How to replace IDE boot drive with SATA boot drive?

Posted on 2008-10-29
Last Modified: 2013-12-02
How to replace IDE boot drive with SATA boot drive?

I have a system with XP and a very small IDE boot drive. I'll list specs, in case it matters, but I think someone will know the answer of this pretty easily.

I want to replace the small IDE hard disk drive with a large (640GB) SATA drive. I do not want to start over from scratch, reinstalling the OS and all the software (I know how to do that.) I know there are hard disk imaging/cloning software programs, and I'm sure they could restore to a duplicate (new) HDD in case of a crash, but I don't know if I can just install a new SATA drive (let's call it "E"), clone the existing C drive (IDE) right onto the new E drive, then just reboot, go into BIOS and set drive E as the boot drive. Will that work? Is it as easy as that?

What about the tiny partition that the current C drive now has - how do I change the new boot drive to use the full capacity of the drive as one huge partition (or, if I have to partition smaller, then at least I need a bigger partition than what the IDE drive had - 40GB.)

Or, are there other steps in the process?

I have never used Norton Ghost, or any other disk imaging/disk cloning software. I see an open source application called "SelfImage" that looks promising and certainly the right price. Any specific recommendation for software? I don't need scheduling, encryption, or fancy features - just something for this task.

Thank you in advance for your help!


system specs (in case it matters):
Windows XP, SP3
MB: Albatron PX865PEC Pro (not rev 2: only SATA 1 supported)
C drive: Seagate ST340014A
new SATA drive: WD Caviar SE16 WD6400AAKS 640GB SATA 3.0Gb/s

I am told that drive will operate at SATA-1 speed, due to the MB support only for SATA-1)
Question by:dtleahy
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LVL 12

Accepted Solution

kadafitcd earned 450 total points
ID: 22834098
Simple.  Go to your New Hard Drive's Manufacturers Website.  Most of them will have FREE tools that will clone the hard drive over.  Western Digital, Seagate, and Maxtor all have these utilities for free on their sites.  I know from experience that those 3 will readjust the size of the partition to use the full hard drive rather than just making a new partition with the same size.  Then as you stated just reboot and set it up to boot from the SATA drive.  As long as you have all of your Motherboard Drivers loaded in XP everything should be working fine.

Good Luck HTH.
LVL 32

Assisted Solution

willcomp earned 50 total points
ID: 22834202
Before cloning old hard disk -- install SATA drivers in Windows if not already installed. They should be on disk that came with motherboard or you can download them.

After cloning old hard disk and before booting from new hard disk -- physically disconnect old hard disk or your new hard disk will not be Drive C:.
LVL 24

Expert Comment

by:Alan Henderson
ID: 22834225
kadafitcd's right, although I believe strongly that every Windows user should be using imaging software to protect their installation.

You can use imaging software to create an image of a partition or of a full drive. Then it's a simple matter to restore that image to a new drive. The mbr is copied as well as the partition(s).

As kadafitcd already pointed out, you'll probably need to change the boot drive order in BIOS.

Most PCs also have a hotkey you can press at bootup (often F12) which takes you to a boot menu where you can select the boot disc, but for the permanent default setting you need to change it in BIOS.

This is not really answering your question, so please give the points to kadafitcd.

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Author Comment

ID: 22834439
Thanks so much for the quick answers!

May I ask a side question?

I know SATA-2 (300MB/sec, or also referred to as 3GB/s though I don't know why) drives are much faster than IDE, and would probably make a better Digital Audio Workstation, or Digital Video Workstation, but since my MB only has SATA-1 capability, would it be wise (for this one box), just to install a new huge IDE drive? About $10 to $15 more expensive for a 500GB IDE, but is there more likelihood of installation problems with a new SATA drive?

LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 22834509
As long as your motherboard has SATA ports and you've installed all of your drivers in XP then you won't have any issues with the SATA especially with SP3.  With a SATA-1 it runs at 150MB/sec where the most common IDE is 100MB/sec but they do come in 133MB/sec.  Either way the SATA will always be faster.  If you don't have an SATA cable that came with your MB then you need to make sure you buy a retail SATA drive not OEM as it will come with a cable.  Or just buy a cable too.  I would suggest going with the SATA in any case.
LVL 32

Expert Comment

ID: 22834650
There will be no difference in speed whether your hard disk is connected to an SATA/150 or SATA/300 controller. The hard disk itself is not capable of reaching SATA/150 throughput. Similarly, SATA and  ATA133 (IDE) hard disks with the same specs other than interface will perform about the same. Most of the higher performing drives are SATA since they are much more common now. Check hard disk performance on Tom's Hardware before selecting your drive if performance is critical.,658.html

Author Closing Comment

ID: 31511314
Thank you!

Author Comment

ID: 22835560
Thanks again!

Ordered the SATA drive, plus SATA cable, plus SATA power adapter.

Downloaded and installed the latest driver pack from Albatron for this MB.

Found the software at WD site: Data Lifeguard Tools (which includes drive-to-drive copy.) I'll use that software because kadafitcd mentioned "... I know from experience that those 3 will readjust the size of the partition to use the full hard drive rather than just making a new partition with the same size."

Willcomp got me curious, so I checked out the test data on Tom's Hardware.  I know manufacturers have a habit of overstating real-world capabilities of their stuff, and wanted to see how overblown the throughput theoretically is, compared to reality. It does appear that the drives fare much poorer in real-world tests than some idealized data stream. Interesting. Oh well, my tests using PATA/EIDE ATA100 drives confirm they can keep up with a data stream from live recording several audio tracks simultaneously, and they have less throughput than SATA 150 drives.

Ready to go when the hardware gets here...


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