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Can I just duplicate my old hdd to new hdd?


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#1 cornflakes2

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Posted 26 December 2014 - 07:58 AM

I'll probably need to replace my current HDD on my desktop soon.  As everyone knows, the biggest hassle is to have to back up all files first, then install the OS again on the new HDD and reinstall all the software and programs and settings again.

 

I was wondering if there was a faster way to do this?  Could I just clone my old HDD to the new HDD and then pop in the new HDD and boot up just like normal only now it's on a new HDD?  Or is the only way to reinstall everything manually again (which is PITA)?

 

Thanks.



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#2 Sintharius

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Posted 26 December 2014 - 08:00 AM

You can use a cloning utility, providing that your new HDD is larger than the old one.

Personally I use Acronis True Image, but since it's a shareware... well, there are freeware options out there.

#3 JohnC_21

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Posted 26 December 2014 - 08:47 AM

Macrium Free is a very good cloning program.

 

How to clone a disk

 



#4 Scoop8

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Posted 26 December 2014 - 08:50 AM

cornflakes2

 

Yes, you can Clone your Source HDD and you'll have a complete bootable exact copy of the Source HDD.

 

Here's a link that may help select a Cloning tool.  Reference quietman7's post #3 for helpful links to some Cloning/Imaging tools.

 

Suggestions about Backup

 

Regarding the Target (sometimes referred to as the "Destination") HDD, you can Clone with identical-sized or a larger size HDD using the "automatic" mode with most Cloning software tools.

 

It's possible to Clone to a smaller Target HDD but I believe that requires preparation by customizing (ie, resizing partitions on the Source HDD, etc) prior to starting the Cloning process.

 

I believe the "DriveClone" tool has that internal function to Clone to a smaller HDD.

 

I've been Cloning my Win7 PC's for about 3 years with identical-sized HDD's.  I have Cloned once to a larger Target HDD when I was upgrading my Source HDD from a 500Gb to a 1Tb size HDD.  I used "automatic" mode with Acronis TI 2011 without issue.

 

I'm using Macruim Reflect (free) as a secondary tool to Acronis.

 

 

 



#5 cornflakes2

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Posted 26 December 2014 - 09:01 AM

Wow, thanks very much for those replies.  This will help save a lot of time and grief!



#6 cornflakes2

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Posted 26 December 2014 - 09:03 AM

Oh but I forgot to ask, what if my currently hdd is having some issues.....i think some files are becoming corrupt or unreadable..  if I were to clone it, wouldn't it carry over the missing/corrupted files to the new HDD?  I guess I should have cloned it when it was working perfectly.  Right now, I have that winlogon.exe unreadable/corrupt error messages on the boot up as well as the another one (forgot what it was called...uninstys inf or something like that).



#7 Scoop8

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Posted 26 December 2014 - 09:38 AM

Unfortunately, you'll be copying all Source HDD content, ie, any OS flaws, etc,  to the Target HDD.

 

You can try to repair your OS on the Source HDD before Cloning with various tools.  One method that's popular can be run from a Windows System Repair CD.  You can create your own CD within Win 7 or 8 if you don't have one available.

 

Other tools that scan the OS for problems include the "sfc" (System File Checker) tool from within the CMD console.  Here's some info in an MS link:

 

System File Checker

 

 

I'd recommend backing up all of your personal data from the Source to an external USB HDD before proceeding with repair tools.  That way, you'll have your essential data backed up before trying to repair your Source HDD Windows OS.

 

You could try Cloning (after backing up your data) to insure that your newly-cloned HDD will boot into Windows.

 

Then, if the Target HDD boots up, you can run one of the OS Repair tools that are available online.

 

If I was choosing one scenario with your current situation, I'd probably do this:

 

- Backup all personal data to an external USB HDD, or the content that you consider essential to save to the new HDD.

 

- Clone the Source HDD to the Target HDD.  This will also tell you if the Cloning process will run without errors as you have some known issues present on the Source HDD.

 

- Boot up onto the new Target HDD and see how it operates. 

 

- Run one of the HDD OS repair tools.  If that results in an unbootable Target HDD, you'd still have your original Source HDD unaffected by the potential negative effects of OS repair actions.

 

- Depending on the repair results, you can re-clone and select another Repair tool option and repeat the steps above.

 

It may be preferable to do a Windows re-install though, since you know that your Source HDD has some OS issues present.  I guess it will depend on your personal time availability.  Windows re-install's can be time-consuming for PC users.  It will depend on how much the user has customized Windows since the original Windows install was completed.

 

Since you have a Desktop PC, be sure that you don't allow WIndows to boot up after Cloning with both HDD's connected.  That can cause what's known as "Disk Signature" collisions which can render both HDD's unbootable into Windows.  It can be repaired but it's easier to avoid that potential issue by disconnecting either the Source or the Target HDD before booting into Windows.

 

Regarding Cloning in general, there's several opinions on how to best Clone a PC but I prefer to Clone without the OS being booted.  In other words, you can Clone with a bootable CD (or Flash Stick) so that the actual Cloning tool is running in the PC's RAM and outside of Windows.

 

You'll need to create a bootable media from your Cloning software product and then you can boot with the CD installed in your CD/DVD Drive, or you can create a bootable Flash Stick to accomplish the same thing.

 

There are some Cloning tools that can be downloaded to an ISO file then you can create the bootable CD quickly and without installing the actual Cloning Software tool onto your Source HDD.

 

One of these tools is "Clonezilla".   I have this one as a 3rd Cloning tool.


Edited by Scoop8, 26 December 2014 - 09:41 AM.


#8 Sintharius

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Posted 26 December 2014 - 09:39 AM

If your HDD is having issues then I would not recommend cloning.

I was supposed to clone my old HDD to my new SSHD as well, but since it was slowing down from failing I had to do a clean install.

#9 Scoop8

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Posted 26 December 2014 - 09:48 AM

↑ That's probably best for most PC situations, a clean install and swallow the time loss with the Windows install and setup times.

 

If one's a Cloning/Imaging nerd (me) :lol:  . I'd probably experiment with the PC to see how it reacts to Repair tools.

 

 

cornflakes2

 

The most important recommendation I'd give, if you choose to re-install Windows on the new HDD, is to Image (or Clone with another new spare HDD) your PC after the Windows install is completed.

 

Then, install all of your programs, customize your Windows settings, etc, and run another Image.

 

If you're really into the Imaging/full-HDD backup scenes :), I'd then Image again in a couple of weeks after I've installed all of my programs, and then set up a periodic full-HDD backup plan.

 

That way, you'll be covered in the event you encounter numerous issues, failing HDD, malware, user errors, etc.


Edited by Scoop8, 26 December 2014 - 09:49 AM.


#10 Sintharius

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Posted 26 December 2014 - 09:50 AM

↑ That's probably best for most PC situations, a clean install and swallow the time loss with the Windows install and setup times.
 
If one's a Cloning/Imaging nerd (me) :lol:  . I'd probably experiment with the PC to see how it reacts to Repair tools.
 
 
cornflakes2
 
The most important recommendation I'd give, if you choose to re-install Windows on the new HDD, is to Image (or Clone with another new spare HDD) your PC after the Windows install is completed.
 
Then, install all of your programs, customize your Windows settings, etc, and run another Image.
 
If you're really into the Imaging/full-HDD backup scenes :), I'd then Image again in a couple of weeks after I've installed all of my programs, and then set up a periodic full-HDD backup plan.
 
That way, you'll be covered in the event you encounter numerous issues, failing HDD, malware, user errors, etc.


I still kept my old HDD, since I plan to get a couple of games off later (but haven't got the time to do it yet).

#11 Scoop8

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Posted 26 December 2014 - 09:56 AM

↑ Good idea :).  Spare HDD's can be useful for a variety of things, testing HDD-wipe tools, Linux HDParm  commands.

 

With spinner HDD prices being reasonable, I have 2 spare Clones on the shelf that I use for rotating Cloning every 2 weeks for my Desktop PC. 

 



#12 cornflakes2

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Posted 26 December 2014 - 10:19 AM

wow, lots of info to take but thanks, I'll definitely try to repair whatever I can before cloning.  The problem is that my chkdsk succeeds up to 1% and then from there on every file keeps saying, "...file segment unreadable" for the next 10 minutes so I just quit the chkdsk.  I tried to run sfc /scannow but it stops at 9% and quits.  I can't get into safe mode either as it hangs when the files are loading.  I'm able to still log into windows if I just bypass the chkdsk.  Then I get those 2 error messages from winlogon.exe and another (something about .rtff file or some kind of font file).  But once windows loads, everything seems to work fine.  The computer doesn't seem to sluggish or anything like that which is often the case when a HDD is about to fail (it'll hang or load slowly) but mine seems to work fine.  

 

I'm not sure if the unreadable/corrupt files are due to actual hardware sectors damaged/failed or if it's a software corruption issue.  But just to be safe, I was looking into the option of cloning everything to a new HDD so that I can just continue one without having to reinstall everything which would take a really long time.



#13 n3m37h

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Posted 26 December 2014 - 05:17 PM

Well check out

http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/download/speedfan/

see if it is the HDD failing if not you may just ahve to try to repair the OS with a disk


Edited by n3m37h, 26 December 2014 - 05:19 PM.





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