Switching laptop's hard drive
February 4, 2012 1:09 PM   Subscribe

Idiot's guide to replacing my Windows Vista (don't judge me!) laptop hardrive?. Preferably by "cloning" the old drive onto the new one (I suspect via another external hard drive / backup).
posted by ewan to Computers & Internet (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I just replaced an HD with an SSD recently and went through this process. The SSD came with a SATA to USB converter, which was really helpful, and cloning software, which didn't run on my machine for some reason. With such a magic cable you can clone your old drive directly to your new one.

After looking around for some other cloning software, I settled on Acronis Migrate Easy which has a free trial period and is simple to use. There are lots of other disk cloning programs too, both free and commercial.

Also try searching for some videos that walk you through the process of physically switching out the drives on youtube.
posted by euphorb at 1:46 PM on February 4, 2012

It';s not the physical bit, it's the cloning.
posted by ewan at 2:02 PM on February 4, 2012

1. Download G4L iso and burn it to disc
2. Put your old drive in an external enclosure of some sort, or in your optical drive bay, or basically just get it recognized in the bios of your laptop without being in your laptop's primary drive slot
3. Put the new drive in your laptop's primary drive slot
4. Boot off the G4L disk, tell it to run G4L
5. Tell it the source is your old disk, the target is your new disk
6. Let it do its thing for 6 hours or so
7. There you're done, boot off your new disk. If the new disk is larger than the old disk, you'll have to run diskmgmt.msc and increase the size of the partition, as it will be the same size as it was on your old disk.

I do this on a regular basis and can assure you it works wonderfully and is nearly foolproof.
posted by tehloki at 2:33 PM on February 4, 2012

Edit: I just suggested that you could put a hard disk in your optical drive bay and then boot off of an optical disk. I think it's safe to say I am insane and you can ignore that part of step 2; find some kind of USB/eSata enclosure solution
posted by tehloki at 3:00 PM on February 4, 2012

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