In our last article we discussed the difference between HDD Vs SSD and how it can help the longevity of your system if you upgrade.  Now that we have a good understanding of the two and have decided we want to put an SSD in our PC to help boost/improve performance, let’s go over the process to accomplish this.

Outline

- Item you’ll need

- Choose an SSD

- Choose a Backup/Imaging software

- Clone Process

- Initializing your new SSD

- Imaging your HDD

- Expanding you Disk:

- Backup and restore process:

               - Backup

               - Restore

Items you’ll need

Below is a list of things you may need to complete the tasks for migrating to your new SSD

-        SSD (recommended equal or greater size than the computer’s current HDD.)

-        Cloning Software (for moving your data to your new drive)

-        External Hard Drive Enclosure (for holding your SSD during cloning process)

-        Screwdriver (for opening your computer case.)

Choose an SSD

The first thing that you need to do is to get a SSD that fits your needs and your budget. At the time of this writing, SSDs were priced right about $0.01/GB which is about $100.00 for a Terabyte SSD. Most computers are set up with SATA cables which is the most common connector for computers so your selection for brands and size will be abundant. For the fastest and easiest upgrade process it is suggested to get a SSD that is equal to or greater than your current HDD that you plan to replace. However if your current HDD is greater than 1TB or a matching SSD is not in the budget don’t worry there’ll be just a couple more steps and a little more time to complete the upgrade process.   

Here are a couple of options for purchasing a SSD:

-        Crucial BX500 1TB 3D NAND SATA 2.5-Inch Internal SSD, up to 540MB/

-        Samsung SSD 860 EVO 1TB 2.5 Inch SATA III Internal SSD (MZ-76E1T0B/AM)

(If you are replacing a 3.5 HDD in your computer tower, remember to purchase the mounting bracket for these smaller SSD drives.)

-        Corsair Dual SSD Mounting Bracket 3.5" CSSD-BRKT2, Black

NVMe PCIe

Some of the more recent motherboards come built in with support for the newer (M.2) NVMe PCIe drives, check if your motherboard has a compatible slot for these drives and get one of these for increased performance as they are not hindered by the SATA transfer speeds. 

-        Crucial P1 1TB 3D NAND NVMe PCIe Internal SSD, up to 2000MB/s - CT1000P1SSD8

Choose a Backup/Imaging software

Now that you have chosen your new SSD we’ll need to get a Software to perform the backup/imaging process. There are several free tools that you can use here, I’ll link a couple, cover the steps for the ones I utilize the most. Some of these Software sites require you to register an email address, if you wish to avoid getting your email added to a mailing list, I’d suggest making a new separate email account for this purpose. 

Free imaging tools:

-        Macrium

-        AOMEI Backupper

-        EaseUS

Once you have your chosen and acquired your imaging software and SSD you’re ready to begin cloning your disk.

Clone Process

Initializing your new SSD:

All of these steps listed are performed on a Windows 10 Pro system, if you are using a different OS version, the steps may very slightly.

The first step is to get our computer to recognize our new SSD. Follow these steps to initialize your new SSD allowing your computer to detect your new SSD.

-        Plug in your External Hard Drive Enclosure with the new SSD drive in it or if you have extra SATA connector in your computer you can connect it internally.  (If plugging in internally be sure your PC is turned off first.)

-        R-Click “This PC” and select “Manage”

 

 

-        On the left navigation pane of computer manager, select “Disk Management”.  You should see your new disk listed. (in this example it is showing as “Disk 1”)

 

 

-        You can see that Disk 1 is not initialized. You’ll need to “Right-Click” the Disk 1 and initialize it.

 

-        Once the disk has been initialized it is ready to receive the image.

 

Imaging your HDD

Now that you have your new SSD in placed, initialized and ready to receive your image, it time to image your old HDD.

Proceed to designated section below for steps on use of the three listed imaging tools.

-        Macrium

-        AOMEI Backupper

Using Macrium Reflect to Clone Disk:

-        Launch Macrium Reflect.

-        By default it opens to the backup tab, on the right navigation pane make sure the “Create a backup” tab is selected.

 

-        Select “Clone this Disk”

-        The first window is the “Source”, ensure your old HDD drive is listed there.

-        The second window is the “Destination”, click “Select a disk to clone to” and ensure the new SSD is listed there then select “Finish”

 

-        Remove the check for “Save backup and schedules as an XML…”and select “OK”.

 

-        Clone process will proceed and complete.


Using AOMEI Backupper to clone disk:

 

-        Install AOMEI Backupper Cloning software.

-        Launch Cloning Software.

-        Once the software has started, select the “Clone” option in the left navigation window.

-        Under the clone options, select “Disk Clone” from the right navigation window.

-        On the “Disk Source”, select the disk you wish to clone. (Will generally be Disk “0”), then select Next.

-        On “Disk Destination”, select the destination disk you want to clone the source to, (will generally be Disk “1”)  then select Next

 

-        Select OK on the warning banner that pops up.

-        On the operation Summary page, select the check box “SSD Alignment”, then select Start Clone”.

-        Now you just wait for the process to finish cloning to the new drive. Depending on the size of the drive, the age of your system and the amount of data that needs to be cloned, it could anywhere from a few minutes to a couple hours to complete the process.

Once the clone process has completed, you can power off the system and swap in the new SSD into the HDD slot and power the system back on. The system should boot right up and look exactly like it did with the old HDD installed.

Expanding you Disk

If you purchased a new SDD that was larger in size than your old HDD, you can go back into the disk management settings and extend the C:\ drive to utilize the extra unallocated space.

-        Open Disk management, select your disk (generally will be disk “0”).

-        Right Click your main partition (C:\) and select “Extend Volume”

-        Select “Next” on the wizard welcome screen.

-        Ensure your volume is listed under the “selected” window on the right, then select the amount of space you want to extend on to the volume (generally you would extend all the extra unallocated space), then select Next.

-        Finally select Finish.

-        Then select Ok if you receive a warning to convert to dynamic Disk.

You should now see the rest of the disk space available for you to use.

Backup and restore process

-        Backup

-        Restore

In some cases, you may have a system with a larger HDD than the SSD you have purchased, Example a 1TB HDD and a 500GB SSD. This is not an issues as long as the total amount of used data doesn’t exceed the size of the SSD. If you have a large HDD, and it has over 400GB of used space, it is not suggested to clone to a 500GB SSD or smaller, as you are setting yourself up for storage space headaches. Either clean up the old HDD prior to cloning it to the SSD and/or purchase a larger SSD.

However if you do have a larger HDD and still have plenty of available space, then we can proceed with the Cloning. We mentioned earlier that for the cloning tools to work the destination disk needs to be of equal or greater size than the source disk otherwise the cloning software will not work (this is in the case of the free tools, some paid versions will allow for downsizing during the clone process).  Since we are discussing the free versions in this article, let’s discuss a way around this. Utilizing the Macrium backup/restore process.

Tools needed to complete this process:

-        Macrium stored on a bootable USB.

-        An extra storage disk to hold backup data. (Usually an external hard drive.)

Backup:

-        Launch Macrium Reflect.

-        Under the “Backup” tab, Select the “Image this disk”

-        Under the “Destination section, Select  to locate and designate the location that you want to temporarily store the backup image of your computer.  Then select “OK”, then select “Next”.

-        You can skip the next section by selecting “Finish” as you are using this as a one-time option you’ll not need to set up a scheduled backup plan.

 

-        On this last section, remove the check for “Save backup and schedules as an XML…” since you’ll be using this to make this single backup.

-        Once you select ok the backup will run. The amount of data and age of your system will determine how long this will take.

 

Restore

Now that we have a successful backup image of our old disk, it’s time to put it on our new SSD.

-        Launch Macrium Reflect.

-        On the “Restore” tab, select “Browse for an image…”,  locate and open the backup image you just created.

 

-        Select the “Restore Image” link on the right side. A new window will appear, under the “Destination” section, click “Select a different disk”. Locate and select the new SSD that should be listed. Select it and make sure it is now listed in the “Destination”

 

-        If there are any existing portions on the new SSD, select the “Delete Existing Partition” in the bottom left to remove them, then select “Next”

 

-        Verify the restore summary and select “Finish” to begin the imaging process to the new SSD.

-        Once the imaging process has finished, you’ll now power off the system, open the computer case and replace the old drive with the new SSD.

-        After the new SSD is mounted and connected, power on the system and verify the OS launces and can be logged into.

 

Conclusion:

               After all the steps have been completed, you should have your new SSD installed and mounted and when you power on and log in, all should look exactly like it had with your old HDD only now you should see the system showing improved response time with your routine tasks. Since you have just installed new hardware it is recommended that you run updates to ensure your new hardware is updated with any new drivers that may have released for it and don’t forget to do backups.

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