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Thread: How to move entire system to new drive

  1. #1

    How to move entire system to new drive

    My hard drive has been occasionally making noises (spinning-type sounds ??? ), so I want to move _Everything_ over to a new hard drive.

    I'm stuck, and could use a little feedback.

    My new drive is bigger, and naturally, I wanted to use the extra space, so I fired up the "systemrescueCD", ran qtparted, and recreated my partitions on the new drive, except I made all of them larger (heck, I now have so much space to spare, I even made the swap partition larger!) Then, I used dd to write the contents of the old drive to the new drive, partition by partition. This worked, re-installed grub, the machine booted up, and I was greeted by my familiar desktop. Everything looked ok, but.... df showed that the sizes are still the old ones - ie, although a partition is shown to be "newsize" by parted,fdisk,et al, df shows me that the partition is still "oldsize". Well, the system worked for a while... Running fsck gave me errors. And then finally, a crash, and on restarting, the system wanted to do a fsck, which I let it do, and fsck basically gave up, and said my data was toast.

    OK, no problem, at this point I had only lost a couple of days. And, this is just my home desktop, nothing that important on it. Popped the old hard drive back in, and back to square one. (Funny thing, the sounds have not come back yet)

    I thought, well, why not just dd the whole drive, and then resize the partitions using parted. Good idea, I suppose, but didn't work. Parted reported "filesystem has incompatible feature enabled", and refused to resize my (ext3) partitions. I googled for this error, and found some posts that said to turn off journaling, resize, then turn it back on. However, this didn't work for me, still got the same error.

    I looked into partimage, but it requires same size partitions, so again not an optimal solution.

    I suppose I could do it the windows way, re-install, but I am hoping that I don't have to go that route.

    tar seems to be the best candidate for what I want to do, but something in its documentation has me wondering. Since I want to restore my entire system, I want all ownerships and permissions to remain the same. In tar's documentation, it is stated it is the default behavior to preserve these, but it needs a copy of /etc/passwd to achieve this. If I am completely restoring my system on to a new drive, I don't see how it is going to find /etc/passwd. Hopefully, I missed something on reading the documentation.

    This whole thing has taken many hours already, and I am thinking maybe I could use a little advice/feedback before going further. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

  2. #2

    Re:How to move entire system to new drive

    With partimage, you can image, then resize the partition using qtparted, both are included in this: http://www.sysresccd.org

  3. #3

    Re:How to move entire system to new drive

    The sysrescuecd is what I have been using.

    Sounds logical, and I'm game to give it a try the way you suggested, but wouldn't parted still complain about "filesystem has incompatible feature enabled" ? (When I tried it originally using qtparted, the resize option was greyed out, so I used parted at the command line instead)

  4. #4

    Re:How to move entire system to new drive

    try using the command
    run_qtparted for resizing, after imaging.

  5. #5

    Re:How to move entire system to new drive

    I can fire up qtparted, as I mentioned before, but the option to resize the partition is greyed out - I think it has to do with it being an ext3 partition.

    Anyway, I read the parted documentation, and ran parted on the command line while using the sysresccd - after all, qtparted is just a graphical front-end for parted. And parted is what gave me the error message regarding "Filesystem has incompatible feature enabled".

    Sure enough, after using partimage to backup a partition, and restoring that partition to the corresponding (same size) partition on the new drive, neither qtparted nor parted would resize the partition - parted gave me the same error message. At least I was smarter about it this time, I did only one partition first to test if it would work :P

    I wasn't about to give up yet, so I thought to myself, well, if it can't resize ext3 partitions, maybe it will work on ext2 partitions. It seemed like a good idea at the time. I found this link http://troubleshooters.com/linux/ext2toext3.htm
    and followed the directions to get my filesystem to be ext2. I am sure I did everything exactly as outlined (I printed out the whole article, read and re-read it, googled for some more info on this kind of operation, etc) but the end result was an unbootable system after changing the root partition. Oh well ........

    So I re-installed. And, yes, I am now able to use _all_ of my new 160Gb hard drive - Hooray!!

    Thanks countach, anyway. Appreciate the effort.

  6. #6
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    Re:How to move entire system to new drive

    [quote author=caffiend]
    So I re-installed. And, yes, I am now able to use _all_ of my new 160Gb hard drive - Hooray!!
    Thats what I ended up doing too.

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