Using Gnome Partition Editor (GParted) to transfer Windows Server 2008 R2 and Hyper-V Server R2 images to different drive; but you'll need a Windows 7 Recovery Disc to actually get it to boot

UPDATE 15 February 2010 : See Virtual PC Guy's Blog here for a crucial item of information about the Windows Startup repair not restoring the Hyper-V service as an automated service.  Basically once you reboot, although the o/s loads, you cannot run any virtual machines. To resolve this you should remote login to the Hyper-V Server (or direct for Windows Sever 2008 R2) and execute the following command; bcdedit /set hypervisorlaunchtype auto


I had recently successfully used Gnome Partition Editor (GParted) to resize some of my Virtual Machines running under VirtualBox (see http://www.my-guides.net/en/content/view/122/26/). So I decided that maybe it was time to use GParted on some real hard drive disk partitions.

I had freed up a larger hard drive for my Hyper-V laptop, so I used GParted to transfer the volumes from the original (internal eSata drive) to an external drive caddy (eSata drive, but connected via USB 2.0).  There were three volumes on the original drive; a 100Mb system boot partition, a 20Gb Hyper-V R2 partition and a 60Gb Windows Server 2008 R2 partition.

Using GParted from a USB key

A spare 'bingmaps' 2Gb USB thumbdrive boot the whole of GParted from a USB key, see http://gparted.sourceforge.net/liveusb.php. Nothing like a Microsoft freebie allowing me to run open source software.

Although the boot partition copied successfully, it looked like I couldn't copy the main NTFS partitions, as it kept failing.  However, that was just a case of needing to make the new partitions at least slightly bigger than the original. I had neglected to do this with the Hyper-V partition as I was trying to maximise my Windows Server 2008 R2 partition.  So, once the main partitions were successfully copied, I expectantly rebooted. The reboot failed. Back in GParted, I realised I'd forgotten to flag the 100Mb system boot partition on the new drive as a BOOT partition.

Bootmgr - you can't boot Vista, WIndows 7 or 2008 after using GParted

However, on rebooting, although I got to view the boot menu, selecting either operating system failed.  I encountered the issue mentioned in the blog that talked about resizing virtual machines; any operating system after Windows Vista uses the more modern Boot Manager (Bootmgr) rather than the old fashioned NTLOADER and BOOT.INI menu system.  This means both Hyper-V Server R2 and Windows Server 2008 R2 both refused to boot due to warnings about missing and/or corrupt files.

Using the standard Hyper-V R2 or Windows 2008 R2 install discs, and selecting the Repair Option turned out to be no help as there was is option to repair the boot options.  I searched and found, http://gparted-forum.surf4.info/viewtopic.php?id=13803, which mentioned a Windows Server 2008 Recovery Disk but what the hell was that, not something I could find elsewhere?  Another search found a superuser.com question, http://superuser.com/questions/47454/vista-server-2008-bootmgr-is-missing, and that gave away what was required; I definitely needed a recovery disk, possibly Vista, or better still, Windows 7.

Windows 7 recovery disk to the rescue

Before booting up Windows 7, I did check out a Windows Server 2008 R2 machine to see if it provided an option to create a recovery disk, it did not.  So it was off to my development laptop which runs Windows 7 (the workstation o/s that matches the 2008 R2 server release, like XP matches Server 2003 and Vista matches Server 2008). That did have an option to make a recovery disk.  Minutes later I booted my Hyper-V laptop from that newly created Windows 7 recovery CD, and unlike the Windows Server 2008 installation CDs, it immediately notified me of a boot manager issue and removed the 'old' entries, and created 'new' entries for the Windows installations it had found on the drive.

After a reboot the only difference was that the menu now had '(recovered)' on the end of my boot menu options, but apart from that everything working exactly as before on the new drive.  A quick use of the utility bcedit (http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms791534.aspx) had my boot menu friendly descriptions back to normal.

So, in my 'it pro' toolbox there is now a USB thumb drive ready to run GParted, and a Windows 7 recovery CD to fix any boot manager issues that it might cause.

Print | posted on Friday, February 12, 2010 7:51 AM

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# you solved my problem

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Had similar issues as you using gparted...thank goodness Google indexes your posting near the top to resolve this issue quickly for me.
Left by tim on Mar 05, 2010 1:59 PM

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