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What utility can move my Windows boot partition over to another hard drive?

My laptop's hard drive is dying and I have purchased a replacement. The current drive is 640gb and the new one is 500gb. I'm only using about 100gb of disk space so I decided to downgrade a bit. Both drives are currently installed in the laptop and the new one is formatted in ntfs. How can I go about cloning my old drive onto the new drive to keep my existing data and windows installation? Is this possible or do I need to install a fresh copy of windows on the new drive and copy my data over after?

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marked as duplicate by slhck Oct 4 '12 at 19:50

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You should just search your question, it has been asked many times. superuser.com/questions/88173/… –  user142485 Oct 4 '12 at 19:31
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1 Answer

up vote 2 down vote accepted

How can I go about cloning my old drive onto the new drive to keep my existing data and windows installation?

There are a lot of dedicated programs for this task. To name a few: CloneZilla, Norton Ghost, Acronos, ...

Is this possible or do I need to install a fresh copy of windows on the new drive and copy my data over after?

it is possible, and there are advantages and disadvantages to both. Briefly, a clone would have all your old programs, which is desired. But also all old cruft.

Personally I would make a clean installation. Run all windows updates and make a backup of that installation (for emergency use. E.g. in case you ever get a virus and need to restore). Then put the old drive in an external case and copy the data to the new drive.

This also prevents the extra stress of making a copy your old HDD when you already know that the drive is dying. (Since you only copy the files you need, not all of the OS).

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I looked into CloneZilla but it seems there are some problems when cloning a larger HD to a smaller one. –  Josh Mountain Oct 4 '12 at 19:34
    
I used Norton ghost in the past. While it did not allow a copy from a drive to a smaller drive it does allow a copy from a drive to a (small) file, and from file to a smaller drive. So it is possible. I lack actual experience with CloneZilla but I felt I should mention at least one free alternative. –  Hennes Oct 4 '12 at 19:37
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