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System Cloning Help

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December 9, 2012 4:49:34 AM

I currently have a 320 GB WD Caviar Blue running Windows 7 in my build. After using this setup for a little while, I have all my preferences set and several important programs installed that I'd rather not have to re-install. I am planning on getting an SSD to house the OS and the programs and keeping the HDD for storage, but I have no idea how to do so. I've read up a little on cloning the HDD to the SSD, but I'm not entirely sure about it. Would it make the SSD look and behave exactly as my system does now, just faster? Or would I have to reconfigure all my preferences and settings?

In addition, I have no idea which SSD to buy. I've heard very mixed comments about OCZ drives. Either they're amazing or they die after 3 months. Any suggestions for a drive within the range of $100-$150?

More about : system cloning

December 9, 2012 10:13:58 PM

I dont know too much on this but I have seen with some SSD you get cloning software that is included such as Crucial.
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a b G Storage
December 9, 2012 10:27:16 PM

Usually best to do a clean install but can look into Acronis.
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a c 160 G Storage
December 10, 2012 12:52:46 AM

I have cloned several systems to SSD's. It all works the same, just faster.

As for OCZ, just ensure you have the latest firmware and things should be good.

Please ensure that your SATA ports are set to AHCI before using the SSD.

This brings up another concern, if your are in IDE mode at this time, the swap will lead to blue screens and you will need to do a registry change to fix it BEFORE making the change to the SSD.

Other things to have ready.

Windows DVD or Windows repair DVD. The cloning process depending on the drive can lead to an blue screen about a missing device. This is because the system reserved partition tells the system what drive/partition to boot from and the swap of a drive sometimes messes it up(better software does not have this problem). Windows "Start-up Repair" will fix it up very fast.

You may also wish to have either another system handy in case you want to rebuild the BCD entry(the Windows start-up repair should do this for you). It never hurts to be ready for anything.

On advantage you have is that as long as you do erase the hard drive you can actually boot it and edit the BCD on the SSD if you have to :) . You do NOT want to erase the hard drive until you are 100% sure the clone went well.

It does not hurt to have a copy of GParted on hand. It is a linux based partition tool that can be used if for some reason your clone is not aligned.

http://lifehacker.com/5837769/make-sure-your-partitions...

I know it seems like a lot, but its not too bad.

Clone(with your software of choice. I have used easus todo backup free and it worked, but DID create an unaligned partition and needs bcd editing or startup repair).

Remove hard dive and try to boot.

Error? Try windows startup repair.

Boot. Good?(if not post back and we will use easyBCD to edit the SSD's boot loader)

Check Alignment. use AS SSD to see if under the controller it has another line that says OK. If it is RED, you most likely need to align the drive.

http://www.softpedia.com/dyn-postdownload.php?p=216352&...

The link above lists how to align the drive with GParted.

Here is the kicker, if you have had to align, you will need to run the repair again.

Just so you know, not all software has these issues. I have not cloned enough SSD's, but I am almost sure any SSD/hard drive that have Acronis software will do ALL(or damn near all) the work for you.

Remember at this point, you have not messed with the Hard drive meaning that you can always use the other drive to fix any BCD errors(bootloader) without much trouble.
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December 10, 2012 2:49:17 AM

nukemaster said:
I have cloned several systems to SSD's. It all works the same, just faster.

As for OCZ, just ensure you have the latest firmware and things should be good.

Please ensure that your SATA ports are set to AHCI before using the SSD.

This brings up another concern, if your are in IDE mode at this time, the swap will lead to blue screens and you will need to do a registry change to fix it BEFORE making the change to the SSD.

Other things to have ready.

Windows DVD or Windows repair DVD. The cloning process depending on the drive can lead to an blue screen about a missing device. This is because the system reserved partition tells the system what drive/partition to boot from and the swap of a drive sometimes messes it up(better software does not have this problem). Windows "Start-up Repair" will fix it up very fast.

You may also wish to have either another system handy in case you want to rebuild the BCD entry(the Windows start-up repair should do this for you). It never hurts to be ready for anything.

On advantage you have is that as long as you do erase the hard drive you can actually boot it and edit the BCD on the SSD if you have to :) . You do NOT want to erase the hard drive until you are 100% sure the clone went well.

It does not hurt to have a copy of GParted on hand. It is a linux based partition tool that can be used if for some reason your clone is not aligned.

http://lifehacker.com/5837769/make-sure-your-partitions...

I know it seems like a lot, but its not too bad.

Clone(with your software of choice. I have used easus todo backup free and it worked, but DID create an unaligned partition and needs bcd editing or startup repair).

Remove hard dive and try to boot.

Error? Try windows startup repair.

Boot. Good?(if not post back and we will use easyBCD to edit the SSD's boot loader)

Check Alignment. use AS SSD to see if under the controller it has another line that says OK. If it is RED, you most likely need to align the drive.

http://www.softpedia.com/dyn-postdownload.php?p=216352&...

The link above lists how to align the drive with GParted.

Here is the kicker, if you have had to align, you will need to run the repair again.

Just so you know, not all software has these issues. I have not cloned enough SSD's, but I am almost sure any SSD/hard drive that have Acronis software will do ALL(or damn near all) the work for you.

Remember at this point, you have not messed with the Hard drive meaning that you can always use the other drive to fix any BCD errors(bootloader) without much trouble.


Two questions:
Are the AHCI settings you mentioned in the BIOS?
Does using Acronis (or a very similar software) mean I can essentially bypass all the Alignment, Windows start up repair, GParted, and BCD stuff?
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a c 160 G Storage
December 10, 2012 3:09:54 AM

AHCI mode is a bios option(you may already even be in that mode). If not, the registry change should be made FIRST then the mode changed and ensure it boots right before cloning.

Any times I have used Acronis, it just did what it was supposed to(so yes, it bypassed all that other stuff). I try to use and recommend free options to help users who do not want to buy software.

http://kb.acronis.com/content/2699

Acronis is about as easy as it gets and many hard drive / SSD makers have a free Acronis based cloning program for free as long as you have a drive from that maker.
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December 10, 2012 3:22:13 AM

nukemaster said:
AHCI mode is a bios option(you may already even be in that mode). If not, the registry change should be made FIRST then the mode changed and ensure it boots right before cloning.

Any times I have used Acronis, it just did what it was supposed to(so yes, it bypassed all that other stuff). I try to use and recommend free options to help users who do not want to buy software.

http://kb.acronis.com/content/2699

Acronis is about as easy as it gets and many hard drive / SSD makers have a free Acronis based cloning program for free as long as you have a drive from that maker.


Would OCZ have software for this drive? I assume you would download it from their website, since there is no disk pictured.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Or would I have to purchase this?
http://www.acronis.com/homecomputing/products/migrateea...
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a c 160 G Storage
December 10, 2012 4:00:39 AM

That is older software(Never used it). I had been using True Image(may have more features then you need, but worked very well).

The ssd does not seen to have any software on the website(just a firmware update.).
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December 10, 2012 4:07:14 AM

nukemaster said:
That is older software(Never used it). I had been using True Image(may have more features then you need, but worked very well).

The ssd does not seen to have any software on the website(just a firmware update.).


Instead of purchasing the entire $50 package, could I get what I'm looking for by just purchasing the Migration license, or is that in addition to the full software bundle?
http://www.acronis.com/homecomputing/products/trueimage...
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a c 160 G Storage
December 10, 2012 4:12:06 AM

I do not think it works that way. I will try to see what FREE alternatives require less work.

I mean some users have reported proper alignment with Easeus todo backup FREE. They do have an optimize for SSD checkbox, but it did not seem to help. Maybe it was me.
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December 15, 2012 9:25:58 PM

I am currently looking at this drive for my system. It's within budget, has a good amount of storage, comes with an adapter bracket, and is future proof with SATA III: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

My system uses SATA II, but that shouldn't be a problem, right? I just won't be getting the absolute fastest performance, if I understand correctly.

Does this drive come with cloning software, or does the search continue?
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a c 160 G Storage
December 15, 2012 9:41:12 PM

I do not see any listing for software.

SATA III drives work on SATA II boards. I have a SATA III SSD in my media center with SATA II ports. no problems with it.
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December 16, 2012 4:55:27 AM

Would it be less of a hassle to just move the OS and other programs like Steam, Spotify, games, and the like onto the SSD rather than cloning the entire hard drive? That should give the faster performance around the board, shouldn't it? Do you need software to move specific items onto an SSD?
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a c 160 G Storage
December 16, 2012 2:31:42 PM

Moving the OS generally requires cloning or image + restore to the new drive.

I am almost interested if cloning on an extra system works better(alignment and whatnot.).

Windows by default makes aligned partitions. So making the partitions(100MB system reserved and a whatever is left windows partition) ahead of time may just do the trick. Something I may have to try in the future.
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December 16, 2012 7:43:08 PM

So creating a system/disk image from the old HDD onto the new SSD and booting (then restoring) from the new drive would do the same thing cloning software does?
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a c 160 G Storage
December 16, 2012 7:56:52 PM

yes, but not all cloning/imaging software runs outside of windows.
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December 26, 2012 5:33:47 AM

I've tried to switch from the IDE setting to AHCI, and when I boot the will blue screen momentarily then immediately restart. It will continue to do this until the setting is switched back to IDE. How do you change the setting to AHCI without booting issues?
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December 26, 2012 7:07:56 PM

nukemaster said:
should be able to do this.
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/271613-32-ahci-transi...


Thanks, nukemaster. Once this is done, (and in response to your post before then,) could I do a clean install of Windows 7 on the SSD, create a disk image on the HDD, move it to the SSD, and restore the image there to "clone" the system?
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a c 160 G Storage
December 27, 2012 12:16:50 AM

Any cloned images should be only restored to the same hardware. If not it is just like trying to move a drive from system to system.
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!