You’re planning on upgrading your hard drive, but there’s one small problem: How do you get your data from the old hard drive to the new one, without reinstalling everything? Here’s a step-by-step guide to seamlessly transition to a new drive.

If you’ve bumped up against the limits of your small, old hard drive over and over, it may be time to upgrade. In some instances, all the desktop user may need to do is install a second (or third) hard drive for a little more space. But that’s not always an option, especially for laptop users. The solution: Clone your old drive—complete with your operating system and all your data—to a new, bigger drive.

To upgrade your hard drive without reinstalling everything, you’ll need to use a utility to make an exact copy, or clone, from the old hard drive to the new one. A number of commercial tools will do this for you, and even some free Windows utilities can make a copy of your drive while your PC is running.

The bigger problem, particularly if you’re upgrading a laptop, is that you need to have a copy of Windows already running for most of the free utilities to work; most laptops can only have one drive hooked up at a time.

Read more about upgrading to a new hard drive with data intact.