My wife's PC has been around for a few years, and I had a newer PC that I wanted to move her onto. Problem was, her old PC only had IDE connectors for the HD, and the replacement only had SATA.
Being a linux guy, I whipped out an old removable USB hd I had lying around, and booted up the replacement PC off of an Ubutnu 9.10 CD I keep around for just such purposes, and i used gparted to clone a copy of the replacement PC's HD off to the USB HD. So the replacement PC is now ready to serve as a true replacement.
On her old PC, I fired up an Ubuntu 10 CD, only because I had a separate Ubuntu 10 CD lying around, and for some strange reason, gparted on the Ubuntu 10 CD bombs. Anyhow this ain't about gparted. So I googled up "copy hard disk over network" and found this: http://www.cyberciti.biz/tips/howto-copy-compressed-drive-image-over-network.html and it did the trick. But here are the specifics I used which actually worked:
Both source (her old PC) and target (the newer pc) are booted up using an Ubuntu 9 or 10 LiveCD. On both PCs I fire up a terminal session
and I enter a new password for root. I can't tell for sure if you do or don't need to do this. I'm just telling what worked for me. So I now have a root terminal session fired up on both source and target PCs.
Let's say the target PC's IP address is 192.168.0.10. Also, let's say I used gparted on both the source and target to look at the disks, and I determine that /dev/sda is the disk I want to copy on the SOURCE PC, and /dev/sdb is the disk I want to overwrite on the TARGET PC. Very important.
On the TARGET PC, in that terminal session, I issue the following:
So I see netcat fire up and it says it's listening on port 2222.
On the SOURCE PC, in that terminal session, I issue the following:
And it looks like this:
Connection to 192.168.0.10 2222 port [tcp/*] succeeded!
Okay,here is where patience kicked in. I started in 3:00 pm in the afternoon, and it wasn't done until the next morning! Was it the "bs=16M" in the dd command? Both computers were going at gig speed on the NICs. The disk was 80gb, so that'll give you an idea. But you know what? It worked! I rebooted the new PC, and Vista fired up. Awesome.