Best Way to Transfer my System from HDD to SSD?

I have a 1TB HDD with about 450GB taken up on it and I just got a Micron C400 (Crucial M4) that is 512GB that actually shows to be around 475GB.

I have heard that cloning a HDD to a SSD is a bad idea so what is the most effective and wise way to get my system transferred over to my SSD? It seems like most people think a clean install of the OS is the best route but then how do you get all the data from your HDD to your SSD and have your computer recognize the SSD as the new primary drive without losing anything? Can you just copy/cut and paste the drives contents in File Explorer?

Also, I know you never get as much storage as drives label but should I really only have access to 475GB of a drive that is advertised to be 512GB?
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  1. You should just do a clean reinstall of windows.
  2. The problem with cloning disks is that it fills up your SSD with system files you don't actually need (Space on SSD is precious).
    1: Copy the files you want to keep into an external hard drive.
    2: Boot from your Windows 7 disk and format your 1TB HDD.
    3: Install windows on your SSD.
    4: Copy the files from your external to 1TB.
  3. Error - posted to wrong thread
  4. Hey there, cusconillow!

    The clean install when replacing a hard drive in your computer is the recommended thing to do, because cloning actually transfers all your redundant files as well (temp, dump, etc.). This cloning/migrating process is the second best solution to installing a new OS drive only when you don't have your original Windows Installation media and your computer doesn't come with a pre-installed version of it.

    How it happens? Well, you basically back up all your files from the HDD on an external as it was already mentioned and unplug it from the system. Put the SSD in the first available SATA port (0) and install Windows (Make sure you don't have any other hard drive connected to the SATA ports, because you might encounter an OS confusion and have boot issues later on).
    After Windows is up and running on the SSD plug back the HDD re-format it and use the backup drive to transfer all your data back to the HDD. Then using this tutorial, change the default download/save location to the HDD (http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/redirect-folder-new-location#1TC=windows-7)
    With or without cloning, most users do re-install the software applications because most of them won't launch or they cause the system pretty annoying issues.
    As for your storage drive. This capacity is due to the fact that a 1 KB is 1024 bytes and not 1000 bytes.
    1 KB = 1024 bytes.
    1 MB = 1024 x 1024 = 1048576
    1 GB = 1024 x 1024 x 1024 = 1,073,741,824 bytes
    512 GB = 1,073,741,824 x 512 = 549,755,813,888

    Divide 512,000,000,000 / 549,755,813,888 and you will get the number 0.9313
    Then multiply 512 x 0.9313 and you will get why you have only those 475 GB available.

    Hope this helped! :)
    SuperSoph_WD
  5. SuperSoph_WD said:
    Hey there, cusconillow!

    The clean install when replacing a hard drive in your computer is the recommended thing to do, because cloning actually transfers all your redundant files as well (temp, dump, etc.). This cloning/migrating process is the second best solution to installing a new OS drive only when you don't have your original Windows Installation media and your computer doesn't come with a pre-installed version of it.

    How it happens? Well, you basically back up all your files from the HDD on an external as it was already mentioned and unplug it from the system. Put the SSD in the first available SATA port (0) and install Windows (Make sure you don't have any other hard drive connected to the SATA ports, because you might encounter an OS confusion and have boot issues later on).
    After Windows is up and running on the SSD plug back the HDD re-format it and use the backup drive to transfer all your data back to the HDD. Then using this tutorial, change the default download/save location to the HDD (http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/redirect-folder-new-location#1TC=windows-7)
    With or without cloning, most users do re-install the software applications because most of them won't launch or they cause the system pretty annoying issues.
    As for your storage drive. This capacity is due to the fact that a 1 KB is 1024 bytes and not 1000 bytes.
    1 KB = 1024 bytes.
    1 MB = 1024 x 1024 = 1048576
    1 GB = 1024 x 1024 x 1024 = 1,073,741,824 bytes
    512 GB = 1,073,741,824 x 512 = 549,755,813,888

    Divide 512,000,000,000 / 549,755,813,888 and you will get the number 0.9313
    Then multiply 512 x 0.9313 and you will get why you have only those 475 GB available.

    Hope this helped! :)
    SuperSoph_WD


    I was going to say what you said about cloning but didn't have the time to write it all down lol. Very helpful.
  6. I really don't think there's an inherent problem in undertaking the data migration (disk-cloning) process when it involves either a new PC or an upgraded PC.

    It puzzles me when time & time again I read responses to this issue with statements like "it's always better to fresh-install the OS" rather than undertake a disk-cloning (data-migration) process to transfer the contents of one drive to another drive. This is not to say that a fresh-install of the OS may not be warranted in special circumstances. But I simply don't think it's appropriate to have this knee-jerk reaction that a fresh-install of the OS is always "better".
    One must consider the specific circumstances of the situation. We're all aware of what an onerous - even tortuous - process it can be for a user to manually install programs and data to a new drive (which he or she will have to do when fresh-installing an OS). And is there anyone out there who looks forward to again installing scores, if not hundreds, of Windows updates? And let's not forget about driver updates that probably will be necessary as well as other "updates" involving this or that system configuration. If a user can avoid that time-consuming burdensome process by undertaking an effective disk-cloning operation that results in a reliable, fully-functional system, why not take advantage of such?

    As far as we're concerned as long as certain critical conditions are present with a user's system, I see no problem in undertaking the data migration (disk-cloning) route...
    1. Does the user's present system function without any problems in that the system boots without incident and thereafter functions trouble-free?
    2. Is the user sufficiently comfortable with his/her current system that they would have no qualms in creating a bit-for-bit copy of that system transferred to their new drive?
    3. Is the disk-capacity of the new drive sufficient to contain the total contents of the drive that they would like to transfer?

    If users' answers to the above are "yes" I would see no reason why they should not utilize a data-migration (disk-cloning) program to effect the transfer of data. By & large it's a reasonably simple & straightforward process that does the job in a reasonable amount of time entailing a minimum amount of frustration for the user as compared with undertaking a fresh-install of the OS.

    I would only add that we have undertaken (or helped to perform) dozens of disk-cloning operations relevant to this issue and have experienced no problems in doing so.

    One final note...

    We always encourage the user to work with the newly cloned system for a reasonable period of time to determine that the system is functioning without any problems and the user is perfectly satisfied with the new system. We further caution users NOT to make any major modifications to their source drive (their former boot drive that was cloned) until they're completely certain that the system operates just fine following the disk-cloning operation.

    Remember, you can ALWAYS undertake a fresh-install of the OS if you so choose.
  7. I think I am going to go with a fresh install onto the SSD.
    Now here is my next question: I am going to be using a Rufus-made Bootable Flash drive to install windows 8.1 onto the SSD. I have one 1TB hard drive which is my current primary drive. I have no external drives. Can I simply install windows 8.1 onto the SSD, connect the 1TB, boot from the SSD and then copy things from my 1TB to the SSD THEN format the 1TB?
    Would I find any issues doing that?


    Also, in making a rufus bootable drive, it is asking me what kind of partition scheme and what kind of BIOS I have.
    (Step 3 of this link)
    I have a MSI Z87-G45 PC MATE motherboard. What should I choose for that option?

    EDIT: Figured it out. I have a UEFI system and chose the GRT partition for UEFI computer option.
  8. As long as you're going with a fresh-install of the OS onto the SSD I think you've pretty much outlined the process. Just ensure that when you perform the OS installation ONLY the SSD should be connected in the system. Also ensure your SSD is connected to the first SATA port (probably designated SATA 0 or SATA 1). After the install check the BIOS/UEFI to confirm the SSD is first in boot order priority.

    Work with the SSD for some time to ensure it's perfectly functional without problems. Then connect your 1 TB HDD.

    I'm not sure what you mean when you refer to "copy things" from the HDD to the SSD. Yes, personal data, audio/video files and the like are fine to "copy" over if you want. But understand that (with some possible exceptions) you will need to reinstall your programs onto the SSD. You can then format the HDD, but again - make sure the system is properly functioning with the SSD before you format that HDD.
  9. it is easy to make SSD as the primary from BIOS and you can find many tutorials online.
    the capacity marked on hard drive and shown by My Computer is different, that's because hard drive manufacturer and OS uses different way to calculate disk capacity, for example, one 120GB hard drive: 120GB=120,000MB=120,000,000KB=120,000,000,000 byte
    120,000,000,000 byte/1024=117,187,500KB/1024=114,440.91796875MB=114GB thus we can see 114GB on My Computer
    thus, your 500GB hard drive is totally OK and no need to worry about that.
    I'd like to reinstall OS instead of cloning OS, because I feel system won't boot from cloned system. but if you really want to try cloning system, then you can follow the guide http://www.eassos.com/blog/move-windows-to-ssd-without-reinstalling-os/
    I haven't tried this, so I'm not sure whether this works
  10. cusconillow said:
    I think I am going to go with a fresh install onto the SSD.
    Now here is my next question: I am going to be using a Rufus-made Bootable Flash drive to install windows 8.1 onto the SSD. I have one 1TB hard drive which is my current primary drive. I have no external drives. Can I simply install windows 8.1 onto the SSD, connect the 1TB, boot from the SSD and then copy things from my 1TB to the SSD THEN format the 1TB?
    Would I find any issues doing that?


    Also, in making a rufus bootable drive, it is asking me what kind of partition scheme and what kind of BIOS I have.
    (Step 3 of this link)
    I have a MSI Z87-G45 PC MATE motherboard. What should I choose for that option?

    EDIT: Figured it out. I have a UEFI system and chose the GRT partition for UEFI computer option.


    Yes that's the way you do it.
    I prefer to copy the files out of the HDD to the SSD, install windows on SSD, format the HDD and copy the files back in again because I like to remove all traces of the previous installation. Sometimes you can't just delete files off from the old drive. Its locked for some reason.
  11. Okay so I got it all working, installed the SSD, transferred all my data to the SSD, wiped the HDD completely, transferred documents back to the HDD, used the SSD for two days and now it won't show up in my bios. I've connected it to a docking station, an external USB SATA connector, and internally and I can't seem to get it to show up in the bios or in the diskpart command prompt function.
  12. Try using a spare sata cable. Use a different psu cable.
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