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New HD, disk cloning and Windows 7 install. Help!

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November 16, 2009 9:06:17 PM

Howdy all! A first time poster here with minimal tech ability, so please go easy on me for just this one time! :) 

Right, i've recently started upgrading my pc step by step. The first step is a new power supply, motherboard and processor- all fine. Although i'm relatively happy that I can deal with installing these i'm unsure how to go about the second step- installing a new hard drive, copying my entire disk from the old one to the new one AND installing Windows 7. Am I right in thinking (probably not) that the way to go about doing this is to do the following...

1. Install new HD along-side the old one (I have two slots)
2. Copy the disk from the old HD to the new using Ghost / Acronis
3. Pull out the new HD and install Windows 7
4. Re-install the new, freshly copied HD.

Will this work successfuly? Am I missing any steps here? Is this the right way/horrifically stupid way to go about doing it? Again, please bare in mind that i'm completely new to this so a helpful response with simpleton language would be very welcome! I'm pretty much trying to teach myself how to build /upgarde PCs so it's still all quite daunting, though this is one step i'd REALLY rather not do in 'trial and error' fashion!

Many thanks! :D 
a b B Homebuilt system
a b $ Windows 7
November 17, 2009 2:17:23 AM

Do you plan on upgrading from a previous OS to Windows 7? I would instead recommend that you perform a fresh install of Windows 7 on the new hard disk.
November 17, 2009 7:35:19 AM

I'm upgrading from XP to Windows 7 so i'm aware a fresh install is required, but i'd like to move all my files and programmes from the old HD to the new one. I'm just unsure which steps to take to do this in lieu with this fresh install :( 
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a b B Homebuilt system
a b $ Windows 7
November 17, 2009 10:47:29 AM

I question steps 3 and 4. Step 3 should be "Move the cloned HD to the new system" and step 4 "Upgrade from XP to Windows 7". You shouldn't perform the upgrade on the old system.
a b B Homebuilt system
a b $ Windows 7
November 17, 2009 4:58:30 PM

If I understand, there is no New and Old System - there is one System, already upgraded with one fully functional drive containing everything (including XP) and one new drive added that is empty.

What you plan will work, but there are other things you will have to do, so check them out and read up in preparation.
1. When you go to install Win 7 on the old drive in place of XP, first step (within the Install routine) will be to Delete all previous Partitions on that drive. This will destroy all its previous info and leave a clean disk to start from. You already have a cloned and functional copy of your old disk set aside on the new disk anyway, if things go wrong. Did you check to be SURE its files are valid and usable before proceeding?
2. You need to plan where your application software and data files are going to reside. Right now they are all on the only C: drive. Basically you can put everything back on the C: drive if you want, or you can put only the application software on the old drive and all data on the new one, or you can have both apps and data on new one.
3. No matter which way you choose, you will have to re-install all your application software. When you install any app in Windows, it sets up several records in its Registry about how to use that app, and then keeps updating that info as things change during use. You cannot simply click on an app's icon in a folder in the new drive and expect it all to work properly. So actually installing it in Win 7 is necessary - for basically all your existing apps. This means BEFORE YOU START you should make sure you have the installation disks AND the license numbers for everything. (Oh, in a parallel vein, before installing Win 7 you should be sure you have the latest Win 7-compatible drivers for any special hardware in your machine.)
4. OK, with app disks available and Win 7 installed, you re-install the new disk. First thing will be to go through several Windows places and tell it where you want it to put things. By default, Windows assumes you will put everything on the C: drive. But if you want all your data and stuff to be on the new one, tell Windows that. There are many things like the locations of My Computer, My Pictures, where IE files are stored, etc, that are Windows defaults - I don't know them all.
5. Now you start installing your applications, and for each you have two choices to make. Where will it install - C: or new drive? And once each app is installed, you start it up and within that app you find the place where it defines its default locations for storing all its types of files, and you set those up.

AFTER this is set up and running perfectly, you can consider deleting old files from the clone copy on the new drive just to eliminate file duplicates that consume space.
November 17, 2009 8:13:02 PM

These points are a big help.

You were right in assuming that it's ONE system, I should have made that a bit clearer. I will only have the one new hard-drive in my upgraded system which will be a 1.5TB rather than the current 160GB. Basically I intend to just swap my entire C: Drive (photos, music, apps... the full works)from the 160GB to the 1.5 TB. It's starting to make a lot of sense now so thanks for the comments, they've been very helpful. If anyone else would like to throw in their two cents please be my guest, the more advice I have thrown at me the better!

:) 
a b B Homebuilt system
a b $ Windows 7
November 17, 2009 8:23:00 PM

Unless you "prepared your old system" by organizing things separately in separate program folders or partitions from the getgo, the process is cumbersome. Lacking that preparation.

Install Win7 on new HD.
Install all programs fresh.
Install old HD on new box.
Copy data and custom files over.

If you have a set up like:

C:\[my 1st program]
C:\[my 2nd program]
C:\[my 3rd program]
C:\[my 4th program]

You can just copy those folder over to the same location on the new HD and install over them to set registry entries in Win7.

You do not want drivers and that kinda thing moved from the old HD to the new one.
a b $ Windows 7
November 23, 2009 2:31:33 PM

Moz_1983,

Please note that when migrating from Windows XP to Windows 7 you will not have an "in place upgrade" option. You will however have the option to select "custom" install when prompted. The Windows 7 install process will then copy all of your data in "My Documents" over to a Windows.old folder within Windows 7 itself. All applications and documents stored in other locations will have to be reinstalled / transferred manually.
For more information on the Windows 7 Upgrade, please go here: http://bit.ly/3DvynK
For additional assistance with the migration of Windows XP to Windows 7, please go here: http://tinyurl.com/mhbep4

Jessica
Microsoft Windows Client Team
November 24, 2009 7:50:56 PM

This is also quite some help actually. So does this mean that I can move all my games, pictures, videos, music etc. to 'My Docs' and then have it moved over to Windows 7, where I can then re-arrange accordingly? I presume some games may not work due to compatibility issues, but the essentially it could be done that way?

Thanks.
!