Dec 19, 2016

Migrating Windows Installation to a Solid-State Drive


This guide walks you through the steps to migrate your Windows 7, 8, or 10 installation to an SSD without reinstalling Windows. 







Prerequisites

You'll need a copy of EaseUS Todo Backup. Its free version has all the features we need to accomplish the task, so download the free version and install it like you would any other Windows program.

If you have a desktop computer, then you can usually just install your new SSD alongside your old hard drive in the same machine to clone it. If you’re using a laptop, however, this usually isn’t possible, so you’ll need to buy something like a SATA-to-USB cable (shown in image below), which will let you connect a 2.5″ hard drive or SSD to your laptop via USB. You can also install your SSD in an external hard drive enclosure before you start the migration process.



STEP1 - Verify Hard Drives Space

To check the capacity of each drive, plug your SSD into your computer and wait for it to visible in Windows Explorer. Right-click on each drive and select “Properties”.

Here you can see that, our existing hard disk used space is large than the newly attached SSD. If you experience similar to this then before you migrate your data, you’ll need to clean up your current hard drive by deleting unwanted or unnecessary data. 



STEP2 - Update SSD’s Firmware

To update firmware, visit the the website of your solid state drive manufacturer to download and update the firmware. Now is the absolute perfect time to update the firmware as there is zero risk of data loss, since you haven’t copied anything to it yet. 



STEP3 - Clone Drive With EaseUS Todo Backup

Finally its time to start migrating process. Open up the EaseUS application and click “Clone” on the main screen.


First, select your source disk. This will be  your current Windows system drive. Our current disk drive comprises of three partitions: an active boot partition, the actual Windows partition, and a recovery partition. We want to clone all three, so we’re just going to place a check next to the hard disk to make sure they’re all selected. Click “Next” to proceed.


Now you need to select your SSD as the destination. Make sure you choose the correct drive, or you could lose data!

Tick it, and then check the “Optimize for SSD” box, which will ensure you get the best performance possible out of your resulting Windows installation.


Now, before you click “Next”, take a moment to click the “Edit” button next to your SSD.


EaseUS will show you what your resulting drive will look like. In some cases, you may need to do some additional steps here. For instance, on my SSD, EaseUS wanted to make the boot and recovery partitions much larger, even though they contain less than a gigabyte of data. I’d rather have that space on my main Windows partition, so I needed to resize these before continuing.


To resize these partitions, first select one, then drag the handles that appear between the partitions, much as if you were resizing a File Explorer window.


Then resize main Windows partition to fill the rest of the empty space.


Depending on your drive’s layout, you may have to alter things in a different way. When you’re done, click “OK” to continue. Double-check that everything looks right, and click “Proceed” to start the clone operation.


If you get the following warning, click “OK” to continue.


The actual length of the operation will depend on how large your source drive is, as well as the speed of the storage mediums and your computer. For me, it took about 15 minutes.


When the operation is completed, click “Finish”.

As you can see in the following image , our new system drive is already visible in File Explorer. All that’s left now is to begin using it.







To accomplish this, the next steps are pretty simple. Shut down your computer, remove the old drive and install the new in the same slot. Restart your computer and it should boot from your new drive automatically.

Make sure TRIM is turned on. TRIM is a special set of commands that help SSDs effectively manage empty space on the disk (if you’re curious you can read more here). Open up the command prompt and execute the following command:

fsutil behavior query DisableDeleteNotify

This lengthy command has a very simple output, either a 0 or a 1. If you get a 1, TRIM is not enabled. If you get a 0, TRIM is enabled. If you need to enable it execute the following command:

fsutil behavior set DisableNotify 0

Make sure defragmentation is turned off. There is no need to defragment an SSD, and in fact, it’s advisable not to. Windows should handle this automatically, but it doesn’t hurt to check. Open the Start menu and, in the run box, type dfrgui to open the Disk Defragmenter. Click on the Schedule button, then click “Select Disks” Uncheck your SSD (which should be your C: drive) and Click OK.

If you want, you can even point your special user folders to that new location, so Windows will always look there first for the files. Just right-click on your Documents, Music, or other user folders and head to Properties > Location > Move… to move them.


You are done.

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