Clone a PC effectively

jana
jana used Ask the Experts™
on
I have just purchased a new Dell computer with over 300gb hard disk and 2gb ram.  I have an old (2 year) HP (or Dell, the markings have been distorted by various moving).  The old Pc has 100gb of disk and 1gb of ram.

I would like to clone the old disk and place it ion the new Dell PC.

Whats the best way of doing this?  I would like to know if there is a free software also or whats software is best or lest troublesome.
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what do you mean clone?

you want your data to be present on the new computer?

or do you want an image file?

if you want the latter have a look at BartPE
that will help you create an iso..

you could use the vmware desktop and try to virualize it on your new computer..

or you could just copy the data using a network cable and a switch / hub

Commented:
the thing that normally causes problems with cloning machines is different hardware - if it clones the drivers from the old machine the new machine must have the same hardware or you are going to run into all kinds of problems, and that's even if the new machine boots at all.

can't you reinstall all the apps on the new machine and then do a windows easy transfer? it think that's the least troublesome way your going to get all your data over without buggering the drivers on the new machine
Hi,

If it is a PC, then why not remove the drive from the old one and hook it up inside the new one, then you have all your stuff on a second disk inside of your new pc.
Unless you want to have your new pc running with the operating system as it was on your old pc? if this is the case, don't do it! You will cause so many more problems and headaches than you need to, I would just move your stuff other using a network or a USB drive of some sort, if you can't put the drive into your new PC.

M@
Commented:
Download Disk copy from http://www.easeus.com/disk-copy/
Create the boot CD,
Attach both disks to the same computer. The new machine will probably support USB hard disks in the BIOS, so I would try that first if you can, but any way that works is fine.
Boot from the Disk Copy CD, and follow the step-by-step to clone the disk.
Seriously, don't try to clone the image of your old machine to the new one, it seems like a good idea, but is not worth it, start again and reinstall your apps, and copy your data across. You will thank yourself for doing it this way on the future
Commented:
Cloning a complete system to new hardware is a very delicate matter.
There are no free tools to assist you in it, but there is this one that is very cheap: Paragon Drive Copy Personal (http://www.paragon-software.com/home/dc-personal/).

If your operating system is XP, and you find that some of the new hardware is not working or detected, simply perform a XP Repair installation on the cloned drive in the new system: http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/helpandsupport/learnmore/tips/doug92.mspx

There is one thing to note, however: From XP on, Windows operating systems are licensed for one computer and its hardware setup solely. They are not meant to be transferred or cloned to a new system, MS expects you to buy a new copy. In order to make sure that these leagl restrictions are not violated, XP, Vista, and Windows 7 have integrated hardware check mechanisms; if they detect that more than three hardware components have changed since they were activated with MS, the activation may become invalid, and they may stop booting within a certain time period.

Author

Commented:
Ok... both new PC, new and old are XP-PRO.  Also, I need to clone because a software(s) within the old PC is a register software (and pretty old) and the problem I have is that the old PC is slow and having problems.  I can't just reinstall because some software needs re-registering and the programmer(s) is being difficult with issuing new registration key.

The purpose of the c;lone is just to use the current apps/data from the old PC in the new fast PC,

How can I do this with the least of problem and with EE insight on the matter

Thank you all

Commented:
what is the program you need the key from?

Commented:
Your new Dell will come with a preinstalled OS anyway, would it not? And this will be Windows 7.
I recommend you clone your old system into a virtual machine which you could then run as XP inside Windows 7.

The tool I recommended (Paragon Drive Copy) is specialized in converting systems to virtual machines. Windows 7 is specialized in hosting virtual machines for XP compatibility.

I think this way you will profit most a) from your old software, and b) from your new hardware and OS.
Commented:
I use Acronis True Image for cloning hard drives. You can get a free trial here.
http://www.acronis.com/homecomputing/products/trueimage/index.html
Before cloning, make a copy of the C:\Dell\Drivers directory.

Author

Commented:
The keys are from old programs; custom made by different programmers, its not a software house.

Setting up in virtual machine its not an option since the software(s) are directed to lpt/com ports.

I',m more prone to clone the software.

Author

Commented:
We'll begin testing the apps recommended here, but based on all your experiences, the software recommended, which will be less trouble for the cloning of a disk:

  -  BartPE
  -  Disk-copy
  -  Paragon
  -  Acronis

Really appreciate all you guys input.


Commented:
For simply cloning a drive, Disk Copy by Easeus is ideal.
But you don't want a simple clone (which would entail identical hardware), you want to adapt the clone to a completely new system. This is what Paragon and Acronis promise to do, Paragon being quite a bit cheaper, if I remember correctly.

Note: For reusing a clone on different hardware, Acronis True Image (as recommended) will most likely not suffice. You need a version of True Image with Acronis Universal Restore.
noxchoIT Product Manager
Top Expert 2009
Commented:
Have a look on this article: http://www.experts-exchange.com/Storage/Backup_Restore/A_2569-Migration-to-dissimilar-hardware-How-to-migrate-to-new-hardware-without-OS-reinstallation.html
This is effective solution which is price attractive also.
Get a copy of Paragon Drive Backup 10 Pro from here: www.drive-backup.com
You will get a tool to transfer old OS to new hardware plus backup solution for future. And OS migration tool does not cost any additional fees.

Author

Commented:
Finally... is there any free software regarding cloning?

Commented:
Did you have a problem getting the Acronis free trial?

Author

Commented:
i can download all, but they are trials with limitation.... is there anything free?

Commented:
The free trial might be limited but cloning a hard drive is not one of them.

Author

Commented:
ok... you mean I can can fully clone my old PC to my Dell new disk with the Acronis free trial?

Commented:
Yes you can.

Author

Commented:
ok will try

Commented:
Post back if the cloned drive doesn't boot.

Author

Commented:
ok thanx! ... will do!
noxchoIT Product Manager
Top Expert 2009

Commented:
"ok... you mean I can can fully clone my old PC to my Dell new disk with the Acronis free trial?" - you can clone it but you cannot boot from this drive on new PC cause you will have to purchase Universal Restore package.
With Drive Backup 10 trial you can clone the drive while in Windows and apply Adjust OS to it so to disable all HP drivers leaving only generic once and then boot the Dell PC from this drive.

Author

Commented:
So to be clear, after running "Acronis free trial" it will not boot the new drive unless purchase?

Also, Drive Backup 10 trial, I can clone and boot the drive?

(Kind'a confuse here... please advice)

Commented:
You cannot go wrong following the suggestion from noxcho. In fact the next time I clone a drive I am going to give it a try.
Just get the Drive Backup 10 trial and give it a shot. What have you got to lose?
noxchoIT Product Manager
Top Expert 2009
Commented:
Ramante, steps are:
1)Install Drive Backup 10 - connect the drive from old machine - run Drive Backup 10 - in Wizards - P2P Adjust OS. It will find both OSes on both HDDs.
2)Select the one from drive that comes from HP machine. Proceed with it and apply changes (install drivers from driver CD if you want but IMHO should work without them too).
3)Then exchange  the drives order in BIOS and try to boot from HP drive on Dell machine. Does it boot?
4)If it boots then you can clone the OS partition to bigger drive using the same trial version of Drive Backup 10 running it from HP drive.
sorry but I would go for virtual.. ltp and com ports can be mapped easily... I've done a bunch of legacy programs that we have to keep runable..

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