Cloning a drive, how do I do that?

I need to clone a 80GB bootable Vista drive to a new 500 GB drive. Is that possible, and if so, what software (preferably free) will I need? I don’t care if the new drive has to have an 80 GB partition to do this, as long as it’s bootable.

This is something I’ve never had to do before, and I’m rather lost.

It’s very simple.

This is free and recommended (I haven’t personally used it, but know people who have and we’ve tested it and recommended it in the mag I work for - personally I used Acronis and/or my Windows Home Server depending on the task at hand)

Awesome, thanks, Hans.

I’ve used Ghost, Altiris, and Casper to clone, but there are tons of utilities out there. The one Hans linked will work, but you will need an additional tool to “grow” the partition size after the cloning (which will leave you with an 80GB clone partition.) The site he links also sells a tool to do that.

I’ve had good results with Parted Magic, making use of the bundled GParted and Clonezilla components.

I’m always nervous when I do this, so I pay for acronis. It works flawlessly.

I’ve yet to hear of any problems with Easeus, but I trust Acronis and like the clean and easy to understand interface, so that’s my personal choice as well.

I’ve had nothing but stellar results from Acronis. Macrium had some issues, so I haven’t bothered testing it further or finding out its idiosyncrasies, I’d rather just keeping using something that works.

There is still no silver bullet for cloning a HDD to SSD and properly aligning the partitions in one fell swoop, something I bitch to Acronis about every month or two until they code a solution.

Newest versions work fine.

I think if either drive is a Seagate you can download a free version of Acronis from them.


I successfully cloned the old 80GB drive to a new 500GB drive with EASEUS Todo Backup, which was very easy and pain-free. Before that, though, I attempted to use the trial version of Acronis Migrate Easy, which went through all the motions, but failed to actually clone the drive for some reason. In any case, thanks to all who responded.

Acronis is the sort of thing you typically only need every 6-18 months. If they let you clone your drive without paying for it, I don’t see why anyone would buy the software. I guess desktop support for a corporation might pick it up, but that’s about it.

No, it doesn’t. I’ve gotten their support people to admit that you cannot clone from HDD to SSD and end up with correct alignment, but their marketing people don’t care so it’ll say “full support” until someone can pony up for a lawyer to make them fix their lie.

All of that manual bullshit does not imply to me that it works. If it worked, it would do that automatically, or allow offset specification within the cloning process.

Huh. Scummy!

Yeah do NOT pick up Acronis if you are a corporation. Their support is useless and you have to call them every time you come across a network card that their software can’t handle–you can’t add it yourself, they have to create a new install for you, and I’d say 9 times out of 10 it then breaks your entire Acronis server so it won’t work with ANYTHING.

My favorite was awhile ago when they said they supported Windows 7 on one of their main pages, then when I ran into a problem where it wouldn’t create a Win7 image support pointed me to another page that said it actually didn’t work with Windows 7 lol why would I think it did? There’s a lot of hate on their forums. A lot.

The Acronis site says that the demo version of Migrate Easy is fully functional with a time limit of 15 days. That seems rather generous to me, too, although since the EASEUS software is free for home use, works, and is not time-limited, maybe Acronis is feeling the competition.

My dad just went through this whole process and it was an extremely hard thing to work with. . . I’m not rich enough to have a lot of experience with Acronis, so it was a learning experience for me, too.

He had one physical platter drive, about 1TB in size. He had a 48GB Win7 partition and a 40GB applications partition, then the rest was a giant media section. Wanted to clone over the C (48) and D (40) partitions to his new 120GB SSD, which after formatting had 107 free GB, expanding the D partition to fill the remaining space. . . AND make it his boot drive, oh, and because of a fluke in his mobo setup, he’d never been able to enable ACHI because one of his optical drives apparently didn’t support it and his mobo wouldn’t let him turn it on if two devices on one physical SATA block had different AHCI statuses.

After about two hours of rewiring, backing up, formatting, restoring, and formatting again, I finally got it all essentially set. Cloning the partitions wasn’t possible because it wouldn’t let me selectively clone certain partitions from a large drive to a smaller one, it wouldn’t intelligently create matching partitions on the fly when restoring, and I spent most of the night terrified I was going to accidentally format his unbacked-up media partition.

According to the Paragon alignment tool mentioned earlier, the drive is properly aligned. If that’s trustworthy, I am going to leave it alone, but I know for a fact I didn’t do anything fancy during the partition-and-restore section of the night to ensure that happened. Is there some way I can test the alignment other than PAT?