Question Insert SSD into laptop, clone HD, then use SSD as boot drive - how to

AuctionHugh

Senior member
Nov 22, 2001
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www.kallenweb.com
#1
We have a few 3 year old 17" i7 Acer laptops that we run our business on. They run really slowly, especially when opening adobe programs. Task manager is constantly showing 100% disk usage, until things load. This seems like an obvious solution for upgrading to an SSD.

I've purchased PCLe M.2 ssd's to put into the empty SSD slots in these laptops that are the same capacity as the old style platter hard drives in them now.

What I want to do is clone the current old style boot drives onto the SSDs and have them become the C: boot drives. I don't want to start with a fresh windows install.

Inserting the SSD will be a challenge in itself (thanks Acer Aspire). But what steps will I need to take after that? Something like:

  • Turn on laptop.
  • Tell bios what kind of hard drive has been inserted.
  • Format hard drive?
  • Clone old internal hard drive directly to the SSD. *
  • Reboot, tell bios the SSD is the C: and Boot drive?

I think this is the general idea but I'd appreciate any more specific guidance.

*Note, it looks like Ease Us Partition Manager free version will do this step. https://www.easeus.com/partition-master/transfer-os-to-...

Thanks!
 

corkyg

Elite Member | Peripherals
Super Moderator
Mar 4, 2000
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#2
After cloning, I would physically remove the old drive - that way there are less problems booting. You don't have to worry - it becomes the C drive. After the machine boots off the new drive, you can keep the old as a backup (off line) or reformat it and use it as a data drive. For cloning, I always do that from bootable clone ware so as not to involve the existing OS.
 
Aug 25, 2001
42,739
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#3
If you bought Samsung or Crucial SSDs, I think that they come with cloning software. I think Team, Silicon Power, and PNY have cloning software available too.
 

Insert_Nickname

Diamond Member
May 6, 2012
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#4
I've purchased PCLe M.2 ssd's to put into the empty SSD slots in these laptops that are the same capacity as the old style platter hard drives in them now.
Firstly, can these laptops even accept a PCIe drive with NVMe? M.2 can use both SATA and NVMe, but not all slots can use both.

You should be careful when switching controller types. Some cloning software doesn't handle that well. If you've purchased Samsung PCIe drives, just use their own Data Migration software. That also takes care of SATA vs NVMe for boot.
 

AuctionHugh

Senior member
Nov 22, 2001
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#5
I bought these: Intel 660p Series M.2 2280 1TB PCI-Express 3.0 x4 3D NAND Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) (https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820167462).

Supposedly my Acer V17 Nitro Black (Aspire VN7-791G-76Z8) does support both SATA3 or PCIe x4 Gen 3 SSDs. I'm hoping these SSDs will fit that spec.
 

Insert_Nickname

Diamond Member
May 6, 2012
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#6
Supposedly my Acer V17 Nitro Black (Aspire VN7-791G-76Z8) does support both SATA3 or PCIe x4 Gen 3 SSDs. I'm hoping these SSDs will fit that spec.
M.2 for SATA and PCIe are keyed differently, so if it fits, it should work as-is. Then you'll have to either clone or reinstall.

Intel has their own data migration software, so I'd just use that. To keep things simple.

https://downloadcenter.intel.com/download/27960/Intel-Data-Migration-Software?product=80098

(disclaimer, I haven't used it myself, so I don't know how good it is, or how it works)

If they're older installations, I'd consider doing a reinstall while you're at it. A good "spring" cleaning is sometimes a good idea. If you boot from a USB stick, it shouldn't take longer then a straight clone anyway. Just be aware you'll need to install in UEFI mode when you're using an NVMe drive.

If you need install media, MS has the excellent MediaCreationTool.
 
Nov 22, 2001
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#7
I ended up cloning it with an external usb adapter and a Macrium Reflect software. It seems to have cloned perfectly. But when I insert it into my laptop (and disconnect the old drive), the laptop does not detect it. Acer support posted on amazon that the "M.2 slot supports SATA3 or PCIe x4 Gen 3 SSD". I have to think this drive fits those specs: https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820167462 so I am at a loss (and possibly out $129 x 2). Any ideas?

M.2 for SATA and PCIe are keyed differently, so if it fits, it should work as-is. Then you'll have to either clone or reinstall...
 
May 6, 2012
3,440
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#8
Firstly, though it may seem obvious, check the drive is seated properly. It's easy to not push the drive completely into the M.2 connector.

Second, does the BIOS/UEFI detect it? If it doesn't get detected in there, you may have clear the CMOS, since it could be a configuration error.
 
Oct 27, 2006
19,541
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#9
At the risk of making this hard, I have to advise you perhaps change your approach. You can actually get far better results with a totally clean pure W10 1809 install.

1- Keep your original HDD and external USB adapter put aside for later.

2- On another PC with a USB 16GB drive, download and run the ISO bootable media creation tool. It will make a bootable installer for your OS, but up to current date and with no old crap or OEM junk.

3- Boot from the USB W10 flash, and remove ALL of the partitions listed. The OEMs invariably divide the drive into a bunch of unnecessary partitions, which when directly cloned to an SSD just waste precious space. Create one single new partition, and let W10 install and update. It will activate your 2014/2015 laptop from UEFI stored license automatically.

4- Get the bare minimum of drivers afterwards from the IC source instead of Acer or OEM. Eg; Intel website for Intel HD, Nvidia for GeForce, etc. Then, OEM website for the trackpad and any bios update, and sometimes memory card reader.

5- Install your preferred apps and such.

6- Connect the old HDD via USB, and copy the desired content, usually from C:\Users\Profilename\Desktop \Documents \Downloads etc.

7- Still connected, when you're sure you have everything, run and admin command prompt, and type :

Diskpart
List disk
Select disk 1 (if 1 was the identified external HDD)
Clean
Exit
Exit

This will completely wipe the old drive.

8- Reinsert the original 2.5" HDD into laptop, boot, disk management, initialize, format with one clean partition.

9- Enjoy a much cleaner and less wasteful installation of Windows, that will probably be faster and more stable as well.

*- If you want to get deeper you can look at how to transfer your browser profile from the old appdata folder for Chrome and/or Firefox if that matters to you. Otherwise it will be pretty easy to copy the bookmarks alone.
 
Aug 25, 2001
42,739
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#10
I ended up cloning it with an external usb adapter and a Macrium Reflect software. It seems to have cloned perfectly. But when I insert it into my laptop (and disconnect the old drive), the laptop does not detect it. Acer support posted on amazon that the "M.2 slot supports SATA3 or PCIe x4 Gen 3 SSD". I have to think this drive fits those specs: https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820167462 so I am at a loss (and possibly out $129 x 2). Any ideas?
Does the M.2 SSD show up in the BIOS/UEFI at all? With a modern UEFI BIOS, bootable OS have to "register" themselves, with an entry in the UEFI, it's not enough just to have the on-disk structures in place for booting, like was the case with the older Legacy/MBR booting. The clone-ware may have "Cloned" the on-disk structures perfectly, but not created the UEFI entry for the resultant cloned drive. Therefore, you need to investigate how to re-install the "Windows Boot Loader" UEFI entry into your UEFI, I think.

Edit: One way to do so, might be to "trick" the system, by using a blank M.2 drive, and a USB containing a Win10 installer, and actually install a fresh copy of Win10 onto it, then do the clone to the M.2 drive, after wiping it, and maybe the "Windows Boot Loaded" would still be registered in the UEFI, pointing to the M.2 drive, which would allow booting it (the clone).

Hope that you installed NVMe drivers onto the OS before cloning it (Win10 should have them built-in, Win7 needs them added).
 
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