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Restoring an image?

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I have an external harddrive and backup by saving images of my drive to it. If I have a problem I can format the drive and restore the image to it. Great.
What happens if I have to put in new drive because the old one is broken? Can I just restore the image to the new drive, even if it is not identical to the old one?
And what if I decide to buy a new computer instead of a new drive. Is the image of any use there? Or would I have to abandon that and use files I back up to carbonite; and hope I can restore all the software?
Any help here, or links to something that explains it well, would be much appreciated.
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On the same computer, you can restore a backup image of the operating system to a new hard drive no problem. That's one of the main reasons for creating a backup image, to be ready for when the hard drive fails (and it will, sonner or later).

You don't even need to partition or format the new drive (or format the existing one) if you intend to restore a backup image to it. The image represents a formatted partition already, and the image recovery process simply writes that formatted partition directly to the new drive, or overwrites the existing partition on your existing drive.

Now, if you buy a new computer, the likelihood is that it will already have Windows installed on it, including all relevant device drivers.
So the disk image from your old PC won't be required for it anyway. Chances are, the image would work on the new PC but all the device drivers would be wrong and you'd get bombarded with error messages because of that. Also, the Windows "Product ID" which is written in the Registry, & which is unique to every PC, would not match the hardware in the new PC so 'Product Activation' would fail and you then have to call Microsoft to explain what you've done.
You would also have to remove Windows from the old PC as it's illegal to have the same copy on two machines at the same time.

So my advice, as far as the backup image is concerned, is to forget about using it on a new PC. Get a new PC with Windows already installed on it & make a new backup image for it.
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