Want to switch my primary drives around/any way to image it change it>


Jul 19, 2010
I have a desktop system...the original drive was a 250 GB hard drive-that is where windows was loaded onto. I added a TB hard drive..I would like to make that the master drive and have the 250 GB installed just for kicks.

Is there any way I could image the important parts of the 250 GB hard drive and install it on the 2TB drive? I don't want to have to reinstall programs, etc. Not sure if this is possible, but I thought I would at least ask..


I suspect - please confirm - that your new 1TB unit is basically empty right now. Then what you want is simple. This is a classic situation of upgrading (the size of) your HDD to a large drive that you want to have completely take over the boot drive function. (By the way, the term is Boot Drive. "Master" is a term for a particular role on an IDE port, and does not automatically mean the Boot Drive in your system.)

A clone software utility can copy from your old drive to the new one absolutely EVERYTHING, ensuring all the key parts are placed in the correct locations and making the new drive bootable. When done, it is completely capable of becoming your new Boot Drive. After you've made the switch, your old HDD can be wiped clean and used for whatever you choose.

You can buy cloning software, and sometimes you can get freebie versions of those for limited use. However, some HDD makers will give you such software free as an inducement for you to buy their new larger drive. The limit this free software has is that it will make a clone copy TO only one of their drives - they don't care whose old smaller drive you have. For example, if you bought a Seagate 1TB unit, go to their website and download Disk Wizard and install it on your current C: drive. If your unit is from WD, then get their Acronis True Image WD Edition package. Both of these are customized version of Acronis True Image, a VERY good package that does a LOT more than cloning.

Make sure to get and READ the manual on the software. You'll find out all the other useful things you can do. But it will also make it easier for you to find your way through the menus of the cloning section so you can make some adjustments.

Of course, you must mount the new HDD in your machine alongside the old one, and run the cloning software. Make VERY SURE you designate the OLD HDD as the SOURCE, and the new one as the DESTINATION unit, because the Destination drive will have anything on it destroyed and replaced completely! In your case, it you already have Partitioned and Formatted the new unit but don't want to save anything on it, you'll need to tell the software to Delete any existing Partitions until it is completely empty.

One thing I have found odd in these packages. When you go to make the clone to the new HDD unit, the first step is to set up how to Create a new Partition on that drive and Format it. (NOTE that Partitioning etc. is done for you here - no need to do it separately ahead of time.) By default, often the software will offer to make the new (Destination) Partition the same size as the old (Source) one. But your job is moving to a LARGER HDD, and I bet you want the new Partition to be the full space of the larger unit. You do this by NOT accepting the defaults, and using the menus to make a change. Set the Destination drive's Partition size to what you want, up to the max available. It should be bootable (that is default), and it should install the NTFS File System (unless you know you really need to go with FAT32). You have two options for the Format operation - Quick or Full - and Full is often the default. Quick Format will create all the necessary file structures for you (takes about 15 minutes or less) before copying all the data from your old Source drive. Full Format will do the Quick steps, then exhaustively test every sector of the new HDD and mark off any bad ones so they are never used by Windows. This will take several HOURS, so let it run and do something else. THEN it will make the clone copy. Some people feel that Full Format long route is not necessary with a brand new HDD that should not have errors, but it can be a nice extra safety step if you can leave it for the time needed. Your choice which way you want it to be done.

When you have set up all the parameters, let it run the cloning process, and walk away. When it is finished, shut down and disconnect power. I recommend you disconnect the old HDD, and then take its data cable and plug that into the new HDD. That way your machine will still be booting from the same mobo port it always was using, and you won't have to adjust the Boot Priority Sequence in BIOS Setup. Close up, reconnect power and boot up. You should find the machine looks exactly as before, except that your C: drive is suddenly much bigger!

Leave the old drive unused and disconnected for now. It is a perfect backup of your system up to the moment of cloning. After you have used the upgraded system for a while and are completely satisfied, you can reconnect the old HDD with power and a data connection to another mobo port. Then you can Delete the old Partition on it to wipe it, then Create and Format a new Partition on it. These steps can be done in Windows' Disk Management, or using other features of the cloning software package. Assuming the old drive will be for data and not a boot drive, you can make the Partition you create NOT bootable. Some people leave such a drive in the computer as a second unit. Others move it outside to an external enclosure and use it for portability or as a backup unit. You get to choose.