I got a really nice OCZ Vertex2 SSD for my birthday. I wasn’t really looking for a major project this weekend, but I thought I’d give it a go. You can of course simply install the new drive, reinstall Windows, reinstall all of your software and then restore all of your data and settings from a recent backup. I chose a simpler, faster way. I cloned my existing C: drive onto the new SSD and then configured Windows to boot off of the new drive. After I was sure everything was working, I reformatted the old C: drive and made it available to the system as a new volume. Here are the basic steps to follow –

If your new SSD is smaller than your old drive you will first need to shrink the old drive to an equal or lesser size. I’m assuming you will be replacing your old C: drive (boot volume).

  1. Get rid of anything you don’t need – clean out the junk
    The size of the Data must be less than the size of the new drive
  2. Run Accesories -> System Tools -> Disk Defragmenter
    This will pack the data down into the ‘front’ of the disk
  3. Right click on Computer -> Manage -> Disk Management
    Select the C: drive partition and right click on it
    Select Shrink Volume
    Hopefully the data is packed tightly enough to allow the disk to shrink to a size less than the SSD. If not lather, rinse, and repeat steps 1 & 2
  4. Download EaseUS DiskCopy (did I mention it’s free?)
    http://www.easeus.com/disk-copy/
    Burn a bootable ISO CD of DiskCopy
  5. Shutdown the PC
    Install SSD (SATA cable and Power)
  6. Boot into DiskCopy CD (may need to change BIOS boot order)
    You can check in the BIOS to see if the SSD is detected
  7. Use DiskCopy to copy the C: drive to the SSD
    (~40 min to copy 80GB from a Raptor to the SSD)
  8. Shutdown the PC
    Disconnect the old C: drive
  9. Start the PC it should try to boot from the new SSD
    Windows will likely offer to ‘repair’ the new boot disk after it detects that something has changed
  10. After the repair completes (if it fails to fix anything don’t worry)
    Start the PC and it should boot up fine
  11. Go back into Disk Mangement to Label the drive and Expand the Volume back it to it’s maximum size
  12. When you are sure everything is working as it should, shut down the PC and reconnect the old C: drive
  13. Start the PC it should boot normally from the new SSD
    Windows will likely offer to ‘repair’ the newly discovered drive (the old C: drive) that it just detected
  14. After the repair completes (if it fails to fix anything don’t worry)
    Start the PC and it should boot up fine from the SSD and have a new volume that contains all of the old C: drive
  15. Just leave it at this point (fixing the label and drive letter is OK) just don’t do anything to the data for a bit in case you need to go back to the old C: drive
  16. After you are certain that the new SSD is work as it should, you can use Disk Management to re-partition and re-format the old HDD.
  17. Check out the SSD tweaking suggestion here –
    http://www.computing.net/howtos/show/solid-state-drive-ssd-tweaks-for-windows-7/552.html

You should be noticing some speed improvements around now. This is not a magic bullet. It will not turn an old dog of a PC into a speed demon. The PC won’t actually run faster but programs will now load very quickly.

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