Can a preinstalled operating system be imaged to another HDD?

Daveh May 28, 2010

I have a pre-installed Packard Bell machine loaded with Windows Vista, and I would like to know if the drive can be imaged to another HDD and back again?

  1. Zagreus
    June 9, 2010 at 10:18 pm

    Update on the thread. I tried the clone. Does it work? Well, yes and no. The preinstalled machine showed two partitions, 12gb and a 137gb but didn't show as c: and D:. Using Macrium Reflect i got to a window that showed the two partitions, but wouldn't let me choose both to clone, only the 137gb. On the next window the same option, only it instructed me to press CTRL while selecting both partitions which i did.

    Anyway i done the clone and then imaged it back to another HDD, rebooted and the OS booted ok no problems, the drawback was that on a reboot i tried the F11 key, NOTHING!! the sytem booted as normal. I then tried to make a recovery DVD which it refused.

    So just to recap. A preinstallled system can be cloned but you dont get the options for a factory reset. I am going to give it another shot in a few days. Regards.


    • Tina
      June 10, 2010 at 6:52 pm

      Thanks a lot for the feedback!

  2. Dave Harris
    June 1, 2010 at 7:04 pm

    I have an old machine running XP. On this machine i have cloned the OS to an external drive and then copied the image back to the C: drive using Ghost numerous times.

    I just want to know if it will work with a preinstalled OS. Has anyone on the Make use of site done it. Regards.


    . Regards.


  3. Anonymous
    May 29, 2010 at 11:57 am

    Here's our article regarding Disk Cloning:

    • Dave Harris
      May 29, 2010 at 7:33 pm

      Thank you for your input genlemen, but i need to know if the imaging software will recognise the hidden partition. I can't try it at the moment because my old pc is IDE, and my preinstalled pc is SATA, and dont want the expence of buying a new HDD. Regards.


      • Aibek
        May 30, 2010 at 11:09 am


        I am not sure I understand the question. Do you want to clone your hard drive contents and OS to another drive and run it on another PC? If that's the case please keep in mind that it's not guaranteed that your OS will run as it should unless the hardware of the the second PC is identical to the first one.

        • Dave Harris
          May 31, 2010 at 6:07 pm

          Aibek Hello. i want to clone my preinstalled wndows Vista system to another drive and image it back again when and if i need to. Has this been done do you know? Can it be done? Regards.


        • Aibek
          June 1, 2010 at 9:40 am

          Oh, the way I see it you're basically looking for full OS backup on another drive. I have done this in the past using one Norton utility. As far as I remember the Norton one is not free BUT there are free alternatives (free disk clone tools) around on the web.

          Some things to keep in mind:

          - the tool that will be creating disk copy/clone has to be running outside Windows, probably before the Windows boots. Otherwise you might end up with lots of missing system files

          - when you settle on specific program for the task open up Google and see if someone experience any problems with the app when trying to backup/restore the entire logical partition/drive.

  4. Steve Campbell
    May 28, 2010 at 8:22 pm


    So long as you can copy the entire contents of the drive without losing any data, there is no reason for me to think that you couldn't accomplish that. Using an imaging program like Norton Ghost might do the trick for you.

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