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What software is best to clone and image a drive and then copy it to another drive? How hard is it to do? Are there any steps I need to do to make it easier to do?

Example: copy a desktop setup to a laptop setup. Would there be any issues involved other then having to re-install drivers?

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You have to also consider Microsoft Windows licensing. – iglvzx Apr 25 '12 at 0:07
I planned to just change the Lic Key. But good point there. – Tiffany Walker Apr 25 '12 at 0:18
not sure about windows 7, but with XP it certainly won't work. the motherboard chipset has to be the same, and to get around that there are ways but I don't recall. – barlop Apr 25 '12 at 0:33
If you are changing the hardware significantly, which would be the case of a desktop-to-laptop transfer, you're better off just backing up your personal files and reinstalling Windows from scratch. – Ampersand Apr 25 '12 at 2:30
More laptop to laptop but when you spend about a week or 2 just installing applications would rather clone then spend a few weeks rebuilding. I plan to build a laptop then clone it to another. – Tiffany Walker Apr 25 '12 at 5:09
up vote 0 down vote accepted

For years the industry standard was Norton Ghost which has myriad options to pull images and restore them. We used to ship whole racks of systems to our customers, and used Ghost extensively to re-image.

There are plenty of other alternatives, including free ones - one Google search for "drive cloning" will give you many pages to sift through.

If I was trying to migrate to a completely different system, however, like desktop to laptop or vice versa, I'd be more interested in starting with a clean install for the target system and using something like Beycond Compare over the network to quickly see what else I need.

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worth noting that beyond cmopare is just for copying files. would you use that to copy programs? I suppose you wouldn't. By the way, acronis was always / is generally more popular than norton. a new development was freeware started appearing like clonezilla. – barlop Apr 25 '12 at 0:31
norton ghost has lost some of its luster, agrees with barlop with todays systems acronis (even the free WDacronis version) is much better. cloning to corporate same systems will work, but Cloning to Different systems IMO is a "disaster in waiting" , you can never know for sure that some stupid problem your having is caused by some driver that is not exactally correct, but "works". – Psycogeek Apr 25 '12 at 4:23

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