How can I clone my laptop’s internal hard drive?

Benjamin August 18, 2012
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So I have the new hard drive for my laptop (it doesn’t have an optical drive!)

But how do I get the contents of the old one onto the new one?

I have an external hard disc, and I figure the first step would be to create an iso image file of the old hdd, save it on the external disc – but then what?
1. I don’t know which software to use for creating that iso image *of the complete hdd, with all the partitions*.
2. Then, after inserting the new hdd, I’d need a tool that can both boot the computer, and mount the iso image to the new drive.

What do you recommend? I’ve tried the WD edition of Acronis in Windows, but it already messed up 2 steps, so I’d prefer to use Linux tools for this process, but which ones?

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  1. cypherinfo
    September 2, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    The best and easy way is to use this free application: Paragon Backup And Recovery:
    http://www.paragon-software.com/home/br-free/index.html
    It is able to manage different scenarios: migration (backup and recovery) from a smaller Hard Disk to a greater one; migration (backup and recovery) from a greater Hard Disk to a smaller one; migration from an Hard Disk to an SSD unit.
    Its wizard makes it easy the process for new bye too.

    Thank you.

  2. VictorGeis
    August 19, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    For people with a Mac, a great, old trusted tool for making a bootable copy of your Mac hard drive is an app called SuperDuper! . It's really simple and although there is a paid version for under $30, the free tool is all most people need.

  3. elhaj
    August 18, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    for windows you may like to check this
    http://xxclone.com/iwhatis.htm

    for Linux use dd to copy the first hard to the second one

    both methods "should" work. (they do most of the time) but they can fail so be cautious

    and one more thing, windows won't work if the hardware is changed (hard inserted in another PC)(since this is the same laptop again this "should" work)

  4. GrrGrrr
    August 18, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    Here is a an article from Tina/MUO:
    5 Ways To Clone & Copy Your Hard Drive
    http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/5-ways-to-clone-and-copy-your-hard-drive/

  5. Artur Wrona
    August 18, 2012 at 11:58 am

    As long new drive is bigger than old one (aren't they always?) you can clone old hard drive directly onto new one. You would have to put new drive into external caddy for the duration of the cloning.

    Use Unetbootin to make bootable usb stick of Linix distro of your choice. My personal preference is Ubuntu, but I think even Damn Small Linux would suffice.

    When you boot into live system, take note of hard drive designation in /dev branch of the file-system.

    Launch terminal and run following command:

    sudo dd if=/dev/sda of=/dev/usbdrive bs=1M

    Which will copy contents of old drive byte-by-byte. Surprisingly enough, you don't even have to worry about drive size difference as most of Linux partitioning tools will automatically discover discrepancy and allow you to fix it.

    Now you just need to swap drives and boot into your old system configuration.

  6. ha14
    August 18, 2012 at 8:44 am

    Clonezilla Live on USB flash drive or USB hard drive
    http://www.clonezilla.org/liveusb.php

    Install Clonezilla on USB
    http://www.pendrivelinux.com/install-clonezilla-on-usb/

    Clonezilla - Creating a Bootable USB Drive with a Image Included.
    http://pcartagena.typepad.com/blog/2010/07/clonezilla-creating-a-bootable-usb-drive-with-a-image-included.html

    SBS-0702091359: Clonezilla Backup One Partition HDD to External USB HDD
    http://community.spiceworks.com/how_to/show/531

  7. catherine
    August 18, 2012 at 8:06 am

    Check with your mfg 're proper size for new hard drive. You can then go on line and purchase cloning software and hard drive with phone assistance. Works like a charm as long as you purchase the correct size of hard drive. Listen to your mfg recommendations. Don't go larger.

  8. Bruce Epper
    August 18, 2012 at 1:19 am

    Grab a copy of Clonezilla and use Unetbootin (or a similar tool) to create a bootable USB drive. Boot up the laptop using the USB drive and clone your current hard drive to the external drive. Replace the old hard drive with the new one. Boot the laptop with the USB drive again and restore the image to the new drive.

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