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10.4: Backup, restore, resize, and convert Boot Camp partitions System
Using this method, you can restore any type of existing complete backup of a Windows Boot Camp partition. You can use this method to resize a Boot Camp partition, to change the format from NTFS to FAT32, or to move a Boot Camp partition from one computer to another.

An image-based backup is a backup created with the Disk Utility program. Use this technique for backups when you're storing the image to a volume formatted with the Mac file system, because it's fastest. You can find details of how to create an image from a partition in the Disk Utility program help file.

A file-based backup is the copying of all files in the Boot Camp partition to a folder on your Mac OS X hard disk. Use this technique when you're backing up to a FAT32 formatted removable media device such as an external USB or Firewire hard drive. Making this type of backup is as simple as creating a destination folder and copying all the files from a mounted Boot Camp partition into the folder from within Mac OS X (this will not work from within Windows, as numerous system files are locked during use and can't be copied).

This technique also works with Windows-based imaging that can recover individual files from an image such as Norton Ghost 10, Symantec Live State Recovery, or Acronis true image. Instead of booting to Mac OS X, you use the image utility's bootable CD-ROM, and rather than restoring the image, you select the "restore files" option to copy the individual files from the image rather than restoring the sectors to the partition (which ruins the boot records that the Boot Camp Assistant sets up to correctly chain load Windows on a Macintosh).

Note that when this procedure is complete, the Windows partition will be completely defragmented with a single contiguous area of free space.

Phase I: Correctly create the Boot Camp partition and master boot record (2 minutes)
  1. If you have an existing Boot Camp partition, run the Boot Camp Assistant and select the option to restore your disk to a single Mac OS X volume. When the process completes, click the Restart button and reboot your Macintosh.
  2. Run the bootcamp utility again. Select "I already have a Macintosh Drivers CD" and click Continue.
  3. Drag the partition slider to the size you'd like for a Windows partition and click Partition. Note that if Boot Camp says it cannot move files, you'll have to use a 3rd party disk defragmenter like Disk Tools Pro to defragment your disk, and then try this step again.
  4. Insert your Windows XP SP2 CD-ROM and click Start Installation. Boot Camp Assistant will reboot the machine and boot the Windows XP installer.
Phase II – Format the Boot Camp partition: (5 minutes)
  1. Boot the Windows XP SP2 CD-ROM. In the Welcome to Setup screen, press Enter to continue, then press F8 to clear the EULA screen.
  2. In the Select a partition dialog, select the partition labeled "C:", and press enter.
  3. In the file system format screen, select "Format the partition using the FAT file system (Quick)". You must choose FAT in order to be able to restore from Mac OS X. You can convert the file system to NTFS using a Windows utility after creating it with the FAT file system if you want.
  4. Press enter to continue when the installer notifies you that it will format the partition using FAT32.
  5. Let the file copy operation proceed until the installer reboots.
  6. As soon as the computer begins the reboot process, hold down the Option key and select the option to reboot to Mac OS X. If you miss the timing and Windows begins to boot, shut the computer off, then power it on while holding the option key until you see the Mac OS X boot option.
Phase III – Restore Windows (20 Minutes)
  1. Open the new Windows hard disk icon on the Mac desktop, select all the files within it, and drag them to the trash. Empty the trash.
  2. Open the .dmg file containing your Windows backup or browse to the folder containing your Windows files, and copy the following four files at the root level of the folder to the Windows hard disk first: ntldr, NTDETECT.COM, boot.ini, and PAGEFILE.SYS
  3. Select the remaining folders and files and copy them to the Windows hard disk.
  4. Reboot into your Windows partition.
[kirkmc adds: I have not tested this. Make sure you have backups of all your stuff before trying this!]
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10.4: Backup, restore, resize, and convert Boot Camp partitions | 13 comments | Create New Account
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Phase 0
Authored by: kaih on Nov 01, '06 01:41:16PM

Before you begin all this, the original post doesn't make it very clear that you MUST have a backup of all the files in your windows installation.

Also, be aware that I don't believe that any special permissions will be copied over with the files - NTFS has a very rich set of ACLs that it supports and I don't think this information will be preserved. I don't know if it matters, but I believe that some critical system files should have certain permissions under Windows.

Maybe in the conversion from FAT32 to NTFS once you've got Windows all restored then the correct permissions are applied as FAT32 doesn't support any kind of ACLs or extended attributes.

If you have been using Services for Macintosh or Extreme•Z IP on the Windows side of things, be aware that it stores resource fork information for Macs in NTFS alternate data streams, and this data will be lost if you follow the steps outlined above.


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10.4: Backup, restore, resize, and convert Boot Camp partitions
Authored by: monickels on Nov 01, '06 07:10:56PM
An easy way to do all this is to use Bombich's NetRestore.

Double-Tongued Word Wrester: a growing dictionary of old and new words from the fringes of English.

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10.4: Backup, restore, resize, and convert Boot Camp partitions
Authored by: CPUnk on Jan 05, '07 01:34:36PM

I have tried this hint and it works.

I made a backup of my bootcamp FIRST (!!!!)

Then took all the steps indicated in the original post.

One thing I didn't bother with is going all the way through the windows installation. When I got to the key entry, I just rebooted, by then Bootcamp had made it's multi-boot partition installation and the new partition was formatted.

From there, I deleted the contents (had to unlock files (use "see info" on the files to unlock them)) and made sure that I installed the first 4 files first.

Then it worked.

Variable sized Bootcamp.

Shhh... MacOSX is BSD... shhhh!

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10.4: Backup, restore, resize, and convert Boot Camp partitions
Authored by: berniesu on May 01, '07 03:19:54PM


I am new with bootcamp. How did you backup the bootcamp first?


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10.4: Backup, restore, resize, and convert Boot Camp partitions
Authored by: bnz on May 19, '07 12:17:32PM
I agree. This instruction is highly misleading as the author assumes that a disk image is already made. Here is another comment: it seems that FAT32 partitions cannot be greater than 32GB. So what if i wanted to resize to a 40GB partition? I assume that the requirement to use fat is due to the fact that MacOS cannot write to NTFS partitions. However, what about using MacFuse ( Does that work?

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10.4: Backup, restore, resize, and convert Boot Camp partitions
Authored by: kpgwolf on Sep 01, '07 12:49:08PM

I haven't tried this technique, but NTFS-3G via MacFUSE does work pretty well. The write speed is slow (see the FAQ on the MacFUSE wiki page at Google for why), but it's functional.

The other problem with FAT32 is the lack of support for large files (over 4GB)... So, even if this did work, you couldn't write the image file to a FAT32 disk.

See my other reply for something that I know does actually work, seeing as how I've done it.

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10.4: Backup, restore, resize, and convert Boot Camp partitions
Authored by: kpgwolf on Sep 01, '07 12:44:26PM
I love the "I haven't actually tried this" disclaimer; that helps build confidence that your idea is valid and should be relied upon...

I managed to upgrade my HDD and resize my BootCamp partition all at the same time, and -- did I mention -- actually performed these actions in the real world, not merely in theory. If you aren't replacing the HDD, and are squeamish about trying to dynamically grow the partition, then you can just use WinClone to backup the BootCamp partition to a file, then use BootCamp Assistant to delete and recreate the partition, start the install, cancel out after formatting, and then use WinClone to restore the image to the new, bigger partition...

Anyhow, here's my list of steps, including the HDD upgrade and making VMWare Fusion happy again after the transformation:

Hopefully, it will help somebody out.

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10.4: Backup, restore, resize, and convert Boot Camp partitions
Authored by: JohnnyO on Sep 04, '07 09:52:37AM

Thanks for the timely write-up!

Your summary was the best I've found. I followed your roadmap with a few minor differences:

1) I had a FAT32 Windows partition, and intended to keep it that way so I can read and write from OS X, so I followed the instructions to use the "Restore" feature of Disk Utility to backup and restore the Windows partition. This worked very well. Detailed instructions are available at:

2) I ended up buying a Vantec NexStar 3 NST-360SU at the local MicroCenter, since I needed it right away, instead of getting the enclosure from OWC.

3) For some reason, the drive initialization defauled to the Apple Partition Format, not the required GUID Partition Table, so after reloading from SuperDuper, I could not get Boot Camp Assistant to partition for Windows. I had to re-format the drive and select the proper partition scheme. I would have assumed that with the external drive attached (via FireWire -- this was a different enclosure on a different drive than the one mentioned above) to my MacBook Pro, that the GUID partition map would have been the default partition type.

Other than that, it worked like a champ!

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10.4: Backup, restore, resize, and convert Boot Camp partitions
Authored by: slylabs13 on Feb 24, '10 09:46:04AM

> Detailed instructions are available at:

This link is inaccessible. Even when I log in to Apple Discussions with my account, it still will not allow me to view this thread. Bottom line, Microsoft simply does NOT WANT anyone doing what we are trying to do, and is making Apple squelch any means of allowing it.

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10.4: Backup, restore, resize, and convert Boot Camp partitions
Authored by: stereoscott on Jan 11, '08 04:13:57PM
I ran out of space on my Boot Camp partition and wanted to resize it without reinstalling everything. It was formatted as FAT32, so I could do it all from within Disk Utility. As an added bonus, I got VMware Fusion using the new larger Boot Camp partition once I was all done. I used this hint in conjunction with a few others and posted my details here. Hopefully it can help someone.

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10.4: Backup, restore, resize, and convert Boot Camp partitions
Authored by: junk666 on Jun 18, '08 02:53:35PM

MacFuse will indeed enable NTFS writing from Mac OS X but at the expense of disabling disk image mounting. I would definitely say it is a very poor choice but if you absolutely must have NTFS writing ability from OS X, go for it.

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10.4: Backup, restore, resize, and convert Boot Camp partitions
Authored by: chimerical on Mar 25, '09 04:37:40PM

Does copying the entire partition back and forth cause the Windows install to become highly fragmented?

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10.4: Backup, restore, resize, and convert Boot Camp partitions
Authored by: slylabs13 on Feb 24, '10 09:42:38AM

Bombich Software's NetRestore has been discontinued. Does anyone have a copy of it? I would like to try that method.

Also, I'd like to point out that with the current Boot Camp Utility, you have to delete and recreate the partition using the Windows Installer CD or else the boot camp partition will not work.

What is needed is for Apple to allow writes to NTFS volumes. MacFuse purports to do this, but if you have Parallels installed, I believe that version of MacFuse will hose Parallels, or at least it did for me last time I tried that.

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