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can Windows 7 clone the OS HDD to new SSD?

i.e have a new SSD to introduce for the main OS in my windows 7 PC, and it is of a different size to my existing HDD...

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If you are asking about using native Windows 7 tools to do this then you should accept the "No, you will need third-party tools..." answer, or at least unaccept the "As long as the size..." answer. If not then your choice for accepted answer is fine. –  Matt Aug 17 '12 at 19:48

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

As long as the size of your current actual data is less than the size of the new SSD, and your cloning software lets you resize (most do, even downsize), you will have no problems. If not, you can use a partition manager software to downsize first, then clone it.

http://clonezilla.org/downloads.php

http://www.partition-tool.com/download.htm

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No, you will need third-party tools.

I would suggest the bootable CD or USB stick "Parted Magic". Do your cloning "offline" when Windows is not running from the boot CD and then exchange drives before booting Windows again.

There are other free tools, too, like XXclone and Easeus.

DO NOT BOOT WINDOWS until you have the new drive connected the same way the old one was so that drive letters do not become an issue.

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thanks - just so I understand, sounds like you're suggesting to keep away from any clone tools that run on windows themselves to start with? Is there a reason for this? –  Greg Jul 17 '11 at 12:01
    
@Greg In general the safest way to clone an OS is to do so when the OS is not running. This ensures a 100% clean copy since there will be no open files or file locks that could prevent reading those files and prevent reading inconsistentthat information. That's why most drive copy tools have you boot of a cd or USB stick before the copy. That said there are tools like Acronis which let you do copies while the OS is live by using volume shadow copy snapshots (VSS). –  Matt Aug 17 '12 at 19:43

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