I'm planning on buying a new 1tb Seagate hard drive. Will Maxblast (or whatever a new Seagate hard drive comes with) allow me to copy the older smaller hard drive (80 gigs and also a Seagate) to the new 1tb Seagate hard drive so I don't have to reinstall Windows or any of the software on the old drive?
Are there any limitations or problems that using Maxblast might cause both now or in the future?
Do I have to clone or copy the old 80 gig hard drive while it's running in the computer I wish to upgrade to the 1tb drive?
Seagate's software for this is called Disk Wizard, and it is a customized version of a very good and powerful product, Acronis True Image. One small part of it does a great job of this migration to a new drive. If you buy a Retail package, the HDD likely will come with a CD of software that includes this. If you buy a bare drive, just go to the Seagate website and download it. In either case, I recommend you install it on your current drive and run it from there to do the migration task.
If you have not done so already, make sure your system can use a large new drive like this. It requires what is called "48-bit LBA Support" in three places - the hard drive unit itself (obviously included, no problem), the mobo BIOS that runs the hard disk controller, and the Operating System. If your mobo was made after about year 2000, or if it has SATA ports on it, I'm sure it has this support so look no further. But if it is older than that and you have doubts, check what the mobo specifications say, either in a manual you have or on the maker's website. The older system usually is called just plain "LBA Support" for large disks, but you specifically want to see the phrase "48-bit LBA Support". Any system with only the older (28-bit) version can only allow you to create and use Partitions up to 128 GB. If you find your hardware does not appear to have the newer version, check whether the mobo maker's website offers a newer version of their BIOS's software that you can download and "burn" into your BIOS chip.
On the OS side, Windows XP original edition did NOT have 48-bit LBA included; it was added in Service Pack 1. In Win 2k it was added in some late SP. But if you have XP with SP1 or later, or Vista or Win 7, you have no problem. In your case, even if you're in Win XP you can be OK. As long as the version currently installed and operating on your 80 GB unit is at least updated to SP1, you'll be able to use the large new HDD.
Read the instructions for the software (may be a separate download). Watch for these options / choices as you use the Disk Wizard.
1. Be VERY sure you identify the Source drive (your old 80 GB unit) and the Destination unit (the new big one) correctly as you start. Any data on the one called "Destination" will be destroyed, so you don't want to get that wrong.
2. By default, it MAY want to make your cloned copy of your C: drive the same size (80 GB) as the original, and I REALLY doubt that is what you want. Instead within the menus you can specify the size of the Primary Partition on the new unit that will become your new C: drive, all the way up to the full size of that unit. IF you choose to make the Partition less than full size, the remaining Unallocated Space can be used later to create a second (or more) Partition(s) to be treated as completely separate drives with their own letter names.
2. Ensure the new Primary Partition is set as Bootable - I fully expect this will be the default.
3. For the File system, choose NTFS unless you know you have a special need for FAT32. If you do, re-think the size of the Partition - FAT32 file systems have a problem with very large drives.
Have Seagate Disk Wizard do its work for you, then shut down. I recommend you disconnect your old 80 GB unit, then reboot into the BIOS setup screens. Make sure to set the Boot Priority Sequence to use the new drive and not the old one, Save and Exit to complete the boot. You'll be in Windows but your C: drive will be huge!
At a later time after you're happy it all worked, you can decide what to do with the old 80 GB drive that has been holding a "backup" for a while.