How to Transfer Windows to a New Hard Drive
When a new hard drive is purchased and installed in a computer, it comes completely blank, with no partitions, formatting or data. To put a version of Microsoft Windows on to a new hard drive, it must be installed fresh from an installation medium such as a disc or a USB flash drive. Alternatively, if an installation of Windows already exists on a hard drive with data, the old hard drive can be transferred to the new hard drive, which preserves all of the existing data and Windows settings.
Download and burn disk-cloning software, such as R-Drive Image, CloneZilla or PartImage (see Resources).
Connect both the old and new hard drives to the computer. Be sure the power is turned off when this is done.
Boot the computer to the disk-cloning CD.
Transfer the contents of the old hard drive to the new one. Select the old hard drive as the source and the new hard drive as the destination. Transferring takes from 10 minutes to an hour or more, depending on how much data is on the existing drive. When the transfer is finished, shut down the computer.
Remove the old hard drive from the computer. Boot Windows from the new hard drive. After Windows boots, it recognizes the new hard drive and asks for a final reboot.
Tips & Warnings
- The disk-cloning process creates an exact duplicate of the old hard drive to the new one. If the new hard drive is larger than the old one, you will need disk-partitioning software for Windows to use the full amount of space on the new drive.