Hiren's Bootcd: My software swiss army knife

Matt Winfield

In a previous article, I wrote about one of the software-based tools I always have on-hand called Hiren’s BootCD. In this article, I will discuss how to use Hiren’s BootCD in a practical real-world situation which, in my case, is upgrading a computer from an HDD to an SSD. You can also do this if you are migrating to a new HDD.

The first step is to download a fresh copy of Hiren’s BootCD and create a bootable CD/DVD or USB drive. You will also need a computer (or in my case, a Virtual Machine) to boot up with Hiren’s BootCD. Ideally, you’ll want to boot up a PC that has both your new and old drives connected to it; this will allow you do to a disk-to-disk clone.

WARNING: The process outlined below will completely overwrite all existing data on the drive to which you are migrating. It would be wise to create a backup of both drives before continuing through this process. If you mix up the source and target disks, you could clone over the data that you meant to copy, with little chance of recovery.

Once you have a PC set up with both drives connected to it, boot up the PC with the bootable media you created earlier, and let’s get started!

Your PC should boot up to the screen in the image below.

You can navigate around with the arrow keys and select an option with the Enter key. Go down and select Dos Programs, Backup Tools…, Ghost 4 Linux (G4L), and then Start.

A Linux OS will begin booting and you will eventually be presented with a desktop similar to the image below.

Next, we need to start Ghost so we can set up the cloning process. You can find Ghost by clicking the icon in the bottom left corner, System Tools, and click on Ghost 4 Linux. You’ll be asked to accept the terms and conditions.

On the next screen select RAW Mode. Missing even a single partition can prevent your new drive from booting into the OS properly. Using RAW Mode is very important since we want to do a complete copy of the drive.  

On the next screen select Click’n’Clone. You’ll then be presented with this screen.

Here you will need to select your the source drive and the target drive. The source drive will be the drive you want to copy. Hit enter on A: Select source and select your old drive. The target drive will be the drive you want to copy to. Hit enter on B: Select target and select your new drive. Double check that you have correctly selected each drive and then select Click’n’Clone.

Once the process is completed, you will be left with a complete copy of your original drive on your new drive. At this point, you can remove the old drive and plug in your new one. You are ready to go!