Hard Drive Upgrade

Ahh, it is that time of year again, the snow is falling, the wind is blowing and my Dell Inspiron 6000 laptop's hard drive seems to be full. So after continually removing junk files, compressing stuff that I didn't need, and watching my system just get slower and slower, I decided to upgrade my drive from 80 MB to something larger.

The Drive
I checked out several drives but decided on a 160GB drive from Samsung to replace my existing Fujitsu drive. Some older posts suggest that this drive is too large for Windows XP, but if you read around a bit, any install with SP2 or greater will support this drive. Even if you have an older install disk, you can still install Windows XP on it, upgrade to SP2 and then use a repartition tool to resize the disk to 160GB. Before you start go ahead an get a USB hard drive enclosure. Do your self a favor and spend the extra $20 for a nice one. I chose a USB/Firewire combo drive from Macallay: The Macally Firewire/USB enclosure

To Clone or Not to Clone

I have had this drive for a couple of year, so it has a bunch of junk on it. Plus it has been attacked at least a couple of times by spyware. So I was thinking that I wanted to do a brand new install of Windows XP from scratch. Now the Del Inspiron 6000 that I had did not come with any system disks. It had a system disk builder that I used to create a cdrom with a full windows installation. So after removing the new 160 GB drive from the USB enclosure and swapping it for my old 80 BG drive in the laptop, I was ready to go. Now I start the installation process ... ho hum. This really takes a long time ... almost an hour! Yikes. But we aren't done yet, because now we have to load 68 updates. This takes another several hours of just waiting and then rebooting and download some more and rebooting. Okay, the OS is now installed, but wait, not everything I really wanted was there. Some of the old utilities that came bundled with the system are long gone. Hmm. Okay, no problem just go out to there web site and download them. So I download and downloaded. Install update, reboot. I think I'm about 5 hours into the process and the system looks okay. Now I have to install Office and a bunch of apps. Jeez this is taking forever. Now to restore the data (did I mention that I actually back up all of my data?). This takes another hour since the data is on a backup server. Hey, my backup software requires a key to make it work. Where the heck did I put that key. Oh, I think it is in an email on my backups. So I put the old 80 GB drive back in the sytem, boot it and retrieve some information that I needed, like keys. Okay, swap the drives around. Boot again. Now everything should be cool. Right? For some reason I couldn't restore Outlooks mail server settings. All of the email was there, but no settings. Where does Outlook store that? The hell with it I will just reenter the 10 mailboxes that I have set up. Damn, can't find the password for one of them. I guess I will do it later. Now that seems like it is happy. Hmm, maybe I want to watch a video over Netflix tonight, the video is all Technicolor on me.
Okay, at this point I am really rambling on. I've already wasted two days on this stupid project and the system still isn't the way I like it. I have restored systems from scratch before, but this time it is really a big pain in the ass.

Just Clone It
Now I am just tired of futzing with the damn thing. Next step is just to clone the damn thing and get back to work. So now I move the 80 GB drive back to the laptop, the 160 GB drive back to the enclosure and download a copy of XXCLONE. This slick little utility creates a bootable clone from from your system drive to a second drive. Just install the software, pick the USB drive as your target disk and let it fly.

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