How to Copy Hard Drive to Another Hard Drive

You can transfer files from one storage device to another with ease in Windows Explorer, but this process doesn't work if you are trying to copy applications or operating system files. If you want to upgrade or replace the existing hard disk drive installed in your PC, you can clone the contents of the current drive onto a new hard drive. Windows can create an exact image of the operating system, its programs and your personal files, and then transfer it to the new disk.

Close up of computer disk
Remove all other drives from the computer before attempting to restore the system image to avoid potential problems.
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Step

Click "Start | Control Panel | System and Security | Backup and Restore."

Step

Choose "Create a System Image" from the left pane. Select "On a Hard Disk" or "On One or More DVDs."

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Select your backup drive or device from the appropriate drop-down menu. Click "Next."

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Choose all of the partitions on the disk from the options, including the "C:" drive, and click "Next."

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Review your selections on the "Confirm Your Backup Settings" screen. Click "Next" to clone the contents of the disk.

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Click "Yes" to create a system repair disc when prompted. Insert a blank disc into the optical drive.

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Choose the DVD burner from the "Drive" drop-down menu and then click "Create Disc."

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Restart the computer with the system repair disc still in the optical drive. Press "Enter" when prompted to press any key.

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Choose your input method from the associated drop-down menu and click "Next."

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Select "System Image Recovery" from the System Recovery Options menu.

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Click "Restore Your Computer Using a System Image That You Created Earlier." Click "Next."

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Click "Use the Latest Available System Image" and then click "Next."

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Click "Format and Repartition Disks" to delete all existing partitions and format the hard drive so it matches that of the system image. Click "Next."

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Review your options on the summary page, then click "Finish" to clone the system image to the new hard drive.