News, tips, advice, support for Windows, Office, PCs & more
Home icon Home icon Home icon Email icon RSS icon

We're community supported and proud of it!

  • Switching Hard Drives question

    Home » Forums » AskWoody support » PC hardware » Questions – Maintenance and backups » Switching Hard Drives question

    Author
    Topic
    #2395111

    Hello, I’m sorry if this isn’t the correct board but I have a question regarding Hard Drive transfer.

    To get straight to the point, my current hard drive on my labtop has been showing signs of dying and a friend recommended I use a dock to transfer or clone everything to a new one.

    My question is, would it work and would the cloned hard drive or SSD boot up as my current hard drive?

    Viewing 1 reply thread
    Author
    Replies
    • #2395148

      Many, if not all, new SSDs or NVMe “drives” have a single use license for a drive cloning software. You connect the new drive to the systems using a USB adapter or as a second drive. Install and run the cloning software. After it finishes the new drive can be installed as the new boot drive. The old one can be repurposed, or stored as a backup.

      • #2395200

        So, in other words, if I hook a up a USB dock with a brand new HD in it and use either its cloning software or other software (my friend recommended AOMEI), I’ll then be able to swap that cloned drive and boot it up as if it was my original drive without having to re activate windows, install new drivers etc?

        Sorry for bothering, I just have never done this before

        • #2395217

          I’ll then be able to swap that cloned drive and boot it up as if it was my original drive without having to re activate windows, install new drivers etc?

          Yes.

          • #2395225

            Do I have to worry about it being GPI or MBR? I hear that can cause problems when booting it up

    • #2395424

      Is there anything on the old machine you can’t copy across or reinstall on the new drive? You could simply be transferring the problem as well, as the symptoms are plausibly the result of damaged data, which you attribute to the failing drive but could equally be due to a sector scrambling crash as a result of too much dust choking the machine insides.

      As to Guid Partition Table or Master Boot Record, you need the former if you have a modern UEFI (united Extensible Firmware Interface) based machine if you want to secure it properly against intruders both physical and software, especially as it’s mobile.. If the machine holds little data  and lives in your house, assuming you lock the door you would have to contract some specific (old – https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/security/hddcryptor-ransomware-overwrites-your-mbr-using-open-source-tools/) malware  or be burgled for MBR to be any more of a problem than the newer UEFI.

      Suggest before you so anything much secure yourself two suitable USB keys or a key and an external drive, and back your stuff up. That is to say your downloads and your files and any settings you can export from browsers and other programs. A snapshot of the add / remove programs screen can also help you work out what you need to put back as that is where you will be if the clone attempt pushes the drive into failing completely (which it does, often). The USB key is to make the recovery media while you can. You need to copy the system files, or make the media using the OEM program if that situation applies.

      Check now if your machine is capable of reinstalling the software from on line servers – or if a BIOS update to enable that is available, prepare and stash that as well if you find it. Install it using a  Windows installation on the good drive should cloning go belly up. (which is why you still need the recovery media..)

      Then think about cloning. If the drive is truly bad you need software which can cope with that – read some reviews. That said as recommended the software the drives manufacturers supply is usually good for the job and if the drive problem is that bad the data is near to gone anyway so backing up that is more important than the OS you can hopefully get a friend to download from Microsoft if you are really stuck!.

      Also to consider is does the cloning software need to be installed, need activation, keys, a disk burned? You may need multiple steps to get it working. Consider installing on the new drive to complete these to ensure they work, and minimise the chances of failure when (having backed up the software, credentials, keys and whatever you need obviously) you level the new drive to attempt the clone. Then if you do mess up and clone the wrong way you still have all the tools to make good and you’re still better off than if the drive just stopped working completely when it went wrong..

      Perhaps this is somewhere to start: https://www.diskinternals.com/

       

       

       

      • #2395582

        I’m not savy in terms of software but I do know my way around hardware, every 1-2 years I would open up the labtop and throuhgly clean it so it’unlikely that dust has an hand in this.By signs of dying, I meant in the mechanical part of the drive (sorry for not specifying), everything is operational it’s just that it sometimes stutters and sometimes it “clicks” when booting up (that sound the motor makes when it’s starting to fail) and you can hear the different sound it makes when rotating compared to a healthy drive. Software wise everything is 100% functional.

        I’ve been recommended by several people I know that cloned drives in the past to update storage to use Macrium Reflect since it doesn’t trigger reactivation, and even if it did I still got my OEM key fortunately.

        Thank you for the links, and I’ll be sure to dig a bit deeper on the things you pointed out before doing anything.

    Viewing 1 reply thread
    Reply To: Switching Hard Drives question

    You can use BBCodes to format your content.
    Your account can't use Advanced BBCodes, they will be stripped before saving.