How to move Windows 7 to a new internal hard drive

Moving Microsoft Windows from one hard drive to another can be very stressful. For example you may be afraid that you will make a mistake and lose all your data. I used to be in your shoes but I have figured out a simple to do this.

Below is a description of how to create a system image of your current Microsoft Windows 7 setup, move it to a new hard drive, and successfully restart Microsoft Windows again.  I was really impressed with how easily this worked out so I wanted to put the details up for others to use.

For this process you will need:

  • A functional Windows 7 OS
  • A Windows 7 install disk
  • An external hard drive (large enough to hold your data while you transfer to a new internal hard drive)
  • A working knowledge of the installation process of a new hard drive
  • A new internal hard drive equal to or larger than your current internal hard drive

Overview of the steps

  1. Create a system image using Windows backup (to external drive)
  2. Remove old hard drive and install new one
  3. Change bios on your computer to boot from CD
  4. Repair Windows using CD and system image from Step 1
  5. Expand volume of your disk drive to retrieve the new space

A Walkthrough of the Process

1. Backup your computer

Start – Control panel -System and Security -Back up and Restore

on the left side bar of the window click create a system image

Creating a system image

Select you location to create the system image

Creating a system image step 2 windows 7

Follow the steps to create the image.  This could take a while depending on the size of your current system.

2.  Remove your old hard drive and install your new one.  Take the outer shell of your computer off to find the hard drive, remove the existing hard drive, and replace it with your new hard drive.  Make sure to attach all cables that were removed in the process.

3. You may need to change your bios to boot from your CD drive if it is not already set up to do so.  How to do  this differs by machine but usually involves hitting the “f2″ key when the computer is initially starting and adjusting the boot sequence to include your CD drive.

4.  Put the Windows 7 disk in your CD drive and restart your computer.  Windows 7 will begin to load from the CD and will give you install options.   Go to the repair and recover option.

Follow the steps on here:

5. Once the system image has been restored you may find that Windows still thinks that the new hard drive is the same size as the old.  This is because Windows copied your system exactly.  If  your new hard drive is larger, follow the steps below To get access to the added space:

Click the Windows button (lower left corner) in the search bar at the bottom of the list type “partition”.  This will bring up a list of relevant options. Click “Create and Format Hard Disk Partitions”.  Go to the volume that is unallocated. It will be in the window with the OS partition.  Right click the OS block in that bar and select expand volume.  This will allow the rest of your new hard drive to be accessed.


I recently had crashes with my new hard drive.  I was able to find the solution (posted here).

Good luck

Now back to mechanical engineering and product design!

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