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I am thinking about buying an SSD in the near future for my notebook.

Is it possible to copy all files from an HDD to the new SSD, without having to format everything and install all apps again?

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appears to be a duplicate of ... or better yet,… – quack quixote Jun 19 '10 at 17:58
As painful as it sounds, I'd recommend a fresh install. If you backup the drivers (check out "double driver") and you already have the installers for your other apps (check out "ninite"), then it should be a fairly painless process. In fact, the biggest pain will be all the Windows updates, but you can do something else whilst they install. – Richard Dec 25 '12 at 11:25
up vote 4 down vote accepted

There are cloning solutions available, but they tend to be for same size partitions. Still, assuming your new drive is at least as big as the old, you can just get Acronis Trueimage to make an exact copy.

You'll have to connect both drives temporarily - so you might have to buy a USB enclosure for the new drive if you cannot connect it to your notebook, alternatively, plug them both into a desktop PC and run the clone from there.

The alternatives to Acronis as GParted, which is a bootable Linux CD. Once booted you can resize your partition and clone it to the SSD (again, you'll have to have both drives plugged in at the same time)

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Though the info does not appear to be organized well, if you Google around you'll find claims that SSD's are also affected by alignment concerns similar ... not identical to, but similar ... to those of the new 4K sector hard drives.

I wasn't able to track down anything I felt was conclusive about this subject. But I also did not spend much time looking into it either.

What I would suggest is
1. since ensuring your partitions are properly aligned on the SSD only takes a little extra work and
2. aligning your partitions on the SSD will not degrade your performance while
3. not aligning might be a problem then
4. why not just ensure your partition(s) are aligned when you move your system over to the SSD?

I don't believe the current clone tools can be counted on to do any sort of partition alignment. However, if you first create properly aligned partitions on your SSD and then merely do a partition to partition copy with the clone tools I think you would be OK. That is, I think the alignment of the target partition should not be changed if you merely copy another partition into it and do not change the size of the target partition.

If all your partitions were originally created using Windows 7 or a recent version of OS X then they are probably already aligned and all this is moot. If the partitions were created using Windows XP then they are probably not aligned.

FWIW, some links which may be useful:
SSD FAQ in MyCE forum
Intel white paper (PDF) on their "Solid-State Drive Optimizer"
The SSD Relapse: Understanding and Choosing the Best SSD, article on AnandTech 30 Aug 2009

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probably not misaligned? Did you mean probably not aligned? – bbodenmiller Dec 24 '12 at 23:59
@bbodenmiller I don't recall, but it seems as though that's what I must have been trying to say. Thanks for pointing it out. – irrational John Dec 25 '12 at 8:04

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