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Chip LevinsonFlag for United States of America

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Seek Advice on Cloning Windows 7 Boot Drive Before Upgrade to Windows 10

I am (finally) getting ready to upgrade my primary desktop PC from Windows 7 Pro to Windows 10 Pro.  I built this PC way back in 2012 and the boot drive has accumulated a lot of legacy programs and files over the years.  I have put off upgrading due to concerns about losing applications in the process (that may not be so easy to install from scratch on W10).

My current boot drive (drive letter C) is a Samsung SSD 850 Pro 512GB drive. I want my new boot drive to be a Samsung SSD 860 EVO 1TB drive (installed as drive letter H).  My plan is to clean up the current boot drive (about 80% done with that), then clone it to the 1TB SSD drive.  Physically remove the current 512GB boot drive and lock it away as a backup in case the upgrade fails, then upgrade the cloned 1TB drive to Windows 10 Pro.

In a previous thread nobus referred me to the following site for the OS upgrade:
https://www.tenforums.com/tutorials/139745-upgrade-windows-10-windows-7-free.html  

A week ago I only had 40GB of free space on the boot drive.  I have since cleaned things up a bit and have 165GB of free space out of 512GB. I am going to now look at the applications that are installed and uninstall any that I would not use in the future (including legacy AV software like fprot, spybot search and destroy, adaware, etc.).

My PC has many open bays for HDDs. Both SSDs are installed in the desktop, along with several Western Digital HDDs. Once my current 512GB boot drive is ready for cloning, what is the best way for me to clone it to the 1TB SSD?  I seem to recall Samsung offering an app for doing this, but I purchased the 1TB drive a couple of years ago.  I also have an old version of Acronis (2011 I believe). I am looking for advice on the best (and preferably cost-effective tools) for cloning.

Finally, I would appreciate advice on actual steps to follow. My plan is to do the following;

Step 1) Reformat 1TB H drive to be sure nothing is on it (I have been using it as a temporary storage space for 2 years).
==> Should the new drive be NTFS or something else? I heard about ReFS but know nothing about it.  My desktop connects to a server running Windows Server 2012, if that matters. (Update: looked into ReFS a little and I think the inability to backup eliminates it as an option). Just want to confirm NTFS is the correct format.

Step 2) Clone the C drive to the H drive using the software that you recommend.  I imagine after I clone the drive I may need to go into disk manager and expand the cloned partition to the full 1TB capacity, correct.

Step 3) Shut down the PC, physically remove the C drive, then turn it on and go into Bios and tell it boot from H and not C.  See if my PC boots and works from the H drive. Use the C for a day or so to make sure the cloned H drive is working. Assuming the cloned drive is working, upgrade it to Windows 10 Pro.
==> I would like the cloned H drive to be labeled C drive moving forward.  Is the best way to do this to go into disk manager, change the drive letter to C, then reboot and go into bios and add back the C drive in the boot path?

Hope this is not too much info. Thank you for your advice!
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Andrew Leniart
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Andrew,

Thank you so much for all of your advice!  I am thinking about using Macrium Reflect for disk cloning.  I am also thinking about using it as my backup s/w solution.  My Acronis is very outdated (2011) and should be upgraded or replaced.  How familiar are you with their products?  I am wondering if I could the home version to backup a Synology NAS device? FYI I marked the question as solved but would appreciate it if you would follow the question or allow me to pm you in case I run into questions when I do the cloning.
Thank you so much for all of your advice!  I am thinking about using Macrium Reflect for disk cloning.

My pleasure Chip.

I'm familiar with both Acronis and Macrium solutions and am currently using Acronis True Image 2021 here, though am about to retire that solution and switch over to Macrium Home myself.

I initially settled on Acronis because I was also renting 4TB of space on their cloud storage servers to store my backups on. Unhappy with the upload speeds to Acronis servers (probably more a fault with crappy Australian Internet speeds than with Acronis servers) I'm devising a new way to back my systems up and store off-site on my pCloud drive space that I also now have a lifetime subscription to. My needs and business size have recently downscaled and I believe Macrium's solution will suit me better now, though I'll likely be purchasing a lifetime license to be able to take advantage of some advanced features you obviously won't need to achieve your goal.

I am also thinking about using it as my backup s/w solution.

A great idea IMO. If you don't mind having to initiate your incremental backups manually, then you won't even need to purchase a license to use it legally for that purpose.

My Acronis is very outdated (2011) and should be upgraded or replaced.  How familiar are you with their products?

Quite familiar with Acronis actually. I still have Acronis licenses dating back to v2008 (perhaps earlier) so have been using the product for a long time. Acronis is a solid solution that's served me well, but it does have the disadvantage of having to pay an upgrade fee or yearly subscription to stay up to date with new versions.

You would be unwise to rely on that old 2011 version now though, especially for continued backups. I'm not even sure that it would run under Windows 10 now without going off to look it up. Highly doubtful, though a rescue disk could potentially still achieve a successful cloning operation for you.

Macrium on the other hand I've mostly used to help people upgrade their machines as well as installed and configured it on a number of client machines as a permanent backup solution. Never had a complaint so far and have had to do a couple of restores over the years.

I am wondering if I could the home version to backup a Synology NAS device?

Absolutely. It will backup to any configured drive letter on Windows. That it's a NAS drive should present you with no problems at all. Note however that if you are wanting to schedule and automate your backups, you'll need to purchase a license for Home. Pricing available here: https://www.macrium.com/products/home 

Pretty reasonable given it's a one-time fee for a lifetime of updates. Else, you could just do daily or weekly (per your preferences) incremental backups by starting the free version manually each time you wanted to update your backup.

Hope that's helpful.

Regards, Andrew
Tom,

Looks like we crossed in our posting :) You added the following;

FYI I marked the question as solved but would appreciate it if you would follow the question or allow me to pm you in case I run into questions when I do the cloning.

Not a problem. If you have any further questions, just make another comment here and I'll get notified of it. Questions are no longer permanently "closed" at Experts Exchange and further comments and advice can also be marked as either helpful or as another solution at any time.

Good luck with your project.

Best, Andrew
Hi Andrew, I wanted to give you an update.  I think the cloning process was a success!  I first backed up a full image of my old SSD boot drive to an HDD using Macrium Reflect.  I then cloned the 512SSD to the 1TB SSD, and told Macrium to expand the image to fill the drive.  I shutdown the PC, removed the 512GB SSD from the case and locked it in a safe, physically moved the 1TB SSD so it is using the same power and data connectors as the original, and restarted.  So far the computer is working fine and it says I have 654GB of free space on my C drive.  I am cleaning up a few loose ends then will attempt the W10 upgrade (which I may start a new thread on that topic).  I do have a new topic about startup errors if you have a moment to look at it.
Hi Chip,

Thanks for the update. I'm glad to hear that Macrium worked out for you and it sounds like everything went to plan. I'll have a look at your other question later on in the day and will give any input if I have anything to add to other experts advice. Starting a new question on the upgrade itself is a good idea as it will serve to get some additional expert eyes on the process for you as well.

Further, you may like to take a quick look at the following article I wrote sometime back for Windows 7 for some tidy up tips. Published back in 2017 but still very relevant for Windows 7 today.


I published a similar article last month for Windows 10 that you might like to bookmark as well for after you upgrade to Windows 10:


Hope you find them helpful.

Best regards,

Andrew