My dad's computer is pretty old, bought it maybe 7 years ago and still uses XP. I recently upgraded him some RAM to make his computer faster and I bought him a new HDD @250 7200RPM, up from his previous 80 GB 5400RPM. I want to move all his things to the new hard drive, but I dont want to mess anything up in the process. Is there a way to completly clone a hard drive (operating system, programs, files, data, everything)? His current one is pretty slow and I wanted to upgrade him. To him it would appear as if I did nothing, but in reality he got a faster hard drive and more space. That is what I want.
All new retail HDD's come with the manufacaturer's cloning utility for that exact purpose - to clone an older HDD to a new (larger) HDD.
Normally you attach the new HDD as a secondary drive if you are using a PATA drive, or if SATA to a separate SATA port, and clone your old drive (bit by bit) to the new drive. Then make the new HDD the active drive first in boot order in the BIOS and remove the older HDD.
You should be good to go.
If you bought a bare drive, download the cloning utility from the manufacturer's web site to use.
So I download the software to my old harddrive, then I boot the secondary hard drive first? Can you please list the steps of what I'm suppose to do.
It depends on the new HDD you purchased. You use their cloning software and usually done from a CD so you can clone bit by bit your OS partition to your new HDD.
Since you haven't shared your computer specs, old HDD and new HDD, it's just generic info. Follow the manufacturer's instructions. You can also use Acronis True Image or Norton Ghost, separate programs that will generically clone one HDD partition to another.