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Can I upgrade my laptop to an SSD by:

  1. Doing an image backup of my C: partition to an external drive
  2. Installing the SSD
  3. Restoring the image

Or do I need to do a clean install of Windows 7 on the SSD?

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6 Answers 6

Disk-to-disk or image copying may require you to match the partition size of the HD to fit on the SSD. You could use a tool like ""GParted" http://gparted.sourceforge.net/

The category leader is "Ghost" - http://www.symantec.com/business/ghost-solution-suite

If you want to use free-as-in-beer tools, try one of these: "Clonezilla" - http://www.clonezilla.org/ "Partition saving" - http://damien.guibouret.free.fr/en/

I've had good luck with Clonezilla, although I've not used either for HD-to-SSD .

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what the other guys have said, in addition to that you will have to tweak your hard drive a little in order to make it work effectively.

SSDs use different data blocks than mechanical drives, you will find that when you clone a mechanical drive image onto SSD the data blocks will not be optimal.

You need to undergo a "SSD aligning process" detailed here http://lifehacker.com/5837769/make-sure-your-partitions-are-correctly-aligned-for-optimal-solid-state-drive-performance

Make no mistaken this isn't just a tweak that gives 0.5% boost in performance, this is actually very significant and there are resounding benchmarks that show a stark contrast in performance between a properly aligned SSD and an incorrectly aligned SSD.

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I would recommend slaving both of them to a secondary machine, and doing a disk to disk ghost image. Or you could use one of several other free programs, or pay the money and get Acronis and be super happy.

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I actually do have Acronis (home edition) - if I can find where I put the disk! I also have Ghost v15, but it's installed on another computer. –  daveh551 May 20 '11 at 0:40
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I just did this very thing on my Lenovo Tablet over the weekend, went off without a hitch; My SSD drive was also smaller than my original. I used an old version of Ghost that is on my Hiren Boot Cd and did a simple drive to drive copy.

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I already did that with clonezila, the only problem is if your ssd have less capacity of space then your HDD clonezila will not recover the image (maybe any image manager can do it if you try to recover a large partition on a short space hard disk). The solution for this problem is resize your partition for the space that your SSD provides.

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To resize your partitions i recommend you using EASEUS software. –  Diogo May 19 '11 at 18:44
    
The existing main (rotating) drive is bigger, but I only want the C: partition, which is smaller (70G, I think). The other parts were used for other OS's. The user data is on a separate drive. –  daveh551 May 20 '11 at 0:42
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I heavily recommend Clonezilla for backing up and restoring an entire computer. Simply grab the latest copy of Clonezilla, burn it to a CD or make a bootable USB thumb drive, and do a device-to-device backup operation.

Once Clonezilla is done, you will have a perfect 1-1 image on both drives.

Edit: I am assuming that the SSD Size >= Old HD Size. Otherwise you'll need to shrink the old partition before you can clone the disk to another disk.

Edit 2: Downvoter, I'd like to know why you downvoted me. Is there something wrong with my information? Please contribute instead.

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Perhaps you were downvoted because assuming that SSD size >= HDD size is not realistic. To match the capacity of a current $80 one terabyte HDD, you'd have to spend more than $2000 on an SSD. That would be my guess. newegg.com/Product/… –  skypecakes May 24 '11 at 0:02
    
Well that flat out doesn't make since. That statement is just simply fact. If the new SSD is not >= the Old HD you can't do a straight clone operation like my answer stated. It simply was a clarification, not a question about how realistic a "purchase" would be. –  Urda May 24 '11 at 12:54
    
Point taken; it was just a guess. If your answer is based on an assumption, and the assumption is highly unlikely, it makes your answer less likely to be useful. It's certainly possible that the asker's SSD is >= in size to the HDD. –  skypecakes May 24 '11 at 23:24
    
@skypecakes possible but very unlikely. The largest consumer SSDs I've seen are ~250Gb. They cost about $200. A 2Tb HD is about $120 ATM. So SSDs are about 16x the cost per meg. So the question now is: how do you resize the image (assuming the image has enough free space that can be removed to make it small enough to fit on the smaller SSD). –  localhost Apr 5 '13 at 0:01
    
@user, yeah. See my first comment. "Perhaps you were downvoted because assuming that SSD size >= HDD size is not realistic." –  skypecakes Apr 5 '13 at 4:46
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