Upgrading to new Boot Hard Drive

Hey all. I just purchased a nice new 250GB SATA drive for my home machine in hopes of speeding up disk access (which is my one major bottleneck right now). I’d like to replace my current 60GB IDE drive in the system with this one for the operating system – essentially make the new drive the boot-able drive.

The catch here is that I’d love to be able to do this without re-installing everything.

Is there a way to replicate the contents of the old drive onto the new drive, and then remove the old drive entirely? I want to replicate everything, down to the boot sector, I believe. I’m running Windows XP Professional.

I’m thinking that because it’s a smaller source drive, I could use something like the default Windows Backup to create a backup of the drive on the new drive, and then restore that backup to the new drive. Eventually, I’ll remove the backup files to free up space, but I should have enough space to do both, right?

If this were a server, I could probably do something like software RAID and then wait until replication is complete, and remove the old drive, right? I don’t know if that’s possible under Windows XP.

Thanks, ahead of time, for any input.

There’s probably some software that would let you make a low-level duplicate of your entire drive, and in fact Norton Ghost may do this although it wasn’t obvious to me that it did when I looked at the page just now.

But you’re really better off just reinstalling. It’s good for your system. Clears out the junk.

Ghost, or Partition Magic, can do such a backup/restore. I don’t think Windows backup lets you do full system restores to a fresh hard drive.

Older versions of Partition Magic (which is what I’m most familiar with, and which is now owned by Norton and may be dead) would dupe the partition, but it would be the size of the original drive; in your case, you’d have a 60GB partition on your 250GB drive. You’d then expand the partition to fill up the entire drive, so it was a two step process. Took forever, too.

Yep, go with Ghost (might want to get it as part of SystemWorks Premier for the tools; I believe the 2006 version is out now). I used Ghost on the recommendation of folks around here and it worked perfectly when I was moving my old 80 GB to a newer 160 GB [Edit: was written as 120] on my old system.

Or PC Relocator, which comes with a high-speed data transfer USB cable.