Replacing SSD boot drive

By Juuke
Jun 4, 2012
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  1. I bought a pre-assembled computer a while back and it came with a 30GB SSD for the OS (which is Windows 7 64-bit if it's of any relevance). Unfortunately this is incredibly small and between security updates and bits and pieces from various programs that refused to install on anything but the boot drive I've found myself with only about 2GB left. I want to buy a bigger drive to replace the SSD but I'm not sure of the best way to all the data I need on the new drive. Should I try some kind of cloning software or is it better just to do a fresh install of the OS.

    I was also wondering, since SSDs are pretty price, if I would lose a significant amount of speed if I got a standard platter hard drive instead. Would most things other than boot time be unaffected?
  2. Dawn1113

    Dawn1113 TechSpot Booster Posts: 375   +64

    What popped into my head when I read your post was Acronis. There are others, of course. You might want to hang around a bit and wait for more suggestions. Personally, however, I'd do a clean install. But that's me and I like to keep things simple and straightforward so as to avoid complications. Do wait for the advice and opinion of more knowledgeable members on this.

    A good-sized, well-priced SSD will run rings around a platter drive many times over, in my opinion. Makes for a faster PC all-around. But then do you really need that much performance for your purposes? What do you use your PC for? My desktop at work has a platter hard drive and it suits its purpose just fine. :)

    Can't you keep your SSD and maybe get a standard platter drive for your archives and maybe some apps? If you're on a laptop, have you considered maybe getting an external HDD? Sorry if I've missed a point somewhere.
  3. vrodask

    vrodask Newcomer, in training

    Any SSD over 100GB will suit most average users for installing an OS plus updates etc. They are pretty cheap for the performance benefits now-a-days too.

    With regards to re-installing the OS, how many programs do you currently have installed? It's not much to re-install the OS and updates etc, but 3rd party apps are what takes you time afterwards.

    If you plan on storing media etc you'd be best buying 500GB+ HDDs anyway.

    Plus, you can also re-direct your Music/Picture/Video user folders in Windows 7 to an additional HDD so if you need to re-install the OS on your SSD they're all still stored on the untouched additional HDDs.
  4. Juuke

    Juuke Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    Mostly gaming and school work. I'm in a programming course so I use programming and database applications as well as occasionally programs like Gimp. The games I play are mostly newer releases.

    I have a 1TB drive for programs and files but the problem is that certain things such as updated virus definitions, along with other files need to be installed on the drive running the OS apparently. For instance I have SQL Server Management Studio and Visual Studio 2010 installed on my computer and those installed a bunch of stuff to my boot drive. This is where the concern is really; I'm worried about complications arising if I do a fresh install and these (and other) programs no longer have the files they need. If I can just use a simple automated process to correct this it's no problem but I don't want to be pulling my hair out trying to solve a bunch of cryptic error messages. Bear in mind I also don't know how many programs have some kind of dependence on my SSD so I can't just try and uninstall Visual Studio and SQL Server first (also SQL uninstall is a pain).

    I've done a few things to maximize the space on my SSD. I moved the profiles on to my 1TB drive, got rid of the page file size on my SSD, disabled automatic updates, and done a few other things I believed. I've basically squeezed as much space as I can get out of it. Even after a fresh install with these tweaks Windows 7 still took up around 20GB of space
  5. Dawn1113

    Dawn1113 TechSpot Booster Posts: 375   +64

    Hi, Juuke.

    I can't say that an SSD is absolutely necessary for your needs. If you want performance, go for the SSD. If you need space more than you need speed, then a platter drive would be the more sensible option.

    Personally, though, if I were in your position, I'd invest in a good-sized SSD -- the best and the biggest I can afford. I'd keep the old 30gb SSD, too, do a secure erase, and add that to my system, as well.

    II would then do a fresh install of everything -- including apps -- on the newly designated OS SSD. If need be, I would reformat my HDDs after making sure I have copies of my most important archive files stored elsewhere. That means I would "rebuild" from scratch. It sounds like a pain in the #*$, I know; but then, like I said, I tend to keep things straightforward. That way there are no complications.

    But, again, please do wait for what more knowledgeable members have to say about your dilemma before you do anything. There might be a way around it that I'm not seeing.
  6. Marnomancer

    Marnomancer TechSpot Booster Posts: 808   +51

    Well, for gaming in particular, having an SSD lowers the load times, but I don't recall seeing a significant FPS boost with it.

    For backup purposes, you might like a RAID Mirror configuration. Windows 7 x64 takes up 20 GB according to specs just for system files. So I recommend leaving it as C: only, and get other SSD(s) or HDD(s) (whatever you prefer) and use them to store your files which need not be in C:. My otherwise ingenious brain is currently refusing to function properly, so please ask if you need anything.
    I believe you meant @r$e. :p
    Well, it can indeed be an ache to have the boot drive screwed up. Makes recovery complicated.
  7. vrodask

    vrodask Newcomer, in training

    You could always buy a larger SSD as suggested for your OS and store large programming files/working databases on the 30GB SSD (if it's large enough in the first place). I do the same kind of thing with VMs.
  8. Leeky

    Leeky TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 4,378   +97

    12xGB will be more than fine for software and your OS, with updates and additional libraries. I currently do it fine with a 64GB SSD (12.1GB free as we speak) with Windows 7 Pro x64, Adobe Master Suite CS5, Office 2007 Ultimate and a host of other software.

    Games I just keep on a mechanical disk, as besides a second or two faster loading they make little difference and are essentially a "waste" given the price point they sit at vs mechanical disks with much larger capacities.

    I'd just do a fresh install of your software and OS on the new SSD and keep the old one as a backup, in case you miss anything or end up needing to find product keys.


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