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I forgot my password to my backup file. My main drive is going out. I have installed windows 7 to another drive and can boot from it as normal(I'm not new to installing OS'es BTW). Instead of backing up again and recovering from the backup onto the new drive can I simply copy all the files over from one drive to the other(obviously not while booted into the new drive's OS)?

Will all the files from the the first OS get copied OR will there be major issues due to security and hidden files?

I'm trying to save time sine it's about 150gb to copy and the back/recovery procedure is about 4x as long(because of compression + verification).

I guess it won't hurt to try while waiting for an answer...

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All the files? No. If you had a password protected account on the old drive, then the files within that account won't be copied. Also, installed programs won't work. In fact, you might even end up making your new install of Windows 7 cease to function.

What you should do is simply clone the old drive onto the new one.

Clonezilla Just download the ISO, make a disc from it, and boot to it with both drives connected to the same computer. Clone the old drive onto the new one (overwriting that fresh install of Windows 7 in the process). If the drives are the same size, then once it is done remove the old drive, replace it with the new one, and boot normally. If the new drive is larger than the old one, then use something like GParted to adjust the size of the partition to match the new drive.

Or, you could just download and use Parted Magic, which is a set of tools that has both Clonezilla and GParted available for you at the same time.

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I imagine installed programs will work fine as long as the registry will be copied. I cannot clone the drive because it has some partitions that I want to save. Acronis can easily backup the secure files so I don't see why there can't be some utility to do the same type of thing but just copy. –  Uiy Apr 23 '12 at 4:12
    
Clonezilla will let you clone the Windows Partition only so you can preserve the other partitions on the secondary drive. –  Dustin G. Apr 23 '12 at 4:31
    
You can clone the entire drive... all the existing partitions... with clonezilla. You should see the list of supported file systems on the page I gave you a link to. But, even if the file systems you are using are not supported, CLonezilla can do a sector by sector copy. So, by cloning the drive with clonezilla, you really can just make an exact copy of the entire drive. –  Bon Gart Apr 23 '12 at 20:37
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