You are here

Need advice about cloning laptop drive

For anything relating to music-making on Windows computers, with lots of FAQs. Moderated by Martin Walker.

Need advice about cloning laptop drive

Postby Kosmische » Wed Jun 26, 2019 6:02 pm

I have a Lenovo laptop which is now, I think, five or six years old. I keep meaning to clone the drive but am not really sure I know what to do. I'm a lawyer so I do use a PC a lot but am in no way a tech-whizz.

I have way too much music production on the machine, from a time when I had more money than sense, which is what I'm concerned about. I would almost literally cry if I had to re-install all my sample libraries etc and wonder if it's possible to copy absolutely everything on the laptop so if I replace the laptop, or there's any problem, it'd be a simple matter to just stick a disc/USB stick in the new or repaired laptop, and have everything copied over.

Is this possible?

One other question: I had a neighbour who works in IT and he sorted my laptop last year when it developed problems. He got a copy of Windows 7 and installed that and the machine worked perfectly after that. The problem is I keep getting messages saying my copy isn't genuine whereas my neighbour says he definitely paid for the copy. However, he's tried entering the required serial numbers to no avail. (I've no idea who he bought the copy from, but he didn't charge me for his work so guess he can't have paid top whack.)

Windows 7 is my favourite version of Windows but think I'm correct in saying it's no longer sold by Microsoft so how would I buy a new copy and where from? Or should I just pay for copy of the most basic version of Windows 10? I take it that's all I'd need?

I'm asking 'cos I don't want to lose anything by messing about with the operating system. IN fact, is this something I could do myself anyway - install a new version of Windows?, especially when it'd be on top of what seems to be a dodgy install.

Apologies for the length of this but want to make sure I've covered everything.

Thanks and hope some folks out there can offer easy to understand advice!

User avatar
Posts: 79
Joined: Mon Mar 25, 2013 1:00 am
Location: Glasgow, Scotland
[Insert a few incredibly witty lines here]

Re: Need advice about cloning laptop drive

Postby CS70 » Wed Jun 26, 2019 11:46 pm

It's a bit tricky, because a simple clone of a disk won't work with different hardware, at least not without a fair amount of tricks. There's plenty products that claim to be able to do just that tough, but I can't really say I have tried any of them. Technically is theoretically possible but keeping track of all the files which are part of the OS vs the one that aren't in order to make a selective image is.. somewhat hard. Very hard, given the frequent updates and variations of the OS - not to mention OEM files. But I hope someone with some actual experience of such products can come along to help.

Personally I backup the data, and reinstall the software I need when switching pc, but then it isn't too much. A little painful but ultimately more under your total control.
User avatar
Jedi Poster
Posts: 4764
Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2012 1:00 am
Location: Oslo, Norway
Silver Spoon - Check out our latest video and the FB page

Re: Need advice about cloning laptop drive

Postby Pete Kaine » Thu Jun 27, 2019 5:15 pm

Windows 7 is dead and hasn't been on sale for a few years now. You could possibly pick it up decommissioned (i.e. second hand) although this isn't technically legal outside of Germany... although that's a civil matter as it's in the T&C's.

I'm specific about Germany because it was challenged in court there and tossed out. If you wanted to do it right, you'd buy second hand from there.

Be warned, that as of Jan 14th 2020 it leaves extended cycle, which means at best no more security updates and at worst they might kill the authorization servers completely, which would block new installs from activating.

It's possible to still use a legit old Windows key to activate W10 (well, it was a few months back) in an upgrade situation, although I think only if you do a clean install as the inline method I think (unsure...) is dead.

Trust me, nobody wants to do a software reinstall but sometimes it's really for the best. Get rid of all the old clutter and start afresh. Any new machine will not have Windows 7 drivers out of the box (you might be able to track some down, however) but it's a whole lot of faffing about for an OS that is now legacy.

Basic W10 will do you fine.

One other thing you could try is Laplinks software. I haven't used this myself, but I've mentioned it to some clients here and they've reported good results, although not perfect. Worst was 80% of software, plugs and licences carried over fine, best was about 98% carried over with just a few plugs missing.

Again, I've not used this myself, so this isn't a personal recomendation. But, next time I upgrade and change OS myself (probably around next Jan....) I reckon I'll be taking a punt on it too. Hell, if it only gets 30% of my current install, then it's paid for itself I reckon.
User avatar
Pete Kaine
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 3116
Joined: Thu Jul 10, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Manchester
Kit to fuel your G.A.S -

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users