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Moving Vista without partition from HDD to SSD

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March 8, 2011 3:44:16 PM

Hello,

I'm new to SSD and I have some questions.

I have Windows Vista on my C drive at the moment but I want to move Vista onto a new 64GB SSD. The OS is not in its own partition it is lumped together with everything else on my HDD.

What actually happens when you clone Vista to SSD? Is this possible even if I've not partitioned the OS? Can you choose what to clone when moving to a SSD?

Does the SSD become the new C drive or is it allocated a new drive letter?

What happens to Vista on the existing HDD? Is this automatically deleted or does it stay on there? If it stays on there can it be deleted or removed?

Once I move Vista to the SSD I am assuming a change in the BIOS is required so that it boots from the new drive.

Many thanks in advance.

Vic
a c 277 G Storage
March 8, 2011 4:11:15 PM

Warning one: I would recommend a fresh install anyway. You will adjust your boot sequence in the BIOS to make the SSD the boot device, and it will see the SSD as C.

Warning two: Vista does not support the "TRIM" command that the SSD needs, and your SSD performance will degrade over time. There are utilities to deal with this; they vary from disk maker to disk maker.

Copying part of the existing OS partition is an iffy business. Unless you do a full clone, you are left with boot record issues that, while they can be fixed, are not simple.

Another alternative is to install another HDD and move things that are not part of the OS to it. You can even use the Properties of the My Documents folder to move it to the new drive, but this will be a pain in your rump after the new install. Sort of like making a sculpture ("Take a piece of marble, remove everything that isn't a horse"), you move everything that isn't OS to this other drive until you have less than 64 GB left, then clone that partition to the SSD.

"What actually happens when you clone Vista to SSD?" Well, if the SSD is big enough, you get an SSD that can be booted and run Vista.
"Is this possible even if I've not partitioned the OS?" Not if the OS partitiion has more on it than the size of the SSD.
"Can you choose what to clone when moving to a SSD?" Nope, that's against the definition of clone, but as I wrote above you can move stuff off the partition first.
"What happens to Vista on the existing HDD?" It sits there, fully bootable. If you pick that drive in the BIOS, it will boot your old copy of Vista.
"If it stays on there can it be deleted or removed?" Yes, but if there is any data on that drive that you still need, I would either simply mark the disk as not bootable or, if I were feeling violent, delete obvious OS directories.

Go back and re-read warning two. Your SSD will slow down until it sucks. Vista does not support SSDs.
March 27, 2011 11:51:54 AM

OK, thanks. Vista really does suck!

Would an upgrade to Windows 7 support TRIM?
Related resources
March 27, 2011 4:02:08 PM

Yes, Windows 7 supports TRIM.
April 3, 2011 4:03:34 PM

Thanks really appreciate the info.
April 23, 2011 12:10:17 PM

Hello,

Finally got round to upgrading to Win 7 and ready to move everything to SSD.

However, I've read a few things about moving to another hard drive. I've read that Win 7 wouldn't boot from the new drive if it a cloned version and that I need to get another code from Microsoft. Does anyone know if there is any truth to this?

Is there a particular good cloning software or app I could use to do this?

Also, as mentioned I don't have multiple partitions so everything is all on my HDD which is much bigger than the SSD that I want to purchase. Would it be a good idea to create a new partition and move all media related stuff to it and then just clone the partition that will have Win 7 on it?

Thanks

Vic
April 23, 2011 2:54:03 PM

viclaw said:
Hello,

Finally got round to upgrading to Win 7 and ready to move everything to SSD.

However, I've read a few things about moving to another hard drive. I've read that Win 7 wouldn't boot from the new drive if it a cloned version and that I need to get another code from Microsoft. Does anyone know if there is any truth to this?

Is there a particular good cloning software or app I could use to do this?

Also, as mentioned I don't have multiple partitions so everything is all on my HDD which is much bigger than the SSD that I want to purchase. Would it be a good idea to create a new partition and move all media related stuff to it and then just clone the partition that will have Win 7 on it?

Thanks

Vic

Glad you have changed to Windows 7, good idea.

How much space on the HDD is actually being used? If that is less than the SSD size, you are fine. If not, can you move enough data from the HDD to another HDD to make the used space less than the SSD size? If so, do that and you are fine. If you can not get your HDD used space to be less than the SSD size, as the first reply stated, you really should do a clean install on the SSD. You can't really partially clone a boot drive. When you clone a boot drive, there are pieces that you can't necessarily see that are critical. There is no way for a beginner to pick which pieces are needed and which are not.

The info about needing a new product id, sometimes called a serial number, from Microsoft is usually not true. Sometimes it happens, but not very often. If it does, it is supposed to be at no cost, but you will need to talk to them to determine that.

Based on what you said, I would not even try to clone unless the used HDD space, after moving out anything that is not needed, is a lot less than the SSD size. There are other issues that are SSD related in cloning so the clean, i.e. new, install is your best bet.

There is little value in going to the trouble of having the OS in it's own partition for most people. Some power users who reload their OS quite often could benifit from that, but not very many people. If you are one who would, you would already know how to do this so the fact that you asked is a good sign that this is not valuable for you. By the way, multiple partitions on a single drive can actually slow the machine. Logically, one might think it would speed it up, but that only works if you are talking about multiple partitions, each on a separate drive.
April 23, 2011 6:40:17 PM

Hello,

I am currently using 131GB of my HDD and the two SSDs I am looking at are 64GB and 124GB. I currently have about 60GB of media so can reduce that about 70GB so it'll be OK if I get the 124GB.

Is it possible to do a clean installation on a new SSD even if I've already used the product key on the HDD to upgrade Vista?

Thanks

Vic
April 23, 2011 11:02:06 PM

viclaw said:
Hello,

I am currently using 131GB of my HDD and the two SSDs I am looking at are 64GB and 124GB. I currently have about 60GB of media so can reduce that about 70GB so it'll be OK if I get the 124GB.

Is it possible to do a clean installation on a new SSD even if I've already used the product key on the HDD to upgrade Vista?

Thanks

Vic


Yes, moving off that 60GB should give you a good amount of space.

The product key is tied to the computer, as a whole, not to the boot drive. Because of that, you should not have a problem. Windows should see it as reinstalling on the same machine, rather than a new install. If it is an upgrade version of 7, instead of a full version, it will be harder to install, but doable.
May 21, 2011 9:36:05 PM

Hello,

OK, so I've managed to clone to the new SSD and boot from it.

However, from the looks of it I have double of everything on the original HHD. Not surprising, but how would I go about removing Win 7 off the HHD and would this be a good idea?

I've already deleted media stuff from the SSD that I have on the HHD to free up space on the SSD.

Thanks

Vic
May 6, 2012 5:11:42 PM

Lots of good information here. I am going to be buying a 120 or 128 SSD this week. Since my c:\ drive has 78GB on it, this should be more than sufficient, although I might consider a 180GB if the price is right.

One thing I don't see mentioned that I intend to do is to make an image copy of my c:\ drive to an external hard drive (which I do on a weekly basis in any case) just before I begin my installation process. This can be done either with Windows 7, or by a third party program - Macrium reflect is a fine, free program for this purpose. Never hurts to be safe than sorry.

I don't have to worry about my data, since I store this on a separate partition on my HDD and back it up nightly (using Macrium too).
!