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Question Drive clone software

Feb 4, 2009
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Got the wife an ssd for her slow starting machine, any recommendations on easy, free or cheap drive cloning software. I’d prefer not to reinstall windows because I know there will be a file lost.
I am okay with installing windows on the new ssd and leaving old files on the mechanical drive but i am not sure how to make that work, as in if the mechanical drive has windows and the ssd has windows will that cause a problem and how does one delete windows from the mechanical drive?
I am not so good with OS stuff so speak to me like a dummy
 

balloonshark

Diamond Member
Jun 5, 2008
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Most ssd drives will come with some sort of cloning software. I used the software that came with a samsung ssd and it worked great. If not Macrium free comes highly recommended.


If you really want a fresh windows install you could copy her personal files over to a usb stick then reset windows (if your windows version has the option) and then restore her personal files from the usb stick. I know Windows 8 and 10 have the option. Not sure about 7.
 

Iron Woode

Elite Member
Super Moderator
Oct 10, 1999
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Got the wife an ssd for her slow starting machine, any recommendations on easy, free or cheap drive cloning software. I’d prefer not to reinstall windows because I know there will be a file lost.
I am okay with installing windows on the new ssd and leaving old files on the mechanical drive but i am not sure how to make that work, as in if the mechanical drive has windows and the ssd has windows will that cause a problem and how does one delete windows from the mechanical drive?
I am not so good with OS stuff so speak to me like a dummy
cloning the drive is easy and there are many free programs for that.

If you are keeping the old drive then you go into the BIOS and make the SSD the boot drive.
 
Feb 4, 2009
24,446
5,326
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Most ssd drives will come with some sort of cloning software. I used the software that came with a samsung ssd and it worked great. If not Macrium free comes highly recommended.


If you really want a fresh windows install you could copy her personal files over to a usb stick then reset windows (if your windows version has the option) and then restore her personal files from the usb stick. I know Windows 8 and 10 have the option. Not sure about 7.
Tell me more please.
Also if there is something stored on the mechanical drive I assume it will still be accessible after cloning windows 10 to the ssd
 

Steltek

Platinum Member
Mar 29, 2001
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What model of SSD are you installing?

You can just clone the contents of the old hard drive to the SSD, shut down, then swap the SATA cables from the old hard drive to the new SSD. Boot it up, making sure everything works. Then, shut down and add a new SATA cable (plugged in to a different port) and power cable to the old hard drive.

Or, even better, create a Win10 installer from the Windows Media Tool, shut down, swap the cables from the hard drive over to the SSD, and clean install Windows to the new SSD (if Win10 has already been installed on the machine once, you shouldn't need a product key). Once it boots and everything is verified working, shut down, add a new SATA cable (again, plugged in to a different port) and power cable to the old drive. Boot back up, and the old drive should be available under another drive letter.

The old files will remain intact on the old hard drive. It would be a good idea to know where they are located (the file path to the folder that contains them) to retrieve them.

The BIOS on your system determines what drive is used as the primary boot drive. Technically, by doing it this way, you could actually change the boot order in the BIOS itself, or just temporarily override the boot order to boot up the old Windows installation if you needed.
 
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Feb 4, 2009
24,446
5,326
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What model of SSD are you installing?

You can just clone the contents of the old hard drive to the SSD, shut down, then swap the SATA cables from the old hard drive to the new SSD. Boot it up, making sure everything works. Then, shut down and add a new SATA cable (plugged into a different port) and power cable to the old hard drive.

You should be able to boot right up and access the contents of the old drive.
A micron BX or MX something
500GB, size matches the mechanical drive
Here’s where I get confused, I copy the OS to the ssd, change the boot order. How do I delete the OS from the old drive without destroying other stuff?
 

Steltek

Platinum Member
Mar 29, 2001
2,042
143
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A micron BX or MX something
500GB, size matches the mechanical drive
Here’s where I get confused, I copy the OS to the ssd, change the boot order. How do I delete the OS from the old drive without destroying other stuff?
Sorry, I edited my prior post to make it more extensive while you were responding.

First question: Does your wife have registered software running on the old hard drive that needs to be transferred to the new SSD?

Second question: If the answer to the first question is "yes", do you have the installation media/files and serial numbers for that software?
 
Feb 4, 2009
24,446
5,326
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Sorry, I edited my prior post to make it more extensive while you were responding.

First question: Does your wife have registered software running on the old hard drive that needs to be transferred to the new SSD?

Second question: If the answer to the first question is "yes", do you have the installation media/files and serial numbers for that software?
No need for apologies
Wife’s machine is a 2-3 year old dell i3, I know dell has a windows recovery image to download
 

Steltek

Platinum Member
Mar 29, 2001
2,042
143
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How you need to do this depends upon whether she uses any of the software Dell installed on the machine, or if she has installed software of her own. Since you indicate she has "files", she has to be running some type of software to create them.

Is she running Win7, Win8/8.1, or Win10? If not Win10, has Win10 ever been installed on it?
 
Feb 4, 2009
24,446
5,326
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How you need to do this depends upon whether she uses any of the software Dell installed on the machine, or if she has installed software of her own. Since you indicate she has "files", she has to be running some type of software to create them.

Is she running Win7, Win8/8.1, or Win10? If not Win10, has Win10 ever been installed on it?
When I say files I mean like some pictures, I think a couple of work things but not critical work things. I doubt any dell software is being used. The machine is primarily a Facebook machine and I know before she had her laptop she’d do basic work stuff but I believe that was email thru her vpn so it’s like a webmail and files are likely payment schedules.
Running Windows 10 since purchased. **Dell outlet machine**
 

Steltek

Platinum Member
Mar 29, 2001
2,042
143
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No matter what you do, it is a good idea to make a backup of the system before you proceed in case something goes wrong and you need to recover.

Clean install option:

Back up your wife's personal files to a flash drive - make sure to get all of them. Then, prepare your install media in one of two ways:

1) Since it has an activated Win10 OS, you can do a clean install to the SSD using the Microsoft media creation tool. Advantage of going with Microsoft is that it will be at version 1909 (i.e. minimal updating) and further that it won't have any Dell OEM garbage stuff installed on it. It will install most needed drivers, and what it doesn't pick up you can get from the Dell support website, OR

2) Use Dell's recovery OS download feature. The advantage of Dell's system (if you call it that) is that it will be just like it came out of the box from Dell: complete with that same old version of unpatched Win10 (meaning you have to download any feature updates and all patches that were released since then to bring it up to date, which will not be fun).

Shut down, install the SSD into the system. For now, just unplug the hard drive cables and plug them in to the SSD. Load your install media, and reboot the machine to install Win10. If you use a flash drive media, it should install pretty fast. If you don't want to associate the Win10 install with a Microsoft account, make sure your internet connection is disabled during the install.

Note: If you decide to clean install to the SSD rather than clone the hard drive, always make sure that only the SSD is plugged in at the time you install. It is never a good idea to install Windows to a system with multiple drives as it tends to spread the Windows boot records all over the place which can cause it to fail to boot if you subsequently remove a drive.

Once the install is complete, install Crucial's Storage Executive software which manages things like SSD firmware updates and allows you to check SSD health.

You can then reformat the old hard drive and use it for data storage. You can then copy her files from the flash drive back to it for easy access.


Clone option:

If you decide to simply clone her current installation, install Crucial's provided Acronis software . You will need to shut down and the SSD into the system (you will need a SATA cable to do so). When you boot back up, run the Acronis software and use the cloning feature. It will copy the entire contents of her hard drive to the SSD and all files would be in their current locations. For testing purposes, once the clone operation is done shut down and simply unplug the cables from the old hard drive and plug them into the SSD. Leave the old hard drive mounted but unplugged until you are sure everything is working properly. Install Crucial's Storage Executive software which manages things like SSD firmware updates and allows you to check SSD health. Once you are sure everything is working, shut down and re-install the old hard drive using the power and SATA cables previously used for the SSD.

You can then re-format the old hard drive and re-purpose it for auxiliary data storage for things like her pictures and work files (which you can manually move to the hard drive) from the SSD back to the empty hard drive.

To answer your prior question, the only way to get rid of the OS on the old hard drive is to reformat it (which would delete the entire contents of the disk) or manually delete the OS files (which will take like, forever and you'll have to deal with all sorts of permissions issues - reformatting is better).
 
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VirtualLarry

Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
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Get one of these, you can thank me later. (StarTech USB3.0 to SATA wire)

Useful for cloning to SSD, and oftentimes necessary when doing so on a laptop, because most laptops don't have dual 2.5" SSD / HDD bays and SATA connections, in the same way that a desktop could.
 
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Steltek

Platinum Member
Mar 29, 2001
2,042
143
106

Get one of these, you can thank me later. (StarTech USB3.0 to SATA wire)

Useful for cloning to SSD, and oftentimes necessary when doing so on a laptop, because most laptops don't have dual 2.5" SSD / HDD bays and SATA connections, in the same way that a desktop could.
Yes, these are really handy - everybody with a computer should have one.

FanaticalMeat, I have a question that I should have asked first thing - I guess I just presumed this was a desktop computer. Is it a desktop, or is it a laptop?
 

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