explorer is an exception). I also use Revo Uninstaller to try and keep left overs from an install to a minimum. All good so far after a recent clean install, but who knows where the registry will be in a year or two.
 

My Computer

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  • Operating System
    Windows 11
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    HP / Spectre x360 Convertible 13
    CPU
    i5-8250U
    Motherboard
    83B9 56.50
    Memory
    8GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Intel(R) UHD Graphics 620
    Sound Card
    Realtek High Definition Audio(SST)
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    Toshiba 256GB SSD
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Bree

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When cloning the system partition to a partition on another disk which has Windows installed in another partition, the target disk fails to boot if cloned using 3rd party software.
The Macrium Reflect recovery usb has a useful little tool called 'Fix Windows boot problems'. It will find any and all installed Windows partitions and rebuild the BCD table so you can boot to any of them.

I have at least one program that I would have to buy again if I wanted to move it. I also have some programs on my old desktop that were downloaded from the Free Give Away sites that are a onetime install only.
Ditto. My UEFI/GPT System One below is running a W11 upgrade of a clone of my old W10 Legacy/MBR machine that had many such programs that are now impossible to reinstall. Some came preinstalled by the OEM in its original OEM install of Windows 7.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Home
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Acer Aspire 3 A315-23
    CPU
    AMD Athlon Silver 3050U
    Memory
    8GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Radeon Graphics
    Monitor(s) Displays
    laptop screen
    Screen Resolution
    1366x768 native resolution, up to 2560x1440 with Radeon Virtual Super Resolution
    Hard Drives
    1TB HDD
    Browser
    Edge, Firefox
    Antivirus
    Defender
    Other Info
    fully 'Windows 11 ready' laptop. Windows 10 C: partition migrated from my old unsupported 'main machine' then upgraded to 11. A test migration ran Insider builds for 2 months. When 11 was released on 5th October it was re-imaged back to 10 and was offered the upgrade in Windows Update on 20th October.


    My SYSTEM THREE is a Dell Latitude 5410, i7-10610U, 32GB RAM, 512GB ssd, Windows 11 Pro.
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Pro
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Lattitude E4310
    CPU
    i5 M 520
    Motherboard
    0T6M8G
    Memory
    4GB
    Screen Resolution
    1366x768
    Hard Drives
    500GB HDD
    Browser
    Firefox, Edge
    Antivirus
    Defender
    Other Info
    unsupported machine: Legacy bios, MBR, TPM 1.2, upgraded from W10 to W11 using W10/W11 hybrid install media workaround.


    My SYSTEM THREE is a Dell Latitude 5410, i7-10610U, 32GB RAM, 512GB ssd, Windows 11 Pro.

Winuser

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I recommend a clean install, when it is practical. The quality of reg cleaner can/might change over the years, but my experience from some time ago were not good.

This has led me to the current plan of not messing with registry changes (disable show more for Explorer is an exception). I also use Revo Uninstaller to try and keep left overs from an install to a minimum. All good so far after a recent clean install, but who knows where the registry will be in a year or two.
Chances are the Registry will be right where it needs to be. I have used reg cleaners in the past. I stopped because I didn't see where they made much of an improvement to my systems. I never had a problem using them because I took the time to see what they were going to delete. Basically, I only deleted the reg entries for programs I had uninstalled.
 

My Computer

System One

  • Operating System
    Windows 11
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    PowerSpec B746
    CPU
    Intel Core i7-10700K
    Motherboard
    ASRock Z490 Phantom Gaming 4/ax
    Memory
    16GB (8GB PC4-19200 DDR4 SDRAM x2)
    Graphics Card(s)
    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 TI
    Sound Card
    Realtek Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Samsung SAM0A87
    Screen Resolution
    1920 x 1080
    Hard Drives
    NVMe WDC WDS100T2B0C-00PXH0 1TB
    Samsung SSD 860 EVO 1TB
    Keyboard
    HP USB Kekboard
    Mouse
    2.4 wireless mouse
    Browser
    Microsoft Edge and Firefox

NavyLCDR

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Back to cloning.... the way that I clone systems is that I will prepare the target system first. If it is going to a legacy BIOS/MBR system then using diskpart I create a system reserved partition marked as active on the MBR target disk. If it is going to a UEFI/GPT system then using diskpart I create an EFI System Partition followed by an MSR partition on the GPT disk. On the source system I run "reagentc /disable" so the WinRE environment will become embedded in the Windows system.

Then using either MiniTool Partition Wizard or Macrium Reflect, I copy/clone the Windows partition only from the source to the target. Finally, I use either the bcdboot command or Macrium Reflect utility to write the boot files to the system partition I created earlier. After booting up into the new system, I run "reagentc /enable" to enable the Windows recovery environment.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • Operating System
    Windows 11
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Homebuilt
    CPU
    AMD Ryzen 7 3800XT
    Motherboard
    ASUS ROG Crosshair VII Hero (WiFi)
    Memory
    32GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Education
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Inspiron 7773
    CPU
    Intel i7-8550U
    Memory
    32GB
    Graphics card(s)
    Nvidia Geforce MX150
    Sound Card
    Realtek
    Monitor(s) Displays
    17"
    Screen Resolution
    1920 x 1080
    Hard Drives
    Toshiba 512GB NVMe SSD
    SK Hynix 512GB SATA SSD
    Internet Speed
    Fast!

Winuser

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Back to cloning.... the way that I clone systems is that I will prepare the target system first. If it is going to a legacy BIOS/MBR system then using diskpart I create a system reserved partition marked as active on the MBR target disk. If it is going to a UEFI/GPT system then using diskpart I create an EFI System Partition followed by an MSR partition on the GPT disk. On the source system I run "reagentc /disable" so the WinRE environment will become embedded in the Windows system.

Then using either MiniTool Partition Wizard or Macrium Reflect, I copy/clone the Windows partition only from the source to the target. Finally, I use either the bcdboot command or Macrium Reflect utility to write the boot files to the system partition I created earlier. After booting up into the new system, I run "reagentc /enable" to enable the Windows recovery environment.
I prefer to use the Macrium image restore option. If there are any partitions on the drive I'm restoring the image to I delete them. Then I drag the partitions from the Image to the drive in the order I want them.
 
Last edited:

My Computer

System One

  • Operating System
    Windows 11
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    PowerSpec B746
    CPU
    Intel Core i7-10700K
    Motherboard
    ASRock Z490 Phantom Gaming 4/ax
    Memory
    16GB (8GB PC4-19200 DDR4 SDRAM x2)
    Graphics Card(s)
    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 TI
    Sound Card
    Realtek Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Samsung SAM0A87
    Screen Resolution
    1920 x 1080
    Hard Drives
    NVMe WDC WDS100T2B0C-00PXH0 1TB
    Samsung SSD 860 EVO 1TB
    Keyboard
    HP USB Kekboard
    Mouse
    2.4 wireless mouse
    Browser
    Microsoft Edge and Firefox

Bree

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On the source system I run "reagentc /disable" so the WinRE environment will become embedded in the Windows system.
That is probably the most important bit of advice for cloning a system in this way. There is only ever one copy of the WinRE.wim that holds the recovery environment, either in the recovery partition when enabled, or safely stored in the C:\Windows folder when disabled. Although it is possible to retrieve a lost WinRE.wim from the install ISO, it's a lot simpler not to loose it in the first place.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Home
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Acer Aspire 3 A315-23
    CPU
    AMD Athlon Silver 3050U
    Memory
    8GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Radeon Graphics
    Monitor(s) Displays
    laptop screen
    Screen Resolution
    1366x768 native resolution, up to 2560x1440 with Radeon Virtual Super Resolution
    Hard Drives
    1TB HDD
    Browser
    Edge, Firefox
    Antivirus
    Defender
    Other Info
    fully 'Windows 11 ready' laptop. Windows 10 C: partition migrated from my old unsupported 'main machine' then upgraded to 11. A test migration ran Insider builds for 2 months. When 11 was released on 5th October it was re-imaged back to 10 and was offered the upgrade in Windows Update on 20th October.


    My SYSTEM THREE is a Dell Latitude 5410, i7-10610U, 32GB RAM, 512GB ssd, Windows 11 Pro.
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Pro
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Lattitude E4310
    CPU
    i5 M 520
    Motherboard
    0T6M8G
    Memory
    4GB
    Screen Resolution
    1366x768
    Hard Drives
    500GB HDD
    Browser
    Firefox, Edge
    Antivirus
    Defender
    Other Info
    unsupported machine: Legacy bios, MBR, TPM 1.2, upgraded from W10 to W11 using W10/W11 hybrid install media workaround.


    My SYSTEM THREE is a Dell Latitude 5410, i7-10610U, 32GB RAM, 512GB ssd, Windows 11 Pro.

TheMystic

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This is just not the case.

I and many here have cloned drives many times using Macrium Reflect and it just works. It is a piece of cake to drag and drop all partitions in correct order.

Of course, some people have screwed up their partitions such the efi partition is on a different drive to windows but is take seccnds to sort that out even with relatively minimal knowledge.

There are excellent tutorials on Reflect here.

It is just so much simpler using Reflect.

Ok the tutorials do not specifically cover cloning but are more geared to making and restoring image backups but the basic principles are the same.

Select partions, drag and drop to reorder, hit clone.

My point is your approach is really only for people with a good understanding (and they will know how to clone anyway). Lesser experienced people will just get lost - few understand how winre works for example.

There are loads of youtube videos on how to clone with Reflect as well. There are other tools AOMEI, minitool, Easeus etc and although guis may differ, cloning principles are similar.

In the end, this tutorial is useful for education I guess but I cannot really see end users using it over a tool like Reflect as it is overcomplicated and requires a detailed understanding most users just do not have.

For more info, see

I used AOMEI Backupper/ AOMEI Partition Assistant to clone the system drive to a partition on an external SSD. The device didn't boot, and I had to fix the EFI partition using the method described in the OP.

From what you say, it appears that the problem is specific to AOMEI Backupper. I will give Macrium Reflect a try soon.

The tutorial is specifically targetting users who want to avoid using 3rd party softwares as much as possible. Since cloning too is possible via DISM, I have included the details in the 1st comment.
 

My Computer

System One

  • Operating System
    Windows 11
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    HP Envy dv7
    CPU
    Intel Core i7 3630QM
    Motherboard
    HP
    Memory
    16 GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Intel HD Graphics 4000 & Nvidia GeForce GT 635M
    Sound Card
    IDT High Definition
    Screen Resolution
    1080p
    Hard Drives
    250 GB Samsung Evo 860 on bay 1.
    1 TB Seagate HDD on bay 2.
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender

cereberus

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cloning using Reflect v8

 

My Computer

System One

  • Operating System
    Windows 10 Pro + others in VHDs
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    ASUS Vivobook 14
    CPU
    I7
    Motherboard
    Yep, Laptop has one.
    Memory
    16 GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Integrated Intel Iris XE
    Sound Card
    Realtek built in
    Monitor(s) Displays
    N/A
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    1 TB Optane NVME SSD, 1 TB NVME SSD
    PSU
    Yep, got one
    Case
    Yep, got one
    Cooling
    Stella Artois
    Keyboard
    Built in
    Mouse
    Bluetooth , wired
    Internet Speed
    72 Mb/s :-(
    Browser
    Edge mostly
    Antivirus
    Defender
    Other Info
    TPM 2.0
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