Best software to copy complete contents of a hard drive to another computer?

I don’t need answers fast because I only ordered the computer today (thanks for your help here) and it’ll be a couple of weeks before it arrives. But I do want to be able to have what I need on hand when it gets here…

What I’d like to do is to copy my current computer’s hard drive, which is 320GB, onto the smaller, secondary drive in the new computer (which will be 500GB). I’d like for it to copy the OS, Vista, and all, ftr. When I’ve googled this people seem to get hung up on the likelyhood that you’ll have files you don’t need and will have to delete, rather than how nice it would be not to reinstall dozens of programs…uh, the new computer will acknowledge the copied programs, right?

So, what software is the best for doing this? Norton’s Ghost? PC Mover? Something else entirely? And do you have any recommendations for the data transfer cable too, assuming your pick doesn’t come with one? Some do.


Here is an article I found while searching.

The subject is of great interest to me, because I’m looking at doing exactly the same thing. So…let us know how it works for you, please!

Unlikely. You’ll most likely have to reinstall everything. And there’s no point in copying the OS.

The software you need comes with Windows. It’s called Windows Easy Transfer. Link both PCs together either with USB or network cable and let her rip.

There’s absolutely no point transferring the OS, and very little point transferring installed applications. You want to transfer your settings (your windows profile) and your application data. If you want a backup, take the HDD out of the old PC, put it in an antistatic bag and put it in a safe place.

If you’re somewhat technically inclined, you might try Clonezilla which is free and open source:

You don’t even need to be that technically inclined, anything simple like cloning a drive onto a bigger disk pretty much requires nothing more complex than “install hard drive drivers, print out tutorial, press buttons and watch it go.”

ETA: Though I guess you have to not be scared of terribad BIOS-looking interfaces.