Old hard drive new computer


Posts: 540   +147
I just use Macrium Reflect. Free easy way to clone your drive. I use it mostly for backup.
I create a mirror of my hard drive about once every two weeks at work. I just tell it to start
when I head home from work (laptop). That way if something happens, it's just a matter of
popping the defect drive out, pop in the backup mirror and off I go.
When I switched from a mechanical to a SSD, I used it to mirror and had zero problems.
Acronis works for me.


Posts: 540   +147
I have done this a lot, I have done it about 3-4 times in the past 3 months alone, upgrading my own and a few family and friends PCs.
The most recent being my gaming computer, as I did not want to download my entire steam library again!

I moved my HDDs from a Windows 10 Machine - HP PC with DDR3 and a sandybridge CPU (i3-2120)
to a Gigabyte Mobo with i7-6700 with DDR4 RAM.

I had a Windows 10 Machine with 2 HDDs.
1 SSD - 256 GB with OS and a few games (games I play more frequently)
1 HDD - 2 TB redirect steam to install older games here and even windows 10 games (gears of war 4 , gears of war ultimate edition, killer instinct).

Step 1.
Clean old software that will not be relevant to the new mobo (in my case HP software).

Step 2.
Attempt to place your Windows OS in "sysprep" mode.
Please google up what sysprep does, it a handy tool, with a few niggling issues, it never works straight away!
Without this step, you OS will most likely not boot in the new environment.
I had numerous issues getting this to work but it always did.

Issue 1.
My windows 10 is an upgraded copy of windows 7, by default sysprep will not work on upgraded machines.
Googled up the error code in the log sysprep produced and was able to delete a registry key to get this working.
Issue 2. - Windows 7 will not have this issue.
Windows 10 apps installed by a user, due to Windows Store DRM crap, you cannot put a Windows 10 / 8 OS in sysprep with these installed.
You will have to uninstall all user installed apps from Windows Store before being able to get it in sysprep mode.
If you have multiple users, this will affect every user, it easier getting rid of all additional users too.
The log will tell you what app is causing the sysprep to fail but will only tell you one app at a time, so you can run the tool to identify which app is causing it, but then have to uninstall the said app and run the tool again. I had to do this 20+ times! System Windows store apps like mail etc do not need to be uninstalled.

Step 3
Once sysprep has completed, please make sure you do not try to boot the HDD now.
If you are migrating HDDs (like I did) please follow these steps, if you are not then skip to Step 4.

Using maricum reflect (free) on a different PC, clone the HDD.
Issues (only if you are changing the boot mode from legacy to UEFI)
I was cloning from a SATA SSD to my new NVme PCI Samsung.
NVme can only be booted in the newer UEFI boot mode, my old SATA SSD was configured to boot in legacy mode.
I had to follow this guide
Then clone the main C:\ partition only (not any system reserved partitions).
Booting will obviously fail, so I then had to follow this guide to fix the booting issues, this bit requires maricum reflect pro.

Step 4
Time to boot your new machine.
Boot your OS from your HDD/SDD, it will look like a new Windows Build, configure a temporary user, finish the prompts and setup and login once as the temporary user for windows to finish it's driver installs.

Step 5
Restart, and log in as your existing user.
Install your new Mobo / hardware drivers.
Install your Windows 10 store apps (if you had to uninstall any).
Change your secondary HDD's drive letter to what it was before (in my case my 2 TB HDD was drive E: )
Open steam and continue your game!

I have recovered and swapped HDDs too many time to count but; there are many processes for doing this but why is it so damn time consuming and hard!!!


Posts: 3,836   +1,189
The only reason you need a clean install while rebuilding is if you are replacing your HD with a SSD.
This is the less true statement I've read here. They normally come with USB cases and software to clone the drive to specifically not have to do a clean install =P


Posts: 15   +0
Been doing this for years just create a backup image and restore the image to a clean install on new drive it's easy and nothing is lost. some drivers may needed to be updated but that's it.
thats what I had been planning but didnt know if it would require anything else becuase as we all know nothing works the first time.


Posts: 6   +0
My suggestion is to transfer all data to a new sdd to have a better gaming experience. Like most of them says, cloning is the easiest to do that.
You can just backup the old hard drive and restore the backup image to new hard drive. Everything will stay same on the old hard drive. Change boot sequence in BIOS, or it will ask you to select which OS to boot.