Question Looking for some assistance migrating my OS / cloning my drive

ChrisLPlumb

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Currently, Windows 7 64-bit Ultimate is installed on, and boots from, my machine's SSD drive, but I want to use that drive for installing games instead (there's not really enough space on it for big games when the OS is on it - it's only like 120 GB). My machine also has a HDD that I use for files and some programs (it's much bigger - like 750GB), and I want to make it so that Windows is installed on that HDD instead of the SSD. I kind of made a mistake getting the OS installed on such a small drive - I didn't realize how much space it would take up.

However, I've never done this before. I'm aware of programs like AOMEI Partition Assistant and Macrium Reflect, but I've never used them before.

I should probably add that the SSD has two partitions - one for the OS, and the other for recovery - whereas the HDD has a single partition. Both use the MBR partition style, and my motherboard does not support UEFI as far as I can tell, so I won't be using GPT.

Also, like I said, I install some programs (like games) to the HDD, so there are Program Files folders on the HDD as well as the SSD. Will this cause any trouble? Should I have a separate partition for the OS installation when I migrate it over? I do want everything to go over, not just the OS, because there are some programs installed on the SSD.

Finally, if I successfully moved the OS and other contents of the SSD to the HDD, would it then be safe to format the SSD?

It's possible to do what I want to do, right?
 
With your setup, you have to make fresh Windows installation. You can't image SSD onto HHD, as you use the HDD, and you can't just copy SSD files onto the HDD.

Most Windows application (not sure about games from various marketplaces) will let you decide, during installation, where to install them, so there's nothing wrong in having "D:\MyProgramFiles" folder as destination.. Keep in mind that many apps still install "common" files on your system (C:) drive.
 
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ElectrO_90

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Games on an SSD won't be faster, just load up faster.
With windows on a HD you WILL notice a lot more slowdown as windows uses its swap file.

Basically what I am saying is, if you put windows on your computer, your entire computer will perform slower, and the reason you are doing this, is to make it faster, but games don't work like that.

Keep it as it is - if I was you
 
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ChrisLPlumb

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Right... Would it not be possible to create a partition on the HDD that matches the size of the SSD and then clone the SSD to that volume?

And yes, I'm aware of the common files thing. It's actually caused some trouble before. I tried to install Chrome onto the HDD, but it messed up the updates for it. Seems that when it comes to Chrome at least, you have to keep everything on the same drive.
 

ChrisLPlumb

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Games on an SSD won't be faster, just load up faster.
Oh, okay. I didn't realize that.

Basically what I am saying is, if you put windows on your computer, your entire computer will perform slower, and the reason you are doing this, is to make it faster, but games don't work like that.
Well I'm not trying to make my computer perform faster, I was just assuming that a game might perform better if it was on an SSD. I don't really care if the OS isn't as quick. But, I guess I didn't realize that installing games on SSDs only really makes the initial loading quicker. Doh.

Thanks for clarifying things.
 

USAFRet

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Right... Would it not be possible to create a partition on the HDD that matches the size of the SSD and then clone the SSD to that volume?

And yes, I'm aware of the common files thing. It's actually caused some trouble before. I tried to install Chrome onto the HDD, but it messed up the updates for it. Seems that when it comes to Chrome at least, you have to keep everything on the same drive.
It would be possible.
This falls into the realm of "a REAL pain ".

Installing applications to other drives is rarely an issue. And applications like Chrome are tiny, in comparison. Consumed space is not really a concern.

But....this points to trying to use a 120GB SSD as the OS drive. THey are actually too small, once you do install a lot of things.
 
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ChrisLPlumb

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A much better option is to get a larger SSD, and clone the current SSD over to the new larger one.
Well actually, it'd probably be better to replace my HDD with a much bigger SSD, and then keep the OS stuff on the current SSD, while putting games on the new SSD. On the other hand, I probably won't bother because you're all saying that it won't make a difference when it comes to game performance. I guess I'll just stick to installing games on my big HDD. Thanks!
 

ChrisLPlumb

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It would be possible.
This falls into the realm of "a REAL pain ".
Right. I've never done it before so I wouldn't know, but I'll take your word for it.

But....this points to trying to use a 120GB SSD as the OS drive. THey are actually too small, once you do install a lot of things.
Would you say that installing the OS on a 120GB SSD was a bad idea? I guess I'll just have to avoid programs that need to be on the OS drive (or partly on the OS drive, at least) as much as I can.
 

USAFRet

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Would you say that installing the OS on a 120GB SSD was a bad idea? I guess I'll just have to avoid programs that need to be on the OS drive (or partly on the OS drive, at least) as much as I can.
Yes, especially in 2018-19.
Initially, a 120GB drive looks to be OK. Plenty of space.
A year later...not so much. Things build up.

It can work, but you have to spend a lot of time in maintenance, keeping the consumed space within limits.
And if you purposely install applications other than games to an HDD, that defeats a lot of the purpose of having the SSD.

I outgrew a 120GB SSD C drive about 4 years ago. Not long after that, the replacement 250GB SSD was replaced with a 500GB.
 
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ChrisLPlumb

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And if you purposely install applications other than games to an HDD, that defeats a lot of the purpose of having the SSD.
Hmmm, well to be honest my plan was always to use the HDD for programs. I just wanted the OS on a SSD so that it would boot faster. I didn't think I'd really have to put much else on the SSD.

It sounds kind of awkward to swap in a new SSD. How exactly would I do that without messing up my OS installation?
 

ChrisLPlumb

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You want your applications on it, so they can operate at that speed as well.
I suppose you're right. I guess what I could do is swap my HDD for a big SSD, rather than swapping the SSD with the OS on it for another SSD. I could install stuff on the big SSD the same way that I've been installing stuff on the big HDD. Only thing is that I'd probably have to uninstall everything on the HDD, back up all the personal files on it, and then reinstall everything on the new SSD and copy the personal files over to it. Does that sound like a good idea?
 

USAFRet

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I suppose you're right. I guess what I could do is swap my HDD for a big SSD, rather than swapping the SSD with the OS on it for another SSD. I could install stuff on the big SSD the same way that I've been installing stuff on the big HDD. Only thing is that I'd probably have to uninstall everything on the HDD, back up all the personal files on it, and then reinstall everything on the new SSD and copy the personal files over to it. Does that sound like a good idea?
Your current HDD is just the secondary drive? A 750GB?
Swapping in a 1TB SSD and direct clone from HDD to SSD means no reinstall of anything. The OS on the current SSD neither knows nor cares that the drive letter has swapped devices.
It all works exactly as current, except for what is currently on the slow HDD is on a fast SSD.

Crucial MX500, 1TB, $120
https://www.newegg.com/crucial-mx500-1tb/p/N82E16820156174
 
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Another option: You could replace your small SSD with a larger one then use the existing 120GB SSD to cache the HDD.

You could then clone your OS straight from one SSD to the other and install all your apps there. Then install all your games on the HDD and the SSD caching will give you nearly all of the benefits of SSD performance as far as gaming is concerned.
 
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ChrisLPlumb

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Swapping in a 1TB SSD and direct clone from HDD to SSD means no reinstall of anything. The OS on the current SSD neither knows nor cares that the drive letter has swapped devices.
Okay, I like the sound of that. Trying to work out the logistics though. Did I mention that it's a (very non-portable) custom-built laptop? I wouldn't be able to simultaneously connect the HDD and the new SSD in order to perform a clone (the OS SSD would have to stay put, after all). I think I'd just have to reinstall programs and back up files.
 

ChrisLPlumb

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Another option: You could replace your small SSD with a larger one then use the existing 120GB SSD to cache the HDD.

You could then clone your OS straight from one SSD to the other and install all your apps there. Then install all your games on the HDD and the SSD caching will give you nearly all of the benefits of SSD performance as far as gaming is concerned.
Sooo, 3 hard drives? I neglected to mention that this is a laptop I'm talking about. While it's an unusually heavy-duty laptop, I don't think it has any room / ports for a third drive.
 

USAFRet

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Okay, I like the sound of that. Trying to work out the logistics though. Did I mention that it's a (very non-portable) custom-built laptop? I wouldn't be able to simultaneously connect the HDD and the new SSD in order to perform a clone (the OS SSD would have to stay put, after all). I think I'd just have to reinstall programs and back up files.
Trivally done.

Either this cable:
https://www.amazon.com/StarTech-com-SATA-Drive-Adapter-Cable/dp/B00HJZJI84

Or this dock:
https://www.amazon.com/Cable-Matters-Docking-Station-Support/dp/B0099TX7O4

Free software:
https://www.macrium.com/reflectfree

1TB Crucial MX500 SSD:
https://www.amazon.com/Crucial-MX500-NAND-SATA-Internal/dp/B077SF8KMG

Connect a new 2.5" 1TB SSD via USB with either of the above.
Run that software
Clone to the new SSD
Power off, physically swap the drives. Old HDD out, new SSD in.
Power up.
Enjoy the speed burst, longer battery life, reduced heat...:)
 
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