Question Older Laptop SSD Upgrade - Some purchase / install advise needed

May 12, 2020
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I'm going to upgrade a couple older laptops with SSD drives. The systems need more space, they're a bit slow, and it seems like the way to go to give them a major speed boost. Both spend way too much time reading / writing the HDD either swapping or loading, etc. But, they both have a lot of installed software and need to keep running for a while.

I did some reading in posts here as I've been away from anything hardware other than as a user for a long while. I could use some additional guidance and verification that I'm going the right way.

First, the Laptops: Both win7 machines, 1.9 ghz & 2.4 ghz. Running 250 and 300 mb drives that only have 30-40bgb left open. The systems are used for basic business software and some light graphics work. I'm thinking of 500mb or maybe 1TB drives.

From what I've seen, it looks like the Samsung 860 might be a good choice. The conversion software would be a big plus. We don't want to rebuild these - too much software, too many configuration details... conversion is definitely needed. I am techie sort, but life is busy and manufacturer's software that will do this simply would be a big plus right now. I do have an external USB/ SATA enclosure although these machines are both USB 2.0 so I assume it will be a longish conversion.

Questions:
  • Is the Samsung SSD a good choice? Reliable?
  • Is the Samsung software a good choice for conversion?
  • I'm assuming the software does the boot sector and all? So it's plug-n-play to swap the drive after?
  • Do the other SSD manufacturers have similar conversion software?
  • Any considerations for 500mb vs. 1tb other than cost and the space I get?
  • Anything I don't know that I should? (Everything I know about SSD is in the post :) .
Thanks.
 

USAFRet

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  1. Yes
  2. Yes
  3. Yes.
  4. The ONLY two tools I'll use are Samsung Data Migration and Macrium Reflect. Both top notch. Samsung only works with Samsung drives, Macrium works with all.
  5. Whatever meets your space needs and budget. Crucial MX500 is also a good choice. Generally less expensive than the 860 EVO in similar sizes.
  6. Being laptops, how do you plan to connect both drives to do the clone/migration? There are methods, but it may not be obvious if you've never done this before. I can talk you through the whole process.
 
If you have an available desktop and necessary cables to power the laptop drive and the new SSD, doing it from within Macrium Reflect is virtual child's play...(spares one the trouble of finding assorted USB adapters, assuming you can borrow your SATA power/data from the DVD drive and come up with/borrow one more set...
 
May 11, 2020
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Well you can read my dramas installing a Samsung 860 EVO 500gb in an old Acer X480G Desktop. Short story is Samsung Data Migration just plain didn't work in giving me a bootable clone.

Had to use Clonezilla bootable USB for the clone. This isn't for beginners as it is Linux based. Then once I booted into Windows 10 successfully from SSD I used Easeus Partition Magic to resize partitions.

https://forums.tomshardware.com/threads/windows-10-disk-management-cant-see-samsung-ssd-after-cloning-but-bios-can.3604931/#post-21745714

As far as the hardware is concerned, only been a few days but the SSD works fine. Loads Windows and other software quickly and computer is a lot quieter. I then quickly realised the wifi adapter on the desktop was a bottle neck and that was fixed with an old WiFi extender that was lying around doing nothing. Productivity has improved.
 

USAFRet

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Well you can read my dramas installing a Samsung 860 EVO 500gb in an old Acer X480G Desktop. Short story is Samsung Data Migration just plain didn't work in giving me a bootable clone.

Had to use Clonezilla bootable USB for the clone. This isn't for beginners as it is Linux based. Then once I booted into Windows 10 successfully from SSD I used Easeus Partition Magic to resize partitions.
CloneZilla, while a good tool for what it is, has the limitation of requiring a target drive or partition to be the same size or larger than the source.

For instance, you can't clone from a 1TB HDD to a 500GB SSD, even if the data space only consumes 150GB.
The more recent tools (Macrium and SDM) only take into account the actual data, not the physical drive space.

I don't know what happened in your instance, but SDM (and Macrium) generally works.
 
May 12, 2020
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  1. Being laptops, how do you plan to connect both drives to do the clone/migration? There are methods, but it may not be obvious if you've never done this before. I can talk you through the whole process.
Thanks...

I have an external drive SATA enclosure that runs off the USB. If that a good way to go on the conversion?

If looks like Macrium Reflect Free will do all I need to clone a drive?
 
May 11, 2020
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Does the laptops have optical drives? If you are worried about slow rate of transfer using USB 2.0 you can get an adaptor to put an ssd in the optical drive slot to do the cloning. Then use this to house the old hdd while you get an external case for the optical drive which might get occasional use.
 
May 12, 2020
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Does the laptops have optical drives? If you are worried about slow rate of transfer using USB 2.0 you can get an adaptor to put an ssd in the optical drive slot to do the cloning. Then use this to house the old hdd while you get an external case for the optical drive which might get occasional use.
Thanks. Is there anything in particular to look for with those adapters other than SATA?
 
May 12, 2020
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6.Being laptops, how do you plan to connect both drives to do the clone/migration? There are methods, but it may not be obvious if you've never done this before. I can talk you through the whole process.
Maybe I'm misunderstanding... can I hook up the new SSD drive using the external drive box with USB cable and then clone off the running laptop's current drive? OR do I need to pull the current laptop drive and get both it and the SSD drive hooked up to another system to do the clone?

I can come up with two USB drive enclosures. Once laptop could use a DVD hard drive adapter, but the other has an integrated DVD drive that would require pulling the whole laptop apart... and I don't know if it would even fit in there if I did that.

I could potentially hook up the two USB drive enclosures but they will need to transfer 150-200 mb of data to the new drives. I don't know if that's ridiculously long (long is OK, but multiple days would not work).

I've also seen some freestanding hardware devices that claim to clone drives. Worth it?
 

USAFRet

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No problem.

Install Macrium Reflect. The free version is just fine.
Connect the target drive in the external USB box.
Run Macrium, and clone to the new SSD in the external.
Power OFF, remove the original drive and put in the new SSD.
Power up and see what happens.

Should only take an hour or so.
 
I have done this on many laptops.
You will be amazed at the difference it makes.
You said that the laptops had 200-300mb drives.
Did you mean gb?
My method of choice is to use samsung ssd devices, the 860 evo is perfect.
The samsung ssd migration app has never failed me.
Here is where to download the app and the user manual:
The manual describes the requirements and the procedure.
Your external usb to sata enclosure will work to create the replacement.
You might find it easier to buy a simple usb to sata adapter cable.
The app is a windows C drive mover, not a bit for bit copy.
It takes care of the windows recovery partitions, but does nothing to any specialized laptop reset partitions.
The process takes some time. Expect an hour or more.
When done, you simply replace the original HDD and boot.
The original HDD is not changed in any way during the process.
 
May 11, 2020
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Thanks. Is there anything in particular to look for with those adapters other than SATA?
Admittedly I've not had experience with this. The solution is just what I ended up with in the event I get around to upgrading my laptop HDD to SSD. This is assuming the optica drive is removable.

Something like this

https://www.amazon.com/Vantec-Carcasa-unidad-óptica-NST-510S3-BK/dp/B0193WYW36/ref=sr_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=optical+sata+hdd&qid=1591517659&sr=8-3

https://www.amazon.com/ICY-DOCK-Hot-Swap-Adapter-DVD-ROM/dp/B076ZMV2DW/ref=sr_1_28?dchild=1&keywords=optical+sata+hdd&qid=1591517659&sr=8-28

Only advice is to download and read install instruction manual for adapter to be very sure it's going to work.
 
You need only a usb port on your laptop and a simple/cheap adapter cable like this:
https://www.amazon.com/Drive-Adapter-Cable-Support-Black/dp/B07S9CKV7X/ref=sr_1_4?dchild=1&keywords=usb+to+sata+adapter+cable&qid=1591543149&sr=8-4

Buy a samsung ssd and download the samsung ssd data migration app and manual here:
The manual will list supported ssd devices and describe the procedure.

Run the migration app to copy your windows C drive to the usb attached ssd.
This might take an hour.
When done, replace the Windows HDD with the new ssd copy and you are done.
 
May 12, 2020
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Thanks, clear enough. Doing my order.

Recommended software to move another (not c:) partition? One of the laptops has a recovery partition built in. It would be handy to have that on the new SSD if needed.
 
Unless things have changed, the ssd migration app moves only the windows C drive and other necessary windows partitions. It is not a bit for bit clone,

But, since the original HDD remains unchanged, you still have the recovery partition available.
I had occasion to use this when I sold a laptop.
I just reinserted the original HDD and reset all to the original factory specs using the recovery process.
 

USAFRet

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Mar 16, 2013
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Unless things have changed, the ssd migration app moves only the windows C drive and other necessary windows partitions. It is not a bit for bit clone,

But, since the original HDD remains unchanged, you still have the recovery partition available.
I had occasion to use this when I sold a laptop.
I just reinserted the original HDD and reset all to the original factory specs using the recovery process.
Macrium also isn't a bit for bit "clone", unless you specifically go into the forensic options.

But it will happily do other partitions, apart from just the C and relevant boot things.
 
May 12, 2020
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Got Samsung 860's and one of the cloning processes is running right now with the Samsung softwre. Based on the % reported after 20 minutes it looks like it will be 2+ hours to clone but I'm running 250gb through USB 2.0... so I'm not shocked.

Meanwhile, it did give me the ability to select the partition to clone... but do I understand correctly that it only clones wholesale to the new drive? So if I go back in and clone the D recovery partition that it will wipe out the destination drive completely? ... and that means I should load up Macrium to do the D partition?

Also, it warned me that open files won't be cloned. Does that mean I should have done a minimal boot and stopped most services and background programs that are running (e.g. apple stuff, desktop sticky notes, etc) to make sure they copy? I keep these systems fairly clean, but there's always stuff that starts up in the background. Or is it just at a retail level I have to worry about e.g. MS Word documents open, etc.

Thx
 

USAFRet

Titan
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Mar 16, 2013
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I don't think the SDM will let you go back and do other partitions.

Macrium Reflect would do the whole drive, if it fits. All partitions at the same time.

-----------------------------
Specific steps for a successful clone operation:
-----------------------------
Verify the actual used space on the current drive is significantly below the size of the new SSD
Download and install Macrium Reflect (or Samsung Data Migration, if a Samsung SSD)
Power off
Disconnect ALL drives except the current C and the new SSD
Power up
Run the Macrium Reflect (or Samsung Data Migration)
Select ALL the partitions on the existing C drive
Click the 'Clone' button
Wait until it is done
When it finishes, power off
Disconnect ALL drives except for the new SSD
This is to allow the system to try to boot from ONLY the SSD
Swap the SATA cables around so that the new drive is connected to the same SATA port as the old drive
Power up, and verify the BIOS boot order
If good, continue the power up

It should boot from the new drive, just like the old drive.
Maybe reboot a time or two, just to make sure.

If it works, and it should, all is good.

Later, reconnect the old drive and wipe all partitions on it.
This will probably require the commandline diskpart function, and the clean command.

Ask questions if anything is unclear.
-----------------------------
 
Got Samsung 860's and one of the cloning processes is running right now with the Samsung softwre. Based on the % reported after 20 minutes it looks like it will be 2+ hours to clone but I'm running 250gb through USB 2.0... so I'm not shocked.

Meanwhile, it did give me the ability to select the partition to clone... but do I understand correctly that it only clones wholesale to the new drive? So if I go back in and clone the D recovery partition that it will wipe out the destination drive completely? ... and that means I should load up Macrium to do the D partition?

Also, it warned me that open files won't be cloned. Does that mean I should have done a minimal boot and stopped most services and background programs that are running (e.g. apple stuff, desktop sticky notes, etc) to make sure they copy? I keep these systems fairly clean, but there's always stuff that starts up in the background. Or is it just at a retail level I have to worry about e.g. MS Word documents open, etc.

Thx
Yes, it takes longer than you might think.
Part is because of the usb connection, but mainly because the write buffers on the ssd are being overwhelmed.
Time is not much shorter with a direct sata connection.

If you just do a boot and run the app immediately after, you will not have a problem.
I think they are referring to an active app that is updating files.
The migration should also move the recovery partition.
When done, it is best to remove the HDD and replace it with the new ssd. Then test to verify that all is well.
Later you can reattach the HDD and files on it will be available if you want.
Or you can wipe it.
 
May 12, 2020
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Thanks, conversions done. Very slow converting but done. Working properly as far as I can see and much faster.

Had some IDE controller errors on one system... watching to see if they recur. Fired about 10-33 errors at the same time-mark with "The driver detected a controller error on \Device\Ide\IdePort0.". Happened a half dozen times since install, boot. reboot. I'm guessing that's the hard drive controller but I also had a CD in the DVD drive. I'm not sure how to disect that? I've rebooted and am watching the log. Clean so far after a little time working.

Samsung software would only do the C partition. Would I need to go back and redo that system with the recovery partition using Macrium to move the D (recovery) partition all at the same time? Also, I see that the Samsung software partitioned the entire SSD drive as C. Do I need yet another piece of software to re-partition to have a D partition first to get the recovery partition on there... or is the answer again "back to Macrium ".
 
May 12, 2020
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Do you actually NEED that recovery partition?
That is what was included as it came from the factory?
Well, it would be nice to have. Maybe it's good enough to have it on the oiginal drive.

Any thoughts on the controller error? Is that motherboard issue or an SSD issue? There are no errors in the logs before the SSD install.
 

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