Tuesday, December 4, 2007

How to upgrade HDD without reinstalling Windows?

Have you run out of space on your hard disk drive? Your HDD is aging and you are afraid of it breaking soon and possibly loosing some data? Are you procrastinating to upgrade it because of time consuming installations?

I do upgrade my hard disk drives every 3 years or so, before they die unexpectedly or I run out of space. And this is not time consuming at all. Here is what I do.
  1. Buy new HDD. I usually buy some of the cheapest models available. If you buy every 3 years then you have a good chance that your new HDD will be twice as big as your current one.
  2. Download and burn Linux live-CD, e.g. Ubuntu
  3. Attach your new HDD to the computer. You may use USB HDD enclosure for notebooks to attach new HDD using USB port.
  4. Boot Linux live-CD.
  5. Start command line shell. Use menu "Applications/Accesories/Terminal" in Ubuntu.
  6. Make sure you see both disks:
    sudo fdisk -l
    It is likely that your old disk is available as "/dev/sda" and your new one is available as "/dev/sdb".
  7. Copy complete content of your old disk, to the new one.
    sudo cp /dev/sda /dev/sdb
  8. Resize partition and file system or create new partition.
    sudo parted /dev/sdb
Now you are ready to shut down the computer, remove old disk and install the new one. Start your system and enjoy your new and bigger (and likely faster) hard disk.

The last step? Erase data on your old HDD and sell it on eBay.

Forget time-consuming reinstalls.

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