HDD to SSD transition best practices for laptop

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by CPTrader, Oct 12, 2011.

  1. Hello,

    I have an old Dell M4400 bought in 2008 running on Windows 7 64bit. I am running out of HDD space and wish to upgrade to the new SSD as a way of gettng more space and improving my laptop's performance. I also recently upgraded from 4GB of RAM to 8GB of RAM.

    So here are my questions:

    1. What is the best way to upgrade/transition to a 512GB SSD such that I do NOT have to reinstall programs (e.g. MS Office, Outlook, trading apps, etc) , apps, files, etc.? Will cloning of my HDD work?

    2. What tools do you recommend for cloning of drives?

    3. How do I clone my HDD to the new SSD?

    4. Any recommended 512GB SSDs?

    5. Any other things I should be aware of so I don't lose data or otherwise corrupt my system?

    Many thanks!
  2. Most SSD makers sell "migration kits" to do exactly as you want.

    I'm an Intel fan.. .not always the fastest but generally regarded (rightly or wrongly) as "most reliable".

    Suggest not cloning from your spinner drive to an SSD. (Cloning your SSD, however, is OK for W7). W7 will supposedly sense the use of an SSD and will automatically set partition alignment... which may be different from that on the spinner drive.

    As for cloning once you've migrated... I've used Acronis True Image for years. Another choice, a free one with good reviews, is Macrium Reflect.
  3. Yes, their "data transfer kit" looks like a "migration" package.

    Cloning copies byte-by-byte. That's fine if you're copying from one spinner drive to another... or from one SSD to another where there was an original OS installation on the SSD. Cloning makes no allowance for partition alignment with the new drive.

    The potential problem comes when you try to clone from a spinner to an SSD and you care about "partition alignment"... and of course you would as it's a factor in performance.

    Crucial SSDs have a good reputation... 2nd to only Intel, I think.

    So...... migrate first... only because you're going from HDD => SSD. After that, you can clone your SSD if you wish. (I used to clone drives, but now I just image them.. lots better for resource and space management and equally reliable.)
  4. Reinstalling all your programs and an operating system are always a pain, but in my opinion, the only way to go. I recently did a reinstall of my win 7 machine and had to spend all day reinstalling all my programs and moving all my files back after moving them to an external drive during the reinstall. It is the only way to be sure you are starting fresh and will end up with the cleanest setup possible.

    You can do different things when switching to a new hard drive and they may work, but I think it is crazy to take a chance of having a problem and using an old, bogged down operating system by cloning. So, for me, I would not even consider doing anything other than a fresh install of everything. Also, the reviews on Newegg are usually helpful when looking for new products. I would not want to spend over $700 on a drive for an old (and now out of date) computer. I think you would be better off using that much money for a whole new computer. Small upgrades for older computers are fine, but $700 is a lot.
  5. Your points about upgrading an old laptop are valid, however, do consider that I have recently installed in this "old" laptop a new motherboard, heat sink, fan, RAM. So while it is "old" by age it is not technically that old.

    What say you?
  6. True. A fresh OS install is always best, time consuming as it is. Migration is supposed to take care of the partition alignment/BIOS issues... but any flotsam on the old drive will be copied to the new drive.
  7. "Old" isn't referencing age of components... just "existing". That is, if you did a fresh install of your OS 60 days ago, it would be an "old installation" when compared to doing a fresh one today. Any gremlins picked up since the prior installation would be copied to the new drive... that's what makes it "old".

    If you want to "do things right".... do a fresh install of the OS... then make an image or two along the way to getting your rig fully loaded with your software. Then when necessary, you can restore an old image which is "fresh" up to the date you made the image, then bring the restored image up to date. Saves TONS of time. "Imaging and restoring image" are like the System Restore function.. only lots cleaner and more robust.
  8. I think we are in agreement that a fresh (time consuming) install of everything is best. As for the hardware, that is a matter of personal opinion at this point since you have already done so much work to upgrade all the other components. But $700 is still a lot, so you should shop around to make sure you are getting your money’s worth.
  9. Okay, it seems everyone iagrees taht I need a fresh install.

    The major issue for me, is MS OUTLOOK!!

    How can I do a fresh install of MS Office (includng Outlook) such that previously downloaded emails are NOT re-downloaded into my pst file.

    I think this is the major issue for me!!!

    Any pointers, advice, tips?
    #10     Oct 12, 2011