Migrate Windows to a new HDD

Discussion in 'Computer Information' started by Jeff Strickland, Jun 18, 2009.

  1. My wife's computer is filling to capacity, and I'm going to need a new HDD
    soon. We've already moved files and the majority of what's left is apps.

    If I bought a new HDD, could I simply copy the entirety of the existing
    drive to the new one and have a valid install of the OS and all programs?
    This would eliminate lots of other work if it can be done.

    My logic is often flawed, but it says that if I copy the entire contents of
    a HDD to a new HDD, then I should retain all settings, the only difference
    being that the new drive would have more space.

    The reason I ask is that I recently had an HDD failure, and it was a PITA to
    get the new one up and running with the old apps and stuff that I had on the
    old one. I just bought (for $25) a device that connects an IDE device to
    USB. I was able to set the failed drive as a Slave and then reformat, now I
    can use the USB converter to read the drive, which gives me a bootable
    device for future work. (None of that pertains to my wife's situation, but
    it is the seed of my brainstorm.)

    I'm thinking that if I bought my wife a new HDD, I could format it then
    completely copy the contents of the existing drive to the newly formatted
    drive, then when the new drive is connected as a Master, it would boot and
    give her all of the same programs that she already has.

    Good plan, or not?
     
    Jeff Strickland, Jun 18, 2009
    #1
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  2. Jeff Strickland

    JD Guest

    Jeff Strickland wrote:
    > My wife's computer is filling to capacity, and I'm going to need a new HDD
    > soon. We've already moved files and the majority of what's left is apps.
    >
    > If I bought a new HDD, could I simply copy the entirety of the existing
    > drive to the new one and have a valid install of the OS and all programs?
    > This would eliminate lots of other work if it can be done.
    >
    > My logic is often flawed, but it says that if I copy the entire contents of
    > a HDD to a new HDD, then I should retain all settings, the only difference
    > being that the new drive would have more space.
    >
    > The reason I ask is that I recently had an HDD failure, and it was a PITA to
    > get the new one up and running with the old apps and stuff that I had on the
    > old one. I just bought (for $25) a device that connects an IDE device to
    > USB. I was able to set the failed drive as a Slave and then reformat, now I
    > can use the USB converter to read the drive, which gives me a bootable
    > device for future work. (None of that pertains to my wife's situation, but
    > it is the seed of my brainstorm.)
    >
    > I'm thinking that if I bought my wife a new HDD, I could format it then
    > completely copy the contents of the existing drive to the newly formatted
    > drive, then when the new drive is connected as a Master, it would boot and
    > give her all of the same programs that she already has.
    >
    > Good plan, or not?
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >


    Hi there

    What you are wanting to do is quite simple with the correct software,
    Disk cloning is what you want to do, there are lots of programs to do
    that such as Norton Ghost (www.symantecstore.com)Acronis True image
    (www.acronis.co.uk)and there's also a free one (www.conezilla.org)

    Whether its a good idea or not, that all depends on how much "junk"
    there is on the system, if you do a fresh install from original disks
    you know the machine is clean and it will probably work better with out
    all the additional stuff that tends to build up (especially all that
    taskbar stuff you don't really need like ink monitors, sync software
    etc.) however on the flip side you don't need to worry about backing up
    passwords and the like.


    JD
     
    JD, Jun 18, 2009
    #2
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  3. Jeff Strickland

    Paul Guest

    Jeff Strickland wrote:
    > My wife's computer is filling to capacity, and I'm going to need a new HDD
    > soon. We've already moved files and the majority of what's left is apps.
    >
    > If I bought a new HDD, could I simply copy the entirety of the existing
    > drive to the new one and have a valid install of the OS and all programs?
    > This would eliminate lots of other work if it can be done.
    >
    > My logic is often flawed, but it says that if I copy the entire contents of
    > a HDD to a new HDD, then I should retain all settings, the only difference
    > being that the new drive would have more space.
    >
    > The reason I ask is that I recently had an HDD failure, and it was a PITA to
    > get the new one up and running with the old apps and stuff that I had on the
    > old one. I just bought (for $25) a device that connects an IDE device to
    > USB. I was able to set the failed drive as a Slave and then reformat, now I
    > can use the USB converter to read the drive, which gives me a bootable
    > device for future work. (None of that pertains to my wife's situation, but
    > it is the seed of my brainstorm.)
    >
    > I'm thinking that if I bought my wife a new HDD, I could format it then
    > completely copy the contents of the existing drive to the newly formatted
    > drive, then when the new drive is connected as a Master, it would boot and
    > give her all of the same programs that she already has.
    >
    > Good plan, or not?
    >


    In the past, I've used an old copy of Partition Magic, to copy partitions
    from one drive to another, or resize partitions. I've also used "dd" in
    Linux, to make "exact" copies, but then you still need the resizing capability
    later. There is at least one free partition resizing tool, but I've read one report
    it screwed up while processing a couple FAT32 partitions. There is likely
    more than one way to do it (copy from one drive to another), so you're bound
    to get multiple answers. (Acronis ? Ghost ? HDD Manufacturer-provided tool ?)

    The first time you boot from the new drive, make sure the old drive is
    disconnected. If the new drive was dual boot (had a couple OSes), you
    might consider test booting both OSes. Then you can shut down, and
    reconnect the old drive if you want. Otherwise, the new OS copy can
    become confused (when that happened to me, I just recloned again,
    as that was less work than figuring out what broke).

    For activation, Windows tracks identifiable information on various pieces
    of hardware. The disk drive should have a hardware serial number, as well as
    the volume serial number written by Disk Management or the like. I can see
    the hardware serial number in HDTune (but not in the old Everest free edition).
    Chances are you won't have to reactivate, unless you changed something like
    the motherboard. It takes multiple changes to trigger activation.

    Another topic is System Restore. Imagine you had more than one copy of
    WinXP floating around on your computer. They take turns doing their
    System Restore thing. Ideally, I'd want a way to tell the stupid thing
    to only monitor C:, and please ignore all other drives, forever. That
    would prevent state changes that I don't want. For example, I don't really
    want to see a USB Mass Storage device splattered by System Restore, just
    because it got plugged into my WinXP computer. So if for some reason, you
    didn't want state changes to a disk, that is another complicating factor.
    You can turn it off, but then you don't have the assurance of a restore
    point later. I only mention this as an "issue" - nothing really bad has
    happened to me yet. It's just annoying.

    Some software might be sensitive to drive letter, so you may want to make
    notes, as to whether the old drive and the new clone, end up lettered the
    same way. I don't have any software on my current computer, that really
    cares. But I know there are packages that record *everything*, shoe size,
    barometric pressure, pH of Lake Erie, etc.

    Paul
     
    Paul, Jun 18, 2009
    #3
  4. Jeff Strickland

    - Bobb - Guest

    "Jeff Strickland" <> wrote in message
    news:h1dqad$c0j$-september.org...
    > My wife's computer is filling to capacity, and I'm going to need a new HDD
    > soon. We've already moved files and the majority of what's left is apps.
    >
    > If I bought a new HDD, could I simply copy the entirety of the existing
    > drive to the new one and have a valid install of the OS and all programs?
    > This would eliminate lots of other work if it can be done.
    >
    > My logic is often flawed, but it says that if I copy the entire contents
    > of a HDD to a new HDD, then I should retain all settings, the only
    > difference being that the new drive would have more space.


    If you buy a Seagate, Wd, or other "name brand" it comes with cloning
    software and will walk you thru it.

    What you might consider:
    If starting over - WOULD you set up the drive the way you have it ?
    If so - you're done. If not:
    What I've done during drive upgrades is -
    clone the drive.
    Remove old drive and boot from new drive.
    Make sure everything works OK
    Now - look at where apps, data are.

    Maybe use old drive in an external case and to access pictures,video (
    NON-PC specific stuff).
    If that is acceptable, then you could free up a lot of space on your C:
    drive.
    or Maybe add the original internally as drive D:
    I have a drive called ARCHIVE that has all of my non-OS related stuff -
    backups, multimedia, etc. Doing that allows me to easily access all of my
    non-OS specific stuff using ONE instance of the data . I use XP, X64, test
    beta apps on test partititons etc and on each of those desktops I make a
    shortcut to my " Archive drive". As my Archive drive gets full, its easy to
    clone it and leave all OS drives alone.
     
    - Bobb -, Jun 18, 2009
    #4
  5. "JD" <> wrote in message
    news:4a3a7f2e$0$18250$...
    >>
    >>
    >>

    >
    > Hi there
    >
    > What you are wanting to do is quite simple with the correct software, Disk
    > cloning is what you want to do, there are lots of programs to do that such
    > as Norton Ghost (www.symantecstore.com)Acronis True image
    > (www.acronis.co.uk)and there's also a free one (www.conezilla.org)
    >
    > Whether its a good idea or not, that all depends on how much "junk" there
    > is on the system, if you do a fresh install from original disks you know
    > the machine is clean and it will probably work better with out all the
    > additional stuff that tends to build up (especially all that taskbar stuff
    > you don't really need like ink monitors, sync software etc.) however on
    > the flip side you don't need to worry about backing up passwords and the
    > like.
    >
    >
    > JD


    The drive is only 20G, how much junk can there be?

    We've already moved her My Documents to another drive to recover about 2.5G,
    and the remaining files measure in the hundreds of K to a G or so, max.
    These files would be those that an app saves, QuickBooks or FamilyTreeMaker,
    etc., that might not go into the My Documents folder by default. She has in
    the neighborhood of 3.5G of free space.

    In a related development, or perhaps not, Outlook Express won't open, and
    declares that there is not enough disk space. She mostly uses Yahoo Mail,
    but we have Yahoo Plus so I can teach OE to pull Yahoo mail. This would give
    her a text based email experience instead of the Web-based experience she
    has now. (I find the text experience vastly superior to the Web experience.)
    What can make OE declare that there's not enough space for it to open? Could
    the Inbox be corrupted, or filled, to the point that it is larger than the
    remaining space on the HDD?

    Whatever the problem is with OE, I can't fix it from any OE menu options
    because I can't get to any menues. I could delete a couple of .DBX files.
    Hmmm ...
     
    Jeff Strickland, Jun 18, 2009
    #5
  6. Jeff Strickland

    - Bobb - Guest

    "Jeff Strickland" <> wrote in message
    news:h1e4n7$ig6$-september.org...
    >
    > "JD" <> wrote in message
    > news:4a3a7f2e$0$18250$...
    >>>
    >>>
    >>>

    >>
    >> Hi there
    >>
    >> What you are wanting to do is quite simple with the correct software,
    >> Disk cloning is what you want to do, there are lots of programs to do
    >> that such as Norton Ghost (www.symantecstore.com)Acronis True image
    >> (www.acronis.co.uk)and there's also a free one (www.conezilla.org)
    >>
    >> Whether its a good idea or not, that all depends on how much "junk" there
    >> is on the system, if you do a fresh install from original disks you know
    >> the machine is clean and it will probably work better with out all the
    >> additional stuff that tends to build up (especially all that taskbar
    >> stuff you don't really need like ink monitors, sync software etc.)
    >> however on the flip side you don't need to worry about backing up
    >> passwords and the like.
    >>
    >>
    >> JD

    >
    > The drive is only 20G, how much junk can there be?
    >
    > We've already moved her My Documents to another drive to recover about
    > 2.5G, and the remaining files measure in the hundreds of K to a G or so,
    > max. These files would be those that an app saves, QuickBooks or
    > FamilyTreeMaker, etc., that might not go into the My Documents folder by
    > default. She has in the neighborhood of 3.5G of free space.
    >
    > In a related development, or perhaps not, Outlook Express won't open, and
    > declares that there is not enough disk space. She mostly uses Yahoo Mail,
    > but we have Yahoo Plus so I can teach OE to pull Yahoo mail. This would
    > give her a text based email experience instead of the Web-based experience
    > she has now. (I find the text experience vastly superior to the Web
    > experience.) What can make OE declare that there's not enough space for it
    > to open? Could the Inbox be corrupted, or filled, to the point that it is
    > larger than the remaining space on the HDD?
    >
    > Whatever the problem is with OE, I can't fix it from any OE menu options
    > because I can't get to any menues. I could delete a couple of .DBX files.
    > Hmmm ...


    check
    http://www.oehelp.com/ and
    http://www.insideoe.com/faqs/index.htm
    http://www.insideoe.com/files/
    If a lot of mail and you want the OE mail - don't mess with dbx files, it
    MIGHT mess up pointers/folders etc ( always has for me - but I've got LOTS
    of folders/subfolders and a WHOLE LOT Of mail)
     
    - Bobb -, Jun 18, 2009
    #6
  7. Jeff Strickland

    Neil Green Guest

    "Jeff Strickland" <> wrote in
    message
    news:h1dqad$c0j$-september.org...
    > My wife's computer is filling to capacity, and I'm
    > going to need a new HDD soon. We've already moved
    > files and the majority of what's left is apps.
    >
    > If I bought a new HDD, could I simply copy the
    > entirety of the existing drive to the new one and
    > have a valid install of the OS and all programs?
    > This would eliminate lots of other work if it can be
    > done.
    >
    > My logic is often flawed, but it says that if I copy
    > the entire contents of a HDD to a new HDD, then I
    > should retain all settings, the only difference
    > being that the new drive would have more space.
    >
    > The reason I ask is that I recently had an HDD
    > failure, and it was a PITA to get the new one up and
    > running with the old apps and stuff that I had on
    > the old one. I just bought (for $25) a device that
    > connects an IDE device to USB. I was able to set the
    > failed drive as a Slave and then reformat, now I can
    > use the USB converter to read the drive, which gives
    > me a bootable device for future work. (None of that
    > pertains to my wife's situation, but it is the seed
    > of my brainstorm.)
    >
    > I'm thinking that if I bought my wife a new HDD, I
    > could format it then completely copy the contents of
    > the existing drive to the newly formatted drive,
    > then when the new drive is connected as a Master, it
    > would boot and give her all of the same programs
    > that she already has.
    >
    > Good plan, or not?


    I've found Acronis True Image to be the best cloning
    software, never had a problem with it..
     
    Neil Green, Jun 19, 2009
    #7
  8. Jeff,

    FWIW, I've reformatted and reinstalled several times over the years. I
    reinstall the apps I want to keep and ignore the others I haven't used
    (and there are usually many of them which I had downloaded
    previously.) As mentioned before, cloning will retain any existing
    problems, trojan horses/keyloggers, etc..

    So IMHO, if you don't have a huge number of apps that you will need to
    install, reformatting and reinstalling is the better option.

    Steve



    On Thu, 18 Jun 2009 09:34:14 -0700, "Jeff Strickland"
    <> wrote:

    >My wife's computer is filling to capacity, and I'm going to need a new HDD
    >soon. We've already moved files and the majority of what's left is apps.
    >
    >If I bought a new HDD, could I simply copy the entirety of the existing
    >drive to the new one and have a valid install of the OS and all programs?
    >This would eliminate lots of other work if it can be done.
    >
    >My logic is often flawed, but it says that if I copy the entire contents of
    >a HDD to a new HDD, then I should retain all settings, the only difference
    >being that the new drive would have more space.
    >
    >The reason I ask is that I recently had an HDD failure, and it was a PITA to
    >get the new one up and running with the old apps and stuff that I had on the
    >old one. I just bought (for $25) a device that connects an IDE device to
    >USB. I was able to set the failed drive as a Slave and then reformat, now I
    >can use the USB converter to read the drive, which gives me a bootable
    >device for future work. (None of that pertains to my wife's situation, but
    >it is the seed of my brainstorm.)
    >
    >I'm thinking that if I bought my wife a new HDD, I could format it then
    >completely copy the contents of the existing drive to the newly formatted
    >drive, then when the new drive is connected as a Master, it would boot and
    >give her all of the same programs that she already has.
    >
    >Good plan, or not?
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
     
    Steve Meyerson, Jun 19, 2009
    #8
  9. "Steve Meyerson" <> wrote in message
    news:p...
    > Jeff,
    >
    > FWIW, I've reformatted and reinstalled several times over the years. I
    > reinstall the apps I want to keep and ignore the others I haven't used
    > (and there are usually many of them which I had downloaded
    > previously.) As mentioned before, cloning will retain any existing
    > problems, trojan horses/keyloggers, etc..
    >
    > So IMHO, if you don't have a huge number of apps that you will need to
    > install, reformatting and reinstalling is the better option.
    >
    > Steve
    >
    >


    The problem with that is retention of the original CD, or the lack thereof.
    She seems to have lots of apps that she uses, and she will find them missing
    over the next several months if I can't simply copy them over. She'll drive
    me crazy searching for CDs to reload this stuff.

    The drive she has is only 20G, and the drive I have in mind is 650G, so
    space won't be an issue even if the BIOS says I can only format 137G then I
    have to format the remaining 500G after I get the OS running.

    In the worst case, I can install a 40G drive that I already have in stock,
    and get 20G of new free space. My wife is already using a Maxtor external
    drive and a FreeAgent 350G USB drive, so this is a real option.

    She has no virual enhancements that any of our anti-virus programs can
    catch.
     
    Jeff Strickland, Jun 19, 2009
    #9
  10. On Fri, 19 Jun 2009 08:54:23 -0700, "Jeff Strickland"
    <> wrote:

    >
    >"Steve Meyerson" <> wrote in message
    >news:p...
    >> Jeff,
    >>
    >> FWIW, I've reformatted and reinstalled several times over the years. I
    >> reinstall the apps I want to keep and ignore the others I haven't used
    >> (and there are usually many of them which I had downloaded
    >> previously.) As mentioned before, cloning will retain any existing
    >> problems, trojan horses/keyloggers, etc..
    >>
    >> So IMHO, if you don't have a huge number of apps that you will need to
    >> install, reformatting and reinstalling is the better option.
    >>
    >> Steve
    >>
    >>

    >
    >The problem with that is retention of the original CD, or the lack thereof.
    >She seems to have lots of apps that she uses, and she will find them missing
    >over the next several months if I can't simply copy them over. She'll drive
    >me crazy searching for CDs to reload this stuff.


    Understand totally. Bad situation. If you can't replace the CD's (or
    app downloads) cheaply, I guess cloning is the safest bet. Good luck.
    >
    >The drive she has is only 20G, and the drive I have in mind is 650G, so
    >space won't be an issue even if the BIOS says I can only format 137G then I
    >have to format the remaining 500G after I get the OS running.
    >
    >In the worst case, I can install a 40G drive that I already have in stock,
    >and get 20G of new free space. My wife is already using a Maxtor external
    >drive and a FreeAgent 350G USB drive, so this is a real option.
    >
    >She has no virual enhancements that any of our anti-virus programs can
    >catch.
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
     
    Steve Meyerson, Jun 19, 2009
    #10
  11. Jeff Strickland

    - Bobb - Guest


    > "Jeff Strickland" <> wrote in message
    > news:h1dqad$c0j$-september.org...
    >> My wife's computer is filling to capacity, and I'm going to need a new
    >> HDD soon. We've already moved files and the majority of what's left is
    >> apps.
    >>
    >> If I bought a new HDD, could I simply copy the entirety of the existing
    >> drive to the new one and have a valid install of the OS and all programs?
    >> This would eliminate lots of other work if it can be done.
    >>
    >> My logic is often flawed, but it says that if I copy the entire contents
    >> of a HDD to a new HDD, then I should retain all settings, the only
    >> difference being that the new drive would have more space.


    If you don;t have the install CD's for a lot of stuff ( I think we've all
    been there), to "clean up" - clone HDD
    Backup registry. Then uninstall old, unused apps.
    THEN run program like Ccleaner - it's very good at cleaning up registry -
    removing then unused links to tweak new HDD registry, shutdown/restart a few
    times to make sure all OK after tweaking before tossing old HDD. In fact
    since not much use for a 20gb drive these days, I'd just leave it in the
    box - unplugged - and if ever a problem in the future - there it is.
     
    - Bobb -, Jun 20, 2009
    #11
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