I have seen a lot of discussion about what to do when you need to install a new SSD in a laptop that already has Windows 8 activated on its existing HDD. But what if I buy a new laptop that has a single HDD and install a mSATA SSD in it to use it as a system disk. Will Windows automatically use the SSD as a system disk? Is there something I need to do in the setup to make it work?

  • Does the new laptop have Windows installed already? Or do you mean if you add the ssd prior to a windows installation? – cbalos Feb 27 '14 at 7:39
  • The new laptop has a Windows 8 key (and I think a preinstalled image, or an activation partition, I'm not sure how it works), but has never been turned on. And yes, I mean adding an SSD before even turing the laptop on for the first time. – Igor Zinov'yev Feb 27 '14 at 7:44
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    I was advised to run the system image backup before turning on to do that. Windows adapts itself when installed, think OEM configuration does that, so changes settings to suit SSD or HDD. If you use the answer below, you copy an image of running system adapted to HDD. Personally, I'd rather buy a laptop with SSD preinstalled as then you do not have Warranty problems, through upgrade. – Rob11311 Jul 12 '14 at 16:40

The best thing to do is to use a disk cloning software like Macrium which can be found for free here: http://www.macrium.com/reflectfree.aspx. This will allow you to

  • make an image and store it on an external hdd
  • you can then plug in your ssd into the computer (assuming your using both the hdd and ssd as you'll still need the original hdd in the laptop at this point)
  • and then restore the image to the ssd.
  • You can then set the ssd as the boot drive from the BIOS, and wipe the hdd that came in the computer AFTER you confirm all is working.

If you are not going to be having the hdd and ssd installed at the same, or can't because you don't have an extra spot in the laptop, you should:

  • Install Macrium on your new computer
  • Make an image to an external hdd
  • Plug your ssd into a working computer that has a spot for two drives AND is compatible with your ssd
  • Install Macrium on that computer
  • Restore image to ssd
  • Take ssd out, and put it in your laptop
  • Answer ignores warranty issues, OEMs don't like opening of laptops for disk upgrades. Win8 should also come non-configured but able to make copy of itself, for recovery later. Windows adjusts settings to make best use of SSD/HDD characteristics, which is why SSD guides advise re-installing Win7 etc – Rob11311 Jul 12 '14 at 16:43

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