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I have an laptop that is ~ 4 years old. It has 2 hard drives - one is used for the OS and the other for data.

I'd like to upgrade the OS drive with an SSD to make it run faster, but i was wondering whether i would have to install the OS (Windows 10) all over again, or whether there's an easier option ?

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There are plenty of utilities out there that facilitate cloning from an existing drive (some SSD manufacturers offer one for that purpose), but I would suggest you take this opportunity to start with a new, fresh OS installation. It would help you to take inventory of everything you will actually need on your computer and trim away everything else, which is important since free space comes at a premium on flash memory.

In my experience, taking an existing installation, cloning it, and making all of the small changes needed when transferring from a hard disk drive to a solid state drive will take just about the same amount of time, if not more.

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Remove the data drive and replace it with the SSD

Image the OS drive to the SSD (using included cloning software or other such as Maricum Reflect, which I have had great success with)

Remove the SSD, replace OS drive with SSD, put data drive back in

Computer should boot normally, may require you to reselect the boot drive in BIOS

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It sounds like you really have one physical disk with two partitions, which is fine. You either have to use an external hard drive reader OR connect both drives on another computer to clone the disks. Then you can use Gparted, Ghost or Acronis or Hirens boot cd to clone the disks.

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  • I have 2 physical drives. Each with its own partition
    – liortal
    Oct 11 '15 at 8:18
  • Regardless, I would go about the same way. You really only need to clone the OS partition. Data from other disks/partitions can be copied using Richcopy, xcopy or drag and drop method. I wasn't aware your laptop supported two disks which makes it really easy. First I would clone the disk with OS partition, replace it with SSD. Then you can either keep the secondary disk as is or consolidate all data to SSD disk. Hope this helps. Oct 11 '15 at 13:29
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Depends on the sizes of the drives in question.

your new drive might also come with software that would do this for you automatically - check your support page. I know samsung did, but I only noticed that after I did the whole thing another way. However, this should be first thing you should try.

If the SSD is bigger, just image it over - windows backup, clonezilla or whatever you're comfortable with will work

With a smaller SSD, you'd need to make sure your new partitions fit into the space on the SSD. Unless your backup tool explicitly can restore to a smaller disk, backup (for safety's sake) and resize first.

If you have resized, you might be able to to backup and restore using the built in windows system image backup, but I didn't go that way.

When I did this I did a full backup (I used veem endpoint backup ), created a restore USB to boot from popped in the SSD, then restored the drive to the SSD. I'd had the backup stored on an external HDD (Usb 3.0 for more speed!) but depending on your system you could mount it directly. While the SSD was smaller than the old hard disk drive, I had an option to resize the drive so I made the system partition smaller, kept the other drives as is and restored that way (which was handy and is a feature you'd want to consider).

Your SSD might come with some software or suggested settings to optimise your OS for working with an SSD. Run it.

Its been a while but you need to pick advanced settings and that should let you set where each partition goes manually.

As a bonus, you can start backing up regularly, and if something goes wrong, you have your original drive and a backup.

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