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I have a small 300GB hard drive (data, not OS; some programs) which is getting full, and I've ordered a 2TB drive to replace it. I would like the replacement to be seamless - that is, I plan to clone the old drive and arrange for Windows 8.1 to see the new drive as having the old drive's letter D:.

I'm pretty happy with the cloning - I plan to use CloneZilla or a similar tool, either under Windows or from the Linux Mint flash drive I have.

However, the old drive connects to the SATA II header on my motherboard, while the new drive is SATA III. Will this be a problem? How can I make Windows refer to the new drive by the same letter as the old one? Bonus points if I can keep the old drive attached as well to be formatted and re-used.

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@op: The different connector is not different. – Hennes Mar 27 at 19:06
I am aware the different connector isn't. What I want to know is how I can get Windows to call my new drive by the old drive's letter. I assume that if I removed the old drive and plugged the new one into the same header, it would Just Work; but I don't know if it will work with the new drive plugged into the faster header, with or without the old drive still attached. – Chowlett Mar 27 at 19:09
Make sure there are no files open on the old drive, go to disc management and assign a different letter (E:?), then plug in the new drive and make it D:. You can do this before or after cloning. Finally, format E:. – AFH Mar 27 at 19:17
up vote 5 down vote accepted

The difference between SATA II and SATA III is speed, there will not be any issues replacing your 300GB drive with a 2TB drive and swapping the drive letters.

I would suggest hooking up both drives, leave the 300GB drive assigned to whatever drive letter it currently has, clone the data and then switch drive letters in the computer management console in Windows (Computer Management Console > Storage > Disk Management ).

I would attempt to run any critical programs on the new drive to make sure things load correctly. After you are sure that your data is ok on the new drive, format the old 300GB drive via the Computer Management Console (again, under Storage > Disk Management) enter image description here

Changing Drive Letters on an Existing Drive

  1. Open Computer Management Console (start > run > type compmgmt.msc, press enter)
  2. In the left hand side navigation, left click on Storage > Disk Management.
  3. In the right hand frame, right click on the disk you want to change the drive letter on and select Change Drive Letter and Paths. enter image description here
  4. Select the drive and left click on Change. List item

  5. Choose a new drive letter from the dropdown box. enter image description here

  6. Click OK.

  7. Click OK.

  8. Done.

share|improve this answer
All this time working with Windows systems, and I didn't realise there was a tool for changing drive letters! This sounds like just the ticket, thanks. I'll accept when I've done the swap. And thanks to @AFH too, who gave the same answer but as a comment. – Chowlett Mar 27 at 19:36
@Chowlett yep, good stuff to know for sure. I will edit the answer with a clear screenshot of the Change Drive Letters and Paths option as well for anyone else with a similar question. – Richie086 Mar 27 at 19:38
done. hope that helps! – Richie086 Mar 27 at 19:54
@Chowlett did this answer your question? If so, please mark as an answer. If not, let me know what I need to add or change to make it the right answer. – Richie086 Mar 30 at 22:22
I believe it has, but I want to actually do the clone-and-swap before I mark it, and my new drive hasn't arrived yet. I will mark it after that. – Chowlett Mar 31 at 8:20

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