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Want to move your Windows install to a new hard drive? Here’s how

Whether you intend to move your Windows install to a new hard drive, SSD, or a an entirely new rig all together, migrating your your files can be a bit tricky. But, if you follow our guide, you should have no trouble preserving and moving your files and settings to new hardware.

Related: Windows 10 is coming and here are five reasons you should upgrade

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Preparing your system

Before copying and moving anything, it’s important to make sure you clean out your files to make the transition as quick and smooth as possible. Delete any unnecessary files such as junk folders and old downloads, and furthermore, empty your recycling bin and defrag your hard drive if you’re using an HDD. Afterwards, you should back up files and folders you deem important, just in case any errors occur during the migration process. That way, you’ll have a secure copy of your files should something go wrong.

Windows Defragmenter

Although not completely necessary, it’s also a good idea to locate your Windows installation disk or USB key — if you have one — and keep it handy. While you probably won’t need it, there’s always a possibility the new drive won’t boot properly. If that’s the case, using your installation DVD or USB key to repair the boot partition on the drive may fix your problem. Plus, if all else fails, you can always opt for a clean install as a last resort.

Next Page: Cloning your hard drive

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