Question: I have a computer with a 20GB drive and would like to install a 80GB drive that I have, as the 20GB drive has under 1GB remaining. Can I use imagining software to copy all Programs, files, and folders (including system files) from the old drive to this bigger drive, and make it be the startup drive? What would be the best software for me to use?
Answer: Yes, you can copy the contents of one hard drive to another, as long as the drive you're copying to is as large or larger than the old drive, and as long as you have the right software. You can even copy installed programs and the operating system over to the new drive, so you don't need to spend money on another Windows license or worry about re-installing programs.
Both hard drives will need to be connected to your motherboard using a standard IDE cable. Two hard drives can be connected with the same IDE cable - just make sure that the old drive (master) is connected to the first available connector slot, and the new drive (slave) is connected to the middle slot on the cable.
You'll need a software program to copy over the old hard drive's contents to the new hard drive, also known as "ghosting" or "disk imaging".
I'll discuss 2 disk imaging programs in this article - one that's both a ghosting program and a backup program, and another lighter-weight solution that only handles disk copying (and is more affordable too).
Norton Ghost is a well known and trusted program that will duplicate your old drive directly to another drive.
Norton's step-by-step wizards make it easy to copy the contents of your old drive to your new hard drive, even if you're not super technical or very good with computers.