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Old June 29th, 2010, 11:17 PM   #1
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Win 7 Computer question: upgrading the c: drive

I currently have a 320GB c: drive and I want to replace it with a larger capacity. Of course there is the proven method, deactivate all programs, install new c: drive, install windows, all drivers, all programs, activate all programs, restore files from back-ups, and lose about 2 days of work when I am buried.

I have heard of another method, use commercial cloning software then expand the partition. But I have heard this option has lots of potential issues such as clones that do not always get all hidden system files and cloned drives that do not boot...

I recently read of another option, creating a mirrored raid, letting it build and then breaking the raid and removing smaller drive then expanding partition.

I really don't want to lose 2 days and reinstall everything. Also, I have had issues restoring Outlook back-ups where I lose the archive of messages. So much of my business is backed via email and my calendar in outlook.

Is there a safe and reliable way to swap the drive without reinstalling everything?

Thanks!

o/s version: Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit
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Old June 30th, 2010, 09:38 AM   #2
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I have heard of another method, use commercial cloning software then expand the partition. But I have heard this option has lots of potential issues such as clones that do not always get all hidden system files and cloned drives that do not boot...
Prior to starting this business, I spent 12 years working in IT and have cloned hundreds, if not thousands of drives. Each and time it resulted in an exact clone - meaning each and every file was there (even every little pesky "temp" file!) Now if you play around with the settings, you may end up with a non-bootable clone, but the process nowadays is almost bulletproof.

I cannot think of a better way to replace your C: drive. Heck, most retail packaged drives come with the cloning software in the box. If it doesn't, I'd suggest Norton Ghost or Acronis True Image.

BTW, a fourth option is to take your computer to Best Buy (or other computer store) and let them replace and clone your drive. That would be the most expensive option, but the most trouble-free.
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Old June 30th, 2010, 02:18 PM   #3
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Norton Ghost or Acronis true image... I can say I have heard of them but I know little to nothing about them. Which one do you recommend? What is the workflow like? Is it as simple as cloning the drive, removing the current c: and replacing with the clone or do you have to create an image switch drives and use some shell type program to unpack it? Thanks!

Edit: Additional

What about Acronis Migrate easy 7.0? it seems to have the features needed for what I am doing.
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Old June 30th, 2010, 03:50 PM   #4
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Brian,

If the drive is a Seagate you can go to their website and download "Seagate Disc Wizard". This is a free set of utilities that I use to clone my OS drive. I keep Windows on its own drive and always have a clone of this drive so if something goes south I can just plug the clone in, and respawn to restore the corrupt drive.

The "My Documents" file where a lot of my files are stored is a separate drive. I actually have duplicate drives of all of the drives in my computer and use another free program called Syncback to keep them copied.

The more you spread out your information the easier it is to manage when you want to change or fix something plus the perfromance is better.
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Old July 1st, 2010, 08:37 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Bryan Daugherty View Post
Norton Ghost or Acronis true image... I can say I have heard of them but I know little to nothing about them. Which one do you recommend? What is the workflow like? Is it as simple as cloning the drive, removing the current c: and replacing with the clone or do you have to create an image switch drives and use some shell type program to unpack it? Thanks!

Edit: Additional

What about Acronis Migrate easy 7.0? it seems to have the features needed for what I am doing.
In my opinion, Ghost and True Image are equal in functionality and value. Both operate very similar. The Acronis Migrate Easy looks like they "dumbed down" True Image for drive migration, and that's a good thing.

I'd buy Migrate Easy if you want a one-time easy drive cloning utility, and Ghost/True Image if you want to clone the drive and implement a regular backup and disaster recovery solution.

But before I bought either, I'd see what comes free with whatever drive you want to buy. I wish I could remember what drive manufacturer it was, but a few years ago I bought a new drive and the included cloning software was literally idiot-proof and very fast.
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Old July 3rd, 2010, 10:19 AM   #6
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Thanks Guys for all the great info! I decided to go the long route after all. The drive is a Hitachi deckstar and comes with no software. I am replacing my motherboard at this time as well so a clean install just makes more sense. Sometimes the short cuts just aren't worth the risk they add. I used Windows transfer utility to move all my data (emails, settings, desktop, my docs, my pics, etc) over and had no issues with that though reinstalling all the software has not been fun.
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