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Installing new hard drive without reinstalling Windows

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May 3, 2012 1:39:27 AM

I currently have a 300GB WD hard drive that has no partitions and contains my Windows 7 Home Prem installation as well as all my other data. I just got my new 1.0 TB WD Black but I've yet to install it. How could I do this so that I can transfer over at least Windows to the new hard drive as effortlessly as possible?

Also, I'm assuming for all my other apps the only solution is reinstall?
a b $ Windows 7
a b G Storage
May 3, 2012 1:49:03 AM

Look into drive cloning. Clonezilla is fairly easy to use.

Of course you'll have to expand the drive after the cloning because it'll partition the drive 300GB since that's what the original image is but that's relatively easy. This method will allow you to keep everything as it is right now but reap the benefits of the 1TB. I do it at work all the time for new/replacement PCs, instead of installing a dozen apps and updates taking hours it only takes me 20 minutes.

This alleviates your fears of reinstalls. You won't have to do that at all this way.

Edit: As an on-the-fly solution this only applies when going from a smaller drive to a larger one. You can do it the other way around but I've had marginal success.

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a b $ Windows 7
a c 327 G Storage
May 3, 2012 4:51:14 PM
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Maybe easier this way, and free! Go to the WD website, download their utility package Acronis True Image WD Edition, and install it on your existing 300 GB C: drive. READ the manual file with it, because this package does a LOT more than cloning; besides, you'll need to use some menus to make a couple changes as you do the cloning operation.

Cloning means making a complete copy of everything from old drive to new one; in this case, that includes making the new drive bootable and ensuring that all critical files are exactly where they are supposed to be, so that the final new HDD (the 1.0 TB unit) can completely take over as the C: drive in place of the old one.

When Acronis is installed, shut down and connect your new HDD to the mobo, then boot up again. Note that you will NOT "see" the new 1 TB unit in My Computer yet, so don't worry. Run Acronis and choose the Cloning operation. Make SURE you identify the OLD 300 GB unit as the SOURCE drive, and the 1 TB unit as DESTINATION. Anything on the Destination (nothing) will be wiped out by this work! Acronis will offer you a bunch of settings by default and ask for approval to proceed. I usually find there is one to change. It often offers to make the Partition it will create on the new drive the same size as the old drive, and that is NOT what you want, I'm sure. I expect you will want ALL of the 1TB unit to act as a single large HDD called C:, with a capacity of about 930 GB (that's what 1TB looks like when Windows counts it). So use the menus to change that size to what you want. The rest of the defaults probably are OK - make the drive bootable with a Primary Partition, and format it to the NTFS File System using Full Format. This process will take many hours, so just let it run. When it finishes the Format operation, it will proceed to copy everything for you.

When the whole job is complete, back out of Acronis, shut down and disconnect power. I recommend that you then disconnect the old 300 GB unit (both cables) at the drive and maybe leave it still mounted inside the case. Now disconnect the SATA 7-pin data cable between mobo and new 1TB unit, and use the data cable that WAS connected to the old 300 GB unit to plug into the new 1 TB unit. This puts the new drive on the same mobo port as the older drive was. When you boot up, it should boot immediately from that new drive, AND it will be C:. You see, although the BIOS Setup screen talks about booting from the 300GB drive, what it really is doing is booting from whatever drive is connected to that port. So now it will say it is booting from the 1 TB WD drive.

I suggest leaving the old drive disconnected and doing nothing for a short time, until you are comfortable that the cloned unit really does have ALL your stuff, THEN you can reconnect the old drive to a new SATA port and decide what to do. Maybe you'll re-Partition and Format it to use as a data drive, or maybe you'll re-mount it in an external enclosure to become a portable external drive. Whatever you choose, that Acronis software can help you to do the re-organizing.
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May 5, 2012 2:44:59 PM

Sorry for the late reply but I didn't have time to do this until the weekend. I'm going to use your method Paperdoc and hopefully everything goes well!
May 8, 2012 12:40:51 AM

Best answer selected by abacap.
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