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Beginners Guides: Cloning WindowsXP

A common problem is how to clone your installed WindowsXP and move it to a new
hard drive on the same computer. Upgrading your OS hard drive can be a real pain, but
we'll walk you through an easy process to simplify your life, so you can get back to
work. - Version 1.0.0

Bookmark this PCstats guide for future reference.

PCstats has previously covered a handful of disk cloning software programs which are useful for the
purpose of backing up your data by making an identical copy of your hard disk. Now we'll look at
another essential use for disk cloning: Copying an existing WindowsXP installation to a new hard

Why do you need to know this?

Well, ask yourself; are you planning to upgrade your computer's hard disk at some point? Are
buying a new computer to replace your old one? If the answer to either of these questions is 'yes',
then this guide is definitely for you.

If you upgrade your operating system hard disk, chances are the new one will be both faster and
larger than your original disk. Since you can have multiple drives in your system, it makes sense to
keep WindowsXP on the fastest drive, since its speed will make the most difference in that
configuration. Trouble is, WindowsXP can't just be copied over from your old drive to the new one.
There are essential files which will not be created on the new disk if you try this. So what to do?

You could reinstall WindowsXP on the new drive, but that means reinstalling all your software and
redoing your personal configurations all over again. Programs that were installed on the old drive
will not work on a new WindowsXP installation because the registry, where WindowsXP stores
information necessary to run any installed programs, will be brand new and will not contain
information they need to work.

The solution to this problem is to clone your old hard disk. This method uses software to make an
exact bit-by-bit mirror image of everything on the old operating system hard drive so it can be
transferred to a new hard drive. Once this process is complete, you simply swap the new drive for
the old one and you have a newer, faster disk with exactly the same contents as before (and some
additional empty space if it was a larger disk).

While this method is incredibly useful for moving your WindowsXP installation around to different
disks on the same computer, it can also be used to move WindowsXP to a new computer with a
different configuration if you are upgrading the entire box from say a Intel Pentium III to a Pentium

If you have purchased a new computer, but would rather keep your existing Windows XP
installation and programs, disk cloning can help here also, in conjunction with a process called the
'repair installation.'

So, to recap: If you want to move your Windows XP installation to another operating system hard
drive, or to a computer which is replacing your old system without needing to reinstall the whole
thing, including all your software and settings, this article will tell you what you need to do.

How disk cloning works

Disk cloning uses a special software program such as Symantec's Norton Ghost to create an exact
copy of one hard disk on a second drive. This does not involve copying files as such. Rather, the
software creates an "image file" of the drive's contents which is then applied to a new hard drive,
or stored elsewhere.

Many disk cloning software packages allow for a disk image to be stored on another type of media
such as magnetic tape, DVD-R, CDR/RW, or kept in a central location to be cloned to many
computers via a network. Most disk cloning software packages operate outside WindowsXP using
bootable disks or CDs to start, as the operating system places limits on hard drive access which
make cloning drives directly difficult.

Disk Cloning Software

Symantec Norton Ghost

Symantec's Norton Utilities are likely familiar to most computer users, as versions of them have
been around as long as the IBM-style PC has been around. The Norton Ghost utility is a hard disk
cloning program that has seen many refinements over its history. It now sports a full Windows
interface, where older versions were DOS only, and includes many useful features such as the
ability to clone hard disks across IP and USB connections.

Aside from these handy tools, Ghost's major advantage over the freeware utilities we feature here
is one little feature that makes a big difference. When you copy a partition (like your C: drive) from
an old hard disk to a newer, bigger hard disk, Ghost automatically adds the extra space on the new
disk into the partition. This means you are saved from having to either create another partition to
use the extra space, or using a third party utility like partition magic to do the job. Very

We decided to use Norton Ghost for the 'commercial utility' portion of this tutorial as many users
will already have it available to them. Ghost is included in Symantec's popular 'Norton
Systemworks' software package.

There are several other excellent commercial disk cloning packages available, like Acronis Disk
Image for example.

What about Freeware disk cloning?

Are there freeware disk cloning packages out there? The answer is yes, with some qualifications.
Like data restoration, disk cloning is an application which business users will pay serious money
for, so free disk-cloning software is rare. That said, we have managed to locate a few applications
that will do the job and do it well, with a few limitations.


The first freeware cloning app we will look at is Miray's Hdclone . The free version of this
application is limited compared to the professional version that they offer, but it's still very useful
for the purposes of this article.

What Hdclone does is to create a bootable disk or CD which scans the drives on the system,
prompts the user for a source drive and a target drive, then copies the source data over the target
data. That's it. Fortunately that's all we need...

The one major limitation of the free version of this application is that it can only copy to a target
drive that is larger than the source drive. Not smaller, not the same size. This limits its value for
business backup operations, but that's not the point of this article. Helping you upgrade your hard
disk and keep your OS is the point of this article, so let's continue.

A second, lesser limitation is the fact that cloning your smaller hard disk to a larger one with
Hdclone will leave you with a partition on the new hard disk the exact size of your old hard drive,
with the rest of the drive left as unpartitioned space. This space can either be converted into a new
partition for storage or merged with the system partition using a program like Partition Magic.

Ranish partition manager

The second freeware program we look at is Ranish partition manager , which has been around for a
while and serves as a more functional alternative to the FDISK program included with Windows.
Considerably more functional, since it also includes disk cloning abilities. Like Hdclone, these are
more limited than Norton Ghost, in that they will not automatically resize your partitions to take
advantage of available space when you clone a drive to a bigger drive.

Some major hard disk manufacturing companies offer free software on their websites which can be
used to analyse, partition and clone that company's products. Examples of this include Maxtor's
Maxblast 3 software and Western Digital's Data Lifeguard . While we will not go into detail about
using these utilities in this guide, online manuals are available from the manufacturer's websites if
you would like to test them out yourself.

Cloning Procedure; Part 1 and Part 2

We've separated this PCstats Beginners Guide into two parts. The first part deals with the
necessary procedures that need to be carried out before and after the cloning process, depending
on whether you are moving to a new computer or just moving WindowsXP onto a newer drive on
the same computer.

Part 2. deals with the specifics of using Norton Ghost, Hdclone and Ranish Partition Manager to do
the actual cloning process. During the course of following the instructions in the first part, you will
be instructed to see the specific directions for the cloning program you are using, which are in the
second part of this section.

It is important to stay awake and alert while you are performing the disk cloning procedures we
detail below. Even though modern disk cloning programs are significantly more user friendly than
they used to be, it is still quite possible to accidentally erase your data while attempting to copy a

Generally, this occurs when the user chooses the wrong source and target drives, and accidentally
copies an image of the blank, new drive over the old drive containing his or her data. While you
still may be able to get your data back in this instance (see PCstats' Data Recovery Guide for help),
it's better to avoid mishaps altogether by paying attention throughout the procedure.

!! IMPORTANT NOTE !! Before you attempt to try any of the procedures outlined in this
informational guide, please backup your critical data. If you skip a step and something bad
happens during the procedure that results in a corrupted image of your drive, the data may not be
retrievable. So, please make sure you a backup all your data before you begin.

Part 1A: Installing a new drive for cloning

Before we begin cloing your operating system hard disk to another disk in the same computer, we'll
need install the new hard drive. If you have already done this, you can skip ahead to the next
section that covers the different cloning software programs.

To install a new hard drive in your computer, first turn off the power and open up your computer.
If you are using an IDE hard drive, we'll be installing the new hard disk as a secondary hard drive
in the PC.

Most motherboards will have at least two IDE connectors. Each of these can accept two hard disks
or CD drives using a single 80-pin IDE cable with two connectors. Examine your computer's current
configuration by taking the side panel off.
For reference, IDE ports look like this:

Examine the top of your hard-drive. There should be a chart depicting the necessary jumper
settings to make the drive a master or slave device. Otherwise, the chart will be somewhere on the
body of the drive.

If you are plugging the new hard drive into an IDE cable which has no other drives connected to it,
you need set the jumpers to the 'master' setting. If there is already a single CD drive or hard disk
connected to the IDE port you wish to use, set the 'slave' jumper setting on your drive. It's also a
good idea at this point to look at any devices already connected to the same cable and make sure
they are not also set to the same master or slave setting as the new drive.

The jumpers which need to be adjusted are on the back end of the drive as pictured below.
Ensure that they are set correctly to enable the drive as a master or slave drive as necessary.
Insert the drive into the drive-tray and screw it in securely on both sides. Attach the power cable to
the drive, and then the IDE cable. The IDE cable is keyed to only fit in one way, but to make sure,
the red or blue line on the cable should be facing toward the hard drive power cable.

Reboot the computer and press (del) at the POST screen to enter BIOS configuration. Depending
on your motherboard, either go to basic CMOS setup or auto-detect IDE devices if this option is
available. With either option, your new drive should be visible in the slot you installed it (i.e.
Primary master/slave, secondary master/slave) and should show the full available size of the drive.

Newer SATA (Serial ATA) drives will auto configure themselves once installed. If your motherboard
can accept these drives, your manual will say so. Once the new hard disk is successfully installed
as a slave drive on the primary channel, it's time to run the disk cloning software.

Part 1A: Before and after the Cloning

Depending on the software you choose, follow the instructions below to clone your old drive onto
your new one. Be sure you pick the old drive as the source and the new drive as the target! If you
are not sure which drive is which, STOP, do not guess. Turn the computer off and unplug the new
drive and then when you power up the computer go into the BIOS and make note of the old hard
drive's name. Turn the computer off, plug the new drive back in, and power up the machine back
into the BIOS. Make note of the new hard drive's name and then continue on.

We're going to jump ahead briefly and talk about what you need to do once the cloning operation is
done. These are important steps, and we want to make certain they are not overlooked; we'll get
into the cloning process in just a moment.

Once Finished Cloning, Don't Forget To...

Once the cloning operation is complete, power off your system again and replace the old drive with
the new one entirely. It's best to physically remove the original OS hard drive so you don't make
any mistakes here. Be sure to set the correct jumper setting on the drive for its new position. This
will generally mean you need to set the newly cloned hard drive to the 'master' setting.

Power on the system again, the newly cloned hard drive should be detected automatically during
the POST procedure. If it is not, you will need to go into the BIOS to detect it as we've mentioned

Assuming the hard drive is detected, your Windows XP installation should now boot as normal from
the newly cloned hard disk. Once you are sure that everything is functioning as it should, you can
install your old hard drive as a secondary drive in the system for data storage. Simply follow the
steps listed above for installing a second drive.

When you boot into Windows XP your old drive will be present and you can partition and format it
as you wish. *I recommend you double check that the cloning operation was fully successful before
you go about formatting the old drive however.

Note that it is possible (though unlikely) that Windows XP might require re-activation after this
procedure. Don't panic. Simply follow the on-screen steps to contact Microsoft by phone and obtain
a reactivation key. This is a fairly painless process.

Part 1B: Cloning for a new computer

Cloning your WindowsXP installation for a new PC is a slightly more complex procedure than simply
cloning Windows XP onto a new hard disk on the same computer, since the underlying hardware
also changes. This necessitates a 'repair install' of the operating system, in which the essential
system files are reinstalled while leaving the registry and all data and programs intact. Once these
procedures are complete, you will also need to reactivate your copy of Windows XP and probably
install drivers.

Note that depending on the make of the computer system you have purchased, opening the case
and copying over the hard drive may bring warranty issues, so check before you do so. Another
issue you might want to be aware of is that installing XP onto another computer, even if you no
longer intend to use the first computer, is a violation of the EULA (End User License Agreement) of
OEM copies of Windows XP.

This copyright limitation does not apply to retail box versions of Windows XP provided you do not
use it on more than one system. This issue becomes more of a technicality if you have purchased a
new copy of XP with your new system and simply wish to move your old WinXP install over for
simplicity. For more details on the assorted issues relating to this, see our copyright and legality
article here.

For this procedure first power off both computers and transfer the old drive into the new computer
as a secondary hard drive. To do this, remove the old operation system hard disk from your old
computer and install it in the new computer.

Once you have the old drive connected to the new computer, perform the disk cloning operation
using whichever software cloning program you choose from Part 2. of this guide (the specific
instructions on how to do this are listed in Part 2. by the way).

What to do when the cloning to the new PC is complete?

When the cloning operation is complete, remove the old drive and boot up the new computer with
the windows XP CD in the CD drive. You will need to ensure that the system is set to boot from the
CD drive first. If it is not, this can be easily changed in the BIOS.

Press any key when prompted to boot from the XP CD.

You now need to perform a "Windows XP repair install," which redetects all hardware and reinstalls
system files without touching the registry or user data present on the system. This process adapts
your Windows XP install to the new hardware it is running on.
To do this first choose the "press enter to set up Windows XP now" option when prompted. Then,
press F8 to skip through the EULA (though if you haven't read it before, you should now), and
when the option presents itself, pres "R" to begin the repair installation.

Be very careful not to in advertently set you computer to simply reinstall the new drive. If you do
this, the operating system will start from scratch, wiping out your data in the process. The
computer will go through the entire XP install process, but will not attempt to replace any of your
existing data. It will simply reinstall the system files and redetect all the hardware.

Once the Window XP repair install has completed, boot the system normally. You will be prompted
to activate your copy of Windows XP again. Follow the onscreen procedure to activate XP over the
phone. Now that you are back in your familiar WinXP environment, the final steps are to reinstall
any drivers that may be missing, and to redo any patches and service packs that you applied

Part 1B: Installing Drivers After Cloning

Windows should prompt you to install drivers for any devices it cannot currently use. If you have
the driver disks from the manufacturer, use them now. Otherwise, take note of the devices that
need drivers and install them separately.
Note that most hardware devices (like video cards and sound cards) tend to come with their own
driver install programs, in which case you should run them separately from the desktop to
complete the process.

To verify that you have installed all drivers correctly right click on the 'my computer' icon and
select 'properties' then the 'hardware' tab.

Next, choose the 'device manager'.

On this screen, there should be no devices with yellow exclamation marks attached if you have
installed all drivers successfully.

If there are exclamation marks, take note of the device(s) that need drivers and obtain them from
the manufacturer of your system (or the maker of the specific device) via the Internet. You will
also need to replace the patches and service packs that you applied previously to your Windows
installation, as the repair install removes these. To do this, simply run windows update from
'start\all programs' once you have your Internet connection set up.

Once you are fully up and running again, you can reinstall your old hard drive onto the new system
as a secondary drive if you wish. Simply follow the drive install procedures we've already outlined,
then format the drive from Windows to use it for extra storage.

Partitioning unused space on your new hard drive

Both freeware utilities featured in this article share one characteristic. They do not partition or
format the extra space made available when you clone your Windows installation to a larger drive.
You can't use the extra space until it is partitioned and formatted by WindowsXP, so it's only fair
that we tell you how to do that too. :-)

Once you have successfully cloned your drive right click 'My computer' and select 'manage' then
'disk management.'

Your new drive should be 'disk 0' in the bottom window. If you used HDClone or Ranish Partition
Manager to clone the drive, you should have an area of 'unallocated' space to the right of your 'C:'
drive area in the lower pane. Right click on this 'unallocated' space and select 'new partition.'

This will bring up the partition wizard. Click next a couple of times and you will be prompted for the
amount of disk space you wish to allocate to your new partition. Choose all of it (the default)
unless you wish to make several smaller partitions to organize your files. You will be asked for a
drive letter to assign the drive, and then given the option to format it (which makes it available to
Windows for use). Accept the defaults for both of these options, click 'finish' and wait for your new
partition to be formatted.

The whole of your new disk is now available for use. Alternately, you may wish to use a third party
utility like Partition Magic to append the extra space onto your 'c:' drive. While the procedure is
beyond the scope of this guide, sufficient instructions can be found within the programs

Part2: Using Norton Ghost

Software Specific Cloning Software Instructions

This is Part 2 of the Beginners Guide, where we cover in detail how to use Norton Ghost, HDclone,
or Ranish Partition manager to do the cloning procedure.

NOTE: This set of instructions assumes that you already have a second hard drive correctly
installed in your computer. For instructions on how to do this, see the section earlier in this guide
about installing a hard drive in the same computer, or a new computer, as appropriate.

Start Norton Ghost and select 'ghost advanced' from the menu on the side.

Choose the 'clone' option and click 'next.'

Select the source you wish to copy from in the left pane. Note that if your old drive contains only a
single partition (only the C: drive) it's best to choose that partition only, so highlight the 'c:'

If you have multiple partitions (c:, d:, etc.) then highlight the whole disk (disk1, disk2). Ensure
that you have selected the correct disk by examining the disk size and manufacturer information

Select the destination you will copy to from the right pane. Whole disks must be copied onto whole
disks, and partitions must be copied onto other partitions or unused space. Invalid options are
grayed out.

Once you are sure that you have selected the correct options, click 'next' until you arrive at the
Norton Ghost task summary window.

Verify your settings again, then click 'run now.' Your system will reboot and load up Ghost's DOS
environment and the cloning will be performed. This could take a while. Once the process is
complete, your system will reboot again and load Windows back up.

Verify that the operation was successful by going to 'my computer' and examining the contents of
both drives, or by starting the computer management window (right click 'my computer' and
choose 'manage') and going to 'disk management.'
Part2: Using HDClone

This set of instructions assumes that you already have a second hard drive correctly installed in
your computer. For instructions on how to do this, see the section earlier in this guide about
installing a hard drive in the same computer, or a new computer, as appropriate.

After downloading HDclone, extract the 'Hdclone20fe' compressed file to a directory.

To run Hdclone, you need to create either a bootable floppy disk or a bootable CD. A floppy is
probably the easiest option, so let's cover that first.

Run the 'install' executable from the directory you just created.

Insert a blank formatted 1.44 floppy disk into your drive and hit the 'start installation' button. This
will create a blank floppy with the required files.

To create a bootable CD, use a CD burning program such as Nero. Select 'CD-ROM (boot)' as the
type of disk you wish to create (note that this command will differ in other programs like Roxio, but
you are looking for the option to make a bootable CD). Use the 'hdclone.img' file from the Hdclone
directory to create the CD.

Boot your system from the floppy or CD you have created.

Select the drive you wish to use as the source, then the drive you wish to use as the target.

Please pay attention and make certain you select the right hard drive! If you don't you may erase
all of your information. If the target drive has data on it, you will be warned and required to enter
a key combination before cloning can start. Begin the process. This will take a considerable amount
of time, so find something else to do.

Once the process has completed, exit Hdclone.

Part2: Using Ranish Partition manager

This set of instructions assumes that you already have a second hard drive correctly installed in
your computer. For instructions on how to do this, see the section earlier in this guide about
installing a hard drive in the same computer, or a new computer, as appropriate.

After downloading Ranish Partition Manager, extract the 'part242' compressed file to a directory.
From the command prompt ('start\run and type 'cmd') navigate to the directory and type 'part242'.
You will be prompted for a 1.44MB floppy which will have the necessary files created on it. Reboot
your system with the floppy in the drive to launch Ranish partition manager.

By default, the master hard drive on your first IDE controller is selected. You can press 'F5' to
switch between the hard disks installed on your system. Once the screen shows the hard disk you
wish to copy from, press 'd' to copy that disk.

You will be prompted for the target disk. Make sure your choices are correct and then start the

Once you have finished, exit the program with the 'ESC' key and power off.

By now you should have been able to fully copy your existing install of Windows XP over to a new
drive or computer, utilizing the extra space without an excruciating re-install. Remember to check
back at Part 1A or Part 1B of this Beginners Guide for a reminder of what to do once the program
has finished the cloning process.