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Old 07-27-09, 03:12 AM   #1
Veer V2
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Default Replacing primary harddrive

I have Windows XP pro (OEM) installed on my main HD, while may be failing. I was wondering - could I replace the HD without having to re-install windows? I.e: just copy the entire contents to a new HD and then swap them, or will I have to do a fresh install of XP on the new HD.
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Old 07-27-09, 02:49 PM   #2
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Default Re: Replacing primary harddrive

I'm not familiar with any disk cloning software, but I know there's a number of different programs out there that would let you copy the data from one drive to another, and possibly allow you to resize it (and the underlying file system) if the new drive is larger. Maybe someone here has suggestions, or you could start googling for disk cloning software.

This is why I like to use a mirror for my OS drives.. There's no need to reinstall if one goes, you just throw in a new drive and let it rebuild.
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Old 07-27-09, 03:50 PM   #3
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Default Re: Replacing primary harddrive

Acronis is one of the best disk backup (cloning) software, it will clone to smaller (SSD) or larger disks.
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Old 07-31-09, 10:46 PM   #4
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Default Re: Replacing primary harddrive

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Originally Posted by logan View Post

This is why I like to use a mirror for my OS drives.. There's no need to reinstall if one goes, you just throw in a new drive and let it rebuild.
ummm... how does that work exactly?
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Old 08-01-09, 07:37 AM   #5
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Default Re: Replacing primary harddrive

Raid 1/Mirroring ,2 drives same data, Requires Raid controller.
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As long as your OS is stable just download and install the free Seagate DiscWizard which is "powered by Acronis", It will create an image of your entire hard drive that can be copied to the new drive.
It doesn't make any difference if the new drive is larger.

Personally I would uninstall all non essential programs and anything that can be easily re-installed from the OS drive first and backup to disk/dvd any large moveable files and generally tidy it up
Create the image
Install the image on the new drive and shrink the partition giving about 10-15gb of free space and use the rest of the disk (the other partition) for non OS files.

If you have or can borrow a usb hdd or if you just get more than one hdd things will be a lot easier/quicker.
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Old 08-02-09, 10:57 PM   #6
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Default Re: Replacing primary harddrive

Quote:
Originally Posted by XDanger View Post
Raid 1/Mirroring ,2 drives same data, Requires Raid controller.
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As long as your OS is stable just download and install the free Seagate DiscWizard which is "powered by Acronis", It will create an image of your entire hard drive that can be copied to the new drive.
It doesn't make any difference if the new drive is larger.

Personally I would uninstall all non essential programs and anything that can be easily re-installed from the OS drive first and backup to disk/dvd any large moveable files and generally tidy it up
Create the image
Install the image on the new drive and shrink the partition giving about 10-15gb of free space and use the rest of the disk (the other partition) for non OS files.

If you have or can borrow a usb hdd or if you just get more than one hdd things will be a lot easier/quicker.
Thanks, I'll give that a try one weekend. I have a usb HDD, and I'll uninstall all other prgs n apps. Most of my prgs and games are already installed on the second HD. I use the primary just for the OS and Photoshop/adobe suite mostly. I was only concerned about Windows, because mine is an OEM version so I don't have the disk.

I actually wouldn't mind re-installing windows completely, as it's generally a good thing to do. I'm just not sure how that works with OEM versions. I've always had the d1sk before.
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Old 08-02-09, 11:01 PM   #7
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Default Re: Replacing primary harddrive

Quote:
Originally Posted by lduguay View Post
Acronis is one of the best disk backup (cloning) software, it will clone to smaller (SSD) or larger disks.
+1
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Old 08-03-09, 01:07 AM   #8
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Default Re: Replacing primary harddrive

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Originally Posted by Veer V2 View Post
ummm... how does that work exactly?
Like XDanger mentioned, you'd have two (or more) drives and the hardware and/or software would write out changes to both. In the event of a failure, the system would rely on only a single drive and could safely operate in a degraded state until a new drive can be installed and the raid rebuilt.

Many motherboards come with a basic raid controller builtin, but it's not a real hardware RAID like a 3ware or Areca controller. Hardware controllers offload the extra work to a processor on the card and often include cache to speed up writes, but the onboard stuff will use the CPU (so hardware+software). If performance is an issue, hardware raid is generally regarded as the way to go, but I've been doing pure software raid with Linux' md for a few years now on my work and home desktops as well as servers and performance is perfectly acceptable. In fact, the only time I really notice anything is when the raid is being verified or rebuilt.

There's benefits to both.. In my situation at home, the important factors are cost and portability. If my motherboard ('s SATA controller) died, it could easily be replaced with any new motherboard and/or SATA controller and my system would be in a functional state so long as the installed kernel supported all of the required devices. This isn't the case with a hardware raid.. You couldn't replace a faulty 3ware card with an Areca. Likewise, a fakeraid solution is still tied to hardware. Something previously running on a VIA RAID would be non-functional on Intel's Matrix RAID. The costs associated with a hardware raid controller can be substantial.. A good 4 port controller from 3ware costs ~$300 and you'd really want to spend the extra $100 or so for the BBU. That's more than half the cost of my current system and just not worth it.

I'm using Linux' md to do a RAID5 at home across 3 1TB devices with no hot spare, giving me 2TB of usable storage. I was skeptical at first, but it's been running well for several months and I've already survived a disk failure courtesy of Seagate's firmware fiasco.

If you decide to use RAID at some point in the (near) future, just make sure you're selecting the appropriate level. A JBOD (concatenation) or a RAID0 (stripe) wouldn't help in the event of a failure, you'd just end up losing twice as much data.. It's likely that you would have to reinstall to get to a mirrored configuration, especially if it's software-based.

-- edit --

I should also mention that companies that produce hardware controllers often have a list of supported devices. It's not unheard of for unsupported/untested drives to just drop off an array, causing it to run in a degraded state or even fail if enough go. Sometimes this can be corrected with a firmware update, sometimes not. Many of the recommended drives are the enterprise-grade drives from companies like Seagate and Western Digital. The 1TB RE3 drives from WD are approximately 50% more expensive than their Black and Blue counterparts. So, the controller isn't necessarily the only place you'll be spending money..
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