Moving to an SSD

by Peter Marus

I get an email form NewEgg offering my a Crucial M500 120 gig solid state drive real cheap.  I jump at it, since an SSD was in my plans for some time.  The drive arrives about a week later, and I am excited to put it in my computer.  Simple enough to plug it in with a SATA cable and an extra power cable from my power supply.  I have it "mounted" in my pc via zip ties.  After foreplay of putting it in my computer, now the real sexytime starts by cloning my hard drive to it.  

I started preparing for this nrew drive days before, clearing out a lot of stuff on my hard drive to make sure what I had on it was small enough to fit on the drive.  No problem.  Even though I planned on reusing my hard drive I was using as a drive for my data after, my original drive size would fit the SSD with no issues.  

I read an article from Lifehacker about the process to clone.  Before I get into detail, I am A+ certified and have cloned drives in the past, but this is my first time trying to clone Windows 8.1 onto an SSD.  Previously I did XP onto regular hard drives.  I read the article, and in my head I said the infamous words Jeremy Clarkson from "Top Gear" says:

"How hard can it be?"


I get the cloning software the article suggested-EasUS ToDo Backup.  Seemed like a simple program to do it, it even optimizes the clone for SSDs.  Sweet.  I choose the source and destination drives, hit "optimize for SSD", click start, and check off "Turn off computer when finished".  A short time later I see the computer turns off.  Excellent.  At this point the article says to boot from the SSD.  I try to...and nothing.  "Hmmm"  I check the BIOS, make sure the SSD is the one the computer is trying to be boot.  Nope, no super-fast booting PC.  


I go through the process again, Nada.  I look online for some ideas, and found some for different programs. I try CloneZilla, but it won't do it due to the source drive is too big (and I was doing the drive to ensure the recovery partition-which I believe had the boot info on it as well).  I played around with gParted, and it seemed to copy my C:/ drive over.  Again, try to boot from SSD.  Zilch.  I looked at the files on the SSD< and it was an exact copy of my hard drive, but it won't boot.  This is making me nuts.  

I put in my recovery disk and tried to repair the boot files on the SSD, and that didn't work.  I then got deep and found programs to mess with the boot files themselves, and I sort of got it to work, but it was so unstable and janky, I reset what I changed.  It was using both the SSD and hard drive, making the machine run all funky.

Finally, in defeat, I did a clean install of the OS and now it's running fine.  I have all my data on another hard drive, and my computer is up and running.

Hindsight makes me think of what I may have done wrong.  Maybe not unplugging my hard drives after the initial clone and just leaving the SSD plugged in would have helped, maybe it was something with my original windows install (despite all the cleanup/defrag programs saying everything was fine).  Maybe it's just simply moving an already installed OS to a totally different storage system "broke" it.  I have read SSD and hard drives read and access files differently.  

In the end, I'm actually glad I clean installed the OS.  Helped me get rid of some of the programs I didn't need, and got me to set up my computer again, and make sure it's set up right again.

Still, I feel like a moron, after going through training to work on PCs, I couldn't get this done correctly.  Sort of a hit to the 'ol ego