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Starise

Cloning an HDD

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I know we have some very computer literate people here. This question would also apply to music computers.

I  have known you could clone a computer's HDD for some time but never actually had a need to do it. I think I even have the outboard HDD shuttle you drop the spare drive into to clone it.

The situation is I work for an interest that has an old Dell running winxp that controls a whole bunch of stuff related to their hardware. I think the HDD is beginning to go bad or we might have lost a cooling fan. If you reboot it's ok for a little while and then looses the points to the hardware yet again. I'm guessing it's probably 10 or more years old. We are being given a price of 15K to replace the server, mainly I'm told, because of the software that would need to be bought and re registered. The server itself is a basic Dell desktop . They took away the keyboard and mouse. It's password protected so even if I hook up to it I can't get into it.

What I'm thinking I could do is clone the HDD and replace it. Win10 is more finicky about hardware changes, but Winxp I'm thinking was not as difficult. 

Do you know if I could simply clone the drive and replace it?  The way I figure it, I have nothing to loose if it doesn't work.  Thanks.

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You should have little problem if you are cloning the drive and putting it back into the same computer. 

I have actually found Windows 10 to be less picky about hardware changes than XP as long as you don't change the way the hard drive is accessed in the BIOS, aka AHCI vs IDE/Legacy vs RAID).

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I did some animated gif's on using clonezilla a while back... the option names have changed slightly since then, but it's basically the same:

Backup:
clonezilla_backup.gif

Restore:
clonezilla_restore.gif

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12 hours ago, Doug Rintoul said:

You should have little problem if you are cloning the drive and putting it back into the same computer. 

I have actually found Windows 10 to be less picky about hardware changes than XP as long as you don't change the way the hard drive is accessed in the BIOS, aka AHCI vs IDE/Legacy vs RAID).

Thanks for your comments.

Interesting that you haven't had issues with Win 10. I have heard horror stories about hardware changes that require the software to be re authorized on the same computer. Mainly if a MOBO is changed. I wasn't sure if it also applied to an SSD/HDD. Hardware and builds have been so stable I haven't needed to attempt it until now.

11 hours ago, Bruno de Souza Lino said:

Yes. Use Clonezilla.

I'll look Cloneszilla up. Thank you.

3 hours ago, msmcleod said:

I did some animated gif's on using clonezilla a while back... the option names have changed slightly since then, but it's basically the same:

Great to know others have used it successfully. Those additional gifs really help to see the process better. Thanks @msmcleod I have a single HDD disk carriage with a usb connection. Do you think I could use that? My plan was to plug the old drive into it. Retrieve the image onto a functional computer. Then write the identical image to a new drive ( wiped clean) using the same hardware.

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7 minutes ago, Starise said:

Great to know others have used it successfully. Those additional gifs really help to see the process better. Thanks @msmcleod I have a single HDD disk carriage with a usb connection. Do you think I could use that? My plan was to plug the old drive into it. Retrieve the image onto a functional computer. Then write the identical image to a new drive ( wiped clean) using the same hardware.

Should be ok... I normally boot Clonezilla from a CD, but you can also boot from a USB stick.

If you're using the image method (as shown in the gifs), you'll need a spare disk to write the image to.  I use an internal 4TB HDD for my backups, and unplug the SATA/power cables to it when I'm not doing backups... but you could equally use an external USB disk.

Stating the obvious... but make sure you turn off the machine between backing up & replacing the new drive for the restore.

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10 hours ago, Starise said:

Thanks for your comments.

Interesting that you haven't had issues with Win 10. I have heard horror stories about hardware changes that require the software to be re authorized on the same computer. Mainly if a MOBO is changed. I wasn't sure if it also applied to an SSD/HDD. Hardware and builds have been so stable I haven't needed to attempt it until now.

I'll look Cloneszilla up. Thank you.

Great to know others have used it successfully. Those additional gifs really help to see the process better. Thanks @msmcleod I have a single HDD disk carriage with a usb connection. Do you think I could use that? My plan was to plug the old drive into it. Retrieve the image onto a functional computer. Then write the identical image to a new drive ( wiped clean) using the same hardware.

I was mostly referring to hardware drivers, not installed software. Having to re-authorize installed software is not a Windows 10 issue but a function of the copy protection used by the software. I just cloned 5 Windows 10 drives today ( smaller to larger drives) with absolutely no problem. The computers booted up fine with Windows 10 fully licensed.

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I’ve been using Paragon HDD utilities of various generations for many many years and have cloned drives numerous times without issues.

Not suggesting you must use Paragon software, just confirming that with good tools cloning a drive is not a dark art.

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Looks like this server might be RAID. There are two hard drives.

Would this change anything?

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