Using an SSD as a system disk

I'm running Win7 x64 with 2 600GB HDDs configured as a RAID 1. They're partitioned as a C: and D: drive, with my OS and apps on C:. I'd like to boost my performance by adding an SSD and moving all the stuff on C: to it. I've already bought and installed the SSD and it works fine, but I haven't performed the transfer because I have the following questions:

1. I use Acronis True Image Home 2011 for my backups. If I do a complete system backup of my C: drive with it, will it be sufficient to simply restore that archive to the SSD to get everything I need over there (I know there's more to the transfer than that (see below); I'm just talking about the raw move of the files)?

2. Do I need to do a sector-by-sector backup first?

3. Do I need to worry about sector alignment?

4. Do I need to turn on TRIM or is it automatic w/ Win7? I have a Corsair Nova V128 which supports it.

5. Should I set the SSD's partition to Active before or after the transfer?

6. How do I change the SSD's drive letter to C: without screwing up my system? It seems to me there always has to be a C: drive somewhere for my apps and OS to run, so I can't change the old C: partition to something else before setting the SSD to C:, because I'd momentarily be without a C: drive. On the other hand, if I change the SSD to C: first, I'll momentarily have two C: drives.

Thanks for your help.
4 answers Last reply
More about using system disk
  1. May depend on which SSD you bought, But I think you would be better of doing a clean instal.

    I did a image of my boot drive using windows 7 Back-up (Intel G2 80 gig) Then using the Win 7 installation disk did a restore to a New SSD (Pheonix Pro 120 Gig).

    Although it worked (and am currently using it, I found that I will need to do a clean install.

    (1) With a clean install, Win 7 will recognize that it is an SSD and set trim to enabled. Mine was for SSD->SSD so it was enabled. Going from a HDD -> SSD it will not, But you can verify/enable it in the registry.

    (2) Partition alginment is importantant. I verified my alignment and it was OK. Going from an HDD, it may, or may not be.

    (3) You will be transfering the Drivers for your current setup. With an SSD, it works best if set to AHCI. The Newer/faster SSDs (using the Sandforce controller) You need the Intel RST driver (version 9) to obtain optumim performance. This is the reason that that I will have to do a clean install, orginal SSD used the uSoft default AHCI Driver. After Satisfied, you can delete the Operating system from your HDD.

    I've seen some posts where they have imaged a HDD to an SSD and it worked fine, Not sure if they imaged a "Plain-jane" HDD as compared to a raid 1 setup. In your case it might be better to do a clean install as opposed to doing an image transfer and finding out that you really should have done the Clean install. - I know, UGH, re-installing all the programs. Reason I've not redone mine - small file Random read/writes were fine, but Sequencial was considerably below spec.

    What I would do is disconnect your HDD, then do a install to the SSD with that as the only drive connected. You should be able to dual boot the SSD/HDD by selecting which drive to boot from (On my P55-UD4P MB, I just hit F12 duing Post and a List pops up. The drive you boot to will come up as "C-drive"
  2. Thanks, Chief. I'll think about the clean install. For now, it "seems" like Win7 has recognized the drive as an SSD since fsutil behavior query disabledeletenotify returns 0, indicating TRIM is enabled. Might not be the case after the transfer, but I can always reset it, as you said. How did you check your alignment? What tool do you use for speed measurement?
  3. Just run "C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\MSInfo.exe", go to "Components > Storage > Disks" and find "Partition Starting Offset". It will be in bytes, divide the number by 4096 – should be a whole Number
  4. I tried to image my RAID 0 to my ssd using acronis home 10. I fought with it for a while and finally loaded from scratch. I came up with some weird tricks to enable achi and then back and forth in BIOS for RAID to AHCI to ... Anyway, long story short... Follow the advice of the Chief.
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