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I think this should be very easy but it doesn't seem like there's a whole lot of info out there. I've personally never done this exact maneuver because I've never needed to retain the OEM licence before.

I have a laptop and I wish to simply swap out the hard disk with a bigger one but keep the Windows installation and files intact.

Do I use Windows Backup and Restore and burn DVDs or do I just Acronis or something similar. Or is there an even easier way of doing this involving a third party desktop?

Any help much appreciated.

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There are several disc clone programs available, I personally like Norton Ghost, specifically the Norton Ghost on Hirens Boot CD (find it in the places where you get stuff). You will simply need to hook up both your drives (the old one and new one) to the computer at the same time, boot from Hirens Boot CD, start Norton Ghost, then select Local > Disc > From Disc, choosing the correct source and destination drives when prompted. Easy as lying.

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Thanks typoknig, but how do I connect two hard disks at the same time to one laptop? – Dane Aug 2 '10 at 14:38
Get an IDE to USB adapter on eBay. Just search IDE to USB adapter. They are cheap (less than $10 bucks) and actually have IDE, E-IDE, and SATA to USB, plus a power adapter to power your internal 3.5" externally (though you will not the power adapter for your 2.5" laptop hard drive). Honestly there is no physical computer related tool that I use more than that IDE to USB adapter, they are worth every penny. Hope that all makes sense. – ubiquibacon Aug 2 '10 at 15:08

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