a few basic questions about ssd and cloning

Hi, I have recently purchased a 17" laptop with two bays for hard drive. Obviously, one is already occupied with a hdd. I am planning to add an 128GB ssd. My questions are:

1. I will use the laptop primarily for web surfing, MS words, photoshop and some games like Civ and Shogun 2 and am planning to install those programs onto the ssd. Would 128GB be enough for my use?

2. How far ahead in reliability is Samsung 830/840 of other brands with similar price tags? It seems that there are other familiar, reputable brands like plextor, kingston, etc, have bigger sales on their products such that I would like to buy one from them if they are that behind in reliability.

3. I am going to clone the hdd onto the ssd and swap the drives. Thing is, I would like to keep the OS and manufacturer's software on the hdd without having to format it. I reason that if the ssd fails without a warning, I can simply use the hdd without having to buy and wait for an installation disk from the manufacturer -- a system recovery disk may not help in case that the ssd fails completely. I would not mind keeping idle a few gigs on the hdd for keeping the OS and manufacturer's software just in case. Would that somehow confuse the computer or have negative effects?

4. The laptop does not come with the OS discs (Windows 8). Is there anyway that I can install the OS onto the ssd using only the recovery partition on the hdd? If not, how can I obtain the OS without having to buy a retail version?

Thanks for your thoughts and help.
5 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about basic questions ssd cloning
  1. you will need the os on your ssd anyway so why not just clone the hdd to the ssd including os,if there is space.then you change your primary boot device to the ssd and you are good to go.i always run 2 hdds in my system so if one goes down i just boot from the other.if this is what you want to do i would recommend a bigger ssd tho. how big? as big as you can afford. if you want to go the cloning route macrium reflect free is easy to use and reliable.
  2. Best answer
    If you clone the HDD onto the SSD, question #4 becomes irrelevant; you won't need to separately install the OS, as it is part of the cloned image.
    As to #3, what you can do is after you clone and/or back up the HDD, uninstall everything not needed (or easily replaceable) to minimize the space used by C:. Then, shrink the partition down to just that size. Create a new partition in the free space, give it a letter, and use that drive for data.
  3. This will handle your cloning needs. Your W8 product key can be extracted using any one of many free utilities and a W8 ISO can be downloaded from Micrsoft. Having two identical drives will likely require choosing which you want to use, or possibly there will be a default and you must choose the other if you wish.
  4. Thanks for the answers, guys. Based on them, I will do the followings in order:

    1. on the hdd, deleting unwanted programs and the recovery partition (after making recovery discs or usb drive)
    2. placing the ssd into the empty bay and cloning the hdd onto it (do I need any extra cable for this?)
    3. physically switching the drives to avoid any complications/screw-ups arising from my inadequacy in computer knowledge (brute over intelligence, so to speak)
    4. creating a now smaller partition on the hdd and use it for data while still keeping the OS on it

    Is it a workable procedure for dummies? Or, do I need to do something so that the laptop would know which out of the two drives it should boot from?

    Thanks for the info regarding how I can go about W8 iso.
  5. no,no extra cables.
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