Question Adding an SSD as the boot drive to an existing system

BoomerD

No Lifer
Feb 26, 2006
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Not really sure where to put this.
As a result of building a new rig for myself and dismantling an older one, I now have a spare 256GB Toshiba SSD that I'd like to add to my wife's Dell as her boot drive. The system currently has a platter drive that has gotten slow as hell.
I DO NOT want to lose a single file, picture, document...ANYTHING in this PC...or I'll hear about it for years to come. (that's experience talking.)
If I put the SSD in the system, change the BIOS boot order, and install Windows 10 on it without removing the OS from the spinner...won't the two versions (both W-10) "fight" each other?
The ONLY thing I'd want to remove from the existing drive would be the OS.
I can't just clone that drive...1 TB won't fit into 256 GB.

Edit: changed drive to 256 from 240.
 
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Pohemi

Diamond Member
Oct 2, 2004
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I'm guessing you don't have an external, or even a larger flash drive to back up the files you want to keep, or you'd have likely mentioned it.

I'm not aware of a way to remove a Windows installation from a drive and not remove the files and personal data. If you can reduce the files on the spinner down to under 240GB, you might be able to use partitionmagic or similar to shrink the OS partition and be able to clone it to the SSD.
 

VirtualLarry

No Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
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DONT DO IT.

I realize that you now have a "spare" 240GB SSD that you want to make use of.

If she's got a laptop with a 1TB spinner, then that's a candidate for an SSD upgrade... of the APPROPRIATE SIZE.

Buy a 1-2TB SSD, cloning cable, clone ,THEN install the replacement (1-2TB) SSD.

Make sure that she has her stuff backed up in at least three places, first.
 
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BoomerD

No Lifer
Feb 26, 2006
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I'm guessing you don't have an external, or even a larger flash drive to back up the files you want to keep, or you'd have likely mentioned it.

I'm not aware of a way to remove a Windows installation from a drive and not remove the files and personal data. If you can reduce the files on the spinner down to under 240GB, you might be able to use partitionmagic or similar to shrink the OS partition and be able to clone it to the SSD.

I have a 64GB flash drive that has the Windows install media on it. That's it...and not nearly enough.
 
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Tech Junky

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Jan 27, 2022
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.1 TB won't fit into 240 GB.
How much space is in use?

You can shrink the partition to fit on the 240gb using gparted with a Linux live USB. In general this is why I allocate 100gb to windows and then make another partition for storage.

The other option is to take it out the 1tb drive and put the SSD in and install windows and get an enclosure to use the spinner as additional storage.
 
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mikeymikec

Lifer
May 19, 2011
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How much space is in use?

Elaborating on this point - you can clone a 1TB HDD onto a 250GB SSD provided that the HDD has a good bit less than ~200GB capacity used (I sometimes trim the existing drive's usage down by deleting restore points). Cloning software will just ignore the unused space and trim down the size of the main partition to suit the size of the SSD.

Others have already suggested replacing the (presumably too full HDD for a 250GB SSD) existing drive for a big enough SSD.

Here's another two choices:

Choice 1:
Back up first!
Clean install Win10 onto 240GB SSD (only that drive should be connected during install), buy a second HDD with enough capacity and transfer what's needed from old HDD to new one.
Set user's docs/desktop/pics folders to locations on the new HDD.

Choice 2 (cheaper but riskier):
Back up first!
Clean install Win10 onto 240GB SSD (only that drive should be connected during install), connect existing 1TB HDD, wipe it, copy only necessary user data from backup onto drive.
Set user's docs/desktop/pics folders to locations on the 'new' HDD.
 

In2Photos

Golden Member
Mar 21, 2007
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DONT DO IT.

I realize that you now how a "spare" 240GB SSD that you want to make use of.

If she's got a laptop with a 1TB spinner, then that's a candidate for an SSD upgrade... of the APPROPRIATE SIZE.

But a 1-2TB SSD, cloning cable, clone ,THEN install the replacement (1-2TB) SSD.

Make sure that she has her stuff backed up in at least three places, first.
I agree 100%. A 1TB SSD is like $50. Sounds like a perfect Valentine's Day present!
 

kschendel

Senior member
Aug 1, 2018
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Your post suggests that a) there is data on the PC that you won't want to lose, and b) it's not backed up.

If true, that's madness. Go buy a cheap 1TB outboard drive and back up to it, or use a net backup service, or something. Get it backed up. Then you can do whatever you like.

If it were me, after backing up, I'd be tempted to install winders on the 256GB drive, and copy all user files / data to a brand new, $50+ 1TB SSD. The interactive performance difference should be breathtaking, and you'll have the backup (and the original hard drive) in case you missed something.
 

BoomerD

No Lifer
Feb 26, 2006
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<sigh> Youse guys are trying to get me in trouble with "She Who Must Be Obeyed." (and TRIES to keep me on a budget and begrudges me every dollar I spend on "computer stuff.") Sure, I COULD spend $150 on a new HDD/SSD duo and "do it right...I was going to buy a 1-2TB SSD to replace her spinner drive...and still might go that way. (It's in a Dell desktop, not a laptop and is about 8 years old)
I double checked last night. There's only about 100GB of data on the HDD, so I COULD try to clone the drive onto the SSD, but, since the SSD is so small...and is about 7-8 years old anyway...MAYBE it would just make more sense to back up the existing drive and install a brand-spanking-new SSD in its place. I was hoping for a "safe" yet inexpensive way to speed up her PC.
 

tcsenter

Lifer
Sep 7, 2001
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They won't 'conflict' you just have to change the boot configuration in SETUP, make sure you boot from the SSD first and put the spinner last in boot order. Most BIOS will even let you exclude particular drive from the available boot devices or list However there can be a bit of a nightmare with security permissions tied to user accounts on files and directories on the 'older' drive, making it pain to delete or modify things.

I just had the same situation where I moved a boot/OS drive to a different system, as secondary storage. I wanted to go through it and keep in place basically everything in USER\desktop, documents, downloads, music, pictures, etc then delete Windows, program data, pagefile and hibernation file, etc. I tried several times to take ownership and effective permissions on those areas but I still couldn't delete them unless I drilled all the way down to the last file in each directory. I'm sure there may have been a God-mode solution to take ownership of it all but I didn't want to learn something new that day.

So I copied to MY drive everything I wanted to keep, double checked I had everything backed up, which was about 180GB. Then opened diskpart deleted all partitions on the added drive, created new partition and long formatted the entire drive. Copied the saved stuff back and deleted from my drive, after doing a directory compare to make sure the same number of files and total GB used matched between the two.

Get yourself an external drive enclosure keep handy for the future, they're only $15 or $20. I always have a couple around here.
 
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In2Photos

Golden Member
Mar 21, 2007
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<sigh> Youse guys are trying to get me in trouble with "She Who Must Be Obeyed." (and TRIES to keep me on a budget and begrudges me every dollar I spend on "computer stuff.") Sure, I COULD spend $150 on a new HDD/SSD duo and "do it right...I was going to buy a 1-2TB SSD to replace her spinner drive...and still might go that way. (It's in a Dell desktop, not a laptop and is about 8 years old)
I double checked last night. There's only about 100GB of data on the HDD, so I COULD try to clone the drive onto the SSD, but, since the SSD is so small...and is about 7-8 years old anyway...MAYBE it would just make more sense to back up the existing drive and install a brand-spanking-new SSD in its place. I was hoping for a "safe" yet inexpensive way to speed up her PC.
In that case with only that much data on the drive I'd clone it to the SSD and swap the drives. Your spinner would become your backup. I like using Macrium Reflect for this and have done it several times with great success.
 
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BoomerD

No Lifer
Feb 26, 2006
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They won't 'conflict' you just have to change the boot configuration in SETUP, make sure you boot from the SSD first and put the spinner last in boot order. Most BIOS will even let you exclude particular drive from the available boot devices or list However there can be a bit of a nightmare with security permissions tied to user accounts on files and directories on the 'older' drive, making it pain to delete or modify things.

I just had the same situation where I moved a boot/OS drive to a different system, as secondary storage. I wanted to go through it and keep in place basically everything in USER\documents, downloads, music, pictures, etc then delete Windows, program data, pagefile and hibernation file, etc. I tried several times to take ownership and effective permissions on those areas but I still couldn't delete them unless I drilled all the way down to the last file in each directory. I'm sure there may have been a God-mode solution to take ownership of it all but I didn't want to learn something new that day.

So I copied to MY drive everything I wanted to keep, double checked I had everything backed up, which was about 180GB. Then opened diskpart deleted all partitions on the added drive, created new partition and long formatted the entire drive. Copied the saved stuff back and deleted from my drive, after doing a directory compare to make sure the same number of files and total GB used matched between the two.

Get yourself an external drive enclosure keep handy for the future, they're only $15 or $20. I always have a couple around here.

I have an external ODD enclosure that I can connect HDDs/SDDs to for such work. I've used it that way a couple of times. Not quite as convenient as a dedicated HDD/SSD enclosure...but it works.
 

tcsenter

Lifer
Sep 7, 2001
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I have an external ODD enclosure that I can connect HDDs/SDDs to for such work. I've used it that way a couple of times. Not quite as convenient as a dedicated HDD/SSD enclosure...but it works.
Don't forget her browser bookmarks, saved logins and passwords for websites. Or account login for any other stuff. e.g. OneDrive, Microsoft account, etc.

Best to just disconnect the spinner before installing Windows on the SSD. This way you can't worry about booting from the wrong drive, or writing anything to the spinner while getting Windows installed.
 

BoomerD

No Lifer
Feb 26, 2006
63,136
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Nowhere have you suggested that she actually wants this work done. If she does, present her with options and do what she asks if you're confident you can.

She really doesn't...but I'm fckn tired of listening to her complain about how slow her PC is getting. She pays a few bills, plays a couple of games on it occasionally, that's about it. Everything else she does on her phone or her iPad. The PC is getting redundant for her.
 

mikeymikec

Lifer
May 19, 2011
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She really doesn't...but I'm fckn tired of listening to her complain about how slow her PC is getting. She pays a few bills, plays a couple of games on it occasionally, that's about it. Everything else she does on her phone or her iPad. The PC is getting redundant for her.

I'd ask her to choose between complaining and letting you do something about it. If she refuses to choose, shut down any further complaints. She's an adult with the capacity to make her own decisions. If you make her decisions for her, you're removing consent from the equation which has at least two potential consequences: Adult anger and mistrust, or childlike anger and mistrust.
 

tcsenter

Lifer
Sep 7, 2001
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She really doesn't...but I'm fckn tired of listening to her complain about how slow her PC is getting. She pays a few bills, plays a couple of games on it occasionally, that's about it. Everything else she does on her phone or her iPad. The PC is getting redundant for her.
She one of those who complains instead of asking? What else you got to do? YOU CAN DO EEET!
 

BoomerD

No Lifer
Feb 26, 2006
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I'd ask her to choose between complaining and letting you do something about it. If she refuses to choose, shut down any further complaints. She's an adult with the capacity to make her own decisions. If you make her decisions for her, you're removing consent from the equation which has at least two potential consequences: Adult anger and mistrust, or childlike anger and mistrust.

After being married to her for almost 48 years...there's really no difference. :p
 
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BoomerD

No Lifer
Feb 26, 2006
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She one of those who complains instead of asking? What else you got to do? YOU CAN DO EEET!

<ssigh> Yes...I CAN do it...and probably will. I was just hoping to find a way to do it with the existing 256GB SSD. I'll probably buy a new one for this project. I'm not sure how far I trust this Toshiba after some thought. I've never had any problem with it...but it's going on 10 years old...just time for a new one.
Looked up the Newegg order...256GB, NOT 240.
 
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WilliamM2

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Jun 14, 2012
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<ssigh> Yes...I CAN do it...and probably will. I was just hoping to find a way to do it with the existing 256GB SSD. I'll probably buy a new one for this project. I'm not sure how far I trust this Toshiba after some thought. I've never had any problem with it...but it's going on 10 years old...just time for a new one.
Looked up the Newegg order...256GB, NOT 240.

As long as you create an image occasionally, and back up the files often, the age of the drive shouldn't scare you.

But a new drive is nowhere near $150, especially since she doesn't need much space.

512GB for $26

They also have a 256GB for $17:

Just a couple of options, there are many 1TB drives for under $50 as well.
 

In2Photos

Golden Member
Mar 21, 2007
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<ssigh> Yes...I CAN do it...and probably will. I was just hoping to find a way to do it with the existing 256GB SSD. I'll probably buy a new one for this project. I'm not sure how far I trust this Toshiba after some thought. I've never had any problem with it...but it's going on 10 years old...just time for a new one.
Looked up the Newegg order...256GB, NOT 240.
Compromise and go with a 500GB. I've used several of these in laptops over the years. $28.

PNY CS900 500GB 3D NAND 2.5" SATA III Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) - (SSD7CS900-500-RB) https://a.co/d/1eEuUJN