Transferring a Windows 7 installation from one drive to another

Hello there,

My Uncle bought a new HDD and wanted to migrate his Windows 7 Installation from its original HDD to the new one (Maxtor to Hitachi).

A tech friend of mine recommended CloneZilla, a freeware imaging program which would allow me to make an image of the HDD and transfer it to another drive. My only experience with imaging programs previously was with Symantec Ghost. Even then, I never made the images, only applied them via a server.

The version of CloneZilla I have is meant to work on singular machines and has the ability to make an image and write it to an HDD and then read an image and apply it to an HDD. OR you can do a device to device image transfer.

I tried the device to device transfer to transfer the OS, but was told, when booting the computer, that the HDD didn't have an OS to boot. When I tried doing a repair with the Windows 7 CD to see what was up, it couldn't locate an OS to repair.

I then tried making an HDD image backup to a Storage drive. However, after that finished, I loaded CloneZilla again and tried to use the image to apply it to the new drive and, when I clicked on the folder housing the image, was told there was no image to apply.

I'm curious if anyone has experience either with CloneZilla or some alternative so that I can go about solving this dilemma. Thanks.


Excellent Member
Microsoft Community Contributor
Windows 7 has a built-in image utility, which is what I use. Use the Backup and Restore utility in the All Programs-Maintenance section and make a system image to an external drive, or a spare drive internally.

Then boot to the Repair console using F8 or Booting to a Repair CD or Install DVD and restore the image to the new drive.

The restrictions are the size of the original partions will be maintained. You can change them after the reimage, but not to start.

Thanks for the replies!

@ Joe S: That's a very interesting read and I'll keep it handy (the faster times sound amazing). However, I don't think it will solve my issues as it does not suggest how one might end up using Clonezilla in a way that creates an image but can't read from it.

@ Saltgrass: I was told that might not work for HDD to HDD installs, but I will certainly give it a try, it would definitely make this much less of a headache, certainly. Thanks for the help, I'll let you know how it goes either way.

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