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[Hard Drives] Cloning questions and help!

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May 13, 2010 6:26:48 PM

Alright, So I'll give everyone some details about the situation first.

I just Built my PC up from scratch and it's rather nice, I got myself a new 1.5TB Drive to, And it's a SLAVE drive, For extra storage. From all the computer parts I have replaced, I basically have a second computer (my old one) without a drive.

So I am considering doing 1 of 2 things, Buy a hard drive for it, so my Girlfriend can use it, and stay off my new set up, Or Give her my old hard drive, (which is only 230gigs), And buy myself a new primary drive, And reinstall Win7 and start new, Which i really don't want to do. I Feel new things that cost my money, Should go to me, and she can use all the old second hand stuff from my old PC parts i fixed up for her.

The only reason I don't want to buy myself a new hard drive, Is because I Don't want to have to reinstall Win7, Start from scratch, Reinstall my 30 games, All my info, Customization, and millions of programs, I love my set up, I love my settings, And to be blunt, I wouldn't sell my PC for 10 grand because of the attachments I get from it. It literally breaks my heart when I have to fresh install.

Now the question, If I purchased a new 7200RPM HARD DRIVE, Can I clone everything so that I can BOOT UP Win 7, all my programs, and everything will be EXACTLY THE SAME, as if I was using my Primary drive now, But of course, I would have 1.5GIGS more space...

I want to beable to do that, And then i can just set that one in place of this current primary, and give the old PC that one to use.
(Another question, Can i use that win7 registered twice on a PC?) Or do I have to re-register it... because she's planing on using the internet with it... Thanks for the help, Please get back to me ASAP.

If you need more info let me know, Thank again..
a c 352 G Storage
May 13, 2010 8:30:40 PM

Yes, you can clone absolutely everything from your old boot drive to a new one of a different size and have the new one completely replace the old one as the C: drive unit. This is such a common tasks that many HDD manufacturers will GIVE you for free (by download form their website) the software for the job. The quirk is that the free software will make the clone copy ONLY TO a drive from that company. They don't care whose old drive you are abandoning, but they'll only help you move to one of their own drives, not too surprising! For example, Seagate has Disk Wizard, and WD has Acronis True Image WD Edition. Each is a very good and extensive package that does a LOT!, so get the manual and read it. Cloning is just one of its abilities.

Three things I really suggest you watch for as you do this.

1. Be VERY sure you identify the SOURCE drive (your old C: drive) and the DESTINATION drive (the new one). Everything already on the DESTINATION drive will be destroyed, so make sure that is the NEW empty unit!
2. When you do what you plan - clone a smaller unit to a larger one - the software's default often is to make the clone copy the same size as the source, and that usually is NOT what you want. You probably want to make the new C: drive the whole space of that new unit. So look in the menu system and find the place to set the size of the clone Partition to what you want (maybe all available space).
3. After cloning, I suggest you shut down, disconnect from all power, and disconnect the old drive unit and remove it. Then swap cables so that the new unit with the clone has its data cable connected to the same mobo port that had the old unit on it. That may make it easier for the mobo to just use that new C: drive right away.

Doing this completely avoids a re-install, and your new drive has ALL of the old system, including all drivers, games, custom settings, files, etc. The only thing different is the C: drive has a LOT more Free Space!

Now, re-using the old drive in another machine is a different matter. First of all, Win 7 is a one-machine license usually (unless you got a special product). I really doubt that you could just phone up M$ and arrange to pay them a fee to authorize a second machine to use that same Win 7 Installation. I think you would have to buy a new Win 7 package and Install it.

Even if you could somehow get the existing Win 7 installation on that old drive authorized to work on a second machine, it is HIGHLY likely that it would need to have all the drivers re-adjusted. What is on that HDD unit now is a set of device drivers customized to the machine it is installed in. Put it in a different machine and you have all wrong drivers. The usual solution for that is to do what is called a "Repair Install" using the original Win 7 Install disk.

If you move the old HDD unit over to your older machine and go to install a newly-purchase Win 7 package, the process is MUCH easier if you can afford NOT to try to preserve any data on the HDD unit. If that is your situation, when you first start the Install process on that old machine with the moved HDD, look for a menu choice that will allow you to Delete a Partition on the HDD it finds. Delete all Partitions so that there are NONE left and the HDD is empty, just like a new one. THEN proceed with the Win 7 Install.
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May 13, 2010 8:43:00 PM

could i then, fresh install Win XP onto the old drive? From a USB or something? I have a key that was licenced to that PC before i upgraded to Win 7.
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a c 352 G Storage
May 14, 2010 8:46:09 PM

Yes. If you have a Win XP Install disk that has not already been used to install that OS to another machine, you can do the Install to the re-purposed older drive in the older "machine from parts". The only stumbling block I could anticipate is: When you bought and installed Win 7, was it an UPGRADE version that depended on upgrading FROM that same old Win XP disk? If so, maybe M$ has a record that the old XP's license is already "in use" as justification for the Win 7 Upgrade Install. I don't really know if it works that way. I guess you just do it and see if it passes Windows Authentification.
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