A hard drive, hard disk or hard disk drive (HDD) stores digital data to rotating platters contained within an enclosure. Read/write heads attached to the drive write data to the platters in the form of magnetic spots. Users can clone the entire contents of a hard drive --- including the Windows Vista operating system --- and transfer the data to a new hard drive. Disk cloning is a process commonly used to back up a hard drive or transfer an operating system to a hard disk with a larger storage capacity.
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Things you need
- Phillips head screwdriver
Shut down the computer. Unplug the power cable connected to the rear of the system.
Disconnect the mouse, keyboard and monitor from the computer. Use the Phillips head screwdriver to loosen the screws on the back of the system securing the case cover in place.
Push down on the lever on the side or front of the case and slide the case cover off of the computer. Touch the back of the computer to discharge yourself of static electricity.
Remove the new hard drive from its packaging. Connect a 7-pin SATA data cable to the SATA0 or SATA1 slot on the motherboard.
Connect the other end of the cable to the 7-pin slot on the back of the hard disk drive.
Locate a 15-pin power cable coming from the power supply. Insert the 15-pin power connector into the 15-pin power slot on the back of the hard drive. Slide the hard drive into an available caddie.
Tighten the screws on either side of the caddie to secure the hard disk drive in place. Reassemble the computer and boot to Windows Vista.
Click the Windows-logo button located on the task bar. Click "All Programs." Click "Accessories." Click "System Tools."
Click "Disk Defragmenter." Select the main disk and click "Defragment Disk" to prepare the main hard drive for cloning.
Download and install a disk-cloning application such as Norton Ghost, EASEUS Disk Copy or Acronis True Image Home. Launch the software to set up the cloning process.
Select "Entire Hard Disk" from the options. Configure the application to copy the master boot record (MBR) and partition table. Click "Next."
Choose "C:" as the source drive. Select all the partitions on the drive. Click "Next." Choose the new hard disk drive as the destination drive.
Configure the application to format the new drive and to back up the entire contents of the "C:" drive. Click "Next."
Review your options on the summary page. Click "Finish" to copy Windows Vista to the new hard drive.
Tips and warnings
- If your primary hard drive uses an IDE interface (a 40-pin ribbon cable and four-pin peripheral power connector), plug the SATA device in SATA0. If your primary hard drive uses SATA as well, plug the SATA device in the next available SATA slot (SATA1).
- You can configure disk-cloning settings in most applications by checking or unchecking the appropriate boxes.
- Most hard drives package a 7-pin SATA data cable with the drive itself. However, you may need to purchase the data cable separately.
- Never touch a hardware device without first grounding yourself. Static electricity can permanently damage computer hardware.
- Do not distribute Windows Vista to other computers without a proper license. Only clone Windows Vista to another hard drive for backup or upgrade purposes. Users can use only one licensed copy per system.
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