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Changing primary hard drives?

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  • Western Digital
  • Hard Drives
  • Storage
Last response: in Storage
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August 29, 2012 10:48:44 PM

My current primary hard drive is a WD 300gb HDD and I just bought a WD 1.5 TB HDD because I was running out of room. But after comparing the 2, the 1.5 TB is extremely faster than the 300 gb one and now I want to use that as my primary.

I heard that this may result in reformating both hard drive and reinstalling the OS too which is not a big problem as long as I am able to keep my files on the 1.5 TB HDD.

The only concern I have is reinstalling the OS. I don't remember the Key nor do I have the CD so I'm not sure how I will be able to reinstall the OS onto the 1.5TB HDD.

More about : changing primary hard drives

a b G Storage
August 30, 2012 12:59:17 AM

Check the online site of your hard drive to see if they have a free cloning program that you can download. It will make an image of the original HD so no installation key would be necessary. There are other free cloning programs on the internet and Acronis is one of the best ( but not free).
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a c 367 G Storage
August 30, 2012 3:18:05 AM

Agree with cmichael138. Since you bought a WD new HDD, go to their website and download Acronis True Image WD Edition for free. Make sure to read the manual - this does a LOT more than just cloning.

The manual is also very handy to help you with "fixing" a default I don't like - your choice. Last time I used one of these cloners, when you get it all set up by default it plans to create on your new HDD a Partition (in which to place the clone copy) of exactly the same size as your old drive. This would leave you with a "new " C: drive the same size as the old, plus a whole bunch of Unallocated Space on the 1.5 TB unit that can be used to create a second (or more) Partition to be used as an additional separate drive. But my choice would be that I'd want ALL of that 1.5 TB new unit to be my (much larger) new C: drive. If that is what you want, too, watch carefully when it presents you with its plan. Don't just agree blindly. Use the menu system (this is where the manual is handy!) to change the planned Partition size to what you want - quite possibly about 1400 GB, which is all the space on the HDD - before letting it proceed.

After you've made the clone on the 1.5 TB unit, this is my suggestion. Disconnect both power and data cables from the old drive, but leave it in its mounting slot. Now take that data cable that is still plugged into your mobo, and plug it into the new 1.5 TB unit. When you boot, it will boot from that new drive because it is connected to the same SATA port that always was used for the boot device. Use your machine for a while. Leave the old drive alone and unused - it is a perfect "backup" of your old system up to the day you cloned. When you are fully satisfied that the new system is working, you can reconnect the old HDD (to a different mobo SATA port), wipe it clean, Partition and Format it, and start using it for something else.
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August 30, 2012 7:06:34 AM

Nice never knew there was a cloning program that could do that. Are there any hiccups or things I should be aware of that hasn't been stated yet? I'm kinda sketpical on cloning Windows and all the registry and stuff since they have been known to cause many problems if it something goes wrong with it.

I'll try it out and see what happens.
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a c 392 G Storage
August 30, 2012 11:46:36 AM

bloojays23 said:
My current primary hard drive is a WD 300gb HDD and I just bought a WD 1.5 TB HDD because I was running out of room. But after comparing the 2, the 1.5 TB is extremely faster than the 300 gb one and now I want to use that as my primary.

I heard that this may result in reformating both hard drive and reinstalling the OS too which is not a big problem as long as I am able to keep my files on the 1.5 TB HDD.

The only concern I have is reinstalling the OS. I don't remember the Key nor do I have the CD so I'm not sure how I will be able to reinstall the OS onto the 1.5TB HDD.


I beleive cloning the drive will destroy all data that is currently on your 1.5TB drive, but if you don't care about that, then cloning is the way to go.
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a c 367 G Storage
August 30, 2012 3:47:22 PM

Hawkeye22 is right. But I think your new 1.5 TB unit has not been used to store anything, right?

Assuming that is so, no problem. One small note to help you. Any new empty drive needs a 2-step process to prepare it for use: Create a Partition, and then Format it. Together these may be called "Initializing". You will NOT need to do these things yourself. The cloning software does these operations for you before it copies everything to the new HDD.

As a guide for the options you might need to confirm or change:
1. The size of the Partition - per my post above.
2. The type of Partition - should be Primary, which is default
3. Partition should be bootable - that's default, too - so you can boot from it.
4. File System should be NTFS (default) unless you know you need FAT32 for some special reason.
5. Quick Format will do the necessary job, and does not take too long. However, Full Format (default) will test every sector in the HDD and mark off anything faulty so it won't be used - a good precaution, although not absolutely necessary for a new HDD that ought NOT to have any such bad sectors. Full Format will take many hours BEFORE it starts to clone everything, so just be patient and let it run.
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