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From Big HDD to Tiny SSD: Windows 7's built in tools

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January 30, 2012 12:47:28 PM

I have an HP DM1Z. Great laptop/netbook. It needs some raw horsepower to get it going. So I decided to give it 8 GB of RAM and an SSD.

My SSD of choice is the OCZ Solid 3 120GB... Why? Because it was cheap. Am I aware of the possible reliability issues? Yes. Do I care? No.

Under NORMAL circumstances, I would simply remove the old HDD, replace it with the new SSD and do a fresh Windows 7 installation (likely Pro or Ultimate). However, I will not do this with this particular laptop. I have my reasons that are too numerous to list here in a short amount of time.

Now that this is out of the way, my question is as follows:

I am trying to get the default partitions transferred to the SSD via Windows' built in utilities: 1st, the 'partition shrinking' tool. 2nd, the 'create a system image' tool.

The 'partition shrinking tool' could not sufficiently shrink the default partition. I am aware of this utility's limitations, but despite both defragmenting and removing the page file, I was unable to sufficiently shrink the partition. So I have turned to a free utility I found online (don't recall which one, but it wasn't the open source one), and used it to shrink the partition. Success.

Now, I am trying to use Windows' own 'create a system image' tool, so that I can maintain all the hidden partitions as well as let Windows deal with partition alignment (which I understand is the best 'free' imaging tool at maintaining proper alignment).

Does anyone know if this will work? Has anyone tried shrinking a partition from a HDD using a 3rd party utility, but then use the built in imaging utility to go from an HDD to an SSD?

Thanks in advance!

a b $ Windows 7
a c 311 G Storage
January 30, 2012 1:29:35 PM

I would run CCleaner and then use Todo Backup for the image transfer.
January 30, 2012 1:31:58 PM

Ok, Todo Backup looks interesting (and I think that was the partition tool I used).
But why CCleaner? That is just antimalware?
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a b $ Windows 7
a b G Storage
January 30, 2012 1:34:11 PM

You didn't mention how big the HDD partition is so I'm assuming it's smaller than the 120 GB SSD. I recently used a "transfer kit" from a company called Apricorn. It consists of a proprietary dongle and some software. It cost about $20 on Newegg and did what you want to do perfectly including the "alignment". I highly recommend this product.
January 30, 2012 2:01:20 PM

The host partition was initially 220 GB.
Windows was able to shrink it to just over 120 GB.
The partition needed to be under 90 GB so that I could get the host partition on the SSD, along with all the recovery tools/partitions onto the 120 GB SSD.

That tool you just described from Apricorn: I just found it on Amazon (Prime) with a review confirming your results. This would, at the very least, save a step on any of the purely free methods. I think I will try this method. Thank you so much!
a b G Storage
January 30, 2012 2:06:52 PM

Use Gparted (a free linux distribution that you can boot from a USB drive) to resize the partitions.

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a b G Storage
January 30, 2012 2:13:17 PM
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I used ToDo Backup from Easeus and it worked for me. I had a 320GB laptop drive that I wanted to migrate to an 80GB Intel SSD. The actual used space on the laptop was something under 50GB.

I tried defragging, which took hours, then I ran the partition shrink but it didn't get nearly small enough. So I downloaded todobackup and it did the whole job in about an hour.
a b $ Windows 7
a c 351 G Storage
January 30, 2012 2:13:50 PM

If you had hibernation enabled, that is the most likey reason you could not shrink the partion using windows disk management. On several systems, to shrink the "C" drive, I've had to disable hibernation, reboot and run disk clean-up. You can verify that the Hibernation sys file is gone by looking for it (forgot exact name) - remember it's a hidden file.

I am NOT a fan of cloning HDDs to a SSD, (cloning an SSD -> SSD is fine, I have done it several times. HDD -> SSD clone: (1) Will need to find a way to align the partiton, (2) manually enable trim, and (3) if HDD was not set to AHCI, then deal with that issue..

This is generally a one time re-install - I Know it's a PITA, but may well be worth it. In addition to not have to worry about the 3 obsticales you clean up windows.
a b $ Windows 7
a c 311 G Storage
January 30, 2012 2:14:20 PM

jacobdrj said:
Ok, Todo Backup looks interesting (and I think that was the partition tool I used).
But why CCleaner? That is just antimalware?


It is a freeware tool that cleans out all cache and temp files, to help reduce the Windows image that you transfer. Todo is also free and works as well as any solution that costs money, it is particularly useful to take a system image off a larger HDD and write it on a smaller SSD, which many products like Ghost will not do.
January 30, 2012 4:31:27 PM

RetiredChief

I had turned off Hibernate, System Restore, and the Page File.

This was done for 3 reasons:
1) Simple space conservation
2) SSD optimization
3) Partition management (shrinking the main system partition) for the cloning


I agree, under normal circumstances, I would NEVER do a HDD to SSD clone. Going from a laptop with a HDD to SDD is usually an excuse to be able to start from scratch with Windows 7 and the latest drivers.

However, due to the nature of this particular transfer, (namely a bunch of licensed software hard-coded to my hardware configuration, that won't allow for secondary installations, as these are tracked by those companies) an image is the only way to go.

jsrudd, Gparted is the open source solution I was talking about. Because the DM1Z is a netbook (no DVD drive) it became obvious that using Gparted would be a PITA, trying to get an external drive and a blank disk. Non DVD utilities were preferred. Usually, I would have my full gamut of tools in my lab, but I am OOO, and need to use as many free online utilities as I can.

However, the 1 step option that ram1009 mentioned was both inexpensive and intuitive. If my attempt to use Windows' 'System Imaging Tool' fails, I am going to try this. Granted, I'll have to wait 2 days for it to arrive, but it could be worth the wait.
a b $ Windows 7
a c 351 G Storage
January 30, 2012 5:02:10 PM

Totally understand.
My wife has a situation very similar to yours and I ended up using a program to transfer applications. She has some very old programs that are a real pain to install. She start with version one of a program that required a dongle, then went thru about 10 upgades which each one required the previous ver to be install. Then of coarse she also had some programs that she had lost either the Key or the instalation disk/program.

For her system (just HDD-> HDD) She had XP, new computer (store bought, with vista - Ugh). Used transfer program. That lasted about 6 Months when I built her a low end I3 and installed Win 7. Again New transfer program to transfer her programs. And since Win 7 Does not have a email client and she LIKED vista's winmail. I then had to install vista's winmail program - not the easiest thing to do - LOL.

So Understand and feel your pain.
When Done, down load AS SSD install and open - don't need to run the benchmark program. Just look at the upper left where it will display:
.. SSD and the firmware installed.
.. Driver. Here look that it does not say "pcide = BAD" if so fix, should show msahci and if intel chipset iaSTor. if pcide then there is a registry fix, just google it.
.. Partition alignment should show "OK"
January 31, 2012 12:30:41 PM

cadder said:
I used ToDo Backup from Easeus and it worked for me. I had a 320GB laptop drive that I wanted to migrate to an 80GB Intel SSD. The actual used space on the laptop was something under 50GB.

I tried defragging, which took hours, then I ran the partition shrink but it didn't get nearly small enough. So I downloaded todobackup and it did the whole job in about an hour.


Wow! This worked GREAT!!! It was very easy and intuitive. The transfer occurred in about 2 hours, and I got all the sizes of all the partitions just like I needed them. And it's free. Who'dve thunk it! However, I did need a drive adapter, which I happened to have. I am still purchasing the other tool, but I think the ToDo will be my go-to way of transferring from HDDs to SSDs in the near future!

Oh, and to actually answer my initial question that started this post: It is VERY hard to get Windows' built in utilities to transfer a large HDD to a small SSD. 3rd party utilities are the way to go.
January 31, 2012 12:31:18 PM

Best answer selected by jacobdrj.
a b $ Windows 7
January 31, 2012 12:44:00 PM

This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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