My nine year old computer’s hard drive is making a noise I’ve not heard before. That probably means the drive is on it’s last legs.
Fortunately, I have a program to minimize the hassle and possibly avoid it altogether by retiring the drive before it kicks off. Western Digital, which manufactured the hard drive, has a free disc cloning program on its website that is a modified version of a commercial program called Acronis True Image.
While the free version doesn’t include all the bells and whistles of the full version, it has the basics. I can make an exact image of the drive, including the operating system; create a bootable disc, and then put everything on a new hard drive without having to reinstall the operating system or programs.
And I just happen to have two unopened hard drives sitting on a shelf that I must have bought some years ago when they were on sale. One is 200 Gigs and the other is 300 Gigs, while the drive that came with the computer is only 160 Gigs.
But, my operating system is XP and I think I need to upgrade it. Not to Windows 8, which will soon be replaced by Windows 10. The upgrade would be to Windows 7 Professional.
Why? Because Windows 7 Pro has an XP compatibility mode. That assures me I can run any Windows XP program, which I’m not sure is true of Windows 8 and is probably even less likely with Windows 10.
Also, Microsoft has announced that anyone with Window 7 (and Window 8) can upgrade to Windows 10 for free during the first year of its release. So I can get Windows 10 for free and set up my system to boot into either Window 7 or 10 depending on what I’m doing. Windows 7 is still available online for as low as about $60.
If you’re not already using disc cloning software, you should. If you have a Western Digital or Maxtor (which was bought by Western Digital) drive, you can use the free program I mentioned. Here is the link:
If you have another type drive, they may have a similar program. Try doing a search for: “Acronis (drive manufacturer name).
Because when the crash comes, you’ll be glad you have a clone.