I was cloning my hard drive on my Thinkpad laptop to upgrade the factory 250GB 5400 rpm drive to my 320GB 7200 rpm drive.
After I finished cloning my hard drive using Acronis True Image (latest boot CD available to me at the time), I knew from experience that Windows will not boot until you perform the startup repair from a Windows installation CD. This has been the case with Windows Vista and 7. Not doing so results in a bluescreen that says something to the effect of ‘unmountable boot volume’.
The default factory install of Windows 7 comes with 3 NTFS partitions, and for some reason my Windows 7 is on the 2nd partition, with the 1st partition reserved for the Lenovo system recovery software labeled “SYSTEM_DRV”. Upon booting to the setup CD, the CD reported my Windows 7 operating system as being on “D:” drive, which was incorrect.
I did not proceed with the repair install at this point because I wasn’t sure if it was going to work properly with the wrong drive letter. Instead, I booted to UBCD and opened Cute Partition Manager. From there, I modified the partition type of the first partition so Windows would not recognize it. In my case, I chose hNTFS (hidden NTFS).
After saving and rebooting, my Windows 7 startup recover tool correctly reported my boot drive letter as “C:”. I allowed Windows 7 to run its repair, and then upon reboot re-enabled the first partition by changing it back from hNTFS to NTFS using UBCD again.
Booting into Windows 7 after this process was successful, with all drive letters retained as per the cloned hard drive.