How do I transfer my current Windows 95 installation to a new hard drive?

The following procedure was posted to the msnews.microsoft.com newsgroups by Gary Pshonik (gpshonik@iastate.edu) on May 9th and has been reposted several times by Ron Martell (rmartell@islandnet.com).

This is not supported by Microsoft and you may be technically contravening one of the fine print paragraphs in the license, but the following procedure does work.

Here are the step by step instructions:

  • 1. Install your new drive as a slave, setting the jumpers on both drives appropriately.
  • 2. Start Win95 and then choose the MS-DOS prompt from the start menu (or desktop icon if you have one).
  • 3. Run FDISK to set up your partitions on the new drive.
  • 4. Format the partitions on the new drive, using the /S option on the partition you will be booting from.
  • 5. Format a bootable floppy and copy FDISK from the \WINDOWS\COMMAND directory.
  • 6. Exit the DOS prompt. Select Control Panel - System - Performance - Virtual Memory. Disable virtual memory. This is absolutely essential!!!!!
  • 7. Shut Down and Restart Win95
  • 8. From the MS-DOS prompt type: (using the correct drive letters) xcopy c:\*.* /e /h /k /r d:
  • Note: this step must be performed from a Windows 95 MS-DOS Prompt window, not from the command line environment reached by pressing F8 during the boot sequence and selecting Command line only. Also, if you get error messages about unsupported switches in the MS-DOS Prompt window, check the shortcut's properties to ensure that you do not have the Prevent program from detecting Windows option enabled in the Advanced Program dialog. Thanks to Steve J. Grose (sgrose@ix.netcom.com) for reporting this problem.
  • 9. Shut down and power off. Reconfigure your drives as desired - e.g. remove the old drive and jumper the new one to work as a stand alone.
  • 10 Start Win95. Repeat step 6 to turn virtual memory back on.
  • Note: It might happen that the new drive will not boot because FDISK did not set an active partition. If that happens, use the bootable floppy from step 5. run FDISK and set the bootable partition to be active. Then reboot and it should be fine with all data intact.
  • This works. Thanks to Gary Pshonik (gpshonik@iastate.edu)
  • "Anyone who thinks that they are too small to make a difference has never been in bed with a mosquito."