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Swapping primary drive? Answered

I have laptop with a dying seagate drive, and before it dies completely, I got a hitachi drive as a replacement. My question is, how can I copy the disk exactly onto the new drive, keeping all files and programs intact so I don't have to re-install windows. I'm guessing I can't just copy and pasts, but maybe using xcopy? I have plenty of other computers and cables to use for transferring if needed.


Use XXCloner. With this tool you can make your drive bootable under advanced options.


7 years ago

Well, here is a free CD for download that has all kinds of programs including cloning programs. I have used this and some of the programs do work, but not for all circumstances. But its in your price range. (free)


That is the info on it, this is the download page


Its a big download. almost 500 meg


7 years ago

Acronis Disk Director Suite is the way to go. Its the best program I have found and I tried a lot of them. I think the newest version is now called True Image and there is a home version. You can clone the entire disk which is what you are talking about or you can copy partition's. Partitions will not contain the boot info so cloning is the way to go. Acronis also gives you the choice to copy the exact size it is or re size it to the new drive capacity.

The hard drive companies soemtimes have versions of drive copy software, you would download it from their websites. And there are free programs around too. The Hard drive manufacturers versions are often limited to their brand of drives and they are often simplified versions.

If you get Acronis you can use it to do full bootable system backups. So it has a use beyond just your initial purpose. We used to use it to back up a school districts server. We took a cloned copy with us so if the place burned down we could get a new server running in just days.

I see, it sounds expensive though. I am looking for a free version. The drive I'm trying to copy is the same size as the new one (500gb), but they are different brands. I was hoping to copy everything, including the boot sector as I can't really be bothered to save all the files, list the programs, then re-install them all, but I will do if I have to.

Here you go, $32 with free shipping for one of the most useful programs I have ever owned.


It recognizes ever kind of disk connection, identifies and analyzes all connected drives and allows you to copy anything from anywhere to anything. Hard to beat. Actually I have been in dread that some company like like Norton will buy them out and discontinue the software just so they can take over the market.

I still don't really want to spend anything. It would only be for a one-off copy, so it would be pretty much wasted. Also, I live in the UK, so I doubt shipping is free overseas.

You can spend money and save time, or you can save money and spend time.


WOW! Ghost is up to version 15! I wonder how much of that is eye candy and how much is improved functionality. (I can guess.)

The main imaging tool I use for work is the DOS version of Ghost which came with V8. I boot this from a USB HDD (Dos7 from Win98 disc) and can then do disk-to disk cloning or backup / restore to the USB HDD.
It takes about 20 minutes to slap a 4.5 gig image onto a clean PC.

If this is a one off rather than ongoing, I'm sure you can find a copy of an old Ghost version from the usual sources.

Take a look at the PC Pro reviews - there isn't a lot to choose between the two programs, and they can both create images for virtualisation etc etc.

I eat my (64 bit) words.  It looks like things have moved on a lot there.

The classic program was Norton Ghost, but I think its not as good these days. We used Acronis a couple of weeks ago at work and it made a really good job of it. Its not free, but its well worthwhile.

I know its a PITA, but re-installation is a darned good idea sometimes, because of the cruft you accumulate on your system.

Ok, I managed to enter bios, turns out its F5, which is a strange one. Anyway, it turns out it was actually just a faulty power connector, but I have both drives connected and the old one is being backed up now. Is there no free or included software for windows I can use to clone the bootable disk?

I will consider re-installation, but I would prefer a transfer. If I do a transfer I was hoping to use either pre-installed software or free software. I also don't seem to be able to access the drives when both plugged into a desktop, I'm assuming it's just that they are disabled in bios though. I can't seem to enter BIOS to check though, its another desktop I have lying around, but I decided against using mine as I have a modular PSU and I can't be bothered to find the sata power cables. I tried delete, F12, and escape during post, and none of them worked. On my PC, it gives you a spash screen with labeled keys to enter various settings when you boot for a few seconds, but on this desktop it checks the drives then immediately boots without a delay.