How do I create an exact replica of a hard drive?

By kingbabi ·
Let me start off with a bit of background info: I owe a friend a favor, and since I'm the "tech guy" favors tend to lean in that direction. In any case, her two twin sons are going off to college and as a graduation present she wanted to buy them two Dell desktops (I'm not sure of the exact model but I know that they do not have RAID Arrays and that they both have SATA 320 GB drives). She asked me if I would kindly install their games, programs, and etc onto the two new computers, as well as getting them set up to their liking. Seeing as both would be identical, I wanted to know what measures I would need to take to simply preform the needed operations on one of the computers and copy everything onto the other. How would I go about this?
By the same principle, my friend is going to take over her sons' old computer (I know it is a difference model from the new ones and that it has a RAID 0 Array). I thought it would also be easier to copy all the data from the previous computer on to the new ones. If this is at all possible, how would I do it (keep in mind I would like to keep all the installed programs intact, if it's just documents and whatnot then its pointless)?
I believe both computers share the same operating system (XP Home), but I'm not sure. If they do not (for example, XP Home and Media Center), would this be an issue?
Thank you in advance for the help!

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In your case...

by dawgit In reply to How do I create an exact ...

It won't work the way you would like. (due the licencing of the two operating systems to those two seperate computers) Yes, it can be done, but in your situation you will have problems. Also, as you said two different people. It's better in that case to help them both set-up their respective computers as they will want / need. It will save you time and headaches in the future. And that alone will be a big enough favor for your friend. good luck (and remember to have fun too.) -d

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What you are wanting to do is

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to How do I create an exact ...

Load 1 computer and then clone the HDD over to use on the second computer right?

This is called Hard Loading of a HDD and is Illegal. I today have received an Infringement Alert from M$ where they have taken action against a company for doing this exact thing. M$ are hitting them with the full weight of the LAW which they are well within their rights to do and besides naming the company involved they also name the Individuals involved as well. M$ will be looking at an Out of Court Settlement of somewhere around the 100K + mark + Legals. More if these fools go to court and try to fight this.

The only time that this is Legal to do is when Volume License Product is involved as it all has the same Product Key attached to it and isn't a problem to M$.

As far as importing their Data to the New Computers use the File & Setting Transfer Wizard that comes with XP. This will allow you to import their Data and Settings without much of a problem.


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by kingbabi In reply to What you are wanting to d ...

Why would M$ do that? I'm not copying software I don't own, whats more, I will technically own three copies of Windows XP, so if I want to copy one and not use the other two, then whats the problem? Oh well, it must be one of those crazy laws like not being able to rip DVD's.
File and Settings transfer wizard-thanks! I forgot about that!

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Well M$ seem to think that if you have 3 copies

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Crazy

You should have 3 different Product Keys or you are Pirating their software. That's exactly what they do here to vendors who Hard Load Drives and sell a copy of the software.

While I can see M$ point of view sought of anyway it's their basic Business Principal Every One's Out To Steal From Us! So they use the heavy hand of the Law to clamp down upon this prates and stop it happening. Just before M$ introduced the mandatory need to confirm that your copy of Windows was in fact genuine they did a little test here. Apparently you could prove that you had a Genuine Copy of Windows or just download the software that was provided. As the proving took about 5 minutes per item quite a lot of people didn't bother confirming that they had genuine product so M$ is now saying that 30% of all Windows Installs in AU are Pirate when what they really mean is that 30% of the people like me couldn't be bothered wasting their time & effort to confirm that the M$ Product was genuine and just downloaded the software. So M$ see piracy as a big problem which must be stopped at every opportunity and having numerous systems with the same product Key is just one of the forms of Piracy that needs to be addressed.


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Replica of hard drive?

by Gabriella In reply to How do I create an exact ...

It seems if they are both Dell PC's, programs already are installed.. if games or other things to install it should not be a problem from PC to PC. I have SATA also, and never had any problems making copies from CD-RW etc.. to copy on an other PC of mine.
.. this is not a problem about copyrights... this person does not explain exactly the installation needed for her sons PC's. More questions are needed. I did not know DELL have PC's with nothing in it. I have 2 and always had stuff in it when I bought them.
Hope this help.

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You didn't try running it through the Xerox machine? :^0

by ManiacMan In reply to How do I create an exact ...

All kidding aside, your best option would be to use DriveCopy from Powerquest, which I believe now is owned by Symantec or some other 3rd party disk imaging solution such as Ghost. You can't really copy a hard drive with a live OS on it while the OS is running. This is usually and offline process that required 3rd party software.

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