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How do I easily copy or clone a Windows boot partition onto a new hard drive?

Currently I have Windows 7 installed on C: of 20GB capacity. I install software mostly on another drive. But when I run some heavy software like 3d max or Photoshop, I face low disk space problem since only 2GB space is free in C:.

I am planning to buy a new hard disk of large capacity and want to move the OS from C: to a new partition of another hard disk.

I heard that Acronis Migrate Easy can do it in better way. But I am doubtful in the following points:

  1. Would moving an OS from one drive be safer – or should I install a new copy of the OS?
  2. My previous programs are installed on D:. So will references to previously installed software persist, after shifting/migration?
  3. Is there any other easier and safer way for moving an OS to a drive which is different in size?
  • I think there should be no problem moving to another drive. Is D: on another drive or just another partition? If it's the latter, just image the whole drive. I could be wrong though, might have some Windows expert confirm this. Generally, you can't screw up unless you somehow erase your source drive. – slhck Oct 4 '11 at 8:44
  • cloning easy, clone and change letter too, not so easy , the only problems will be when things USED the letter, D:/program files/that program/ohnooo.exe . that can be much of the stuff the user installed and many shortcuts they use. Plus many registry entries. – Psycogeek Oct 4 '11 at 9:20
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    @slhck, I already had read questions you found similar but raised this question since I was having more doubts. – Amit Kumar Gupta Oct 4 '11 at 9:54

I think I understand now. You're not changing letters, you just have

  • a "System disk" [C] and
  • a "Programs disk" [D]

Insert the new drive in the system, test it good, make sure that it works.

Clone the original disk to the new disk as a 1:1 copy, leave the programs disk D, like it was. Use something like Acronis True Image, and the "Clone Disk" function. If you have a WD drive you can get a WD version for free, it will do this fine.

Set the BIOS to boot to the new drive, test it thoroughly.


Keep the disk you have, and the fine arrangement of having programs off of the system drive. Move more aspects of the system and programs to the programs drive. Move the scratch disk, move the paging, move the temp nets, move the backups, remove any hibernation (if not used).

  • Ya!! you took it in right way. but what about my doubts like different size target drive....should i go for acronis true image or for acronis migrate easy or something else. I can't do RND at this point. – Amit Kumar Gupta Oct 4 '11 at 9:40
  • almost all cloning software deletes and partitions too (they most often are destructive replacement). so when you get to the part about How it is going to deal with the bigger size, choose. Plus with something like easus home version , and sometimes with windows disk manager you can expand it later anyway. – Psycogeek Oct 4 '11 at 9:47
  • Acronis Ture Image can restore to different sized partitions. It's also remarkably easy to use. – Joe Taylor Oct 4 '11 at 11:31
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    I tried acronis & clonezilla but they are copying whole drive not their single partition. I'll try Norton ghost next time – Amit Kumar Gupta Oct 6 '11 at 3:35
  • If your going for PARTITION in acronis, use the Restore and Backup of IMAGE instead, I dont understand why clone only worked great for Full Disk. With the backup and restore methods, you create an Image File. I did not see this as a problem, because I also wanted a backup image file. The Old ghost was wonderfull, the new ghost I could not cope with, it got moronified, and does unnesssiary things. It indeed would clone partition. – Psycogeek Oct 6 '11 at 4:28

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