How to move Windows 8.1 from a Hard Disk Drive (HDD) to a Solid State Disk (SSD) using Acronis True Image 2013 or 2014 July 27th, 2014
A step by step guide on how to replace your existing Windows 8 or 8.1 hard drive with a Solid State Drive using Acronis True Image 2013. If you have Acronis 2014 the steps are basically the same.
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 (350MB 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 8 partition and is the ‘Boot’ partition. You may also have the computer manufacture’s ‘Recovery’ partition.
I suggest that you read the entire article before you implement any changes to your current hardware configuration, especially step 8 titled “Disk Signatures”.
Notes: A) If you originally installed Windows 8 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.
The small hidden ‘System, Reserved’ partition serves as 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 the new SSD not only include the Windows 8 partition but also the 350MB ‘System, Reserved’ partition which must be the first partition on the new drive.
B) Secure Boot: You may need to enter your computer’s BIOS and temporarily disable the “Secure Boot” feature on a new computer that came with Windows 8 pre-installed when booting from the Acronis “Recovery media”. For more information on disabling Secure Boot in your computer's BIOS, reference the manual that came with your motherboard or contact your motherboard manufacturer.
C) Typically there are two methods used to move from a hard drive to a new and usually smaller SSD. The first is ‘Drive Cloning’ and the second is ‘Drive Imaging’. Both methods are supported.
Note: Cloning can sometimes also cause Windows to go “Non-Genuine” within a short period of time. (this is not exclusive to Acronis as other Cloning products can also cause this problem) My experience has shown that restoring the Image is the better of the two choices.
D) If the occupied space on your hard disk exceeds the size of your SSD, you will need to free up space to make migration possible. Generally this means moving at least some of your data files (Photos, Music, Video, Documents, Etc.) to external media such as a USB drive or a second drive in your PC. You can also turn off Hibernation. See page 148 of the Acronis User’s guide for additional information.
E) 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 (using Disk Management) in order for Acronis to detect the drive.
Baseline Configuration and Resources: 1) Windows 8 Pro 64-Bit (8GB of Memory). 2) All important updates installed. Windows 8 device drivers installed. 3) UEFI BIOS, “Secure Boot” not supported. 4) Microsoft’s Windows Defender 5) Primary hard drive is a Western Digital 500GB Hard drive. 6) Replacement drive: Samsung 256GB 840 Pro series SSD (In its “Raw” state). 7) Samsung: http://www.samsung.com/us/support/owners/product/MZ-7PD256BW 8) Acronis True Image: http://www.acronis.com/en-us/personal/pc-backup/ 9) Acronis Documentation: Acronis 2013: http://www.acronis.com/en-us/support/documentation/ATIH2013/#22735.html Acronis 2014: http://www.acronis.com/en-us/support/documentation/ATIH2014/#22735.html 10) Acronis 2013 and 2014 User’s Manual: https://www.acronis.com/download/docs/til2013/userguide/ https://www.acronis.com/download/docs/ati2014/userguide/
Note: An initial backup of the 500GB primary hard drive using True Image 2013 will be used to restore Windows 8 to the “Baseline Configuration” prior to offloading any data files mentioned in step D of the above notes. A second image backup will then be created and used to migrate to the SSD.
You can improve backup and restore times slightly by defragmenting the hard drive but it may take longer to defragment the drive than to create the image backup.
Acronis True Image 2013 and 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 8’s “Windows 7 File Recovery” 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.
Step by Step Overview: 1) Install Acronis True Image 2013 or 2014 2) Create the True Image recovery / rescue media 3) Create a baseline Image Backup 4) Planning your migration from a HDD to SDD: 5) Restoring the image to your new SSD 6) Verifying the proper “Drive Offset” for a SSD 7) Optimizing Windows 8 for use on a SSD 8) Disk Signatures 9) Create an image backup after moving to the SSD 10) What to do with your old hard drive
Acronis 2013 / 2014 installation-----> and creating "Rescue" media