failing hard drive

It appears that my hard drive is beginning to fail.  Whether or not that is the issue is not my question.  What I want to know is this:

If I copy the hard drive of my lap top onto another drive and then replace the old hard-drive with the new one, will it function as did the older one?  The "failing drive" works, just extremely slowly or hangs sometimes.

The lap top is running Windows 7.  I keep getting messages that my hard drive is about to fail.  I would like to avoid having to reinstall all the software I have, as well as an operating system.  Coping the hard drive seems like a feasible alternative.
tkobAsked:
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Darr247Connect With a Mentor Commented:
Clonezilla has its own Live version, too.
http://clonezilla.org/downloads.php

And there are various tutorials for different operations...
e.g. http://clonezilla.org/clonezilla-live-doc.php
you would likely want the third one there - Disk to disk clone - which tells how to clone to a larger hard drive than currently installed (will also work to the same size hard drive).
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NicolusConnect With a Mentor Commented:
You'll need to use a bit-level copy technique like that privded by Easeus Disk Copy

It's free and flawless

http://www.easeus.com/disk-copy/home-edition/
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frankhelkConnect With a Mentor Commented:
You don't have to do a bit-by-bit-copy, a "logical" image of your partitions would do.

There's a broad variety of software out there to achieve that.

Take a look at Drive Snapshot (read the doc's carefully). It can save your partitions while Windows is still running. Have not tried to restore to a blank HDD (needs a bootable disk, on the web site is a howto for creating one), but heard from others who did.

I've seen image save/restore functionality i.e. from O&O, Acronis, and many others, some of them free. The process is the same in any case: Save your HDD's partitions one by one to images ond an extarnal HHD, network drive or to DVD's, exchange HDD, restore images to new HDD.

If you put your HDD as secondary drive into the PC or onto an USB adapter (i.e. from LINDY), some programs (like Acronis) are able to just copy one drive to another. O&O and Acronis (as well as several others) com on bootable CD/DVD media, which is quite handy, and at least Acronis is able to save/restore to a network device.
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rindiConnect With a Mentor Commented:
It depends on the Laptop make and model. Many, like Dell and Acer etc use an adapted mbr so their system recovery works, and many imaging or cloning tools can't copy those properly, or then you need to not use the default options.

With CloneZilla which you can find on the PartedMagic LiveCD it should work:

http://partedmagic.com

What you must do before starting, is to make sure you made the recovery media for your PC so you can get it back into a factory state. This should normally be one of the first things you do after unpacking it for the first time, but most people don't and then forget about it. Check the manual of your PC for that (if you didn't make those DVD's or CD's).
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nobusConnect With a Mentor Commented:
i recommend the free Paragon B&R software : http://www.paragon-software.com/home/db-express/      

easy to use
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tkobAuthor Commented:
Hard drive was replaced and all data was saved, transferred onto the new drive.  You can't tell there was ever a problem!  All of the information I received was helpful.  The issue was resolved only in the past couple of days.  Thanks for your patience.
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nobusCommented:
it would be nice to know what software you used...
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