New System disk

6 replies [Last post]
Steve Allen
Joined: May 4 1999

I want to swap my 4.0 gig system hard disk for a bigger disk. Is it possible to copy all of the system files onto the new disk before I swap the disks ?
My system is a P2 Running 98

Any help would be appreciated


Steve Allen

Joined: Apr 1 1999

I think there is a product called Ghost that does just that used for lap top upgrades etc.

I have had mixed experience with all this. Let say you get a bigger hard drive, then set up a 4 gig system partition and then create an other partition for the rest of the drive, SOME of the packages when installed MIGHT have assigned a fixed drive letter (stupid install routine but it happens) in this case things get messed up, in addition your Cdrom drive number usually changes and this is were I've had more problems.
Can do it, but I'd suggest that if possible you reinstall.

Joined: Mar 7 1999

Yes, it is possible to do what you suggest, and there is no need to buy any software to do it.

You first fdisk the new drive. FDISK is a dos utility but it works in a DOS Window.

If you are not sure how to use it, I'll try to explain. Before doing so, I'd urge you, when running FDISK, to read VERY carefully any options that are presented to you - you don't want to do something unrepairable to your existing system disk!

The first thing Fdisk does on running is ask you if you want support for large drives - to which the answer is yes. Next, pick the last option in the list that is then provided - "change current disk drive" - which presents you with a list of the drives that are installed.

Enter the "Fixed disk number" that is NOT the one for you existing system disk.

Next, choose, the first item in the list, which is "Create DOS partition".

When this completes, you should exit fdisk and reboot the PC.

In Windows (explorer or My computer) right click on the new drive and choose Format. Pick the option for a Full format and also click the box to copy system files.

Go have a cup of tea or coffee.

When format has finished its work, the new drive should be ready for action.

Next, make sure the folder properties on the old drive are set up to allow you to see all files - system files, files that are registered by windows, the whole lot.

Copy everything - Except the Windows folder -from the old drive to the new.

Create a folder in the new drive's root directory called Windows.

Open up the Windows folder on the old drive and on the new - position them side by side on screen.

In the OLD Windows folder, click on the file calledWin386.swp - the Windows swapfile - (it's very near the bottom fo the list) which cannot be copied under Windows and is recreated by Windows as needed.

Go to the edit menu and chose Invert Selection, whereupon everything but will be active.

Drag these active files over to the new Windows folder.

Go make some tea or coffee.

When everything has been copied, Right click once on the blue area of highlighted files, in the OLD Windows folder and choose properties. A box opens, telling you how many files and folders were in the original Windows folder, and total size. Move this dialogue box to one side.

Next, click once in the title bar of the new Windows folder. All the files will be highlighted. Right click once on the blue area of the highlighed files, and choose properties.

Hopefully, the box that opens will list the same number of files and folders and the same total size - confirming that everything has been copied across.

Close the properties boxes, close the windows folders.

Next, copy to the root directory of the new drive the Windows folder from your Windows CD. This is called either Win95 or Win98 (depending on which you are running.

Make sure you have a Windows boot floppy disk. If you don't then make one now, using the option in the add/remove Programs icon in Control Panel. Remove the floppy when the creation process has finished.

Shut down the system, and set up the new drive as the master on the Primary IDE channel and that the other drive isn't trying to be that, too (ideally, disconnect the old drive totally, just for now).

Hopefully, when you now start up again, the new drive will boot up in place of the old one.

If it doesn't, then boot up from the floppy disk, run fdisk, and make sure that the primary partition is active. If it's not, set it to be active.

Remove the floppy, reboot, and see what happens.

If it still won't boot from the new drive, then reboot from the floppy again.

* Change to the C: drive by typing C: followed by a carriage return

* Change to the Win95 (or Win98) folder by typing CD\Win95 followed by a carriage return

Obviously, if the folder were called Win98, then that's what you'd type instead.

Type Setup followed by a carriage return

Within the hour, Windows will have installed over the top and you should have a fully working boot drive that is set up exactly as your old drive was.

Let us know how you get on!


Bob C - I'll post this to the FAQs forum in the next week or so, once its been here long enough for comments to arrive about improvements or changes to the above method.

[This message has been edited by bcrabtree (edited 08 October 1999).]

Joined: Aug 17 1999

The way I do it is a bit tricky but fail safe. I would install the drive in the system (ensure that you have configured your master/slave jumpers correctly. Boot up the system into win98 (the drive will be recognized but not accessible in windows) and from the start menu go to run and type fdisk. As BC said be very careful as to the options you use. Follow Bc's instruction but ensure that you create a primary DOS partition (at least four gigs) and an extended DOS partition (rest of drive). BTW if you make a mistake in fdisk you probably would not be able to correct it until you reboot to a DOS prompt and run fdisk from there. Exit fdisk and proceed to format the drive. You will see your two partitions as drive D and drive E.

After formatting, (your drive would be fully accessible with the first partition being D and the next E), install another version of the OS. With win98 this is a bit tricky since they seem to have remove the option of installing to a new directory, however if you have access to win95 OSR2 it should install with no problems (note, you may have to do it from the DOS prompt). Before you install however, save all your system files from the root directory in a folder, which you can call, boot files original (also copy the files onto a floppy). Make sure that you enable show all files in explorer as the most important files are usually hidden. These are msdos.sys, io.sys, logo.sys etc. After you have backed up your files, delete the said files from the root directory and then proceed to install win95.

When the installation reaches to the option of which directory you want to install to change the directory to E:\win95. Choose compact option to install the minimum files. After the installation is complete and the computer is booted, go into explorer and copy the contents of drive C to drive D except for the system files in the root directory. These files should be saved in a separate directory by themselves. Copy the original system files from the that you saved into the root directory of drive D. Do not just copy the folder but select each file and copy them. Now you drive D should look like your original drive. Shut down your computer, take out the old drive and put the new one in its place (again make sure that you have your master/slave jumpers right) and reboot and you should have your new drive working like your old one. If you choose to you can delete the new installation of win95 from what will now become drive D as you are not really using it.

BTW if computer refuses to boot after installing win95, just reboot from the floppy that you copied and you would be able to boot into your original setup. The same goes if your computer refuses to boot after you replace the old drive with the new, just put back in the old drive and boot from the floppy. Remember these are the files that tell the where the windows directory is. So in essence all that you are doing is to install another OS so that you can copy all your files from one drive to the other. The reason that you need Win95 OSR2 is for fat32 support. Hope this helps.

Joined: Oct 5 1999

I have used BC's method (originally read in CV issue May 99, although I note BC has added an additional safety option of copying over the Win95/98 folder ) and found it worked OK.
Only difference is that my Win386.swp file is found in the root directory (though there is a zero byte file with the same name in the Windows folder).
When you carry out the check on the size and number of files as explained by BC, I get 3 measurements: ??GB (???,???,???bytes), ???,???,???bytes. The 3rd one may be different, as it is the bytes used and includes slack space due to cluster sizes.
The other point to note is to set your Bios (often by pressing the Delete key on start-up). The simplest thing to do is modify the disk type in the Standard Cmos Setup option to Auto; this will adjust to whatever disk you have as your primary drive etc. Use Page Up/Down to adjust. BTW, this method is for Award Bios.

[This message has been edited by richardcas (edited 09 October 1999).]

Joined: Apr 1 1999

Yep, you can do it that way, but if you get it wrong or get confused....
I saw a program (ghost) that just allowed you to connect up the new drive, and it did it al for you. But then again I can't even remember the color codes for Cat 5. ;)

Steve Allen
Joined: May 4 1999

Thanks guys for all the help !
When I get my new disk I will try Bob's advice and let you know how it goes. This stuff always terrifies me as I had to buy a new system hard disk a year ago, due to the main disk failing, and I never got all of my programs working !

thanks again

Steve Allen