Common hard disk drive (HDD) problems

How can I transfer the contents of my entire old SATA hard disk drive to the new one so that Windows 7 boots from the new drive?

Most hard disk drive manufacturers supply a free utility from their websites that can do that for you. There are other programs that can be used, such as cloning software to transfer the files. CloneZilla is free and does the job very effectively, but it is not the easiest of programs to use, so I’ll provide the instructions on how to use it to do what you want here.

Download CloneZilla from http://www.clonezilla.org/. Click the Stable (Debian-based) .iso/zip and then download the latest version of the .iso file. A blank recordable CD or DVD disc to which you can write the .iso file is required. If you have disc-burning software installed, it can be used to burn an ISO file to a disc if it provides an option to record an image file. Windows 7, which you have, supports .iso files, so right-click on the file, select Open with… and choose Windows Disc Image Burner and click the Burn button. If you have an older version of Windows that doesn’t support image-burning, the free CDBurnerXP from http://cdburnerxp.se/ does the job nicely.

With the PC switched off but connected to the mains with its switch also switched off so that the PC remains earthed, install the new hard disk drive, power on the PC and boot from the CD/DVD disc you burned. If you need to know how to install an IDE PATA hard disk drive as a master or slave drive, search YouTube for a video using the search query: install an IDE PATA hard disk drive.

When you run the program for the first time, choose English as the language. The default settings are all right for the keyboard, so select Don’t touch keymap. Choose Start CloneZilla on the next screen to run the program. On the next menu you have to choose how you want to use the software. You want to copy one hard drive to another, so choose the device-device; device-image option that makes a backup image of a hard drive. Choose Expert on the next screen.

To make a complete copy of a hard disk drive, select the disk_to_local_disk option. The other options copy a hard drive to a hard drive on another computer, or just copy one partition.

On the next screen, choose the source hard drive. Since nothing has been changed yet, this is the first hard drive in the computer, listed as sda or hda. You can check the displayed model number and listed size of the drive. Take care to choose the correct drive, because otherwise all of your data could be lost. The next screen shows the available source hard disks. If only two hard disks are installed, the new drive will be the only one shown. Make sure that you choose the correct drive if there are multiple hard disks installed and press Enter, then Enter again.

You should see a list of the Expert options you can choose from. If you want to use the entire volume of the new drive, choose Resize the file system to fit partition size of target partition. This expands the old drive to fit the new one. If this option is left blank, the old hard drive is copied to a partition of the same size on the new drive. In order to use any extra space, a new partition will have to be in created Windows. Chose Use the partition table from the source disk on the next menu to start the copying. Press Enter to continue. Press the Y key when prompted to confirm your choice and then just allow the software to do the rest.

When the process is over, if you still have the old drives installed as it was, the computer’s BIOS Setup Program has to be set to boot from your new hard drive instead of the old drive. There is a section in every PC’s BIOS that sets the boot order of devices.

You should be able to choose between the two drives which of them you want as the first boot device. When the new drive is working, it will boot to Windows 7, which has been cloned to it. The old hard drive can be use as additional data storage, or you remove it from the computer.