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Upgrading Hard Drives

by uzzo2 / September 28, 2010 2:01 AM PDT

Hello all, I am new to the forum and have limited computer technical experience. I have an old Dell Dimension 2400 with XP that has a WD 40GB model# WD-XL80SD-2 that has run out of space now matter how hard I try and keep it clean. I called Tigerdirect this morning and ordered a Hitachi 500GB hard drive model# OF10381, here's my dilemma. I really want to just do away the old hard drive and use the new one but it seems as if there's not a real good way to copy the entire hard drive including the OS. I have been told that you can use a program such as norton ghost to do it. I do though have a Windows 7 disc, I am going to use a SATA host PCI card to connect the new HD. I am just wondering if I should back everything up from the old HD except for the OS. And then unplug the old HD and just do a fresh install with the Windows 7 disc. Thanks in advance for any advice.

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PCI Card
by uzzo2 / September 28, 2010 2:07 AM PDT
In reply to: Upgrading Hard Drives
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My Experience
by UberEmpress / November 30, 2010 1:56 AM PST
In reply to: Upgrading Hard Drives

I think you can just unplug the old HDD, install the SATA HDD, load an OS onto it, and move files (not programs) from the old to the new. Not that it's as easy as it sounds!

WHATEVER YOU DO, spend the necessary HOURS reading all the instructions for each and every necessary step in this whole process!!! DO NOT start to work until you understand EVERYTHING that needs to happen and in what exact order. Otherwise this could become a weeklong project!

First, download Everest Home Edition( save it to the Desktop, then run it. It will tell you everything that's on the computer, like the motherboard, busses, all the geeky stuff. Save the report. Print out the whole thing for easy reference while you're checking into how you should proceed.

Also produce a list of all the software/programs, with their versions (find in Add/Remove Programs), that you want to use on the new Windows 7 HDD.

Next, go to the Windows 7 Compatibility Guide ( I think there's a way on that site for Microsoft to probe the computer and tell you whether it will do OK with W7. You can then check the Everest report info and the software/programs list against their recommendations and decide whether to install W7 on this old computer, or to stick with XP.

Check out this tutorial in case you decide to keep the XP OS and want a clean install onto the new HDD:

I know nothing about the ramifications of using the SATA host PCI card, but I would read everything you can find about it before installing it. There are usually some unintended consequences to things that seem straightforward to start with.

As an intermediate computer tinkerer, I've successfully used xxclone (, a freeware program, to make an exact copy of one ATA/IDE HDD to another, including my XP Home SP3 OS. Make sure you fully understand how to use xxclone - their instructions are very good, but hard for newbies like I was.

This site's a great resource, too:

Best of luck!

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Thanks Uber!
by uzzo2 / November 30, 2010 4:34 AM PST
In reply to: My Experience

I actually figured this thing out several weeks ago, I figured out how to use clonezilla. It made an exact copy of my old HD to the new one, the only problem was when I looked at the properties of the new one, it was showing that it was the same size as my old one,40 GB. The way I fixed that was I took my live CD from a machine I built a couple of years ago and installed Linux on it. I ran that live CD for Linux/Ubuntu and used the Gpartition utility to reformat the HD. I now have 433GB left from a 500GB Hitachi HD that I installed on this old windows XP machine, it seems to be working great so far.

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