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  Can I install a new HDD/OS this way 
 Date Written 
Nas Nas Mar 04, 2013, 08:46am EST Report Abuse
My main drive is a 250gb hdd that came with my pc. I have a 1tb drive in the spare bay in my computer case, it's a backup drive for saving stuff and no OS is installed in it and it's full.

I"m thinking about replacing the main one by removing the full 1tb drive and replacing it with a new, empty drive. From there, i will use the running os on the main HDD to install the same os (win7) on the spare drive, once that is done I remove both and replace the original HDD with the new one with newly intstalled os.

I don't know if this makes sense or if it will work. Assuming it does, if I have a running OS on my main drive and I'm somehow able to use it to install the same one into another drive, won't that cause some sort of conflict between the two drives?

I have my own cd for installing the os. Someone suggested cloning the HDD, I've looked into it and I know seagate has a free program that does it but I don't know if it's as straightforward as it sounds or if it will working without any problems either.

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john albrich Mar 04, 2013, 10:06am EST Report Abuse
>> Re: Can I install a new HDD/OS this way
Advanced Format Drive Advisory

Especially if you have an older OS, be aware that many newer HDDs use advanced formatting (AF), which can be problematical. See this thread for more info:

In general, "cloning" works well as long as the HDDs are either both non-AF drives or both AF drives. Even so, sometimes things go smoothly and other times there can be problems. It can depend on the type of "cloning" used.

However, the type of "cloning" can be particularly key when "cloning" to an AF HDD drive. Some "cloning" programs may not support AF HDD and may be be unable to do the job even if the old HDD is an AF HDD.

Before you try any cloning program, back up your system disk using a program like Macrium Reflect Free Edition or similar ( is one good source). Note: the MR FREE Edition backup copy can also be used to "clone" the system disk onto the new drive as long as the new partition is as large or larger than the old partition.

If your old installed OS doesn't support new AF drives then you likely have to modify it (if possible) before cloning it to the new AF HDD. Since I've not actually tried cloning a non-AF HDD installed OS to an AF HDD, I can't tell you for sure whether it would work, EVEN IF you have installed all AF driver modifications. In such a case, it MAY be that when your original is a non-AF HDD, that only a clean install onto the AF HDD will work.

Someone else may have experience with that scenario.

edit 20130306
New drives available are not always identified on a given retailer website as "Advanced Format" drives. If needed, check the manufacturer's specifications for the drive to make sure it is (or can be made to be) compatible with your OS/System/etc before puchase.

edit 20130427
I just found out that most Advanced Format HDDs have the AF logo on the drive's label. Looking at the pictures supplied on a retailer's website may be the best way to easily determine whether or not the drive is AF, even if the website and retailer-provided specifications don't explicitly state it is an Advanced Format HDD.
The AF logo is just the letters "AF" enclosed in an almost square outline box with ONE rounded corner (the upper left).

Reason Mar 06, 2013, 05:55pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: Can I install a new HDD/OS this way
Cloning is the way to go. You can't copy/paste the files from your Windows and Program Files folders to a new hard drive and have it boot. Since you have your disk, you could install it directly on the new hard drive, but then you'd need to reactivate, reinstall your apps, customize etc.

I've used Clonezilla to clone my main PC hard drive, from a 320 to a 500, with zero issues; been running for at least a year on the cloned drive now. I do not believe either the source or the target drive was AF.

I recently cloned my HTPC 320gb to 1tb, no AF, XP SP2 using clonezilla. Clonezilla does not adjust the partition size, so it's a two part process to clone and then adjust the partition size using gparted. I tried it once without booting between cloning and resizing and it blackscreened on me, so I got to redo the clone. Took about an hour each time.

It's pretty easy to do. The interface is ugly but it works. Go through the walk through screens on their site a couple times, and you might want a laptop/second pc to view the site while you're doing it.

Here is what I would do if I were in your shoes.

1. Physically disconnect your 1tb hard drive from your motherboard. This will prevent the accidental cloning of your system drive onto it.
2. Clone your system drive to your new drive. don't use images, go direct disk to disk.
3. Remove your old system drive and boot up. If it works, you can resize the partition to use your full amount of space. If not, then you can either try again, or just install directly from disc.

The benefit of cloning is that you don't lose your old drive data - if the clone fails, you're back at square one, but at least you're not at square zero.

Ultima Ratio Regum
Nas Nas Mar 08, 2013, 10:09pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: Can I install a new HDD/OS this way

john albrich Mar 09, 2013, 07:10pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: Can I install a new HDD/OS this way
Nas Nas said:
If i do it by installing the os on a new drive. Will I be able to connect my old HDD, with the os installed, to the pc/motherboard in order to retrieve files without causing any os conflict?

There a few ways to do so.

1) edit your BIOS/UEFI to make sure the "Boot Order" boots from the new drive first. Not all BIOS/UEFI offer this ability to change the boot order WITHIN the HDD list. However, if this option isn't available on your system...

1a) ...the hardware will usually boot the HDD ports in a specific order and putting your new bootable HDD in the first queried port will often ensure it is the drive booted.

However, if the new drive takes a really long time to "spin up", the system can bypass booting from it if another bootable drive is available. A drive would have to be way out of spec for this problem, but in many years of computing, I have seen it happen a few times.

2) Attach your old drive via an external USB adapter, and assign the BIOS/UEFI to either boot from HDD ports first or totally exclude USB port booting (sometimes not an option)...OR...

2a) ...plug the USB cable into the system's USB port (or apply power to the old drive but, do NOT hot-plug unless it is SATA and you have the right power connector) only AFTER the system has fully booted from the new drive. The system's "plug 'n play" will soon detect the "new hardware" and assign logical drive letter(s) to the partition(s) on the old drive.

3) IF one knows what one is doing, one could modify the Master Boot Record (MBR) of the old drive so the old drive can no longer boot.



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