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I just bought a larger HDD to replace my secondary HDD (SSD is primary). I do install programs and some games to this secondary drive. I want to use the new drive as my secondary operational drive and take the old one and use for data storage purposes only. I want to not have to reinstall all those programs, nor get dirty with registry paths and what not (mostly because I have not before)

My question is, is it better to:

Clone the old drive to the new one (new drive is 500 GB larger than old), then format the old drive?

Or

Should I just copy the data over, reassign the old drive another letter and name, and assign the new drive the old letter? Obviously I would then format the old drive anyhow.

Thank you for the answers. Much appreciated.

  • As long as the file paths and drive letters are the same, either way works. It boils down to whatever way you are most comfortable with. – Cfinley Sep 3 '14 at 17:35
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If the drive isn't a boot disk, it doesn't really matter if you copy the files or clone it. Either way, I would recommend copy/cloning on a second computer that none of the files get modified part way through the copy, that would ensure a clean transition.

As long as you make the drive letter match the old one, you won't have any issues, since shortcuts and the registry tend to point a path in the OS, not the actual hardware ID.

Drive cloning is more useful when you need to clone the boot partition and operating system to another drive, since it ensures all the boot data is intact, but for just regular files, cloning wouldn't make a difference.

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