Windows 7 - How to move from a smaller SSD to a larger SSD
If you find that your old SSD is running out of space here is how to migrate to a larger Solid State Drive now or in the future. For this article I’m using my 128GB SSD with Windows 7 installed and moving to a larger 500GB SSD. If you have Windows 8 or 8.1 the concepts and steps are the same.
Solid State Drive (SSD) prices have fallen considerable in the past 3 years. Early birds may have paid about $170.00 for a 128GB SSD 30 months ago when I purchased my SSD which was on sale at that time. Today you can buy a 256GB SSD ranging in price from $100.00 to $150.00 and a 500GB SSD for about $250.00 or less when on sale (recent sale at Tiger Direct $165.00 after rebate for 480GB SSD).
Typically a new drive is “Raw” (no Master Boot Record), unallocated, has no partitions and is unformatted. Your existing drive however will have at least one but more likely a least 2 or 3 partitions formatted as NTFS. The first of the partitions (100MB in size) is hidden, has no drive letter assigned and is identified as the ‘System Reserved’ (System, Active) when viewing the drive’s characteristics using the ‘Disk Management’ utility. The second partition is the Windows 7 partition and is the ‘Boot’ partition. You may also have a ‘Recovery’ partition created by the computer manufacture.
Notes: A) If you originally installed Windows 7 on a drive that was already partitioned and formatted then there is a possibility the your drive only has a single partition (C:) which serves as both the ‘System’, ‘Active’ and ‘Boot’ partition.
If there is small 100MB hidden ‘System, Reserved’ partition, this partition is not assigned a drive letter therefore is not displayed when using Windows Explorer and is only displayed when using Disk Management. The system partition contains the BCD store (Boot Configuration Data) and Windows needs to access the information contained in this partition to boot and load properly. There is also repair capability inside this partition. So it is imperative that any move to a larger SSD include the all the partitions on the smaller SSD.
B) Typically there are two methods used to move from an older drive to a new and larger SSD. The first is ‘Drive Cloning’ and the second is ‘Drive Imaging’. Both methods are supported but cloning using Acronis has some drawbacks for users who want to move from a smaller SSD that has multiple partitions Acronis recommends the ‘Backup and Recovery method’ (Imaging). Disk imaging will create an image of all your partitions and restore them to the new Solid State Drive (SSD).
C) The old and smaller SSD will naturally have smaller partition sizes, the size of your Windows 7 and any Data partitions can be increased on the new larger SSD during the restore operation. The hidden System partition should remain the same, however if in the future you plan to create a dual boot between Windows 7 and Windows 8 then you do have the option to increase the system partition from 100MB to the Windows 8 default size of 350MB.
D) All new drives (SSD or Hard drives) are in a “Raw” state when you first remove the drive from the box in came in. The SSD needs to be initialized in order for Acronis to detect the drive.
Windows Configuration and Resources: 1) Windows 7 Pro 64Bit (8GB of Memory). 2) All important updates installed. 3) No Anti-Virus product except for Microsoft’s Windows Defender 4) Original SSD is a Samsung 128GB 830 series. 5) New SSD drive: Samsung 840 EVO 500GB (In its “Raw” state). 6) Samsung: http://www.samsung.com/us/computer/memory-storage/MZ-7TE500BW 7) Samsung Magician utility: http://www.samsung.com/us/support/owners/product/MZ-7TE500BW 8) Acronis True Image 2014: http://www.acronis.com/en-us/personal/pc-backup/ 9) Acronis User’s Guide: http://www.acronis.com/en-us/personal/pc-backup/#resources
Note: An initial baseline Image Backup of the 128GB SSD drive using Acronis True Image 2014 will be used to restore Windows 7 to the 500GB SSD.
Samsung 840 EVO Design Defect: As of September 2014 it has been reported that Samsung 840 EVO SSD having declining (slower) read performance over time. The longer the drive has been in use the more likely this may be noticeable.
This problem was first reported on Overclock.net about month ago and currently has more than 900 replies. For those who are not aware of the issue, there is a bug in the 840 EVO that causes the read performance of old blocks of data (files that have not been modified) to drop dramatically. This would include some Windows 7 operating system file and data files that you have not modified since creating them. While the time frame varies from one web site's article to the next it generally files that are 6 to 9 months or older that exhibit this problem.
Samsung has made no comment to me other than to state it’s being worked on by their design team. Recently some reports have surfaced on the web that a fix will be available around the 15th of October 2014. When this fix (more than likely a firmware update) becomes available I will test it and post the results.
Acronis True Image 2014: Acronis list for 49.99 although they occasionally run special sale prices. It has far more capability than basic disk imaging found in Windows 7 “Backup and Restore” option located in the Control Panel. Online help is available via forums and chat support, unfortunately chat is only available for 30 days, starting from the date of purchase.
Notes: Acronis has announced the 2015 version, users who have the 2014 version can upgrade for free if you purchased True Image within the last 30 days. The 2015 version is reported to have a completely new user interface.
If you have an earlier version of Acronis True Image or Image Backup software from another vendor the user interface may be somewhat different than the 2014 version however the basic concept of creating an Image Backup and restoring that image (not cloning) it to your new SSD is the same.