Move Your Operating System to a New Hard Disk

Some years ago I wrote about how to create a Windows Rescue CD. Today I was stuck with a similar problem. I wanted to merge all data from one disk to another without needing to re-install my computer.

My first thought was to create a new rescue CD that I could restore to my new drive. But that didn’t seem like the easiest solution so I looked up a tool called Clonezilla. I started out by setting up similar partitions using GParted and boy am I glad I did? It turned out that you can use GParted to copy one partition to another. It took some minutes, I rebooted and it didn’t work.

I was a bit clueless until I remembered that you need to write a Master Boot Record (MBR) to the disk before it’s possible to boot from it. I booted up from an old DOS cd and wrote fdisk /mbr. Rebooted and still no luck so I fired up GParted again and saw that I had forgotten to set the bootable flag on the drive. I rebooted and everything went fine.

When knowing about MBR and the boot flag it’s a no-brainer and I can’t recommend it enough! At least if you aren’t on a mac where Carbon Copy Cloner is available!