The "official" way to upgrade the primary hard disk of a Windows machine seems to be to install the new drive, install windows, install backup software, then do a restore from backup of the previous system.

For home use and for the sake of doing it faster, is there another way? There doesn't seem to be a standard way of making a disk other than the primary one bootable, which is a nuisance.

I've tried "install new hard drive, copy image of partition over and expand it using a gparted boot CD, remove old hard drive", but that leaves me in a strange state where windows boots OK but doesn't go to the desktop, instead going to a logo screen. CtrlAltDel does nothing at this screen. This happens even in safe mode.

I have with this home system what appears to be a Windows OEM CD (XP home sp2) that isn't bootable, which is odd.

Edit: I think the "clone and replace" using systemrescuecd does work, I'm sure I've done that before, but only if the drive is on the same controller. In this case it's IDE->SATA, which is probably the problem.

migrated from serverfault.com Jul 29 '10 at 13:10

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Pity it's not Vista, one of it's saving graces is it's 'full disk backup' and restore-from-boot-cd function - worked a treat for me the one time I needed it.

  • Yes this way is the most cosy way ^^ – Oskar Duveborn Jun 27 '09 at 21:22

You can use Acronis to image your existing drive and then clone it to your new drive. It also allows you to easily resize the new partition depending on the size of your new drive. If you don't like TrueImage, you can try other disk-cloning software like Ghost or the PING livecd.

  • I was able to do an IDE to SATA Ghost Image on my home system without any issues. The system booted up and I was able to go about my business from step one! – JFV Jun 28 '09 at 3:42

Use your favourite imaging software like Ghost Enterprise Suite or whatnot, boot it from a disc or something. Clonezilla should do it I guess though I haven't tried its disk cloning abilities.

Have both the old and the new disk plugged in, clone the old one to the new one using a disk to disk clone (not partition). In this process you can normally resize the partitions to fit the new disk size in whatever way you want.

Shut down, remove the old disk, move the new disk to the same controller port as the old one for good measure and boot the machine.

It would be wierd if this didn't work - like the disk imaging software not really doing its job or something. As long as the disk uses the same controller there shouldn't be any problems at all.

  • I've done that before successfully on the same controller - I guess the problem in this case is that it isn't, I should note that. – pjc50 Jun 27 '09 at 21:47
  • Ah, if it's a different controller you're in a world of hurt ;p ...there's a post here somewhere about this though looking – Oskar Duveborn Jun 27 '09 at 21:59
  • If its the controller that's a roadblock for this operation, I'd suggest going into BIOS setup and changing the controller mode to "IDE Compatible" or something equivalent. It has always worked for me. – _HK_ Jun 28 '09 at 14:07

I did it using system rescue CD IIRC. Actually any Linux live CD will do; simply use the dd command to copy the partitions from a drive to another :

dd if=/dev/<original partition> of=/dev/<new partition>

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