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Windows 7 Pro - Replacing a 500 GB Primary HDD with a 3 TB Drive

Posted on 2013-10-22
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Last Modified: 2016-11-23
I have been having some issues with an HDD (see http://www.experts-exchange.com/OS/Microsoft_Operating_Systems/Windows/Q_28271675.html). I was going to have Dell replace it under warranty but I am now thinking of putting in a 3 TB primary drive instead...

What is the best way to clone my 500 GB primary drive onto a 3 TB replacement drive?

Thanks very much,

John
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Question by:243johnm
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by:oheil
oheil earned 400 total points
ID: 39590706
Use http://clonezilla.org/
After you cloned your old hard disk to the new hard disk, resize the new partition to any size you want, (e.g. to the 3TB). Than use the Windows Disk Management, right-click on the new system partition and select “Extend Volume” from the menu.

I did this a few weeks ago and had no problem.

Oli
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Expert Comment

by:garycase
ID: 39590768
Two potential issues here ...

(a)  Does your system have a UEFI BIOS?

(b)  Is your Windows 7 a 64-bit version?

BOTH must be true to boot from a GPT disk ... which a 3TB needs to be (MBR disks are limited to 2TB)

If (a) isn't true, you need to restrict yourself to a 2TB disk;  if (a) is true but (b) is false, you can either buy a 2TB disk, or re-install with the 64-bit version of Windows 7.

If both are true, then you can do as suggested above -- simply clone the disk to the new one; then use Windows Disk Management to resize the partition.
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by:243johnm
ID: 39601259
Thanks Oli & garycase.

64-bit Windows is loaded, garycase. I presume it is a UEFI BIOS: in the BIOS, under General > Boot Sequence > Boot List Option, there are two option:

Legacy
UEFI

Legacy is selected. I presume that I can leave it like that...

Thanks again,

John
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Expert Comment

by:garycase
ID: 39601899
No, to boot from a GPT disk the BIOS must be in UEFI mode.    Legacy essentially disables the UEFI functions and works like a traditional BIOS ... which does NOT support booting from a GPT disk.
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Author Comment

by:243johnm
ID: 39603764
Thanks garycase, I'll make that change.

Last question I think: if I mount the replacement HDD as a second drive, can I clone direct to it? Or do I need to create an image on a USB HDD, then load that image after swapping out the primary drive?

John
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Assisted Solution

by:garycase
garycase earned 1600 total points
ID: 39603856
You can mount the new disk in the system; format it as a GPT disk; and then copy the partition to the new disk.    HOWEVER ... you need to do this with an imaging utility that supports doing this between the disk types.

I know Macrium Reflect does this, but have not personally used it.   I also know my favorite imager (Image for DOS) does NOT support this.    I don't think Acronis does either (except perhaps in the Enterprise versions).    Clonezilla (suggested above) does NOT support this.

Depending on just how "loaded" your system is, you may find it simplest to just do a fresh reload onto the new disk :-)     If you decide to do that, I'd first install it in the current system;  initialize the disk as a GPT disk (Do NOT make it Dynamic);  and then remove the other disk; boot to the Windows 7 install DVD, and do the installation.   [Be sure the BIOS is in UEFI mode before you start the installation -- or before you do the copy with Macrium Reflect or whatever product you choose to try if you go that route].
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Expert Comment

by:Skyler Kincaid
ID: 39607680
I have always used:

http://www.partitionwizard.com/partition-wizard-bootable-cd.html

It has a copy disk feature that fits the partitions to the disk and works really well. I have always been able to use this program and even in some cases when other ones wouldn't work. It is a great program.

It has you select the source disk, the destination disk, a few other options, hit okay, hit apply and then remove the old drive and reboot.
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Accepted Solution

by:
garycase earned 1600 total points
ID: 39607706
Partition-Wizard does not appear to support conversion from an MBR partition to a GPT partition either.    There are VERY few options to do this.   [As I noted above, Macrium Reflect is the only product I've seen that supports this feature]

The simplest alternative is to just install from scratch if you have all of the appropriate installation media.
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Author Closing Comment

by:243johnm
ID: 39620346
garycase: I got Macrium Reflect and it looked as if would work. However, the HDD took a turn for the worse afterwards and now boots up with a temporary profile...
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Expert Comment

by:garycase
ID: 39620497
Sounds like the best approach may be to just do a clean install on the 3TB drive.
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