How to create a disk image or clone your system disk, to move to a new drive

Sooner or later hard disks need an upgrade. Here is a small guide on how you can replace your system hard disk, i.e. the disk where Windows is installed, moving everything into a new, larger, disk, in order to avoid re-installing Windows and your programs to the new disk.

The whole process of moving your existing system disk is usually known as cloning of the hard disk, or making a disk image that will be replicated to a new disk.

You can not have the same results by just copying and pasting the contents of the old disk to the newer one, as you do usually with files and folders when you work on your PC. You need to make a “clone” or “image” of your old disk.

This clone or image can be created by Windows 7 or later, however, for the moment it is safer to use a freeware like EasyUs ToDo Backup, DriveImage XML or Macrium Reflect Free.

Native Windows imaging does not seem to be reliable enough yet, therefore I make an image with it, but I always make another one for safety, with Macrium.

You must place the image of your old disk temporarily to another disk, internal or external.

Therefore, at least 3 disks are involved: your old one, a temporary holder of the image of your old disk, and the new disk that will receive the image.

Next Page: 5 steps to follow for cloning and replacing your old disk

If you use a version of Windows older than 7, please read the post Format / Reinstall – The Easy Way. If you’ve got a new SSD drive, check this guide on migrating Windows to SSD easily and safely, without reinstalling anything.

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