What’s the best way to clone an old smaller drive to a directory of a new larger one? I want to use this not as a backup but just for reference and will trash it after a while. It could be just one large file as produced with disk cloning software but then I need the possibility to mount it from within Windows XP to eventually access files individually when needed.

I’ve tried this with Microsoft RichCopy 4.0.217 (the successor of RoboCopy), but this sometimes crashes when a file on the old drive has strange permissions (e.g. not Administrator readable and owned by some no more existing user). This method needs to much manual intervention. Preferable would be some low-level copying and mounting solution which does not care for Windows file permissions and ACL details.

  • Are you restricted to a Windows OS, or do you have access to Linux? – Andrew M. Sep 12 '10 at 17:36
  • Yes I have access to Linux and use it regularly. I administer a small network. This above situation arises sometimes if a user needs a larger disk and I decide to reload his Windows installation from a clean SysPrep prepared Windows image via Clonezilla or similar. As I normally do not want to transfer all user files myself, a simple solution is just to copy the old drive into a directory, so everything is handy if needed including the old registry, etc. – esc1729 Sep 13 '10 at 6:19

Not free, but Acronis has some very comprehensive backup/partition management products which meet the requirements that you identified.

  • 1
    its called disk director, and it rocks. – SpacemanSpiff Nov 27 '10 at 15:13

carbon copy cloner is a pretty neat (and free) mac utility, with those capabilities.

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