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Summary. When upgrading to a larger hard drive, it is possible to use the Complete PC Backup software included with some versions of Windows Vista to make the transition. An advantage of using the included utility is that SATA drives are more likely to be recognized than with older system image/backup programs.

Procedure. Follow these steps for proper backup and recovery.

  1. Create an administrative account in Windows Vista called Maintenance and use it to backup your entire computer (operating system and user files) using the Windows Vista Complete PC Backup software utility and an external USB hard drive of sufficient capacity that will be used regularly as the backup hard drive for your new installation. Then continue to step #2.
  2. Remove the current hard drive.
  3. Install the new hard drive.
  4. Start the computer with the Windows Vista CD/DVD installed and use it as the boot drive.
  5. Choose to repair your Windows installation and request to restore from the backup found on the external hard drive used in step #1 above.
  6. The operating system and user files will be restored and the computer will work just as it did before.
  7. Using an external drive case or drive docking system, the files on the old drive should be readily accessible in case something goes wrong.
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