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HOW TO: Completely clone and change boot drives

post #1 of 26
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This article will explain how to change your boot drive to a different hard drive, yet keep it exactly the same as before. I was running everything off my WD 320GB HDD, until I got a 1TB HDD and decided to switch to that for everything, and use my 320GB as a backup drive.

Make sure you read everything very carefully as you read along.

Step #1: Clone the drives
There are several programs that can do this, but the easiest is DriveImageXML (Download link at the bottom). Once you installed DriveImageXML, open it up. Go to the "Drive to Drive" tab on the left side. It will then search and locate your drives. First, choose the drive which currently has the information you want to clone already on it. Click next. The "Drive-to-drive copy wizard" will then pop up. Make sure "Try Volume Locking first" is checked, and "Raw Mode" is Unchecked. Then click next. Select the (blank) drive you would like the information to be cloned onto**. Click Next. The next screen will verify the operations desired. If everything looks right, click next to begin the cloning process.

The cloning process will usually take hours (depending on the drive sizes). When the cloning is complete, close DiXML. Now it is time to create an MBR and do some BCD work.

If you have completed the cloning process, skip to step #2.

**If your desired destination drive is not listed in DiXML, go to "Disk Management" (located in the control panel). Right click on the (Unlabeled) disk, and click "Mark partition as active". Then There should be a big block of "unnallocated space". Right click on the unallocated space, and click "New partition". The "New partition wizard should pop up", choose "extended drive" on the next page. Make sure the partition size in MB is set to the maximum allowed MB. Then on the next page, choose "Manually assign a drive letter". And on the next page, click "Format this partition with the following settings". Then type a name for the volume in the Volume label box. Next, Click the file system that you want to use in the File system box. Now, You can change the disk allocation unit size, and then specify whether to perform a quick format, or enable file and folder compression on NTFS volumes. Click Next. Finally, confirm that the desired settings are specified, and click finish!

Step #2: Create MBR and BCD

This step requires that you have your Windows installation disk!

In this step, we will be adding a Master Boot Record (MBR) and some Boot Configuration Data (BCD) to the newly-cloned hard drive. Insert your Windows installation disc into the drive bay, then restart. Make sure you boot from the CD/DVD Drive by pressing any key during the "....." phase. Make sure you select your newly-cloned drive when prompted. Then, Locate the command prompt in the repair/fix section of the installation disc. Enter the following commands:

"bootrec.exe\\fixboot" (without the quotes)

"bootrec.exe\\fixmbr" (without the quotes)

If both commands completed succesfully, close command prompt, and restart. Then continue to step #3. If not completed succesfully, leave a comment below, and I will help ASAP.

Step #3: Booting into your New Windows Drive!
This step is very fast and easy, but is different for different motherboards.

First, startup your computer, and immediately go into the BIOS (usually by pressing F10 or F12). Then go to the BIOS's Standard CMOS or Standard BIOS settings. Locate where the boot order is***. Change the boot order so that the first drive is your CD/DVD drive, and the second drive is your newly-cloned windows drive. The third option and beyond don't really matter at this point. Save your BIOS/CMOS settings, and exit. Your computer should now repost.

If you were able to locate and change the boot order settings, skip to step #4

***If you were not able to locate the boot order settings in the BIOS, leave a comment below stating what motherboard model you have, and I will help you ASAP.

Step #4: Changing the Drive letters.
You, and most people, think you can just go into disk management and change drive letters there. Not so fast! Let's analyze why;

Let's say the old windows drive is the C: drive, and the newly-cloned windows drive is the D: drive. If you go into disk management and try to change the D: drive to the C: Drive, you can't. You can only have 1 C: drive. So we'll try to change the current C: drive to D:. Guess what? You can! BUT, when the computer restarts, windows gets confused since there is no C: Drive, it posts an error message, and is unable to start windows. So, basically it is impossible to swap drive letters in disk management.

The only option left is in the registry. For this part, we'll be swapping drive letters. The current C: drive is the old windows drive. The current D: drive is the newly-cloned windows drive. So we want the C: drive to become the D: drive, and we want the D: drive to become the C: drive. If your newly-cloned windows drive is a different letter other than D:, simply substitute that drive letter for D: in the instructions below. Sounds confusing, but it is very simple .

So, first, go to the regedit utility by pressing "windows-key+R".
Then type "regedit".
Go to "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE>SYSTEM>MountedDevices"
Next, in the main window, locate the list of "\\DosDevices\\". Now, right click the "\\DosDevices\\C:", press rename, then rename it to "\\DosDevices\\H:" (substitute H: for your personal-desired drive letter other than the one which contains the newly-cloned windows data). Then right click the "\\DosDevices\\D:", and rename it to "\\DosDevices\\C:". Now close regedit, and restart!


Conclusion: That's it!!! It wasn't that hard, but the text makes it look extremely confusing. I was confused myself when I started learning about changing drive letters in the registry. Thus, Feel free to leave any comments regarding confusion, or any other questions/comments!!! You now have a new C: drive loaded with exactly the same data you had on your old C: drive! Except now, it's on a different physical drive! I hoped this helped!

Download DriveImageXML

Thanks for reading!
Edited by jetboy623 - 8/16/11 at 9:59pm
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post #2 of 26
Good thread. +rep
    
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post #3 of 26
Is it possible to clone from a single hdd to a new raid set up?
Edited by TronRR - 8/18/11 at 3:00pm
    
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post #4 of 26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TronRR View Post
Is it possible to clone from a single hdd to a new raid set up?
It is definitely possible. There are probably other programs that can do this, but the only program I know of that can clone a single HDD to a RAID 0 setup is Norton Ghost.

1. Make a system image of C:

2. Perform the "disk to disk" operation. And it should work perfectly!
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post #5 of 26
Thoughts on "Clonezilla"?

I have used this software 2 times with HDDs of equal capacity with great sucess and ease. I didn't know about changing the letters from regedit though, i just cloned them to have as backup.

I guess if i had an old drive with all my software and i wanted to clone everything to my new drive and afterwards use the old drive for additional storage, i'd clone it first than i'd delete and recreate the partitions on the old drive using Windows CD. Sounds just as easy.
Edited by Pentdragon - 8/19/11 at 12:07pm
post #6 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pentdragon View Post
Thoughts on "Clonezilla"?

I have used this software 2 times with HDDs of equal capacity with great sucess and ease. I didn't know about changing the letters from regedit though, i just cloned them to have as backup.

I guess if i had an old drive with all my software and i wanted to clone everything to my new drive and afterwards use the old drive for additional storage, i'd clone it first than i'd delete and recreate the partitions on the old drive using Windows CD. Sounds just as easy.
Clonezilla's good, but because this how-to is aimed in helping people with all skills, I found driveimageXML the easiest and fastest.
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post #8 of 26
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Can I get this to be a sticky?
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post #10 of 26
That sure sounded like a TON of work, I do this with Acronis on a regular basis, and it is all set up to do it ALL without a person having to go through all those steps you listed. Just a couple of clicks is all it takes with Acronis.

Just saying...
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