How to Copy Windows Vista to Another Hard Drive? | Steps Guidelines

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  • Post last modified:March 28, 2023
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To copy windows vista to another drive when your default hard drive has become much slower, you will require cloning software. Along with some other tools like a USB flash Drive and an external hard drive. On the internet, you will find hundreds of cloning software. Most of their functions are the same if they are free to use. 

You can choose any of them. We would recommend using the Macrium Reflect for this purpose. Because it is much easy to use. But do not forget to make a backup for your other files on other drives of your old hard drives. To know more about how to copy windows vista to another hard drive, keep digging further.

How to Copy Windows Vista to Another Hard Drive

Why Do I Copy Windows Vista to Another Hard Drive

Microsoft released Windows Vista in January 2007. And since then, it had managed to establish a huge following. Many of them refused to upgrade to Windows 7 when it first came out in 2009.

However, still there are a huge number of computers that has windows vista as their operating system. Although those devices along with most of their hardware are quite backdated and might not function smoothly enough. 

The reasons behind this slow performance are mainly –

  1. The weak processor
  2. Less RAM
  3. Hard drives with smaller storage.

Reasons Behind Why the Suitable Choice is Hard Drive Cloning

In most cases with your laptop, you are not allowed to or capable of upgrading the RAM or the processor. Even if you do, it would be way too much costly and might not be worth the expense.

And with your desktop PC, you might get the opportunity to upgrade the RAM. But then again, it will mostly depend on your motherboard. However, that particular advantage might get restricted, if your motherboard does not support the hardware that is available today.

Whatever the case is, the reasons for choosing a hard drive cloning are –

  1. The hard drive you have by default with your laptop or desktop can easily be replaced with the same type of hardware. Or in most cases, people prefer to upgrade the hard drive. Because the health of the hard drive decreases with time due to heavy workloads or even viruses and malware.
  2. With the hard drive of a more updated model, your day-to-day experience with your computer can be highly improved. The problem occurs when you are about to replace the old hard drive with a new one. Because then you will have to reinstall all the applications and programs. And if you do not have a backup, your previous data can be lost. Apart from that, people also worry about their legit operating system being lost due to the upgrade.

Will I Lose My Windows Vista License If I Change the Hard Drive

Now, when you upgrade your hardware, it mostly means that you are upgrading your hard drive, RAM, or even your processor. But this does not mean that you are changing your computer.

Only if you upgrade your motherboard due to some physical damage or some other reason, then your computer is getting changed. Because Microsoft OEM operating system software can not be transferred to your new motherboard. And thus you are going to lose your windows license.

To reactivate your license, you will have to get a new product key or digital license, in case you forget to save your old product key.

So if you change your hard drive, the windows vista license will still be there. You will not even have to reactivate your windows after the windows installation process. However, you are still going to lose all your installed applications and programs. 

And easiest way to save your programs when you change your hard drive is to copy or clone everything including windows from the old hard drive to the new one. 

How Do I Clone Windows Vista to Another Hard Drive

To clone the hard drive to a new one, you can use any type of external hard drive like the portable one. All you have to do is to check if the portable hard drive is big enough to store the essential files including windows and all the other applications that you want to clone. 

What we are going to do here is to copy everything from your C drive to your external hard drive. Then when you are done replacing your old default hard drive with a new one, these files will be copied to their new destination from the external hard drive.

However, for this particular task, you will need a couple of tools.

  • USB Flash Drive: A USB flash drive is essential for you to reinstall Windows Vista. So before you start to clone, you will have to save the bootable media on your USB flash drive.
  • External hard drive: This is where all of your programs, and settings regarding your applications including the windows files will be stored.
  • Cloning Software: To copy or clone everything, you will need cloning software. There are hundreds of free tools available for personal use. But for commercial purposes, you will have to subscribe to their premium version. You can try using the Macrium Reflect cloning software for your personal use.

To clone windows vista to another hard drive, follow the simple steps mentioned down below:

Step 1: Install the Cloning Software

First of all install Macrium Reflect cloning software or any other software you prefer. From Macrium reflect software, go to create rescue media. After some confirmation, you will be asked to download some files from Microsoft. Allow it to do so. 

Step 2: Copy the Rescue Files to the USB Flash Drive

When the download is done, you will be asked to select the destination of the Rescue file. Make sure the USB flash drive is connected to your laptop or desktop computer and click on ‘finish’. This should copy the windows vista recovery files to your USB drive.

Step 3: Choose the Source from the Default Hard Drive

First of all, choose the source location on your windows vista PC from the software to clone. Mostly, the C drive contains your windows and other program files.

Step 4: Choose the Destination Drive

For the destination drive, choose your external drive on Macrium Reflect. And clone that particular drive. It would take a little while to copy your Windows Vista to another hard drive. Once it is done, it will be ready to be used on any other computer.

Step 5: Shut down the Computer

At this point shut down your computer and if you want to replace your old hard disk drive, make sure you unplug the power and all the other peripherals including the external hard drive and the USB flash drive.

Step 6: Reinstall the Windows

Now that a new hard drive is inserted, the windows will be uninstalled. So when you will boot up the PC, it will ask for a boot disk. Connect your USB flash drive and reinstall the windows. Besides, make sure that the external hard drive is also connected. 

And through that, you will be able to copy all your previous applications and settings to your newly installed hard drive.


Often we prefer to stick to our old hard drive and suffer for its slow performance. Because reinstalling windows and all of the old software feels quite dull. But now that you know how to copy windows vista to another hard drive, it would be easier for you to replace your old default hard drive with a new faster one.

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