If you are replacing your hard drive to upgrade it or if your existing drive is showing signs of weakness, you should consider cloning it. Cloning a disk consists of making a "bit-by-bit" copy of it to another disk, which will allow you to keep your operating systems, as well as your data and programs intact and ready to be reused instantly. on a completely new disc.
Step 1. Back up your important data
Although the cloning process does not normally cause data loss, it is still prudent to make sure to put it in a safe place just in case … Back up your files to a removable hard drive, DVD or online on your hard drive cloud storage.
Step 2. Install the disk you want to copy to
When you clone a disk, you are actually copying the data from the existing disk to a new one. This must be installed before proceeding with the cloning.
The new drive does not need to be formatted to become a clone
Step 3. Install the cloning program
You need a specific program to be able to clone a disk. You have the option of purchasing professional software such as "Norton Ghost", but you can also download the free version of a utility such as HDclone. This guide covers the use of both programs.
Norton Ghost will leave the unused space of the new disk in the same partition as the copy of the cloned disk. This means that any space left free after copying the disk will be available to the operating system without having to include it in a new partition.
Step 4. Clone the drive with Norton Ghost
From the main menu, select Advanced Ghost then click on the option Copy my hard drive.
Tell the program what the original disk is. This is the disk FROM WHICH you will be copying. Make sure you have the correct disk selected as the source, otherwise you risk copying the blank disk onto your old disk, thus erasing all your data and all your programs!
Tell the program which is the destination disk. This is the disk TO WHICH you are going to copy and that you have just installed. You can check the size and model of each of the disks in the selection frame grid.
Click on Following to obtain the summary of the transaction. This will be your last chance to make sure your settings are correct before starting the cloning process. When you're ready, click Start now. Your system will then reboot and Ghost will load in DOS mode.
Wait for the cloning process to finish. This can take quite a long time depending on the amount of data to be transferred. When the cloning is complete, your computer should restart and Windows will reload. You can verify that the cloning was successful by opening "My Computer" and inspecting the contents of the new disk.
At this point, your computer is still running on the contents of the old disk. To start working with the new drive, follow step 6.
Step 5. Clone the disk with Hclone
Burn the Hdclone ISO image to a CD so that you can boot your system from that disc. On startup, the HDclone interface will load.
Use the arrow keys on your keyboard or mouse clicks to point to the original drive. This is the one you are going to copy FROM.
Use the arrow keys on your keyboard or mouse clicks to designate the destination disk. This is the one you are going to copy TO. Make sure you have the correct discs selected at the source and at the destination, in order to avoid accidental erasure of the disc containing your data and your programs.
Confirm your options. Use advanced options to copy or clone safely.
Click on To start up to start the cloning process and wait for it to finish. This can take quite a long time, depending in particular on the size of your disks. When the process is complete, your new drive will be a bit-accurate copy of the source drive. Unoccupied space will be seen by your computer as unallocated space.
- If you want to add this unallocated space to the partition where Windows XP is located, use Partition Magic or Gparted Live. Otherwise you can create a disk partition to use it as a data storage space.
- Note that you can make a full copy between disks including all partitions, but you can also copy a single partition to the new disk. This should be larger than the original disk or partition. The remaining (unoccupied) disk space will be unpartitioned and you can partition it later as needed.
Step 6. Unmount your original drive
Once you have verified that the cloning process completed successfully, shut down your computer and completely unmount your original drive. Check that the jumper positions are correct on your new drive and put it in place of the old one.
Step 7. Turn on your computer
Make sure everything starts up normally and works as it should. If your new disk is not detected, check the position of its configuration jumpers, particularly the one that manages the "master / slave" mode. If everything is correct, put it back. When you know everything is working, you can put the old drive back in and format it.
You may be asked to reactivate your copy of Windows. This almost never happens, but if it does, just call the number given to you by the system and Microsoft will give you a new key over the phone to wake up Windows.
If you clone the drive to put it in a new computer, you will need to reinstall Windows XP anyway to get everything to work normally. You will have to call Microsoft to obtain a reactivation key.
- Most specialized software can also make copies onto CDs or DVDs.
- You can also just use Windows Explorer if you don't need to copy the operating system or installed software, but you will need to format the target disk first.
- Make sure you are copying in the right direction. There is nothing more annoying than copying a blank disc to your existing disc and thus losing all your data!
- If you continue to use your old computer, be careful not to violate any license agreements.
- If you are using the old computer on the same network, you might experience an IP address conflict.