Copy OS to new Hard Disk Help please



I want to copy my XP Home C: (ATA100) drive in its entirety to my new SATA drive and have my PC boot from the new drive. Which is the best, not necessarily free, downloadable program to use for simplicity. I’m only likely to use it once. Will my PC boot from a SATA drive? Asus A8VDelux MoBo. VIA Chipset. AMD64 3700.

Thanks in advance for any advice.


You should try going with norton ghost, it would just make things alot easier for you. However you can go into MS-Dos and do it yourself. Is your current OS drive in FAT32 format? Don’t forget to format your new drive to FAT32 as well as give it some kind of name. If so, you can just boot into command prompt and type in copy Xcopy32 c:\ (drivenamegoeshere) /h/i/c/k/e/r/y. So you’d have something like Xcopy32 c:\ d:\ /h/i/c/k/e/r/y . Hope this helps you out. :cool:


After that just change the name of your new drive to your old drive.


Thanks. Unfortunately I’m all NTFS. I’m going to go for Norton Ghost. I’m still uncertain as to whether I can boot from a SATA drive?


To transfer your operative system from one hard disc to another I suggest you to use Acronis Tru Image: there is an option to clone an entire hard disc in one step.

To boot from the s-ata disc, you must choose from which hard drive to boot in bios settings.


You can boot from SATA.


All drive makers offer free utilities for drive copying, usually on a floppy in the packaging and downloadable from the web site. Some utilites are unable to re-size the volume for a larger drive, others do this very well. Just be very sure that you do not boot to Windows with both drives installed.
Booting from SATA is not a problem, but also not without potential problems. If your SATA controller requires a driver for Windows, this must be installed prior to the migration or it won’t boot at all. Some SATA controllers need drivers, some don’t. Also, you must have the BIOS set to boot from the SATA controller.


You’ll most likely get “Inaccessable boot device” by doing this so I’d suggest a reinstall.


A problem for which there are several solutions. Certainly not a “most likely” scenario. Although a fresh install is always a good idea when possible.
There’s sure no reason not to try the migration, and following a few simple steps to insure no driver problems will make success “most likely”.


But you wont have the same layout (partitions etc) which will make Windows a bit cranky. Oh well… it’s up to him how much time he wants to spend/waste.


I know that acronis true image does a good job in transfer a system from a hard disc to another because I’ve used it successfully.

A fresh install, in my opinion, is mandatory if s-ata controller require a specific driver (especially if is a raid controller needing a specific driver). As a matter of fact, during a fresh installation windows ask if you want create a raid array and if you want use a specific driver contained on a floppy disc or another support.


Re-sizing of partitions does not, in and of itself, cause OS problems.

Driver issues, if relevant with this controller, can be avoided simply by installing the controller in Windows on the old HD before copying the old one to the new. As I said, some controllers need proprietary drivers, some use XP drivers. In either case, simply turning on the controller with the new empty drive attached, will install the driver in Windows(with the driver disc if needed). Then migrating the OS to the new drive should work out fine. I’ve done it here several times, from PATA to SATA, from non-RAID to RAID, and from one RAID controller to another. With RAID controllers, some will use different drive sectors for the array data, which does move the partitions a bit, so migrating from one RAID controller to another can cause issues, but this is not the case here AFAIK.

Reading the owners manual for the board and/or controller regarding RAID vs non-RAID and BIOS settings would also be a good step. :wink:


look for Hirens boot cd on the web download and burn the iso. This disc has every tool known to man on it including symantec ghost corp which will let you clone your drive and restore it to a new one .If you have a dvd burner it will take 1 maybee 2 dvds depending on the amount of stuff you have on the drive.

             Be patient though it may take a while to find Hiren's boot cd 6 on the web


The new SATA (I have 2 so the VIA driver was already installed) drive is installed and formated. I have found how to boot from it by changing the BIOS.
Another complication is that I have 2 OS’s - XP and XP64 (trial) on different IDE ATA 100 drives.
My drive setup is:
2 x ATA100 on IDE 0 WinXP on drive 1 (master) and WinXP64 on drive 2 (slave)
1 X DVD Burner on IDE 1
2 X SATA Drives connected to onboard VIA SATA/Raid controller (no raid)
1 X (old- DMA mode3) ATA drive on onboard Promise Riad controller

rdgrimes- Tried ‘MaxBlast 4’ from maxtor but the copy failed and caused the PC to reboot half way through. I think when it tried to copy an active system file. Also, I could not then boot into XP. Although it showed up I couln’t select it on the Boot choice screen. Had to boot to Win 64 and run CheckDisk on the XP drive which (thank God) sorted it out.

The minor speed increase is not worth a re-instal to me.

I’ll try True Image tomorrow. Should I run it from XP or XP64 bearing in mind its XP I want to transfer? Would it be safer to image the drive when the OS is not loaded?

I still use XP 95% of the time because 64Bit drivers aren’t available for my Lexmark Printer/Scanner, PrimeFilm slide film scanner and Hauppage WinTV card. Theres no sign that Lexmark and Hauppage have any intention of writing them either. Only PrimeFilm have emailed me to say new drivers should be out in a couple of weeks. I cant see me bothering to buy WinXP64 when the trial runs out. (Having said that there is an astonishing speed increase with IE64bit and frame rates in 32bit games. Although after an extended period of play the system freezes for ages whilst the swap file sorts itself out. Still work to do there with WOW I would say. I hope there’ll be better driver support when Vista (I think) comes out. After all, my printers under a year old.

Anyway, thanks for all the replies and any more ideas would be appreciated.



Thanks. I’ll try it.


You cannot copy the drive from Windows, it must be done in DOS. The Maxblast proggie should have a way to do this on a floppy. If you don’t change the configuration of the 2nd boot drive, that should still work too.

There’s absolutely no reason to be messing with DVD images. A direct HD to HD copy will work fine. For the record, I highly recommend having Partition Magic around, ( I think Acronis has all the same functionality). It is a great tool you will use many times for copying and re-working drive volumes.


Another thing you could try is the “SystemRescueCD”. It is Linux based and comes for free. So if you don’t have a partition tool or do not want to spend money on it, you might want to try it (there are a lot of utils on that disc, including a partition tool). I don’t know if it works alright for all kinds of Windows partitions (NTFS with EFS etc) and I don’t know if it features the same functionality as the commercial programs, but it might be worth a try. Could save you some money.

Check the site: for more information and download locations.


I’ve tried a number of tools from the superb (but undoubtably illeagal) Hirens Boot CD 7.0. However, I lost my nerve before going through with the copy!. I cant quite yet understand why they all insist on resizing the partition and hiding the old one which would require new drive letters, wated space on the new drive and it would make all my programs on other drives useless. Idealy I dont want to split the new drive up. Is there a reason why the new patition must be the same size as the old one? Why cant I just copy the drive (cut and paste from XP64) and then just swap the drive letters?


I cant quite yet understand why they all insist on resizing the partition and hiding the old one which would require new drive letters

The new drive is a diferent size than the old one, so if you don’t re-size the partition, you will have left over unallocated space. If the new drive is smaller, re-sizing is mandatory. Hiding the old partition is necessary, as it still contains the OS and is marked as the active partition (OS).
You can always un-hide it later. You cannot boot with 2 active partitions, and booting with the 2 OS will create a tripple boot scenario for you. Just let the drive be hidden, or remove it before booting to Windows on the new drive.

Is there a reason why the new patition must be the same size as the old one?

No, see above.

Why cant I just copy the drive (cut and paste from XP64) and then just swap the drive letters?

You cannot change drive letters on the system partition ©. The partition that contains the boot file will always remain C. Same is true for any installed programs on C, they will only function on C. Changing drive letters in XP64 will only be effective in XP64.

Drive copying is a very simple and straight-forward operation, as long as you follow the rules. If you are not comfortable doing this, I suggest you back off and read up on these topics, especially the user manuals on the programs you are using. Partition Magic and Acronis come with very complete manuals and help files. Using free programs is fine for experienced users, but if adequate documentation is lacking you should use something else. Maxblast will do the trick too.

You might also consider disconnecting all other hard drives except the 2 while you are doing this. Reconnect them before booting to Windows on the new drive.