Changing Hard Drives to new, much faster 1TB

Microsoft Windows 7 home premium
January 18, 2010 at 09:56:31
Specs: Windows 7, Core2Quad/8GbRam
Got a new, much faster 1Tb HD that I would like to use as my primary HD and Win 7 boot drive. All of my OS/files/etc are on an old 360Gb. WHat is the simplest way of transfering all of the 360's info/OS/etc to make the 1Tb the primary drive and letting me format the old for a backup storage device?


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January 18, 2010 at 11:28:52
Easiest way is to use drive-cloning software which copies all the partitions (including the data within them) from your old drive to your new one in a single process.

There's one here:

There are others of course. Now you know what the process is called (drive cloning) you can put drive cloning software into Google Search. You may even find some free ones.

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January 18, 2010 at 12:08:43
If your new drive is a 'boxed' edition, it probably came with the software on CD to clone your original drive. If you purchased an OEM drive (plain box, drive only) then you can goto their website and download their software and their manual (usually as PDF) with detailed instructions for cloning and formatting.
After you install your new drive as a secondary one, clone your drive to the new one, remove the original one and install the new one just as the original one was and make sure it is recognized as your boot drive. ONLY after you are sure its working correctly, reinstall the original one and format it (windows can do that) and back up everything important onto it....Better yet, set up a weekly automatic back up.
Its very comforting to know that everything you keep on your computer that's important is duplicated on two distinct drives.

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January 18, 2010 at 12:19:04
How did you come to the conclusion that your new 1TB disk is "much faster" -- cache buffer, spindle speed or the interface?

I would suggest retaining your 360GB as the system disk & installing the 1TB as secondary. Possibly splitting it two or three ways for data storage & then moving your data files -- leaving the OS intact -- from the old disk to the partitions on the new disk.

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January 18, 2010 at 14:26:48
Thanks for the advice. The new drive is much faster including higher spin speed, larger cache not to mention the 360 is 4 yrs old. The new 1Tb drive was an OEM drive or bare drive, so ill head over to WD's website and get the cloning software. It is amazing how just not knowing the simple term makes it so hard to find the answer on your own. That you all for your help.


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January 18, 2010 at 14:51:42
Are both of the drives SATA type? If not then the cloned image may not boot. I am assuming the 1TB is SATA. Also, even if both drives are SATA the old drive may not be running as a SATA drive but in an IDE compatibility mode.

I recommend a clean install. You will be happier in the long run. If you have many files like MP3, JPG, etc. that are not linked directly to the OS you can simply copy them over if desired. Best to keep at least TWO copies of that kind of personal file.

I agree with Sabertooth. To give an analogy if you were driving 50 MPH and needed to cover 100 miles (360GB) it would take you 2 hours. Now drive 70MPH but you need to cover 277miles (1TB). It will take you almost 4 hours to get there.

IF you set up the new drive correctly it can be faster. Partition it using no more than 50GB for your OS partition. Install your programs on a second partition of the correct size depending on how much space you need for them plus 25%. Use the remainder as you see fit.

Now the time required when traveling at 70MPH to go 50 miles will be about 43 minutes. This analogy is for comparison only, the numbers may or may not be accurate. Too many unknowns at this point.

As far as the age of the 360GB drive is concerned all hard drives WILL fail and so you should treat your data knowing that. Backup/imaging is a must. Not on the same hard drive either. Not even in the same computer if you can help it. Removable media is good. Optical media is better, IMO.

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January 19, 2010 at 15:30:37
I still don't get any reason to partition a large drive. Seek time should still be the same. Bits is bits, it is all a number to go to. The partition will only serve you if you have a gagillion files or directories. Dunno. I do get the multiple drives. Drives fail more than partitions. Partitions can in fact go bad or unreadable or unmountable.

Putting in the old drive as a swap drive an junk drawer might not be a bad idea. As you say 4 years old and tick tock it might die any day.

Windows 7 should not be as bothered by the ide to sata but you may have to repair it or even add in the drivers before you clone. Most OEM software may have help files on that. It may even add in the drivers. Might have to boot to dvd and do repair. I still think MS should have that fixed by now.

Playing to the angels
Les Paul (1915-2009)

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January 19, 2010 at 19:28:24

If what you say were true about partition size then why do both Seagate and Western digital make their fastest drives in such relatively small capacities? Because smaller is better for the OS drive.

Besides that issue how do you back up a 1TB drive and where to? I don't know.

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January 20, 2010 at 13:04:31
What they make has to do with marketing. If the fastest drive was also the largest the price point would be huge. They basically give you the option of fast or big.

I still use ultra320 scsi 15000 rpm but they are only 36 gig.

I can't think of a real good reason to backup to the same drive. I always use a secondary device. I prefer it to be system neutral in case the whole enchilada goes up in smoke.

Playing to the angels
Les Paul (1915-2009)

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January 20, 2010 at 13:16:12

I didn't suggest the OP backup to the same drive. Reread the post. As far as partitioning goes, you are in the minority here among the regulars.

I will not go into the whole nine yards why multiple partitions are good, If you don't know by now I would be wasting my effort.

You didn't reply as to where someone might backup a 1TB hard drive that was one large partition.

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January 20, 2010 at 18:09:27
I'd gzip or 7zip it with max compression to another 1Tb usb drive. Might clone it. Shadow copy. Depends on the OS I have to work with. No OS and data will ever take up that much since I try not to get the drives full to begin with. Second is much can be compressed. I keep all backups in files that can be somehow viewed with a live cd if I can.

I think I paid less than $150 for 2 USB 1TB drives last year each.

For about that you can get a NAS in 1TB too. All system neutral. I have about 10 TB at home on a group. Not easy to backup.

Seems to me it is more of a superstition based on some old time reason. I am just saying shoe me a real test. I see people claim there is a logical reason but have yet to hear one for partitions. If all you are saying is defrag time if faster then at least show me some tests that say 4 250M partitions can be defragged faster than 1 1TB. Personally I can live with defrag in the background and never notice it. Who defrags a disk and waits?

To say that you can backup a single partition and somehow call that a time well spent event. I'd rather get all or load all over again. Half a system to me if useless.I'd still rather have the whole image stored and make backups as I go.

Playing to the angels
Les Paul (1915-2009)

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January 20, 2010 at 18:32:55
You don't buy a 1TB drive unless you intend to fill it.

Just yesterday I helped a person that had 2 external USB drives. One 500GB and one 1TB. The 500 was full and the 1TB was half full. No backups of either.

You don't have a clue of why you partition. I don't have time to explain it. You have seen some of my responses in the past on this topic.

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January 20, 2010 at 19:07:19
There are several advantages of implementing multiple partitioning on a disk vs. one single partitioning. On my end, multibooting will be a royal pain in the ass if I didn't have my disk split up into multiple volumes.

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January 21, 2010 at 13:00:38
I'll agree with the statement from

"Here it is> Partitioning is a personal thing. There is no "right" or "wrong" way to partition a hard drive. Whether you prefer to bust up your disk into multiple, smaller partitions, or leave it as a single, monster-sized partition, that's entirely up to you.

In either case, no one can claim that you did anything wrong. Because your strategy depends on what works best for you."

Playing to the angels
Les Paul (1915-2009)

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January 21, 2010 at 14:03:27
"I still don't get any reason to partition a large drive".

The above is your statement. Now you admit there could be reasons. That it is a personal choice.

I will say this concerning your challenge to show proof that smaller partitions speed up the drive.

The specs of the read/writes on any hard drive is the average, not the optimal.

Will you admit that the read/write times on the outer track of the disk are faster? If so, a typical 1TB drive will have two platters with 4 surfaces. Each surface will hold 250GB. So creating a 50GB partition for the first partition on the drive will use the outer 20% of the platter for that partition. The outer tracks are larger but still pass under the heads at the same speed. Link that with the fact the heads only need to move about a quarter of the distance to read/write that partition than if the entire platter was included in a larger partition.

Additionally, creating the swap file on a different partition than the OS partition can further speed up the OS if placed properly so a different set of read/write heads is used. Like near the back half of the disk.

That said, the real advantage of partitioning is that backup/imaging can be performed in less overall time and certainly less time to do just one partition.

Some data on a typical drive is easily replaced some is irreplaceable.

We typically image the OS partition to save us from having to no only install the original files but all the updates and then tweaking all the settings. This is a personal choice. The OS partition is the one most likely to change often. The OS itself has regular updates and IMO any other software that requires regular updating should also reside on the OS partition. AV software, malware cleaners, java, etc. These items change almost weekly.

So the files on the OS partition should be imaged more often than any other files.

Next, lets take the program partition. Most users have a group of programs that they use without much if any addition or subtraction to that group. So, once that partition is setup it isn't going to need imaging very often. As a bonus, if the need arises to restore the OS partition the programs on the program partition will still function without the need to also restore them, saving more time and storage space.

Now, address the personal files that folks are filling up these 1TB drive with. Movies, pictures, music, etc. These files are already compressed about as far as they can be so imaging the partition they are stored on is a waste of effort. Instead you can simply COPY those files to a backup location.

There is the major time saver because those files never change. There are just more added. I recommend that type of personal data be burned to DVDR. Do it once and be secure. Newer files that postdate your initial backup can be kept in a sub-folder so you know they are not yet backed up. Once they are backed up you simply move them out of the sub-folder into the main folders.

Using this method allows full backup of all files without the need to re-write every file on the drive every time.

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