Sign in to follow this  
Brian

Best method to upgrade to an SSD in Windows 7

Recommended Posts

This topic keeps coming up, so I thought it best to get with our contacts at Microsoft to set the record straight on the best method for users to upgrade from a hard drive to SSD in the Windows 7 environment. Win7 is good about optimizing itself for SSD when installed for the first time, but sometimes a cloned drive to SSD doesn't get noticed the right way. So here's what MSFT had to say on the best practice for this job:

We suggest that you use Windows Easy Transfer to transfer all the user’s files/settings to an external hard drive or network location. After the transfer is complete, swap out the hard drives and do a fresh install of Windows 7 onto the SSD. Once the reinstall finishes, use the Windows Easy Transfer utility to copy the saved files/settings back to the computer. This will allow for Windows 7 to recognize the SSD properly and treat it as such, and it also keeps all your data and documents intact.

Generally we've been recommending a fresh install of Win7, but now you have it officially from the company.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While they give a simple and easy to follow answer, it doesnt address reinstalling tens or hundreds of small applications to make your computer "whole" again. I think installing Windows 7 takes up maybe 5% of the total reinstallation time, with the rest on moving files around or reinstalling all the applications I used to have. If you lost your keys or dont know where your install CD's are anymore, you are really up a creak ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While they give a simple and easy to follow answer, it doesnt address reinstalling tens or hundreds of small applications to make your computer "whole" again. I think installing Windows 7 takes up maybe 5% of the total reinstallation time, with the rest on moving files around or reinstalling all the applications I used to have. If you lost your keys or dont know where your install CD's are anymore, you are really up a creak ;)

little known fact: you can run winsat disk to force the OS to recognize an ssd. you had to do this with older ssd's that werent automatically detected by winders.

elevate a cmd prompt to admin status

type in:

winsat disk

this is the same utility used for wei scores, but more indepth. it is what it runs on installation. if it detects ssd, it will make the change :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yups ;) has worked for many others. funny thing is that was what an intel feller advised on their forums. however, that has been many moons ago and i do not have the link. however, in storage 'circles' that is pretty widely used.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, cloning and imaging may be faster; but a reinstall would have the least chances of headaches later and seems much cleaner. Since SSDs promise close to 2x more speeds, everything would install just faster. On a Caviar Black 2TB, windows 7 and softwares for a total usage of 38GB (on a 100GB partition) takes around 5 hrs including imaging (3 stages, 2 copies of each stage) and personalisation. SSDs should knock off around 60-90 mins of that time.

As to losing install CDs, it does make sense to have an iso/exe of the install CD/DVD on the hard disk. Takes up max 3 GB for windows 7 64 bit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just cloned the drive using Acronis and them made sure that the alignment was correct using Paragon Alignment tool. Finally I went though some of the windows 7 settings recomened by OCZ and disable the caching and indexing for the SSD. Everything seem to be working great.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

75% of the time the Acronis process works great. A few weekends ago I ran into a problem where either pre-existing software or something just ruined the speed of the SSD and the only fix was clean install and migrate data using the easy transfer process.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The biggest issues that I had was that in order to max out my SATA points on my Motherboard I needed to specify IDE in the BIOS. Naturally this resulted in much lower then expected results to the point that I thought the driver was a dud or that I would need to reinstall my OS. Unfortunately because I am running with 5 SATA devices and the MB only 5 in IDE mode (Native SATA only supports 3)

Luckily I figured out what I was doing wrong before I redid my entire system and also luckily I had additional SATA point on my USB3 card I bought, so some rearranging around I got every working in optimal again and haven't had any issues.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just installed my OCZ Vertex 2 using Windows software RAID 1, here is what I did:

(1) Made sure partitions are aligned, if they are then RAID 1 will keep 'em aligned too.

(2) Plugged my SSD into eSata port.

(3) Created a software RAID 1, waited for resync to be complete.

(4) Replaced boot drive with SSD and rebooted.

(5) Windows detected that raid has failed, booted off second plex.

(6) Removed old drive from boot.ini and removed mirror.

Prior to this I optimized windows for SSD (disable defrag, create a ram drive for temporary files, etc ...).

Edited by ed29a

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this