Need to migrate from one hard disk to another. Options ?

Here’s the scenario:

I have 2 laptops. A Sony Vaio and a Compaq. My dad uses one (Compaq) and I use the other (Sony). Now we need to switch. My dad needs the Sony, so I’ll take the Compaq. Ofcourse, each of us wants our data intact. Just as it is.


1. What are my options ? What disk image software should I get ?


I’d rather be able to create an image of individual logical partitions, rather than the entire physical hard disk.

The Sony has enough space to make an image of the entire disk. I’m not sure of the Compaq yet. I have a USB CD Writer. So an option to write the image directly to multiple spanned CDRs will be preferred.

2. What happens to system specific drivers etc. ?

I mean, I’m gonna be switching (logically speaking) the 2 hard disks, so now the Compaq’s gonna get all Sony specific hardware drivers loaded and similarly the Sony. What problems would this create ? I’m guessing I’m gonna have yellow question marks all over the device manager, and a reinstall from the original driver disks should fix this. But if you have any experience with this do let me know.

  1. Anything else I should be aware of ?

Additional Info: One’s running Windows XP and the other’s on Windows ME. Both have CD-ROM drives and USB ports. Backups of critical data to other logical drives on both systems shall be made before attempting any imaging/restoring procedures.

Now, how shall I proceed ?

Thanks for your inputs.

Install required software not on laptop 1 on laptop 2 and vice-versa.

Copy required data from laptop 1 to laptop 2 and vice versa.
(Surely you can rearrange all required data on a laptop in a directory).

There’s no need to “ghost” the drives. Depends on just how many files you have to transfer.


I could. But that would leave me to reinstall every application in Program Files and other places, re-optimize all settings/preferences, etc. I’m not looking to transfer just the data, I’m looking to transfer the entire system.

Perhaps. But then I’d have to make sure every hidden and system file is copied properly, all directory structures are intact, all attributes are preserved, and other such things. I’d rather use a software written for the express purpose of doing just this in a few straightforward steps.

Thanks for your response. But that brings me back to my question(s)…

Archive just all your data. Ghost will do fine.

Reintall the OS on both notebooks, then restore data from the archives. Just don’t forget to switch the data around.

What does “entire system” mean ?

There’s the operating system. The applications. And your data.

The other laptop already has an OS installed. It has some apps you need and doesn’t have the rest. So, install those. Your data is the only thing that has to be retrieved from your current laptop.

I’ve changed motherboards and other components at once and an existing installation often doesn’t work out.

Best to either clean install or keep existing OS and drivers. I suspect you’ll just end up wasting more time after you try transferring a ghost image.

WARNING: I am not a computer geek.

I have used IntelliMover by Detto Technologies to move data and settings and profiles from one computer to another, but it does not move programs or Operating Systems. If you have suffient space available on the Sony HD to copy over everything to the a partitioned drive on the Compaq, then copy the original Compaq settings and files back to the Sony, or vice versa. I don’t KNOW if that can be done, but maybe worth looking into.

I’ve only used it once (and it was a while ago), but I think Norton Ghost suits your needs. As for the hardware part, each Windows will most likely just find about 10 different pieces of new hardware (well, new to them, since they’ll be inhabiting different computers now) and ask for all the drivers. No sweat.

“I’m looking to transfer the entire system.”

You can’t do that. The system files are not the same &you may overwrite important system files. What operating system is this? Windows usually comes with a briefcase program that is used to coordinate the desktop with a laptop, but I haven’t used it.