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Copying Windows 2000/XP To A New Drive

If you are upgrading your system to a new drive, it can be beneficial to use the new drive as the primary system drive rather than a secondary drive. If you simply install the new drive as a second drive, such as D:, it can be difficult to migrate your programs and data files to the new drive and thus the space squeeze still exists on the original drive.

Note, in the following C: is the original drive, F: is the new drive, and \WINDOWS is the Windows directory (system root).

  1. Install the new hard disk as an additional drive in the system. (If you need to disconnect any other devices to accomodate it, that's fine, because this setup is not permanent.)

  2. Log in as an Administrator.

  3. Lauch Computer Management by right-clicking My Computer and choosing Manage.

  4. Click on Disk Management.

    If you are prompted whether to add a signature to the drive, choose No.

    If you add a signature to the drive, when you boot the new drive it will assign the current drive letter to the drive (eg. F:) despite the fact it is the primary master and should be booted as C:. When you boot the system you may be unable to log in and you will receive a message: Your system has no paging file, or the paging file is too small. Even if you can log in, all your programs will not work because the drive will be referenced as F: yet all registry entries will reference C:.

  5. Format the drive to NTFS using the default sector size. Set the partition as Active.

  6. Open a command prompt and replicate the directory structure on the new drive with the command:

    XCOPY C:\ F:\ /S /T /C /H /X

    (The purpose of this step is to ensure all the directory entries are located at the top of the disk which is more efficient.)

  7. Copy the files with the command:

    XCOPY C:\ F:\ /S /C /H /X

    Some files will not be copied, such as some files in the current user profile and system registry hives.

  8. Run NTBACKUP using Start, Run.

  9. Click Emergency Repair Disk.

  10. Select Also backup the registry to the repair directory.

  11. Click OK.

    The registry will be backed up. The system will show an error: The operation failed. The drive is not ready, or the diskette is not inserted properly. This simply refers to the absence of the floppy disk in A: and can be ignored.

  12. Click OK. Close the Backup application.

  13. Open a command prompt and type:


  14. Log in as an Administrator, but under a different account than currently. Create an account for this purpose if necessary.

  15. Open a command prompt and type:


    where “<USER>” is the path of the original user's profile. This will copy the remaining files that could not be copied from the original copy operation.

  16. Shut the system down.

  17. Reconnect the drives so the new drive is the primary master.

  18. Boot the system.


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