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  1. #1
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    Questions about changing OS drives

    Hello all,

    I have a friend who has an older Dell desktop with a 160GB IDE hard drive and XP installed on it. He just bought a SATA RAID controller for the PCIe slot and has a 2TB WD Green on it now.
    Can we get a faster WD Black, or similar, HDD to image the OS onto so that we don't have to redo all the setting and configurations in his OS?
    I thought there would be several factors affecting this, correct me if any of this is wrong:

    1. I need an exact imaging software to make an exact copy of the OS drive so the computer won't see that it's changed except for size.

    2. The new HDD would have to be external while imaging the old OS drive so the computer wouldn't give it a drive designation (D:/) and making the computer not be able to boot from it and stay the same.

    3. Biggest problem foreseen:
    The old OS HDD is IDE and tethered to the CD/DVD. The new OS drive (WD Black) is SATA and would have to go through the SATA RAID controller. Will this be a problem when telling BIOS to boot from the SATA controller for OS instead of the IDE HDD?

    Any help would be great.

    Thanks
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  2. #2
    Glorious Leader I.M.O.G.'s Avatar
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    You'd need to strip the OS ahead of time to make it controller agnostic running on the default XP drivers for accessing the hard drive. The article here touches upon items you'd want to address to handle this point:
    http://arstechnica.com/hardware/news...ng-windows.ars

    You'd be using norton ghost or something similar to clone the OS drive to a second drive, and having the drive internal or external wouldn't make a difference.

    I forget exactly as its been a while and I always used an old version of ghost anyways, but you may need to expand the partition once you've cloned the OS drive to the second drive - I forget if it copies over the partitions exactly as they are or if it only copies over the data exactly as it is.

    You may need to alter boot.ini so that it knows where to launch windows from, or you may end up with ntldr not found errors or something similar after you try to boot from the new drive.

    Your best bet for the sake of simplicity is after you do all the magic, removing the original drive from the PC and attempting to boot from the new drive and seeing what happens. If it all goes pear shaped, just replace the original drive and change the boot order back to the original configuration, and you should be back where you started. It may take a little tweaking to make sure you have everything straight.

    As always, if any useful data could possibly be involved, ensure its backed up before you do anything.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member shadowdr's Avatar
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    I think that your best bet is to install the drive and partition with the existing OS, when asked to assign a drive letter, tell it not to. Go to WD's website and get their installation software, clone to your new disk and follow the instructions for installing a replacement drive. You might have to disconnect the power to the old drive after thge image so that it will boot the new OS. You don't need an extra drive to accomplish the image.

    WD's software will see the new drive but the OS will need the driver installed before the image is done. The software will install an exact copy of the OS and also make the new drive the bootable one.
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  4. #4
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    Ok, thanks for the input. One possibly vital thing I mixed up. The computer has Vista installed on the OS drive, not XP. Will that change the process at all?
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  5. #5
    Senior Member shadowdr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GMdoubleG View Post
    Ok, thanks for the input. One possibly vital thing I mixed up. The computer has Vista installed on the OS drive, not XP. Will that change the process at all?
    No, not at all. It does have a different set of boot files but it will not affect what you are going to do.
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  6. #6
    Glorious Leader I.M.O.G.'s Avatar
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    Except that the way his boot files specify his OS drive is going to be different once the drive is cloned and connected in a different way physically - right?
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  7. #7
    Senior Member shadowdr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I.M.O.G. View Post
    Except that the way his boot files specify his OS drive is going to be different once the drive is cloned and connected in a different way physically - right?
    The cloning software will take care of this for him. He might have to change boot device in bios, it just depends on what the options are in bios. I have seen "'add in raid cards" as a boot option on some Dell bios's but cannot be sure that this one has it. It may also have the option to chose the disk drive, listing both in boot devices. If this is the case one would not even need to unplug the power from the fisrt disk after the clone. It would be best to check out the options in bios previous to running the clone program.
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  8. #8
    Glorious Leader I.M.O.G.'s Avatar
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    Your probably right, but are you sure? The cloning software should keep boot.ini identical, but the way in which the kernel identifies drives is dependent upon how they are enumerated after BIOS. I'd think with the different physical connection, boot.ini may not correctly specify his OS driver as the new drive after cloning.

    You probably know better than me tho, I'm definitely not sure.
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  9. #9
    Senior Something Moto7451's Avatar
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    I often setup my friends computers with dual hard drives and cloning software. When switching between drives, I just have them do it through the BIOS. That way boot.ini doesn't matter because it's (as it should be) identical in either case.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member shadowdr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I.M.O.G. View Post
    Your probably right, but are you sure? The cloning software should keep boot.ini identical, but the way in which the kernel identifies drives is dependent upon how they are enumerated after BIOS. I'd think with the different physical connection, boot.ini may not correctly specify his OS driver as the new drive after cloning.

    You probably know better than me tho, I'm definitely not sure.
    Um, pretty sure. I beleive that the cloning software uses IBM DOS or similar Windows preinstall enviornment software that is capable of changing the device instance ID during the copy and writes a new ESCD. Am I positive that there will be no issues at all, no. That is why I suggested removing the power to the IDE after the copy before the first boot. I have changed the OS drive many times between IDE and raid using both IDE raid and sata raid. One thing that I am sure of is that Windows will want to boot no matter where the drive is located and it will look to all devices for the boot manager and ignore the actual location of the OS drive. The raid card drivers will have to be present before the copy so that the OS will be aware of it's presence but otherwise it should go without a hitch.
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