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I wanted to upgrade to a 160 GB SATA drive for my laptop.  In the past I've just gone the reload-from-scratch path, on a weekend, usually in front of the TV.  I've even been a fan of this method, as it refreshes your system and gets rid of all that junk that you've acquired and may not even know you have.  Not this time, however, as I wanted to get it done quicker, and since I'm cheap, I didn't want to buy anything.

Enter Seagate's DiscWizard.  It's made by Acronis (makers of True Image) and can do two interesting things:

  • Clone disk X onto disk Y
  • Backup/Restore an image of your disk

On a desktop, this is a piece of cake since you can plug both drives to your controller.  On a laptop, not so much.  But DiscWizard supports USB drives.  I placed my new drive in a USB enclosure, and attempted and failed to clone the disk.  "Invalid Format" was the error DiscWizard reported.  Dang, that would have been the easy way.  It even will proportionally create partitions for you on the new drive.

The second method used the image backup/restore.  The steps are as follows:

  1. If your running Bitlocker, unencrypt your drive.
  2. Create the backup image and save it to a USB drive, a network drive, etc.
  3. Create a bootable CD with DiskWizard on it (you use DiscWizard to create the CD).
  4. Install the new HD into your laptop.
  5. Reboot from CD to run DiskWizard.
  6. Perform a restore, using the backup image on the USB drive as the input.  Make sure to select the checkbox for the complete drive (boot track info...)

This procedure will take 4 hours.  When complete I had 80 GB of unallocated space that using Vista's disk manager I could either extend a current drive or add a new drive partition.

Posted on Monday, December 22, 2008 9:53 AM Geek Hardware | Back to top


Comments on this post: Upgrade laptop hard drive using freeware disk cloning software

# re: Upgrade laptop hard drive using freeware disk cloning software
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I used Vista backup/restore. Much faster. Full backup, install new drive, then restore to the new drive with the Vista DVD (I actually used Vista on a USB stick).

Following this delightful experience, I now use Vista backup (and server 2008 backup) for all my machines instead of raid 0.
Left by Joe on Dec 23, 2008 5:36 AM

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