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  1. #1
    3 Star Lounger
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    Jan 2002
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    Hard drive copying

    I've replaced a lot of HDDs over the years and always dread the re-installation of all my programs. It literally takes weeks before all programs are back to the way they were. Even those with wizards to transfer settings still need some personal attention.

    I tried using Norton Ghost a few years back but couldn't make it work. Now I would like to put a new. faster drive in an old laptop and I'll have to go through the whole process yet again.

    I see two alternate options and would like to hear recommendations on what others think.

    FIRST I could try another program such as Ghost to try to mirror the entire drive setup to the new HDD. Is this really possible to do successfully?

    SECOND is sort or a wild scheme and I would like to know if anyone has tried it. I would first put the new drive in the laptop and load my operating system (Wndows XP). No updates.....just get it on the drive. I'm thinking that should set up the MBR correctly. I might be able to accomplish the same thing by just doing a format with system files but loading Windows is not that big a deal.

    Then I would pull the new drive back out and put it and the old HDD into another computer as secondary drives. I could then copy everything from the old drive to the new one, overwriting the new windows install.

    I would think this process would get the old drive duplicated onto the new but I'm sure I'm missing some important detail. Any advice?

    Last edited by bhdavis; 2011-03-27 at 14:31.

  2. #2
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Thanked 937 Times in 856 Posts
    You could either create an Image of the old HD, install the new HD and restore from the Image. What ever app you use to create the Image you should also create a rescue media to boot to before the new HD is restored. I personally use Acronic True Image 2010 and 2011 versions (you can find much better deals that listed on the Acronis page). Both work well for me. Others speak highly of Macrium Reflect as well. Both od these apps allow Imaging and Cloning.

    Image: Create a single file that can be used to restore from.

    Clone: connect 2 HD's and copy everything from drive 1 to drive 2.

    Obviously with a laptop, cloning may be more challenging without some kind of enclosure to connect both HD's at the same time.
    Last edited by Medico; 2011-03-27 at 11:11.
    Have a Great Day! Ted

    Sony Vaio Laptop, 2.53 GHz Duo Core Intel CPU, 8 GB RAM, 320 GB HD
    Win 8 Pro (64 Bit), IE 10 (64 Bit)

    Complete PC Specs: By Speccy

  3. #3
    5 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Milwaukee, WI
    Thanked 64 Times in 52 Posts
    As Ted said, either Acronis or Macrium is the way to go. Many members here use either of these on a regular basis. I use Macrium free edition for 2 laptops and one of our netbooks, and I have a copy of Acronis Netbook Edition for our other netbook.

    In the past, I've tried something similar to your second idea. Yes, it might work. More than likely it will not and just frustrate you.

  4. #4
    WS Lounge VIP
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Thanked 1,125 Times in 1,048 Posts
    I have successfully used the clone utilities provided by the drive manufacturers. Download one from the site of the manufacturer of your new disk.

    cheers, Paul

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