I currently have Ubuntu Server 13.10 (upgraded from 12.10) installed on an old Dell PC at home. When I set it up, I tossed in 2 1TB drives, and set up raid0 to simplify using all their space. I know this is basically awful, but it's a media/file server with lots of files that are either backed up elsewhere or easy to replace.

Anyway, 2TB is approaching being insufficient, and raid0 has me reasonably uncomfortable about the reliability of the system. Although important files are backed up, we've hacked together enough stuff on it in an undocumented way (again, awful, I know) that it'd at very least be unfortunate to lose the system/program/config files. So I'm getting a new 4TB drive to replace both. Ideally, I'd like to also eventually slot in a second 4TB drive and set up raid1, when I can afford it, but that's a secondary goal.

However, the PC only has two ports for drives. I also currently do not have any other single drive with sufficient capacity to copy the entire 2TB to intermediately. What is the best way, if any, to transfer my installation to the 4TB drive? Uptime isn't important, just being able to replace the two drives with one larger one while minimizing other system changes.

1 Answer 1


The simplest way that comes to mind is to connect your new 4TB drive through USB using a suitable external box. Alas it requires the expenditure for the extra hardware.

If you have a spare computer, you can attach your new drive on it and then connect the two computers trough network. Once the transfer is complete you can move the drives to their new place. The disadvantage to this is the time to configure things plus the time to transfer the files through ethernet, which will be considerable for the amount of data we are talking about.

  • I've got a fair amount of extra machines kicking around, so that shouldn't be too much of a problem. From a software perspective, how would you recommend cloning the system to the new drive in this configuration? Would the second piece of hardware have to be running Ubuntu? Dec 2, 2013 at 18:56
  • I suppose having both machines running Ubuntu will spare you the need to configure extra things like SAMBA. I'm thinking that a quick & dirty way would be to create an NFS share of the partition on the 4TB disk that will hold your new system which you will then mount on your server. Then you can just copy the entire contents of the RAID array to it. To avoid problems with open files and such you could boot to a live system and then mount the disks as needed. But also note that you can probably buy a SATA to USB connector for about 10 to 20 Euro from a local store or ebay.
    – hmayag
    Dec 2, 2013 at 21:18
  • Hmm, SATA to USB seems like a more practical solution. I'd be able to format the disk and copy over the contents much easier. Would also be handy to have around considering that I'll now have two extra 1TB drives on hand. Dec 2, 2013 at 21:43
  • Hey just an update: I used the usb-to-sata linkup. I ended up doing a fresh install, then I mounted the new install in the old install and transferred all the files (took about a day, but the server was able to run the whole time), and a handful of configs. Then removed the old drives, attached the new drive properly, and finished setting up with the transferred configs. Went really well! Thanks a bunch! Dec 30, 2013 at 5:01

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