There was one more wrinkle, however. My Adobe apps needed to be reactivated, possibly because I'd changed the NT signature on the drive. Everything else--games, Windows itself--didn't require this extra attention. To reactivate the Adobe apps, I had to call the Adobe help line, but that call went smoothly, with no issues or roadblocks.
I learned several lessons from this experience. Admittedly, they weren't new lessons, but stuff I've had to relearn repeatedly:
- If you're planning to clone a drive, copying the NT signature as-is doesn't always work. Create a fresh one every time.
- Don't wipe your old boot drive until you're 100 percent sure that your system is booting properly off the new drive.
- Make sure that you have the latest version of your backup and restore software--particularly if your system is running newer chipsets and storage controllers.
There's still plenty left for me to learn. Setting up and breaking down RAID arrays may seem like child's play, but there's nothing quite like the terror of realizing that you've accidentally destroyed years of private photos, documents, and data during a botched hard drive migration. So play it safe--back up often, and share your PC storage best practices with other readers in the Comments section.