How to upgrade to a larger hard drive in Windows Vista???
February 20, 2007 2:07 PM   Subscribe

Does Windows Vista have a built-in application to migrate or ghost a hard drive?

So I have a desktop computer with a 150GB hard drive and Windows Vista installed. This is obviously not enough space for my current needs (digital photography), so I've ordered a new 500GB hard drive. My problem is, how do I ghost/migrate the smaller drive to the larger drive in the easiest, most set-it-and-forget-it manner? Norton Ghost isn't compatible, nor is Acronis' product. Any advice?
posted by chaosscontrol to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
You said desktop computer, which usually means there's enough room for two HDs in the case. So...why don't you just attach the 500GB drive as a secondary data drive? Vista will recognize it and format it as needed. It'll show up as a D:\ drive I believe.
posted by mcstayinskool at 2:16 PM on February 20, 2007

The key word is "RoboCopy" which is a command-line tool included with Vista. It has a mirror drive option. I'm no expert, so won't go into detail like the guy does at

Searches on these terms should be fruitful:

P.S. Newer versions of Norton Ghost do handle Vista.
posted by markhu at 3:24 PM on February 20, 2007

You can also do 'dd if=/dev/olddrive of=/dev/newdrive' from a linux boot CD and then expand the partition with diskmgmt.msc from inside Vista. If you do this, make sure to remove the old drive before booting Vista again.
posted by aye at 3:45 PM on February 20, 2007

Second just adding the second drive in as a secondary drive, as you don't mention any problems besides size with the one you've got now. Besides giving you an extra 150 gigs, if worst comes to worst and Windows up and dies, you can simply reformat the smaller drive without worrying about your photos! Migrating to a new computer will also be easier (remove from box A, insert into box B). And so on. You may even see a performance increase if you set any disk caches to your second drive (the one that doesn't have "Program Files" on it).
posted by anaelith at 6:36 PM on February 20, 2007

I am guessing that either the built in backup application or perhaps Windows Easy Transfer might do what you want.

In theory both are discussed here.

I don't think that robocopy (while it is an awesome tool) will do what you want because you really want to take a snapshot of the system, not copy it over as it changes.

If you have more questions, let me know, I may be able to find out more info.
posted by mge at 12:46 AM on February 21, 2007

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