How to create an ISO of my hard drive

Posted on 2009-02-08
Last Modified: 2012-05-06
I need to upgrade my hard drive in my computer.  I want to make an image copy of my current hard drive and burn it to the new drive so I don't have to go through the process of reinstalling the OS and all the programs.  Can someone help me by suggesting the program I should use and instructions for doing it?
Question by:dyarosh
    LVL 6

    Expert Comment

    If you buy a brand new hard drive most manufacturers have utilities that will copy your old hard drive to your new one.  There are third party software out there lilke Drive SnapShot ( and many other linux type.  If your current hard drive is running fine with no bad sectors etc.  I would suggest for you to use the hard drive manufacturer utilites.  Even if you get an OEM drive you should be able to download the app from the manufacturer website.
    LVL 3

    Accepted Solution

    I use Acronis TrueImage for stuff like that.  Check it out at:
    LVL 39

    Expert Comment

    LVL 70

    Expert Comment

    You can easily do this with the free demo copy of Boot-It NG [

    Download the program;  run the MakeDisk utility to create a bootable floppy or CD; then do the following:

    (a)  Boot to Boot-It ... select CANCEL at the first prompt; then OK.

    (b)  Click on Partition Work;  note that your drives are listed on the left side (HD 0, HD 1, etc.) and the current partition structure of the selected drive is listed in the center.

    (c)  Select the "old" drive and highlight the partition containing the OS (may be your only partition).   Then click on Copy.   You'll now see a "Paste pending for Copy" message at the bottom of the window.

    (d)  Select the "new" drive and highlight the unallocated space where you want the partition copied to.   Then click on Paste.

    That's all there is to it -- just wait for the copy to finish (this can take a while, as there are likely many gigabytes of data to copy).

    Note:  If you'd prefer to create an image and then restore the image, the process is very similar -- instead of clicking on "Copy" you click on "Image" ... and you then choose a location to store the image and "Paste" the image.   Then to restore it, you click on "Image", select "Restore from file", choose the file; then "Paste" the image to the new partition.

    Boot-It's a bit "geeky" ... but it's a VERY reliable and solid partition management utility.

    Author Comment

    amaru21 - I installed the acronis and did a backup and chose sector by sector.  When I did the restore I also chose sector by sector.  Everything worked great until I noticed that my new drive which is 250GB said it was only a 70GB drive which is what my old drive was.  How can I make a copy of my old drive onto my new drive and keep the drive size of my new drive?
    LVL 70

    Assisted Solution

    Acronis should have a similar resizing option;  but I'll detail how to do what you need now in Boot-It:

    =>  Boot to Boot-It; selecting CANCEL at the first prompt; then OK.

    =>  Click on Partition Work.

    =>  Click on ReSize; then select the maximum size (the whole disk).    The operation be VERY quick (a few seconds).

    Done :-)
    LVL 8

    Expert Comment

    I'm not convinced that an ISO image will be what you want.

    If you have a new drive, I'd install Norton Ghost 12 on the current system, then hookup the new drive to a USB adapter (they have them for both PATA and SATA drives)

    I use this device

    I've updated numerous laptops this way, and a few desktops. The key is to run Ghost on the machine that is the source, and to put the files on a new drive that will be used in that same machine (same hardware except for the hard disk size).

    I've also ghosted a real computer, and then used Ghost to create a virtual computer in VMware, this is also sort of interesting since you can take an existing laptop system and create a virtual machine with all the laptop software and OS already installed.  This may require using the WIndows migration aid called "SYSPREP" which puts the machine in a state that allows copying the drive image around, and when it is run on the new machine, you can rerun the SYSPREP utility to lock down the machine on the new hardware. It will ask you for the Windows KEY (which you can determine easily with programs like Belarc advisor) and then it will go through the final stage of Windows install, looking up all the hardware etc.

    But to upgrade an existing machine, it's a snap with Ghost 12 and well worth the cost of the Ghost program.

    Hope this helps


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