How to replace your hard drive without losing data

Upgrade your laptop's storage in a few simple steps

Your laptop should boot into Windows as normal and everything will be exactly the same, except you will have a newer drive. If your drive is faulty, or has stopped working then cloning won't be possible. In this case, simply replace the drive with the new one. You will need to use your laptop's restore CD or Windows CD to reinstall your operating system. If the drive is not dead, you can put it in the caddy and attempt to copy your data on to your new drive.

If you are not going to use your old drive, you should ensure all your old data is removed before you dispose of it. Simply deleting the data is not good enough – you need to make sure data cannot be recovered. If you have used Acronis TrueImage to clone your drive, you can use the secure drive erase tool that is part of the application. However, you can also download a free program, FileShredder, which can be used to securely wipe files.

3 steps to clone your hard drive

Step 1: Caddy action

Make sure that your new hard drive has the same connection as your laptop. Then fit your new drive into the drive caddy (roughly £5 inc. VAT from eBay) and attach it to your laptop. Start DriveImage XML and choose the Drive to Drive option, which will then clone your old drive.

Step 2: Source drive

You'll need to be confident running software to make this process work. Choose the source drive, which is your existing laptop drive and click Next. The next step is to choose the Copy method from either Volume Locking and Volume Shadow. Leave it on Volume Locking, unless the copy fails.

Step 3: Final destination

The next stage is to copy all your data to the new laptop hard drive. You need to choose your destination drive, which is the drive you have fitted to the caddy and plugged into your laptop. The drive will be cloned, after which it can be removed and replaced with the new drive.

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First published in What Laptop, Issue 118

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