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10Jun/090

How To: Migrate an Existing Windows System to Another Hard Drive Using Acronis TrueImage

Hi!

Because of a new hard drive I bought a week ago I decided to transfer my existing system, running on a 250 GB hard drive, to my new 1 TB one. I was lucky enough to at least have made some experiences with migrating an existing system to a Virtual Machine in conjunction with Acronis TrueImage Home 2009 before, so that's what came in handy for me.

What you need

  • Backup software like Acronis TrueImage Home 2009
  • BartPE with Acronis TrueImage Plug-In / bootable version of your backup software
  • Windows installation disc (preferably the same Windows version as your current system)
  • New system hard drive which is either empty or ready to be re-formatted (backup your important data on it!)

Procedure

  1. Start Acronis TrueImage Home 2009 and make a backup of your system partition.
  2. Save the backup to a partition / hard drive that you will have access to later on while using the bootable backup restorer. This means: No (TrueCrypt-)encrypted partition. Ideally it would fit on a disc or USB stick (which my didn't with a size of 7 GB). Just make sure you will be able to access it later on. I know BartPE is able to access all hard drives (without encryption at least) and should give you access to a USB drive as well, as long as you have it connected while it's booting up. If you don't want to move it over to a USB drive or DVD or anything else, there is also a nice little trick at the end of this howto: (*).
  3. Shut down your computer and make sure your new system drive is connected as the first device to avoid improper device numbering. This means using the first connector for SATA/IDE or whatever. If you are using both SATA and IDE, I don't know how that's handled. I'm just assuming you somehow have figured it out πŸ™‚
  4. Boot from your Windows installation disc.
  5. If you haven't done it previously under Windows, partition the new system drive properly. That means to have the partitions created in the correct order. If you haven't (or aren't sure any more), delete them and do it over again just to make it right. Maybe the order is not necessary, but I had a lot of trouble with that before, so I'm just playing safe.
  6. Install Windows as usual to the point when you've started up your brand new Windows installation for the first time and are watching the Start Menu in awe.
  7. Boot from your bootable backup software (or BartPE with the plugin) and fire it up.
  8. Restore the image. Don't select MBR / Track 0, however, because we just created a proper MBR (Master Boot Record) by installing Windows.
  9. That's it! You should be done. Now a reboot should provide you with your old system on a new hard drive. Congratulations πŸ™‚

I don't guarantee anything, and I admit to having tried several methods for half a day till I got it right πŸ™‚ This should work fine though, because it basically is what I did the time when it finally worked.

If you have partitions with programs on it that would be started on bootup, make sure you copy it (file by file) before you start your system on the new hard drive.

While you could do that by connecting your old system drive and booting from that, then copying the files over, you could also do it beforehand by using the Windows Disk Management tool to erase all partitions and partition it properly before the Windows installation. This allows you to format the specific partitions and copy the files over to it while you're still on your old system. (*) Also, you can add the backup image onto that partition, so you don't have to burn a DVD or move the image over to a USB stick or ... (you get the point). However, if you create and format the partitions on your old system, make sure to

  • (naturally) not touch them during the Windows installation progress or your data on them will be inaccessible
  • rename your partitions properly after booting up your new system because your old Windows already assigned them (probably different) drive letters. You can do that in the Windows Disk Management tool as well.

I hope I didn't forget anything. If I did, I'll be sure to add it later on πŸ™‚

Thanks for reading and good luck!

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