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Cloning my HD onto another

By jamesearl · 6 replies
Aug 29, 2009
  1. I want to clone my entire 160GB drive onto my new 1TB drive. I know there is software for this, but the problem is I can only have one drive plugged in at a time because I don't have two cables, but I do have another 600GB USB drive.

    So is it possible to:
    1. Clone the 160GB drive - files are put on the USB drive.
    2. Unplug the 160GB drive and plug in the 1TB HDD.
    3. Copy the files from the USB drive onto the 1TB drive.

    Would this be possible? Maybe with a boot disk..
  2. strategic

    strategic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,020

    You can backup the drive, you can use the Windows backup utility to perform this.
    THe only thing is, is that it will save it all as one file, but if you need to exrtract only certain files, you can open it (again in the backup utility) and select what you want.:)
    Most external HDD's come with their own software, which you can also use, and they work more or less the same.
    Cable are inexpensive, just get another, but why can't you go from the 160GB HDD direct to the 1TB drive and bypass the 600GB drive?
  3. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +183

    I think they need to do a "clone" vs a "backup" (i.e. backups will backup one's files and folders but not create a "clone" of disk - and one needs a "clone" if one wants to create a fully complete and bootable disk copy (i.e. a "clone")

    You;d need something like Acronis True Image (or other Clone disk product).
    > You also need a boot disk (for Acronis, you either get the disk in box version or you can create your own bootable CD using the product itsefl - if you buy the software online)
    > Create a clone copy on the external drive
    > Shutdown, put in your new HD and boot from CD
    > Now move the "clone" from external drive to your new HD
    > Reboot from new HD and you should be "good to go"
  4. strategic

    strategic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,020

    But will a cloce actually copy file by file, or will it group everything into one file.
    Does Windows Backup work for this?
  5. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,499   +2,295

    Hind Sight is Always 20/20

    WD and Seatgate have free software designed to just this, clone your old drive unto a new one. In fact, as I understand it, at least one of these utilities is based in "AcronisTrue Image" anyway! You should hit their respective websites, these are free downloads, but will only work with their own brand of drive.

    Not that I actually put this into practice, but the time to think about a new drive is when you first get the old one. After the OS is installed, you would create an image, (With Acronis or similar), and perhaps again after all the software is installed.

    Data files should be stored on a different "Volume" drive anyway. At any rate, when you change the drive, you would boot up with the OS and program files, then simply copy and paste your data files to the new drive.

    When you are using two physical HDDs, this is even easier, just "Control A", on the old volume, then "Control V" everything onto the new drive at one shot. All that remains to be done is pull the donor drive, then change the drive letter of the new drive to match the old one, that way your files paths will be intact.

    The Disclaimer; I do not use the "My Documents" folder on "C:/", I retarget it to the volume drive in all cases, and store freshly downloaded files to a " Firefox Downloads" folder, which I always create on the desktop. The nice thing about a desktop folder is that you can copy it completely right off the desktop. Yeah, that's pretty obvious, but it's worth keeping it in mind.
  6. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +183

    Hi Strategic,
    Think of it in terms of backup/restore functionality

    Simple Copy/paste backup functionality
    From the beginning, we're all used to basic copy/paste functionality. We can create our own simple backups by simply copy/pasting files and folders of choice to a backup drive. You can copy your personal data (e.g. in My Documents and on your Desktop). As well as, you can even copy stuff from your disk’s System folders: e.g Windows and Program Files folder if you wanted to

    You can now easily recover your personal data (le.g on My Documents and Desktop) by copy/paste recovery from the backup drive. But, of course, one can’t simply use copy/paste of System stuff (like Windows and Program Files etc) to restore a working version of Windows and create a good/bootable hard drive

    Simple backup products (like Windows backup) only do copy/paste type backup functions.

    Cloning backup functionality
    When you use a “cloning” backup product, it doesn’t simply look at your disk from a files/folders copy/paste perspective. It
    > Captures an image of the binary data on your disk
    > Understands how to interpret that disk image to recreate the partitions on your disk
    > Understands how to restore the sector data in a partition
    There are some freeware cloning products as captaincranky mentioned as well as Easus Disk Copy (tho i haven't used any of these to assess one vs. other)

    Acronis True Image (which i do happen to use and one must buy) does all the disk clone functions as above PLUS it can
    > Interpret all your backed up partition and sector data to also allow you view your backup data as simple files/folder (viewing it on an Acronis mounted drive letter) should you want to view your backup data as files/folders
    > Thus it can provide both the clone disk backup function for full disk recovery and True Image ALSO provides the option of selective file/folder restore

    If you use the native Windows interface you only see those "huge" files. But if you view your backups using Acronis you can
    > Tell Acronis to "mount" the backup to a Windows disk volume drive letter. and THEN you can use Explorer to look through and copy/paste what you want OR you can
    > Use Acronis interface to restore full partition image data to do full disk recovery
  7. strategic

    strategic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,020

    Thanks for clearing that up LookinAround.
    I can pretty much say "I knew that" but I won't, I got the 2 procedures mixed up.
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