Question Copying data from old HDD to new HDD; how to make sure Windows knows to remap everything?

KingKenny04

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I understand the title sounds weird, but you can only put so much description in a title.

I'm running Windows 10. With my current setup I have the OS installed on an SSD, with the user folders (Documents, Pictures, Saved Games, etc) relocated to a secondary HDD (my D:/ drive). Well the HDD is starting to die so I decided to get a new one and try to clone it. I've tried cloning the old HDD to the new HDD with clonezilla and EaseUS, neither method has worked. Clonezilla runs for about thirty seconds and then tells me it's done, but after checking it's clearly not cloned anything. EaseUS ran for about 14 hours and then suddenly decided it couldn't read a sector and just up and quit, with nothing being cloned over.

Anyways I gave up on cloning since I only need to save a few files from the D drive anyways. My concern is about how windows will treat the new drive. I've copied over the stuff I need in the exact same locations and structure as the current D drive (Users, AppData, Documents, etc). My hope is that I can just shut off the computer, uninstall the bad drive, reboot, change the name of the new drive to "D:/", and Windows will treat it like the old drive. Does it work like this? Do I need to do something different? I appreciate any help you can give.
 

KingKenny04

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Relocating the whole /Users/ is fraught with fail. Also AppData.

Giving up on the clone concept, this means you're doing a clean install?
There's nothing to clean install. The OS is installed on the SSD, which is fine. I have Documents and other users files on the D drive.

Is there a recommended way to do this without reinstalling the entire OS? I have a ton of programs, settings, files I'd rather not have to re-set up from scratch.
 

USAFRet

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OK...for a secondary drive, no clone or other weirdness is needed.
Assuming functionality, a simple copy/paste will work.

Given the exact configuration on the new drive is as it was on the old...it should probably work.
Windows and its Registry knows about the D drive. Why physical drive that may be doesn't matter.

Of course, you do this only with a known good backup of the whole system.

And relocating that /Users/ and AppData to some other drive serves no purpose except confusing the next OS update.
 

KingKenny04

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OK...for a secondary drive, no clone or other weirdness is needed.
Assuming functionality, a simple copy/paste will work.

Given the exact configuration on the new drive is as it was on the old...it should probably work.
Windows and its Registry knows about the D drive. Why physical drive that may be doesn't matter.

Of course, you do this only with a known good backup of the whole system.

And relocating that /Users/ and AppData to some other drive serves no purpose except confusing the next OS update.
Well, I'm not relocating the Users and AppData folders. They're on the old (bad) D drive and I'm moving them to the new (good) D drive. If the physical drive doesn't matter, then removing the old drive and renaming the new one to "D" should work, right?
 

KingKenny04

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Actually let me clarify some stuff since I might be leaving important stuff out.

The folders under Users (Documents, Pictures, Saved Games, etc) I "moved" initially off the C drive by right click->Properties->Location->Move... and then setting the D drive as the location. As for AppData, I think the reason the D drive has an AppData folder is I did have some programs installed on the D drive (which I'm not trying to save, I can just reinstall those).

Now, will Windows not care about which actual physical drive these are on, and just look for their location under D after I rename it to D?

Thank you for all the help so far!
 

USAFRet

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Well, that makes things a bit easier.
Yes, the OS should recognize things on a 'new' drive, as long as it is in the same folder structure and the same drive letter.
I say "should", because nothing is guaranteed when moving things around like this.
 

CRITICALThinker

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I have moved drives around in my system a few times, and even moved the boot section from one drive to another (windows installer was a tad dumb and I forgot to unplug the data drive)

generally the easiest way to clone drives over to another is to not have them being used by the computer they belong in (such as using another computer, or if you fell like getting to know linux and the command line basics, you can use a bootable linux install and zip the entire thing over using this tool https://www.howtogeek.com/howto/19141/clone-a-hard-drive-using-an-ubuntu-live-cd/

Cloned a 240gb boot drive install to a 960gb, and with the exception of me not resizing the partition (I'll do it when I need more space XD) it seems to be working fine.

I have also ran the macrium reflect backup on my 1tb data drive and swapped that out before, as well as reinstalled a fresh windows that links up with my data drive. Most programs have a file that you can send to the desktop as a shortcut that works the same way as it installed before, though you might lose some settings from the old install (some can be ported back over if you saved the files if I recall [its been a while])
 

KingKenny04

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Well, that makes things a bit easier.
Yes, the OS should recognize things on a 'new' drive, as long as it is in the same folder structure and the same drive letter.
I say "should", because nothing is guaranteed when moving things around like this.
Thanks for the help! It occurred to me that most of the stuff I want to save is stuff that either isn't tied to some specific program or is stuff backed up in a cloud somewhere (like steam saved games). I also noticed while copying some stuff over that a few of the files couldn't be found, probably because they were on the damaged parts of the drive. I'll probably end up running into problems and errors in the future because of these missing files.

I think I'm probably overcomplicating this. I think what I'll do is copy over the stuff I really really need to save to the new drive, then reinstall windows on the SSD and set everything up from scratch. This way I know for sure I've saved everything that needs to be saved, I know everything will work as it should, and I can reorganize everything since it's kind of a mess anyways.
 

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