I want to upgrade my laptop hard drive to one with more space.

I dont want to reinstall everything.

Can I "clone it" to a new drive so that the laptop doesnt know the difference ?

Can this be done ?


  • Many drive manufacturers provide a tool to clone the drive. Especially SSD manufacturers
    – Dave M
    Nov 19, 2018 at 12:24

2 Answers 2


There are tools to clone and even resize a cloned partition. You might want to check if Clonezilla(.org) is any good for you.

Given the new hard drive doesnt require any drivers (never experienced that with laptops), you should be good to go.

But the difference in hardware will off course be detectable. And though a single hard drive being swapped should not be a problem, some software (such as Microsoft Windows) will see it and might even need to reactivate once sufficient change has been done to your hardware configuration. But even that should not be a problem, as a incidental reactivation is not a problem.

  • It's the same hardware. There won't be a difference. Windows will not have to be reactivated. The activation status of Windows is not affected by the system drive.
    – Ramhound
    Nov 18, 2018 at 21:47
  • @Ramhound off course the hardware is not the same once the hard drive is upgraded. And the activation status of Windows is affected by a number of hardware signatures, combined. Once enough variables change, a reactivation might be needed.
    – nl-x
    Nov 18, 2018 at 21:49
  • @Ramhound Ow, and you don’t have to take just my word for it: windowscentral.com/… When you make significant hardware changes, such as replacing the motherboard or hard drive, Windows 10 won't be able to identify your computer correctly, and as a result, the operating system won't activate.
    – nl-x
    Nov 18, 2018 at 22:00
  • A different HDD will NOT affect the activation status of Windows. A clone my HDD and switch it out weekly.
    – Ramhound
    Nov 18, 2018 at 22:08
  • @Ramhound As I already stated myself, it is not probable that it will. But I linked to one source claiming it might. And even if it would, it shouldn’t have a big impact, if this would be the first reactivation.
    – nl-x
    Nov 18, 2018 at 22:10

Yes, you can clone your laptop's drive, the way I prefer to do it is running linux from pendrive and running dd command to clone the full image from one hard drive to another, but be very careful with it, it is very easy to mess up and lose your data if you enter the dd command wrong!

Now if it is your system drive with Windows installation it is hard to say if it will work or not as it depends on many factors, like BIOS or UEFI settings, if the disk was encrypted and how etc., but I would expect it to work if you make a direct image of your drive, maybe with some BIOS tweaking.

  • If the harddrive has been cloned 1:1, the rest of the laptop would not even be aware of the change and everything would boot as normal. What would change in the BIOS that would need tweaking? Nov 19, 2018 at 0:25
  • BIOS or UEFI need to know where the bootloader is, it depend on the configuration. Some might automatically boot from HDD, other would need to point it to a new drive explicitly, like on my PC.
    – Jzuken
    Nov 19, 2018 at 0:30
  • But if the drive is cloned 1:1, the bootloader would be where the BIOS expected it to be. Nov 28, 2018 at 21:46

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