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I'm currently facing a hardware HD problem.

Once of my HDs has semi-died. It works, kind of, data is being read, but every now and then it decides to not respond for a while.
Windows hangs for a few seconds, and sometimes I get an event in my event log saying that the device didn't respond fast enough, or something to that effect.

Now I got a new HD to replace it, but i'd love to not have to reinstall Windows. Are there any tools that can copy a partition "bit-to-bit" from one HD to another, so that I can swap the HDs, and it'll still boot up and everything will work as if nothing had happened?

I'm assuming i'll be loading both HDs in another machine, so i wouldn't be copying the partition from which the system that copies them has booted up, but I would need for it to boot up later in my original machine.

Note: the new HDD I bought is bigger than the old one. The old one is 160Gb, the new one is 500Gb. However, all I care about is a 20Gb partition in the original one, the one that boots up. For the 140Gb partition, I can copy files manually. Or, if a program will copy everything exactly, and leave 2 partitions (20 / 140 Gb) in the new HD, and I can create a 3rd one for the rest of the space, that's perfectly fine too.

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migrated from Jul 24 '11 at 10:19

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

Norton Ghost is the traditional commercial tool for this purpose.

Personally, I'm skint, so I use a Linux live CD that has GParted on it. GParted can copy, move and resize partitions, so you can copy the partition to the new disk then resize it to fit.

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If you have a linux system laying around you can use DD, it should be built in.

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SystemRescueDisk can do smart (compression aware, empty spare aware) copies of paritions to local media or network shares. Saved my butt several times.

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XXCopy is great for that, partition by partition, as described here.


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