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How can I replace my old HDD with a new one (without having to install an OS again)

Hi,
I've been using an old 320GB HDD which I suspect has been making my PC behave abnormally yet still works.

I recently bought a new 500GB HDD and am planning on installing it in the PC, replacing the 320GB one, but I'll still use the 320 GB one as a secondary HDD and not the boot drive.

Now the thing is that I really don't want to go through the process of reinstalling windows and transferring my files over to the new drive and simply want to somehow clone the 320GB drive to the 500GB one, set the 500GB drive as the primary drive (that contains windows) and keep the 320GB as the secondary. I don't know how I'm supposed to do this without taking too much of a risk so I'll just ask the pros (you).

The easiest means to do this will be really welcome.

Thanks in advance.
Reply to kyukuro24
10 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about replace hdd install
  1. what brand is you new HDD, all manufacturer have a cloning software given for free usually available on their web site, you plug your new drive as secondary drive on your system reboot, launch cloning, it will copy the 320gb os/data to the 5090GB drive, then swap connectors,
    then format your 320gb clean. there you go
    Reply to The Paladin
  2. Macrium Reflect is a software that will clone data from one drive to a blank drive verbatim.

    https://www.macrium.com/reflectfree
    Reply to theyeti87
  3. who makes the new hard drive? go to their website and there will be a migration utility that can clone the drive and detailed instructions. as the old is smaller than the new drive there is no issue cloning
    macrium reflect is a freeware program that does this too. I suggest the application the drive makers provides as the first choice and macrium as a backup option.

    when working inside a computer be sure to ground yourself.
    Canned Grounding Rant-
    shut down system and remove side panel. with the power cable plugged into the PSU touch a bare unpainted metal area of the case. (my favorite spot is an unpainted screw securing the PSU) once you have grounded yourself you can unplug the computers power cable from the PSU and can touch the system.
    if you move your feet, or shuffle in your chair, plug in the cord, reground yourself and unplug again.
    end canned rant-

    install new drive, clone to new drive, disconnect old drive and test cloning process. Only when sure cloning was successful reconnect old drive and ensure that you are booting from the new drive then format the old drive. the old drive will be storage only at this point.
    Reply to R_1
  4. I'm really surprised with such a fast reply ! And thank you.
    I'm using a Seagate HD2 500GB HDD OK so lemme get this straight.

    I install the 500GB HDD as secondary and then install macrium reflect and clone the 320 GB HDD to the 500gb one. After the cloning I switch the PC off and replace both the drive SATA slots then start the PC again and format the 320GB drive.

    Is it really that simple !?!? I don't have to do anything regarding the bios or something??

    Edit : I'll try using software that Seagate provides hopefully ill find it easily.
    Reply to kyukuro24
  5. You nearly got it right. Nearly.

    After you've completed the (hopefully) successful disk-cloning operation, you shut down the PC and DISCONNECT the 320 GB HDD (the source drive) from the system. (I assume you're working with a desktop PC).

    You then boot the system with ONLY the 500 GB (destination drive) connected. Hopefully it will boot & function without any problems.

    ONLY after you've worked with the newly-cloned drive for some time to ensure all is well should you reconnect the 320 GB drive to the system which will now function, of course, as a secondary drive in the system. Capiche?
    Reply to ArtPog
  6. Best answer
    (this talks about SSD's, but it is exactly the same)


    Specific steps for a successful clone operation:
    -----------------------------
    Verify the actual used space on the current drive is significantly below the size of the new SSD
    Download and install Macrium Reflect (or Samsung Data Migration, if a Samsung SSD)
    Power off
    Disconnect ALL drives except the current C and the new SSD
    Power up
    Run the Macrium Reflect (or Samsung Data Migration)
    Select ALL the partitions on the existing C drive
    Click the 'Clone' button
    Wait until it is done
    When it finishes, power off
    Disconnect ALL drives except for the new SSD
    This is to allow the system to try to boot from ONLY the SSD
    Swap the SATA cables around so that the new drive is connected to the same SATA port as the old drive
    Power up, and verify the BIOS boot order
    If good, continue the power up

    It should boot from the new drive, just like the old drive.
    Maybe reboot a time or two, just to make sure.

    If it works, and it should, all is good.

    Later, reconnect the old drive and wipe as necessary.
    Delete the original boot partitions, here:
    https://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/windows/en-US/4f1b84ac-b193-40e3-943a-f45d52e23685/cant-delete-extra-healthy-recovery-partitions-and-healthy-efi-system-partition?forum=w8itproinstall
    -----------------------------
    Reply to USAFRet
  7. Aye thank you. I know what I should do now but I have one last question I forgot to ask earlier.

    I have partitioned the 320GB drive to 2 drives C and D. Both contain files I need.
    What steps should I take now ?
    Reply to kyukuro24
  8. kyukuro24 said:
    Aye thank you. I know what I should do now but I have one last question I forgot to ask earlier.

    I have partitioned the 320GB drive to 2 drives C and D. Both contain files I need.
    What steps should I take now ?


    Simply select the D partition as well as all the other ones on that drive.
    It will still fit into that new 500GB drive.

    When all is done and working, wipe the old 320GB drive and give it the drive letter E. Use as desired.
    Reply to USAFRet
  9. I'm a little confused though, after I clone the C and D drive to the 500GB drive won't there be 2 partitions created in the 500GB drive namely C and D. Now after I insert the 320GB drive there will still be C and D drives won't there be some conflict or some issue with the same drive names when I boot up ?

    I'm really sorry if I sound dumb but I'm fairly new to these things.
    Reply to kyukuro24
  10. kyukuro24 said:
    I'm a little confused though, after I clone the C and D drive to the 500GB drive won't there be 2 partitions created in the 500GB drive namely C and D. Now after I insert the 320GB drive there will still be C and D drives won't there be some conflict or some issue with the same drive names when I boot up ?

    I'm really sorry if I sound dumb but I'm fairly new to these things.


    On the 500GB, there will be a C and D.
    When you later reconnect the 320, those will be given different drive letters. Probably E and F.
    Windows is smart enough to not duplicate drive letters. It does not care what they used to be.
    Reply to USAFRet
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