Making it bigger

The 250GB drive for my MacBook arrived, and with two fresh backups in hand (plus a third on the old drive), I quickly installed it. It was completely painless to migrate my Mac environment over. You can do it half a dozen different way for free; I chose SuperDuper.

But I also have a Vista partition on this machine, and Vista (if you bought the right version) includes a Complete PC Restore tool that’s designed specifically for moving a complete, working installation onto a new disk… as long as you don’t mind the risk of spending half an hour on the phone reading authorization codes to someone in India to reactivate it.

The old disk had 124GB for Mac, 25GB for Vista. The new disk had 185GB for Mac, and 47GB for Vista. After finishing the Vista restore, both partitions booted correctly, so I went ahead and activated. Then I checked the free space, and found that Vista was still only using 25GB.

No problem, thought I. It’s trivial to extend an NTFS partition into the remaining free space, so I opened up the relevant tool, and found the original partition sizes, with an empty 80GB partition at the end of the disk.

fsck and chkdsk both insisted that the volumes were valid from their respective OS’s, but on the Mac side, it thought the Vista partition had a lot less files in it than it should have. Not good. Very, very not good.

Not being an idiot, I started over, rebuilding the disk from scratch again. Since it’s a Mac, I just booted the old drive from an external FireWire enclosure and ran SuperDuper again. This time, though, I didn’t bother using the Vista restore tool; I just dd’d the old partition over and ran the repair tools from the install CD. I still need to do an upgrade install to clean up the boot files, resize the filesystem to fill the new partition, and then reactivate again, but it should work this time.

There’s actually a checkbox in the Vista Restore process that theoretically allows you to restore onto an existing partition without trashing your new disk, but it was grayed out, and clumsily worded. Net result: one of the features you pay extra for in certain Vista versions is not only useless, but dangerous.

In a rare example of good sense, though, you can get at all of the data in the backup; it’s a disk image in VHD format.