System to new HDD - please check my plan!

  Pineman100 17:14 10 Jun 2007

I have Acronis True Image 8 running under XP SP2 Home. I also have an external USB HDD for my ATI images.

My USB HDD is quite small (30GB), and I want to get a larger one. My main C: drive (200GB) is about 3 yrs old, so I thought it would be best to install the new drive as my main C: drive and retire the existing one to the external USB caddy.

This will obviously involve transferring my entire system on to the new internal HDD. So (finally!) here are my questions:-

A) Can I install the new HDD in my USB caddy, then format it. Then use ATI's "Disk Clone" function to copy my entire system from the old C: drive to the new drive in the caddy, then simply install the new drive into the computer? Would it then automatically become my main C: drive?


Must I clone my C: drive to the old USB caddy drive (I think there's just about room on it), install the new HDD into the computer, format it, then get ATI to copy my system back on to it?

Or is there some other procedure that I should follow?

Many thanks for any advice.

  Pineman100 17:57 10 Jun 2007


  bjh 18:26 10 Jun 2007

You can install the new HDD as a second HDD in the machine, probably as slave to the first, and then image the old HDD straight onto the new HDD. Most HD manufacturers have software on their website to do this; Seagate certainly does, and I've used it in the last week.

keep both HDD running inside for a while , so you are sure you are up and running, then swap the old one out if you want. However, having two hard drives in the machine has huge advantages: you can boot to either.

  bjh 18:31 10 Jun 2007

Link to Seagate software
click here

That will only run if one of the internal HDD is Seagate (or now Maxtor!).

  Pineman100 19:14 10 Jun 2007

Do I understand correctly that, using your suggested method, the new HDD immediately becomes a complete clone of my original system drive (c:)?

If that's right, and assuming that I then remove the original HDD, I'm a bit hazy about changing the new drive's letter to C: (I believe it must be that so that Windows will boot?). Does this happen automatically?

  bjh 19:29 10 Jun 2007

Yep - there will be no difference. The drive letter will still be C.

If you install a Seagate (or Maxtor) drive, the Seagate downloadable software walks you through the install process very carefully. (Others probably do the same - it's a while since I used other brands). It will ask you if you want to format the new drive, which operating system you wish to install, or if you wish to copy the old drive to the new drive. That's the option you want. You are then asked if you wish to copy or move (words to that effect), i.e.,do you want to keep the original drive "as is", or do you want to blank it. I'd always keep it (there's always the possibility of a monumental cock-up with the new drive).

You will then end up with an IDENTICAL drive to your old one. You can use the BIOS to choose which you boot to, but I think from your plan you'd be better off putting your old drive in your caddy (how about putting the 30Meg in as a second "emergency " boot disk?). You will then have to make sure the jumper on the new HDD is set to master (and that of the smaller drive is "slave", if you choose to put this in).

The drive in the machine will now be your new HDD, it will boot as the "C" drive, and it will have ALL your software on, exactly as it was on the old HDD.

  Pineman100 09:12 11 Jun 2007

... for that comprehensive explanation. I'm probably being stupid, but I'm still not sure on one detail.

If I do as you suggest - install the new drive in a spare drive bay, get the manufacturer's software to copy my full system across, remove the old system drive and move the new drive into the old drive's bay, will it *automatically* become designated by the computer as C: or do I have to take some kind of action to change its drive letter to C:?

  bjh 12:41 12 Jun 2007

Sorry for the delay in response.

1). Long Explanation
It'll become C automatically.
The only thing you will have to attend to is the jumpers on the hard drive. I am assuming your (slightly old) machine is using PATA hard drives, not SATA (wide ribbons with 40/80 strands connect it to carry the date, not thin 4 strand cables).
If so, when you run 2 HDD from one cable one is set to MASTER, the other to SLAVE. The lonely one in your machine will be MASTER (it's on it's own). When your new HDD arrives, it'll almost certainly have its jumper on the rear set to master too. A diagram on the HDD will show which pins to move the jumper to so it can run as slave. Do this, then put it in the machine. The old disk will run as master, and Windows will run as normal. Use the (Seagate or other) installation software, and the second HDD will be cloned to match the first.
You can now remove the old HDD BUT you should change the jumper on the new one back to the MASTER position, and when you restart the computer, thsi new drive will boot, exactly as the old one, as the C drive. The ONLY difference you will see is more space on the HDD.

2) Short Explanation
So, it automatically becomes teh C drive, but you have to do the jumpers bit!

  Pineman100 14:49 12 Jun 2007

... thank you, bjh!! Your patient advice is very much appreciated.

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