How Can I Clone My Existing Hard Drive onto a New Hard Drive?

By Ruri Ranbe

Disk-cloning software copies the contents of an existing hard drive to another disk. The new disk will contain all of the files that are stored on the old disk, including the operating system and any personal files.Acronis True Image, Norton Ghost, Paragon Drive Copy and EASEUS Disk Copy are examples of applications that automate the disk-cloning process. Before you can clone the data on your existing disk to a new hard drive, you must install the new drive to the computer.

Things You'll Need

  • Internal hard drive or USB drive
  • Antistatic wrist strap
  • SATA data cable

Step 1

Click "Start," and then click "Computer." Right-click the "C:" drive, and then choose "Properties" from the context menu.

Step 2

Check the information shown next to "Used Space." The new hard drive should be at least 20-percent larger.

Step 3

Turn off the computer, and remove all the cables connected to the front or back panels. Unplug the power cable.

Step 4

Unscrew and remove the computer cover. Put on an antistatic wrist strap to protect the hard drives from static electricity.

Step 5

Take the new hard drive out of its protective sleeve. Connect the blue or red 15-pin SATA data cable to the 15-pin interface on the back of the new drive. Insert the other end into the SATA1 slot on the motherboard.

Step 6

Attach the free end of a 7-pin SATA power cable to the drive. You can find a SATA power cable connected to the power supply unit.

Step 7

Insert the hard drive into an open compartment. Attach the hard drive to the compartment.

Step 8

Replace the case cover, and reconnect the power cable and the peripheral devices. Turn on the computer, and insert the disk-cloning CD into the CD or DVD drive.

Step 9

Press "CTRL" + "Alt" + "Del" twice to restart the computer and boot to the optical disc drive.

Step 10

Choose the option to clone the entire hard drive. Select the "C:" drive as the source drive. Select the check boxes for any partitions you want to copy to the new hard drive. Select the box to clone the boot sector, or master boot record, as well.

Step 11

Click "Next," and then choose the new hard drive as the destination drive. Choose the option to format the new drive.

Step 12

Click "Next," and review your choices on the summary screen. Click "Finish" to begin cloning the contents of the existing hard drive to the new hard drive.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you have an external USB drive instead of an internal hard drive, plug the USB drive into the USB port after booting to the disk-cloning CD.
  • Some disk-cloning software runs from Windows, rather than from CD. Download, install and run the software to clone the drives.
  • Cloning a hard drive can take several hours. Don't turn off the computer or run any other applications during the cloning process. Since errors can occur during cloning, don't leave the computer unattended until the process is complete.