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Putting pre-installed Windows on a new hard drive?

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December 18, 2013 12:40:23 PM

I recently purchased a HP envy laptop with Windows 8 pre-installed. I also have the recovery discs. I'm really unhappy with the hard drive being slow, and want to install a ssd hard drive and put the OS on it.

Can I install the new ssd hard drive and use the recovery discs to install Windows 8 and all of the drivers, or do I need to buy a new copy of Windows 8?

I tried this once before with my desktop, and it wouldn't let me use a different hdd with the recovery discs, it said I could only use the recovery discs with the original hdd, so I had to get a new copy of Windows 7, which pissed me off to no end.

I even bought a hdd caddy to replace my cd drive because I still want the other hdd for storage, but I want the OS on the ssd.
December 18, 2013 12:51:04 PM

You didn't have to get a new copy of windows 7 on the old machine. The license was still valid. You just needed to get a windows disk or image the old drive and transfer the image.

Not sure how happy the recovery disks will be in this case, but yes you can change the hard drive and keep this copy of windows 8.
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a c 152 G Storage
a b * Windows 8
December 18, 2013 1:12:00 PM

Sometimes using the recovery media on other drives is a paint because of secure boot(a feature in the bios).

My recommendation since you already have the hdd caddy would be to use a program like Macrium Reflect Free(free for personal use) to clone the HDD to the SSD. now you will need almost of the partitions for this to work.

You should be able to clone ALL but the recovery partition(if you make an image of your system at this time, you can actually load it to the drive in the future if you have issues. The image may be rather large, so storing it would be best left to another hard drive.). You can also make the image AFTER, but you better be sure everything is working before erasing the old hard drive.

Last HP I had like this had a 1gigabyte(Windows Recovery Environment) 360 megabyte(UEFI boot) and 100(blank, it may have been used for alignment, but I just left it) megabyte partition before the Windows partition and the Recovery was the last partition.

Once you have cloned everything over, you will want to remove the hard drive to make 100% sure it is working before you erase the current drive. You will have to use third party tools or Diskpart from the command prompt to remove all the extra partitions from the old drive(even better to use another computer for this if you can).

Once the drive is clean, you can install it again and use it as a location for all your documents/desktop/pictures/downloads/ect
This can be done with the location tab of each of the "Users" folders.


Again it is recommended to make an image of the full ssd(best done with just the programs you want installed and everything cleaned out and hibernation/page file OFF to save space in the image file) with the extra partitions in case you need to use it in the future(this can bypass issues with the HP recovery media.).
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December 19, 2013 8:47:56 PM

My hdd is around 700GB, and the recovery partition is about 30GB. My ssd will be 250GB. Will there be any problems with the space difference?

Would it be a good idea to do a clean install with my recovery discs on my hdd so it is clean, and then clone that onto the ssd? I've never dealt with cloning software before, but I had read people sometimes run into problems.

I don't understand why they make it so difficult just to swap out a hard drive.
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a c 152 G Storage
a b * Windows 8
December 19, 2013 9:16:17 PM

As long as the total amount of data you are bringing over is under 250 gigabytes(so sometimes you may want to uninstall some games to make your total content of c : smaller. Steam allows you to backup steam games to another drive or burn them to dvd's). External hard drives are great for this, then you will have no issues.

I went from a 1tb(931gigabyte) to a 120 gigabyte ssd on this other system without issues because Windows/programs and the other partitions(not the recovery one) did not even take half the ssd. I used the hard drive for the files after too, but also left the old copy of windows and just removed it's drive letter to. This way, if something happens in the future, the old drive can still load Windows leaving the system usable again until any problems can be fixed.

On my media center system, I went from another 1tb drive to a 128 gigabyte ssd without issues as well with a few games it only takes about 74 gigabytes of the ssd for that system.

My gaming system went from a 2tb drive to 2 x 256 gigabyte ssd's(not in raid)

So cloning does tend to work out well once you are used to it.

The only issue with the recover disks is they end up making a recover partition.

Next time I have access to that Win8 HP(next day or so) system I will see about getting some screen shots to show you what it looked like and what was copied.

To save space before the copy, I recommend turning off hibernate and reducing or disabling the page file just to make the clone faster. re-enable the page file after and hibernate is up to you. It is part of the Win8 quick boot feature, but with an ssd, it is not needed to be honest.
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December 20, 2013 11:09:15 AM

I removed as many unnecessary programs from my hdd as possible, and got it down to an acceptable size, turned off page file and hibernate, and doing some last minute optimization to the hdd before I begin cloning it. Thanks for the help.
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a c 152 G Storage
a b * Windows 8
December 20, 2013 1:38:54 PM

After the cloning and making sure everything is running off the ssd(remove the hdd for that test). run the Windows Experience Index, because it will detect the ssd and turn off auto defrag(it will setup Optimize, something that is made for ssds) for you.
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December 20, 2013 2:15:34 PM

I screwed up somewhere down the line and it ended up not working. My main hdd had a 666GB, a 400MB, 260 MB, and a 380MB partition. All together about 117GB was on the HDD, not including the 30GB for the Recovery partition. I clicked on clone drive, and picked my new SSD as the destination, and it came up saying that not all of the partitions were installed because there wasn't enough space. 117<237, so I couldn't figure out why it wasn't working.

So I unchecked the small partitions and just cloned over the main partition, which it allowed me to do, but apparently the boot files were in one of those small partitions so I can't boot from my ssd.

I just reformatted my ssd, and going to try again.

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December 20, 2013 4:56:01 PM

I tried again, and this time it worked. There was a 384MB partition that the cloning program wouldn't copy over, so I right clicked on the main ssd partition, made a new partition of the same size, and realized I could drag the source partition over it, and it worked. I shut down the computer after and it started up in a matter of seconds.

I then connected my old hdd to my desktop and used Diskpart to clean it and then I formatted it once I installed it back on my laptop. Thanks for the help.
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a c 152 G Storage
a b * Windows 8
December 20, 2013 7:27:01 PM

Glad you got it all worked out.

Remember to run the WEI program so that it detects the ssd and ensure it will not try to auto defrag it at idle or on schedule.
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December 20, 2013 8:28:35 PM

Microsoft got rid of WEI for Windows 8. but they updated the defrag software to automatically detect a ssd, so they don't accidentally try to defrag it. Thanks again.
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a c 152 G Storage
a b * Windows 8
December 20, 2013 8:36:18 PM

Strange, I just ran WEI in 8 like 3 days ago. Unless they removed it from 8.1 I have not installed 8.1 yet.

As long as the ssd defrag option shows optimize now, you are good.
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