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I had a new machine fail too many times so I am getting a replacement with identical machine and I want to clone my hard drive bit by bit. What is the best approach to do this?

Several considerations:

  • I may not be able to boot from the original hard drive. Is there any solutions where I can attach the hard drive to a third machine and create an image or directly copy it to the other drive without booting? In addition I may have to have a technician do it and I don't want to tell him my account password.
  • The machines are one of those new fancy ultrabooks with Windows 8 keys embedded into the motherboard
  • I have purchased and installed Windows 8 Pro upgrade any issues transferring?
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up vote 2 down vote accepted

Use an imaging program such as Acronis or Macrium Reflect to image your current hard drive onto an external hard drive, then use the software's recovery media to restore the image to your new machine. I believe Acronis supports taking an image booting from CD, so no booting from HDD required.

As for the Windows license, you can always just alter the key to the one the replacement laptop was using before you flatten it and put the restored image on it, then run the upgrade to pro afterwards. Assuming the replacement comes with Windows 8 pre-installed or with a key you can use.

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