Mar 14, 2016
I hate dealing with computers with a burning hot passion. I'm really up to the point of just running the damn thing over. Please help me before I do.

I installed a bigger SSD in my main laptop, so now I want to use the old one for my secondary. After a whole day of trying, I always end up with black screen + loading cursor after the Windows 10 logo.

Some observations:
  • Old HDD continues to boot correctly after every "clone-swap-fail-swap again" attempt.
  • HDD is 1TB, SSD is 128GB
  • Reserved, Recovery, and System partitions amount to a total of 67GB, so there is plenty of free space.
  • Remaining 4th partition is just files, and I'll use the HDD as an external drive when I'm done.
  • Partitioning on both drives is MBR.
  • Legacy Boot Mode is enabled, I have not fiddled with it.
  • Reserved is marked Active, and since Windows "kind of" boots, I guess this is wokring correctly?
What I've tried:
  • Clone in Macrium Reflect 6.3.
  • Forensic clone in Macrium Reflect - doesn't boot, unsurprisingly.
  • Clone in EaseUs whassisname.
  • Disabled all Paging files, because there was one on the 4th (not cloned) partition, which I thought might cause the problem.
  • Taking the HDD out and into the external case, creating an image on my main laptop and then restoring it to the SSD.
I really really really really don't want to fiddle with Win Pe, Boot CDs and all that crap. I've done this 5 times before. It should just work. It doesn't. I can feel that there is a very basic error somewhere, nothing fancy that needs "recovering" or boot-cd-ing.

Please help!
Just create a system repair disk either on CD or USB to fix the bootloader when you startup with a different physical SSD than it expects. You can easily make one with the old SSD attached and follow THESE simple instructions.