Help: Hard Disk Transfer Utilities

Asking the BBS hive mind to help with their joint wisdom in the arcane arts of computer science:

I need a (preferably free) hard disk transfer utility. The old disk is on its last legs and the new hard-drive is coming today. For once, I managed to actually acquire a new drive before the old one went kaput from entropy; this means, of course, that I’ve never had to install a new drive and actually copy over everything from the old drive while still keeping the directories from pitching a fit.

Relevant computer info:
Running Windows 7, 64 bit.
System disc is C drive, SSD, 240 GB; installed in February when the old C drive went kaput.
Backup disc is D drive, 2 TB, using the Windows backup utility.
File disc is E drive, 1 TB; has all the music, personal files, video, games, etc, and is the one being replaced.

Replacing D drive is next on the list, although it gets spun up less, so there should hopefully be less wear and tear.


If it is just files/data you could go with the KISS rule.
Get a cheap USB adapter and drag and drop.


It’s not, unfortunately; I’ve been installing my Steam games and other programs that don’t have to be on the system disk on E drive, so I’m hoping to find something that’ll help me migrate everything over to the new disk.

It is just based on the drive letter, windows only cares about the unique disk IDs if you are doing crazy things like failover clustering.
Copy the data over and yank the old drive, put in the new one and change the drive letter to E:
Seriously I used to do essentially this with SAN drives on servers.


Cool! Thanks! (It’s funny; I’ve been building computers for ten years, but this is the first time I’ve actually managed to replace a drive before it failed)

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could be worse… could have a customer that whines about any outage other than 45 minutes between 1 and 2 am sunday morning and are waiting till they have to move from the old data center so I only have spare space for 1 extra drive to juggle data to / from and they set up the SAN before we knew about disk alignment and were risking terabytes of business critical sql databases.
that took all morning the day after christmas, and i got them to give me the day so i could also get all the patching up to date.
i did a happy dance after that, and another when we got a small restructure and it was another teams problem.


As noted, drag-n-drop is likely to be good enough if it isn’t the boot volume(if it is the boot volume; it Will Not be good enough).

If you do want to get a more thorough copy, unhindered by any permissions oddities, hidden items, etc. you can use a liveCD.

Acronis is the pay-for, user friendly, nice 'n featureful option. Clonezilla is a free option. If you are cloning a drive onto a replacement that is the same size or larger(note ‘same’ has to be ‘actually same’ not just ‘1TB’ written on both packages) you can just do it the lazy, retro, way and use dd: dd if=/dev/sd(the old disk of=/dev/sd(the new disk). That won’t go well if the new disk is even slightly smaller than the old, however.


Isn’t it just a case of using Windows’ own backup utility and burning a boot disc? That’s how I did it on my gf’s Win10 laptop the other day.

Most new hard drives come with such a utility, often a branded version of Acronis locked to their drives. I usually just use that utility when installing a replacement drive if it is available.

When not (eg, for Intel drives), the disk-clone software that has been most reliable for me is Paragon’s product - good German technology - but it is pretty slow. Back in the day it was the first software available that could safely do a live resize of an NTFS partition. There is a free version, I don’t know what its limits are.

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Oh I just remembered instead of a drag and drop (if you haven’t done that already) if you have non default NTFS permissions there is robocopy at the command line which is how I would transfer the data on the SAN drives. Not really any faster just a more command line way of doing it.

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Transfer complete! New drive is up, loaded and running, old drive removed.


OMG, that was like waiting for a loved one to come out of surgery.

Thank you to everyone for your advice :slight_smile: Going to go romp through my files without fear of the disk committing suicide.


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