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What is the best (safest way) to change out/upgrade a hard drive.

Currently have 120 Seagate slave (from old system), 250 WD current master and external Iomega 250GB.   Want to get rid of the old seagate, make the current master the slave and upgrade the master (looking for more speed).  Can I drag and drop everything onto the iomega and then change out the internal HDs.  Should make an image of all?  I lost everything last time but that was because of new Mobo and other difficulties.  This time only changing HDs.  Thanks for the input.
4 Solutions
If you want the new drive to be bootable, you need to use a drive imaging utility so that the file structure as well as the partition table and boot records are copied as well.  I like Symantec/Norton GHOST but other tools like Acronis TrueImage are reportedly good also.
abpowellAuthor Commented:
So I just need software?  No additional hardware.  I do have a DVD burner that I'm assuming I'll need for this?
Not sure what you'd need a DVD for.  The drive image tools work best (IMHO) when you go drive-to-drive.  A 120GB drive will take a BUNCH of DVDs to backup and it will take a lot of time.
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Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
First, see my notes r.e. imaging on your other question.

Second, simply replace your primary drive with the faster drive you want (I'd suggest a 150GB Raptor).

Third, just restore the IMAGE (preferably of a smaller, more-focused system partition if you followed my suggestions on the other question) to the Raptor.   You can then create a 2nd partition on the rest of the drive, and you'll be very nicely set up.

Note that if you do as I suggested, you will NEVER "touch" your old bootable drive until after you are safely booting on the Raptor ==> is that "Safe" enough ??  :-)     ... and you will have an image of the baseline ==> so you can always get back to that point in 5-10 minutes if anything "bad" ever did happen.

Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
... by the way (this comment could go with either of your questions, so I'll just put it here), another good reason for creating a relatively small system partition as the first partition on the drive is that the lower blocks have appreciably faster transfer rates than the higher-numbered blocks on the drive.   This is because of the zoned sectoring that all modern drives use.   The transfer rate can be nearly double on the outer cylinders (where the lower numbered blocks are).   So if your system partition is relatively small, the entire system partition will be in the faster outer zones.
I've used the free discwizard from Seagate: http://www.seagate.com/support/disc/drivers/discwiz.html which worked quite well. Presumably you'll need to buy a new Seagate drive to use this particular software, maybe other drive manufacturers provide their own software. The discwizard allows you to format the drive, setup partitions and copy/mirror the drive you want to replace.
"Can I drag and drop everything onto the iomega and then change out the internal HDs"

That wont get the operating system files.  An image will work, but takes imaging software.

If you can put the seagate and WD onto another system as D and E on the secondary, with an OS running on the C drive that doesnt require booting from the seagate or the WD, then you just issue --

xcopy D:\*.* E:\ /s/e/h/k/c/r/

and everything will go over to the new drive, and when you install it, you just need to make it bootable with the windows XP CD, boot to recovery console and issue --

fixboot C:  (which is the WD on the new system)

and you are running without the seagate.  It takes about 1-2 hours for the copy and you are up again.
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