It used to be that my first suggestion for a computer upgrade was “Bigger Screen” or “More RAM”.
Not anymore ! I announce that SSD is the next thing ! (If you can tolerate the craziness)
I just got a new Dell XPS 17 with a i7 Processor and 12 Gigs of RAM. I’m planing to use it for testing memory-hungry programs. Since I will use virtualization a lot, I figured I would need to give these SSD drive a try. Dell upgrade hard-drives prices were ludicrous for “no-name” SSDs, so I decided to buy a OCZ Vertex 3 120G drive from a local store.
For the record : SSDs rocks.
But since I forgot/did not bother to ask for a real Windows CD from Dell… I have a problem.
How can I upgrade my classic 500G HD to a 120G SSD without losing the OS ?
First, make sure you have this available:
- A usb key/CD with Clonezilla installed (CZ)
- A usbkey/CD with SystemRescueCD installed (SRCD)
- A “self-made” Windows Repair CD (either 32 or 64 bits) (WRCD)
- I assume you have access to 2 classic SATA hard-drives. I my case, I also had the good luck to have two SATA drives slots on a laptop. If that is not your case, try to use a USB external drive adapter or enclosure.
- I assume you are replacing the first drive of a two hard drives system.
- The main drive is going to be replaced by the new drive;
- The second drive will remain in place at the end of the process.
Here are the simple, not-at-all-excessive-steps list to follow:
- CZ: Before booting the system the first time, backup the main drive to the second drive
- Figure out witch is the main drive (apart from the second drive) (In my case, Dell documentation was helpful)
- Boot one time using the original main drive
- SRCD: Resize the main drive so that the partition would fit on the (smaller) SSD drive
- Reboot Again : Windows will react by a drive test (this is required or the next steps will fail)
- CZ: Backup one more time (optional)
- Remove 2nd drive
- Move main drive to 2nd drive former socket
- Install SSD drive in first socket
- CZ: Clone form main drive to SSd drive
- Remove main drive, and store in safe place (from now on, this will be your backup)
- Install second drive in second socket
- Reboot, again . Windows should react by a drive check
- At this point. you witness your quickest. reboot. EVER.
- Optional cleanup steps
- SRCD: Delete “special” and “recovery” partitions
- SRCD: Resize main partition to maximum size (all disk)
- SRCD: Set boot flag on remaining “main” partition
- WRCD: Boot with Windows Repair CD twice
- First time will trigger an auto-repair feature
- At second time, ask for “Repair startup” option to repair the OS
- Reboot, cleanup again
- CZ: Backup one last time.