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How to Migrate to a Solid-State Drive Without Reinstalling Windows

A solid-state drive is without doubt one of the finest upgrades you may make on your desktop laptop. And it’s not very arduous to arrange: Physically set up it, join the proper cables, and reinstall Windows from scratch.

But possibly you don’t need to take care of establishing Windows (once more), copying your whole vital information and folders out of your favourite backup location, and reinstalling all of your apps. We really feel you.

There’s an alternative choice you may attempt whenever you’re migrating to a new SSD: cloning your previous arduous drive onto the brand new one. It’s (fairly) quick and straightforward to do, and one thing you may set to run in a single day for those who don’t need to wait and watch. When you get up and swap your system over to your new SSD, all the things will likely be precisely as you left it. (In principle.)

Before we get began…

Illustration for article titled How to Migrate to a Solid-State Drive Without Reinstalling Windows

Screenshot: David Murphy

There’s one vital truth you’ll want to be mindful when cloning drives like this. Your new SSD has to be large enough to maintain all the things out of your older, main arduous drive. If that’s not the case, cloning gained’t work.

To liberate area, you may delete information you not want or can re-download once more. You also can set up a contemporary model of Windows on the brand new SSD, make that the first boot drive (by way of your motherboard’s BIOS), and use your older arduous drive as secondary storage on your less-critical information, video games, films, or no matter. You don’t have to have all the things in your new SSD, in any case.

If you might have a laptop computer

If you’re changing your laptop computer’s drive with a new SSD, this complete course of turns into a bit harder, because you most likely solely have room for one drive (until your laptop computer comes with a spare slot for an M.2 SSD). To clone your main drive to your new SSD, you may decide up a USB-to-SATA adapter, an exterior dock, or one in every of these fancy devices.

The cloning course of may take wherever from a cheap to a massive period of time relying in your USB connection and the dimensions of your laptop computer’s drive. However, the wait is value it: Replacing an older mechanical arduous drive with a brand-new SSD is probably the greatest efficiency upgrades you can provide your laptop computer.


Step one: Grab Macrium Reflect (free version)

We’ll be utilizing the appliance Macrium Reflect to clone your arduous drive to your new SSD. When you double-click on the installer, you’ll really see a display screen that appears like a downloading device reasonably than your typical software installer. That’s appropriate. I’m undecided why Macrium Software goes this route as a substitute of simply providing up all the app as a obtain, however there you go.

Illustration for article titled How to Migrate to a Solid-State Drive Without Reinstalling Windows

Screenshot: David Murphy

You shouldn’t have to change any choices on this display screen. Just click on the “Download” button and comply with all of the prompts when it has accomplished. Once Macrium Reflect hundreds up, and assuming your new SSD is linked to your desktop or laptop computer, you’ll see a display screen that appears one thing like this:

Illustration for article titled How to Migrate to a Solid-State Drive Without Reinstalling Windows

Screenshot: David Murphy

For the needs of this text, I’ll be wiping my F: drive (“Tiny Game Drive”) and pretending I’m cloning my main drive, C:, over to it. (I by accident deleted my screenshot that confirmed F: as empty, so let’s play faux for a second.)

Step two: Setting up the clone

To get began, simply click on on the “Clone this disk” hyperlink beneath your main arduous drive, which must be chosen by default. On the display screen that seems, click on on the “Select a disk to clone to” hyperlink within the large field of empty white area and decide your new SSD. Your display screen ought to then look one thing like this:

Illustration for article titled How to Migrate to a Solid-State Drive Without Reinstalling Windows

Screenshot: David Murphy

You may need as many partitions as my instance; you may need fewer. Regardless, you’re going to need to get them located in your new SSD. You may simply give you the option to click on “copy selected partitions” and have all the things map out completely in your new SSD. You may additionally get hit with a:

Illustration for article titled How to Migrate to a Solid-State Drive Without Reinstalling Windows

Screenshot: David Murphy

Sigh. In my instance, I may match the primary 4 partitions onto my new SSD, however the fourth partition—my main information partition—appeared as if it was consuming up the remainder of my SSD’s area, though the SSD had loads of room for each partition from my main drive. To repair this, click on on “Undo” and manually drag your partitions out of your previous arduous drive onto your new SSD, saving the most important partition for final:

Illustration for article titled How to Migrate to a Solid-State Drive Without Reinstalling Windows

Screenshot: David Murphy

Once you’ve completed that, click on “Next.”

Step three: Activating the clone

You’ll now see a display screen that has a fairly detailed evaluate of all of the issues Macrium Reflect goes to do as soon as your clone begins. No, it hasn’t completed something but—you’ve simply been setting it up.

Illustration for article titled How to Migrate to a Solid-State Drive Without Reinstalling Windows

Screenshot: David Murphy

You can evaluate these settings for those who’d like, however you’re most likely fairly secure to simply hit “Finish,” which begins the process:

Illustration for article titled How to Migrate to a Solid-State Drive Without Reinstalling Windows

Screenshot: David Murphy

Depending on the dimensions of the drive you’re going to—how a lot information Macrium Reflect has to transfer—in addition to its pace, this course of may take a little time. Mine was completed in a smidge over a half-hour, however I used to be cloning an SSD (the place my Windows partition lives) to an empty SSD for this instance. In different phrases, the switch was fairly speedy. Moving from a arduous drive to an SSD may take 4 occasions as lengthy (or extra). If you’re impatient, you may simply arrange your clone to run in a single day, and all the things will likely be set when you get up.

Step 4: Wrapping up

Now that you’ve got a clone of your unique drive, don’t do something in your main drive that places information in your laptop you’d in any other case need to save, as a result of that gained’t seem in your cloned drive. I like to recommend inserting a textual content file in your desktop that claims “THIS IS THE OLD HARD DRIVE,” or one thing extra witty than that, after which energy down your laptop.

If you’re changing your previous arduous drive together with your new SSD, disconnect your previous arduous drive out of your desktop or laptop computer (possible a SATA and energy cable) and plug in your new SSD proper the place your previous drive used to be. You shouldn’t have to tweak anything in your system’s BIOS—it ought to boot immediately to your main Windows partition in your new SSD. (Or, no less than, mine did.)

If you’re maintaining your previous arduous drive round, reconnect it to one other SATA port in your desktop system. Check to be certain that your laptop doesn’t by accident boot to it as a substitute of your new SSD by seeing if the whole dimension of your c: drive (in bytes, in its “Properties” display screen) matches the capability of your new SSD, not your previous arduous drive. That, or search for the “THIS IS THE OLD HARD DRIVE” textual content file in your BIOS, assuming you didn’t skip that step. If you’re booting to your previous arduous drive as a substitute of your new one, you’ll have to change your system’s boot order in your BIOS.

Assuming that your laptop is appropriately booting to your new SSD, pull up Computer Management (by way of the Start Menu), click on on Disk Management, discover your previous arduous drive, right-click on its varied partitions, and choose “Delete Volume” for each. If this feature is grayed out, you may want to use a third-party app like Paragon Hard Disk Manager (the free model) as a substitute. Same idea, it’ll simply permit you to delete your previous volumes and re-partition the drive as a large fats chunk of empty area.

Illustration for article titled How to Migrate to a Solid-State Drive Without Reinstalling Windows

Screenshot: David Murphy

Step 5: Proper SSD upkeep

To affirm that Windows 10 appropriately acknowledges your new SSD, and performs all the proper TRIM capabilities on a common foundation, click on the Start button, kind in “Defragment,” and choose the primary choice: “Defragment and Optimize Drives.”

In the display screen that seems, Windows ought to word that your main C: drive is certainly a solid-state drive, like so:

Illustration for article titled How to Migrate to a Solid-State Drive Without Reinstalling Windows

Screenshot: David Murphy

You also can test that TRIM is enabled by way of the Command Prompt. Open up a Command Prompt with Administrator entry (right-click on the shortcut, by way of the Start Menu, and choose “Run as administrator”), and enter this command: fsutil habits question DisableDeleteNotify

If you see a display screen like this, you’re golden:

Illustration for article titled How to Migrate to a Solid-State Drive Without Reinstalling Windows

Screenshot: David Murphy

If not, you may power Windows to allow TRIM by coming into the next command: fsutil habits set DisableDeleteNotify 0

While you’re at it, your SSD’s producer possible has some form of software it affords that you should use to guarantee Windows (and your motherboard) are property configured for max efficiency. That, and these apps normally allow you to test for and set up new firmware on your SSD. Head on over to your SSD producer’s web site, or the product web page on your particular SSD, and see if there’s an app you may obtain and set up. Here’s what one instance seems to be like: Samsung’s Magician.

Illustration for article titled How to Migrate to a Solid-State Drive Without Reinstalling Windows

Screenshot: David Murphy

This piece was initially printed in April 2013 by Whitson Gordon, and was up to date in August 2018 and July 2020 by David Murphy. Updates embody the next: clarified language from the unique piece, added extra screenshots, included new steerage, and rewrote the introduction.

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