Migrating from a 2TB MBR > 3TB GPT - How do you do it?

I’ve got my OS installed on a 2TB WD drive and it’s maxed out. In the past I would just use a cloning program to copy all the data to the new drive which is great but I’ve now hit a snag.

I’ve got myself a 3TB WD drive as its replacement which needs to be formatted as a GPT partition in order to use the full capacity but my OS drive is formatted to MBR so I can’t just clone it as I usually would.

So the question is?

How do you get all my old content onto my new drive using the new GPT partition without having to reinstall windows?

The obvious answer would be just to install windows and start from the begining but this isn’t an option since my 2TB OS drive ONLY has programs installed - yes thats right - just programs…so thats over a 1000 programs that I use and I am not going to install them all again.

Is there any way that I can copy all the old data over to the new 3TB drive using the GPT format and have it fully work as if I had cloned it?

Any help with this is greatly appreciated

If both drives are recognized to full capacity on the computer the WD software called Acronis True Image should work with this, I found the information about the software below. there are two options, to do it manually and automatically.



Thank you for the reply but this will NOT fix the issue.

Acronis will clone my OS drive to the new drive easily enough however the new drive will be a MBR partition and NOT GPT.

If I did what you are suggesting then I’d be cloning a 2TB drive onto a 3TB drive and I would ONLY be able to use 2TB…Thats a whole 1TB missing.

The real question is…How do you copy the OS drive to the 3TB drive WITHOUT copying the partition info? Is this even possible?

Instead of “cloning”, can’t you just copy/backup the entire drive, hidden/system files and all?

Because, as I understand it, it really isn’t a GPT/MBR issue… if the 2TB was GPT and not MBR, the “clone”/image would still show up as 2TB and the third TB would still be missing.

But how do you go about doing that?

If I try to copy in windows then I’ll run into problems. Do you do this using xDiskcopy or something?

Well, you’re right… things like the registry (NTUSER.dat) can’t be copied while they’re open.

But if you create a different user with admin privileges (temporarily, for the copying), then your normal user’s “inaccessible” files should be able to be copied.  You don’t really need to copy the temporary user’s files.

I don’t really recall, off hand, any files I’ve ever encountered that I haven’t been able to copy in one way or another.  But, I could be misremembering things and leading you on a wild goose chase.  If so, I apologize… I’ve just never tried doing a _ full _ migration… I’ve only done partials.

I suppose one other option would be to boot to Ubuntu (like the “System Rescue CD”, for instance) and copy the files in *nix, so that Windows doesn’t throw up roadblocks… again I’ve done that for a hard drive that suddenly couldn’t be read in Windows, although it took some time and trial-and-error for me to figure out what I was doing, since I’d never used *nix before.

If you do go the “System Rescue CD” route and have never used *nix before, this may help…

First, when it’s booted to the GUI, go to GParted and look at your drives.

Basically, you need to know what the drives have appeared as… one may be sda1 and one may be sdb1, or something like that, but you need to know the names.

Then, in the Terminal window you need to “mount” the drives to *nix.  You can pick any names you’d like, and obviously you need the correct devices (as found in GParted), but it’s basically:

ntfs-3g  /dev/sda1  /mnt/oldwin                   <— your 2TB existing Windows installation

ntfs-3g  /dev/sdb1  /mnt/newwin                 <— your 3TB empty drive

After your 2 drives are mounted, you can

cp  -r /mnt/oldwin  /mnt/newwin

to copy everything from the one drive to the other without Windows interfering and telling you what you can and can’t copy.