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I consider to upgrade from Mountain Lion to Mavericks. I have two Bootcamp Windows 7 partitions, one for boot & system, another for documents and data. Both Windows partitions are NTFS. OS X recovery partition was manually removed prior to installing Bootcamp/Windows.

Any risk that upgrade will break either of my Windows partitions? How to minimize the risk? It definitely happened last time I upgraded from Snow Leopard (or Lion?) to Mountain Lion.

One post suggests that it happens with any OS X upgrade, though I'm not sure it applies to my situation.

Update: Tried running upgrade, got this message: "Install Failed: OS X could not be installed on your computer. OS X can't be installed on the disk because a recovery system can't be created. Visit www.apple.com/support/no-recovery to learn more" which links to another support article (which is surprisingly for Lion) suggesting to manually shrink the OS X partition which will allow space for creating recovery partition. The question is still the same: will it hurt either of my Windows NTFS partitions?

This is how my partitions look on OS X side: screenshot

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3 Answers 3

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Usually OS X backups don't mess with the partitions, except for when they create a recovery partition. And since your recover partition has been (manually?) removed, OS X will probably try to add it again.

If you do the upgrade, definitively back up all your stuff (on the windows side as well!).

If you want to play it really safe: 1 - get an external (usb) drive 2 - copy your mac-partition to that drive (via disk utility or any other cloning software) 3 - boot from the external (usb) drive and run the update there 4 - clone the partition back form the external onto your internal drive

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  • How can I safely clone Mac partition (forth and back) without risk of affecting Windows partitions?
    – yurkennis
    Commented Mar 15, 2014 at 17:39
  • Open disk utility, mark macintosh hd, select the restore tab - selct macintosh hd as source and the external drive as the destination. After updating - to the same backwards Commented Mar 15, 2014 at 20:35
  • Are you sure it will restore Windows data partition which (per screenshot I've added recently) is part the "Macintosh HD" partition, but not recognized correctly by OS X?
    – yurkennis
    Commented Mar 19, 2014 at 16:44
  • How is the windows partition "part" of the macintosh hd partition? I'm strongly assuming those are 2 separate partitions.. Commented Mar 19, 2014 at 16:55
  • See my screenshot above. For OS X, Windows data partition is "hidden" inside blank space between "Macintosh HD" and "BOOTCAMP" partitions.
    – yurkennis
    Commented Mar 19, 2014 at 17:02
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My final resolution for this problem is described in this answer to a related question.

In a nutshell, I decided to switch to a single partition (reasons detailed here). To migrate, I used WinClone for Windows partition, Time Machine backup for OS X, manually moved all files from Windows data partition to a spare HDD; installed OS X from the scratch (Lion), restored OS X backup over it, re-installed MtLion (this restored the recovery partition); manually create FAT partition with Disk Utility and restore WinClone backup to it; upgrade to Mavericks; move Windows data files to the Windows partition.

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I upgraded from 10.8 to 10.9 OSX with an XP BootCamp partition and everything worked fine. Both booting as a PC, and with Parallels desktop.

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  • Do you have only one Windows partition, or two of them? NTFS?
    – yurkennis
    Commented Mar 15, 2014 at 11:56
  • 1 Windows partition, NTFS
    – mkaz
    Commented Mar 15, 2014 at 13:34
  • Two bootcamp partitions is a very different story from one.
    – yurkennis
    Commented Mar 15, 2014 at 13:42

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