To put it simply, it means transferring data from one place to another. The other place could be a new PC, a different hard disk/SSD or even a USB stick. Of course you don’t need migration software if all you want to do is transfer a few files like a photo or an mp3 from your PC to a USB stick. Simply copying them is all you need to do. But what if you’re talking about an entire partition or hard disk?
Migration tools included in Migrate 5.0 get migration or cloning operations done in a single step. This eliminates the need to create, format and move contents from partitions and hard disks.
An operating system can’t just be moved to a new computer using drag-and-drop or copy-and-paste. If you want to move an existing Windows system including all settings and programs to a totally new PC – or even just move it to a new system hard drive – the option to migrate the operating system is the right choice.
The software automatically detects all of the partitions relevant to the operating system and includes them in the selection.
If Windows (7 and up) is installed on the PC, it can be migrated to a new hard disk after a short check by the software. The source system remains untouched, of course.
If there is not enough storage space on the target hard disk for the entire system, the migration assistant allows you to exclude certain files, folders or types of files. If there is a large number of images or music files on the system hard drive (C:), they can most easily be sorted out through a general file filter.
Depending on your goal, you can also remove individual files. However, this should only be done by experienced users, since selecting the wrong files can easily lead to malfunction of the migrated software.
So we recommend less experienced users to conduct file exclusions in personal profile folders.
The migration assistant lets you change entries in the Windows boot manager. This box is checked by default so your PC will boot from the target hard drive (i.e. the one which the system was moved to) after the migration operation is completed.
New system drive in existing PC
This setting is especially useful if you want to replace the source hard disk with a new one (the target drive). For instance, if you want to replace the old system disk with a faster SSD or just replace the old system disk with a new one.
Transferring an existing Windows system to a new PC
If, on the other hand, you want to move an existing Windows installation to a new PC, you an unselect the option to change the boot manager.
The software also has a special function to migrate an existing hard drive to a new one.
Unlike simply copying the contents of the hard drive and partition, migrating the hard drive transfers the entire data structure including partitions and file system(s). A hard drive migration basically results in a 1-to-1 copy of the source drive, so the target drive can then overtake the function of the source drive 1-to-1 as well.
Why migrate/clone a hard drive?
The aim of a migration like this is to create an exact image of the source drive. This is often referred to as “cloning” a hard drive or creating a hard drive clone. Reasons for conducting such an operation include:
Migration a standard hard drive to an SSD might be more complicated, since SSDs are usually smaller and can’t always hold all of the data from the source hard drive. However, the migration wizard makes this problem a thing of the past. The wizard allows you to exclude certain files and folders – or lists of file types – over the course of the migration.
The last option in particular lets you exclude less important files from the migration altogether. This is especially useful if you want to put program files above all on the new SSD and not save your video or mp3 collection on it to save space.
As a third option, the migration assistant allows you to clone or migrate partitions.
This option works much the same as the hard drive migration. With partitions, as opposed to cloning a hard drive, only the data which is relevant to the partition is migrated and not higher levels as well, like with a hard drive clone, such as the areas occupied by the MBR (Master Boot Record) or the GPT (Guide Partition Table).
You have the same filter options when migrating partitions as you do when migrating an operating system or hard drive. That means you can also reduce the size of the partition if there’s not enough space on the target hard drive.
Sector for sector mode
The option of copying in sector-for-sector mode (a “raw copy”) means that, as the name implies, the partition is copied sector for sector. Without this setting, a partition is copied on file system level, i.e. the file system and data structure are retained 1-to-1, but the allocation of hard drive sectors may differ from the original partition and only areas which actually contain data will be transferred.
If you choose sector-for-sector mode, then the software will really change each sector without taking its contents into account (i.e. empty sectors will also be transferred). This means that the result of a sector-for-sector copy is usually larger than that of a “normal” copy (unless all sectors of the original hard drive are filled with data). It also generally takes longer to make a sector-for-sector copy.
The sector-for-sector option should always be selected if the file system is not known (e.g. the boot loader with Linux partitions) or is not supported natively by the Paragon software, or if the migration is being conducted for data rescue purposes.
For instance, if the partition or hard drive has unreadable areas and you want to use forensic methods to reconstruct the data on it, you generally need an exact image – including any empty sectors.