PCstats has previously covered a handful of disk cloning software programs which are useful for the purpose of backing up your data by making an identical copy of your hard disk. Now we'll look at another essential use for disk cloning: Copying an existing WindowsXP installation to a new hard drive.
Why do you need to know this?
Well, ask yourself; are you planning to upgrade your computer's hard disk at some point? Are buying a new computer to replace your old one? If the answer to either of these questions is 'yes', then this guide is definitely for you.
If you upgrade your operating system hard disk, chances are the new one will be both faster and larger than your original disk. Since you can have multiple drives in your system, it makes sense to keep WindowsXP on the fastest drive, since its speed will make the most difference in that configuration. Trouble is, WindowsXP can't just be copied over from your old drive to the new one. There are essential files which will not be created on the new disk if you try this. So what to do?
You could reinstall WindowsXP on the new drive, but that means reinstalling all your software and redoing your personal configurations all over again. Programs that were installed on the old drive will not work on a new WindowsXP installation because the registry, where WindowsXP stores information necessary to run any installed programs, will be brand new and will not contain information they need to work.