I’m moving in three weeks. My new home/office is less than a mile away, but I’m filled with mixed emotions. Moving is a parade of hassles, a source of seemingly endless stress, and an exercise in frustration. Oh sure, the result will be well worth it, but could someone please wake me up next month when it’s all over?

So I understand exactly how the TechRepublic member who inspired this week’s Microsoft Challenge feels. He’s ready to ditch his 6-GB IDE drive and move up to a screaming 18-GB SCSI drive. But he’s dreading the hassle of reinstalling Windows 2000 and all his software and customizations. What’s the best way to make the move? TechRepublic members had a wealth of ideas, including some extraordinarily creative ones.

Several respondents suggested (some with tongue firmly in cheek) the official Microsoft answer: Do a full backup, then install Windows 2000 on the new drive, and restore the backup. TechRepublic member balos pointed out the problem with that strategy: “Estimated time: from 4-8 hours, maybe even more. Note: Do not know whether it would work with IDE/SCSI swapping.” Thanks, but no thanks.

A few others tried to tap dance around the issue by recommending that he leave the old IDE drive in place and install the new drive as a secondary storage location for new data and programs. Nice try, but that merely postpones the issue for a year or two, and it leaves the older, slower IDE drive doing the heavy lifting every day. Next?

Several TechRepublic members offered an extremely clever solution: Add the new disk and set it up as a mirror set with the existing one; then remove the old disk and break the mirror set. Great answer, but only if the system is running Windows 2000 Server.

Two third-party disk-management utilities were mentioned more than any others: Symantec’s Norton Ghost and PowerQuest’s Drive Image Pro . Ontrack’s Disk Manager DiskGo! also got a few scattered votes. Some responses were downright dismissive one-liners: “Just use Ghost or Drive Image.” Unfortunately, it’s not that easy.

For starters, you have to choose the right version. Norton Ghost Personal Edition won’t work with Windows 2000. Nor will the regular edition of Drive Image. Norton fans need Ghost Standard Edition or Enterprise Edition; PowerQuest partisans should insist on Drive Image Pro. Both products do sector-by-sector copies and can transfer a disk image to a variety of locations. But there’s one more problem, as simonw pointed out:

“I would install the SCSI controller and drive in the system, boot NT as normal, and install the necessary SCSI controller drivers, etc. Then restart and use Ghost to copy the partition from the IDE to the SCSI drive. Reboot and, if necessary, modify the boot.ini (SCSI BIOS/No SCSI Bios) on the SCSI partition. Shut down machine, remove IDE device, and ensure BIOS set to boot to SCSI. Hopefully, all is well. This method is a carryover from NT 4.0, where the change in boot devices (SCSI-IDE) could cause problems due to no drivers being installed. Not being an expert on Win2000, I am guessing that this method would still work.” Close enough for me—and close enough to earn the weekly allotment of TechPoints.

I asked PowerQuest’s Paul Tew for his advice. He agreed that the switch from IDE to SCSI would inevitably cause some hassles, but that they’re easy to overcome with a bit of planning. His recommendation? Update your emergency repair disk first, and make sure you have the proper SCSI driver on hand. Use Drive Image Pro to copy the partition from the IDE to the SCSI drive. Reboot with the Windows 2000 CD or Setup disks and the emergency repair disk to install the SCSI driver, and edit the Boot.ini file if necessary. Yikes! Both Ghost and Drive Image Pro are wonderful products, but I guess the reader who inspired this challenge is just going to have to face facts: Moving from IDE to SCSI is filled with hassles.

Here’s Ed’s new Challenge
I’m sick and tired of the Windows Explorer, and I’m looking for replacements. If you’ve found one that works for you, tell your fellow TechRepublic members about it. I’ll award 250 TechPoints for every Explorer alternative I add to the list—but only if you can convince me that your recommended replacement has one killer feature that makes it worth the switch. Share your find with fellow TechRepublic members. Click here to tackle this week’s Microsoft Challenge.