Windows Backup Image to SSD

Hey guys,

Another SSD question that hasn't been directly answered before (in my research). So a couple days before I ordered the SSD that will arrive in just a couple more days, I reinstalled Windows completely. My BIOS settings were already set to the right settings for an SSD (my HDD runs fine at these settings so I always just use the most modern options). And I have "externalized" all my personal files and folders. So the whole file collection from the C:/ drive is about 40gb (cause of programs installed). This will handily fit on the 64gb drive (should have about 58gb usable).

Is it safe to just make a backup of my C:\ drive using Windows build-in backup tool? When it's all said and done, it creates an image on an external drive that is equivalent in size to my files and not a full drive image. Will I be able to simply pop in the windows disc, boot to recovery menu, and restore from my image to the new drive?

There's 2 issues I need answered on this.

First being the obvious; will restoring from the backup image fail because the partition size of my current drive is 498gb and not within the 64gb limit? Or does it only backup the files and disregard partition size.

The second question is; IF it can simply be restored using windows' build-in tools, will it have any "alignment" issues? I know a fresh install will definitely not as it aligns it in the process, but I've read about people having issues when transferring their partitions.

Thanks! I've been working on creating the smallest footprint and the most compatible and non-write intensive settings as possible for preparation, as this is a fresh install it would be nice to not have to do anything but simply hit restore.
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  1. question 1: if your files are over 64GB, it will give an error (insufficient space)
    question 2: you may have issues with programs you had installed... though ive never gone off a backup, so i cant be sure about that
  2. nna2 said:
    question 1: if your files are over 64GB, it will give an error (insufficient space)
    question 2: you may have issues with programs you had installed... though ive never gone off a backup, so i cant be sure about that

    The backup image was in total 40gb. This is sufficient space for the new 64gb. But I was more or less asking if Windows recovery will take my original formatting info and try to reapply it before copying files (in this case will cause an error), or if it will restore just the files.
  3. Doing a little more digging on the Backup system in Windows, I've managed to concoct a plan. Anyone familiar with the subject, please read the plan and lemme know fi you believe it will work or not, or if it needs tweaking;

    1. Put SSD in drive and boot from firmware updater immediately to upgrade firmware

    2. Boot with Windows disc and do a fresh install

    3. Reboot into recovery menu and restore from backup file

    This should alleviate any alignment and system partition issues, as well as replace all the windows files and drivers with the ones I want backed up. Does this seem logical?
  4. Windows recovery is very hit and miss. I prefer to use farstone total recovery pro.
  5. daship said:
    Windows recovery is very hit and miss. I prefer to use farstone total recovery pro.

    That's not quite the type of information I was looking for.
  6. I'd recommend that you make a backup on removable media, DVD or USB and then use an imaging program to duplicate your hard drive to the SSD.

    Depending on the SSD you bought you may be able to download imaging software from their site. Acronis or Ghost are good if you want to buy one. DriveImageXML or Paragon Drive Backup Free are supposed to be good.
  7. I suggest that you browse the last week of the forum; this question has been addressed many times, and there are two schools of opinion.

    The first school, which dominated until recently, holds that you should always do a new install for an SSD. There are a number of system configurations that get optimized for the SSD.

    The newer school holds for a clone. But don't do a straight clone. There are applications, even free ones, that will restore an OS backup to a new system that has different hardware, and make the necessary adjustments for the new environment. As one example (not a plug for the product), you can make a backup with EASEUS To-Do backup and use the Restore to Dissimilar Hardware option.

    Until this lovely feature was added to many utilities, the practice was to do a straight clone and then boot from the Windows disk and do a Repair Install.

    Windows itself has a porting tool built in.


    So. There are choices, multiple approaches each of which works. You have to pick which one you want to use based on the spectrum from strict technical perfection to convenience. I'm a reinstaller, myself, but that's a personal preference.
  8. Best answer
    If your new SSD needs a firmware upgrade just slave it up to your existing functioning copy of Windows and run the firmware upgrade utility from your manufacture.

    In your case, since it sounds you have a fairly clean install and have already migrated all your data and files to another drive, I would recommend doing a fresh Windows install. Just plug in your new SSD and unplug ANY other HD you have so windows does not inadvertantly place the boot sector on the wrong drive. I have seen people do this and has happened to me once. Then just do the normal windows install on your new SSD choosing the entire contents of your drive as C:.

    If you have some previously installed software you do not want to lose than you have the option to clone your drive as an IMAGE to a storage drive and then booting from a CD put that image back on your new SSD. There are only a couple of cloning programs that I know that support going from a larger partition drive to a smaller partition drive which is your case. The programs I know that can do this is Norton Ghost and Acronis Trueimage. There may be more but I haven't found them. As long as the data area is small enough to fit on the partition of the new drive it will fit. All other cloning software will fail if it sees a partition mismatch of going from a larger partition to a smaller partition regardless of how much data you are using.

    I have done tons of cloning in the past and have been researching because I have run into a similar issue. I am trying to clone 2 RAID'ed hard drives with a total capacity of 300GB to pair of RAID'ed SSD's with a total capacity of 220GB with a data storage footprint of only 209GB. I can make the image but have run into a glitch of the best way to get that image restored to new RAID pair that recognizes my RAID array and will accept the partition mismatch. I DO NOT want to do a fresh install.
  9. Ok thanks for the deeper looks into this guys. I think I nailed down the final process (yay, as it will be arriving today!). How's this sound;

    1. Upgrade firmware on drive (as I always should, FIRST THING).

    2. Remove all my other drives, except for the SSD and hardware that will remain installed such as my card reader.

    3. Install all my drivers and programs (I keep an updated backup of all system drivers and simple programs so in case a clean install ever needs to come up, I'm prepared.)

    4. Once windows is working, updated, and clean, proceed to plug in the rest of my drives, and begin repointing the custom user locations to the right places (Downloads, My docs, Desktop, ect.) to my other drives.

    And that should be it. Sound ok?
  10. Word of warning... may depend on your Windows version...

    I tried to use the Windows (Vista ultimate 64 bit) image backup and restore. To move my wifes Noisy Raid0 600Gb to a new single HDD of 500GB.
    Data was only about 180GB.

    Recovery objected.. since the target drive was smaller than the original drive!!!

    I even reduced the partion size to 400GB... re-did the backup but it still objected as it still knew the original disk was 600GB.

    If you doing Win 7 - may be it better now .... but do be careful

    in the end - I used Macrium reflect software... which would image and then recover to a smaller drive (as long as actual data would fit - obviously).

  11. Best answer selected by kingfoot.
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