I need to replace the HDD from one laptop, but the goal is to preserve the recovery partition, thus allowing me to re-install windows at any given time, just like if it was the original HDD.

I've tried to copy the files to the new HDD after creating the partition with the same settings as the old one, but to no avail.

If relevant, the laptop Details:

The laptop is a Sony Vaio PCG-6P2M.
Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005

Sony Vaio PCG-6P2M

Tools available:

  • I can use any solution under windows or Linux.
  • I have access to a USB docking station for HDD's.
  • I have other computers I can use to connect both HDD's if necessary.

Since you have access to Linux, you can clone the HDD using the terminal.


  1. The target drive should be the same size or bigger than the source disk drive.

    To the clone process to be successful, the new HDD at the very least needs to have the same size as the source HDD. If bigger, no problems there.

  2. Have a Linux Live CD or a Linux bootable USB drive or some other way of booting into Linux.

    You can use the terminal either from a Live Distribution or one already installed, the tools required are available on both.

  3. Connect both the source HDD and the target HDD to the computer where you are going to perform this task.


  1. Open the terminal;

  2. Ascertain each HDD location:

    You can use fdisk to list the devices and get their location:

    fdisk -l

    Take note of the location of you origin HDD and target HDD.

  3. Cloning the HDD:

    You can use dd to clone the HDD directly to the new one:

    dd if=/dev/sda of=/dev/sdb

    assuming that the source is at sda and the target is at sdb

  4. All done

    You can now place the new HDD into the laptop and the recovery partition will be available for you.

    As the cloning process cloned the entire HDD, thus preserving the partition table and settings, you also have your old windows installation available that should work without any issues.

  • All done, works like a charm at first try, thank you!
    – Zuul
    Sep 27 '12 at 1:57

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.