Installing OS on SSD from HDD

Started Dec 1, 2012 | Discussions
indusphoto
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Installing OS on SSD from HDD
Dec 1, 2012

I recently bought DELL XPS 8500 (not yet received yet, coming on Tuesday 12/4). As suggested by Jim, I bought SSD, RAM, Blue-ray burner outside and planning to install them.

But how can I install the OS on SSD without Windows 7 installation CD? I have read about receovery disks. But does it really work? Anybody did the same? If yes, can you please give me some steps?

I bought Crucial 128GB SSD.

Thanks in advance...

malch
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Re: Installing OS on SSD from HDD
In reply to indusphoto, Dec 1, 2012

indusphoto wrote:

But how can I install the OS on SSD without Windows 7 installation CD? I have read about receovery disks. But does it really work? Anybody did the same? If yes, can you please give me some steps?

Personally, I hate these OEM recovery systems; I much prefer to have a real Windows DVD and to make my own images.

Therefore, what I do is:

1. Download an official Windows ISO from here and burn to disk:

http://www.mydigitallife.info/official-windows-7-sp1-iso-from-digital-river/

2. Ensure I have made backup copies of any special drivers that came with and/or are required by your new system. And any Dell utilities that you really want/like.

3. Perform a clean install from scratch using the Windows serial that came with the system.

This should result in an installation that is 100% clean (sans crapware) and 100% legit.

P.S. And you'll already have a "real" Win 7 DVD in case you need it for repairs, recovery, rebuild, redeployment etc.

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Jim Cockfield
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Re: Installing OS on SSD from HDD
In reply to indusphoto, Dec 1, 2012

Did you go with the mSATA model of that Crucial drive?

I'd go that route (mSATA versus a 2.5" drive) to save a drive bay and SATA connection, since the XPS 8500 has an mSATA slot you could use for one. That way, you'd be able to install another physical hard drive in the spare bay later.

Dell includes a DataSafe program on it's newer PCs that allows you to create a recovery disk (and you can use a USB flash drive for that purpose if desired) that you can boot into and reinstall Windows so that it has the same thing on it that came with it (Windows including any needed chipset drivers, Dell programs for keeping it up to date, etc.).  Then, you could just uninstall anything extra you decide you don't want (like preinstalled trial versions of AV protection software).

See this post for more info (and note you'll need a couple of screws to secure the drive, as you'll see mentioned):

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/post/50065445

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chipster2
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Re: Installing OS on SSD from HDD
In reply to indusphoto, Dec 1, 2012

indusphoto wrote:

I recently bought DELL XPS 8500 (not yet received yet, coming on Tuesday 12/4). As suggested by Jim, I bought SSD, RAM, Blue-ray burner outside and planning to install them.

But how can I install the OS on SSD without Windows 7 installation CD? I have read about receovery disks. But does it really work? Anybody did the same? If yes, can you please give me some steps?

I bought Crucial 128GB SSD.

Thanks in advance...

indusphoto,

I did exactly what you are planning about two months ago. I followed the instruction posted here:

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/post/50065445

and had no problems.

You didn't say if you bought the Crucial mSATA SSD. If you did, note that you will need two tiny  m2x3mm screws to secure the mSATA drive. I found them at http://www.laptopscrews.com/

If you bought the 2.5" SSD with bracket, you will want to attach it to Port 0 (where your existing hard drive is attached) because only Port 0 and the mSATA drives are SATA III (6Gb/sec) Ports 1, 2 and 3 are SATA II (3Gb/sec)

I used the Dell Data Safe Backup to create a bootable USB flash drive and restored the system from there. Be sure and unplug the existing hard drive before starting the restore or it will create a dual boot install.

It was definitely worth the effort. I guesstimate a 30% faster import of my photos into Lightroom. CS6 feels quicker as well particularly when opening a panorama with several layers.

Chip

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indusphoto
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Re: Installing OS on SSD from HDD
In reply to malch, Dec 1, 2012

Thank you Malch. Thanks for your detailed steps.

I really appreciate your help.

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indusphoto
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Re: Installing OS on SSD from HDD
In reply to Jim Cockfield, Dec 1, 2012

Hi Jim,

I thought that you would reply to my question. But didn't expect, this fast !!

Thanks a lot for giving the link. It really helps!!

I have 128GB Crucial m4 mSATA 6Gb/s SSD. So I think I need to buy those screws.

One more question, is it ok if I first connect SSD as a drive and install latest firmware before installing Windows on it? Also, is there any thing that I need to configure for Trim?

I think I get lot of help in dpreview than any other forums...even for PC related issues.

Thanks

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indusphoto
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Re: Installing OS on SSD from HDD
In reply to chipster2, Dec 1, 2012

Thanks Chip. Yes, I have 128GB Crucial m4 mSATA 6Gb/s SSD. I'll buy those screws.

Thanks

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jamesdak
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Re: Good Info
In reply to indusphoto, Dec 1, 2012

Awesome, I may be doing the exact same thing myself.  Unless I don't like the Windows 8 that comes on mine.  My plan will be to buy and use Windows 7 on the SSD if I don't like 8.  Nice to have the instructions all ready in hand.

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malch
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Re: Installing OS on SSD from HDD
In reply to indusphoto, Dec 1, 2012

indusphoto wrote:

I have 128GB Crucial m4 mSATA 6Gb/s SSD. So I think I need to buy those screws.

I was able to scavenge them from an ancient laptop.

One more question, is it ok if I first connect SSD as a drive and install latest firmware before installing Windows on it?

That's what I did. But I also disconnected the HDD (temporarily) for the initial Windows installation. This ensured Windows went onto the SSD as drive C:. Otherwise, it's rather likely to create the new system on the SSD but assign it to D: or E:. I've seen it do some really weird shi^H^H^ stuff.

Also, is there any thing that I need to configure for Trim?

Nope. With a clean install, Windows will take care of that.

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indusphoto
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Re: Installing OS on SSD from HDD
In reply to malch, Dec 1, 2012

Thanks Malch. I also found those screws from my old desktop.

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billy2
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Re: Installing OS on SSD from HDD
In reply to malch, Dec 3, 2012

Pardon me for jumping in on this but I am hoping to install a SSD in the near future. I want to do a clean windows 7 install on the SSD. My current windows 7 is running on a hard drive where I have many other programmes. I have the windows 7 disc that came with with my computer and hope to use this to do the clean installation.

My question is that can I simply clean install Windows 7 from the disk onto the SSD drive and leave the other programmes, on the Hard Drive?, and do I have to remove W7 from the HD before I  install it on the SSD.

Thanks for your help

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jamesdak
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Re: Installing OS on SSD from HDD
In reply to indusphoto, Dec 7, 2012

Curious to hear how things went.  I am about to do the samething myself this weekend.

Oh, and totally surprised by how small the 128 GB SSD actually was.  Isn't technology grand?

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indusphoto
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Re: Installing OS on SSD from HDD
In reply to jamesdak, Dec 8, 2012

Yesterday, I completed installing SSD (Crucial mSATA 128GB SSD), Crucial 8 GB RAM (added to existing 8 GB), GeForce 660 video card, Asus Blue-ray burner.

I installed Windows 7 professional on SSD. First I took a backup of my system using Dell Datasafe into a flash drive (used 16 GB flash drive...datasafe was not accepting 8GB flash drive). Then I followed the steps given above. And every thing went fine.

Before installing Windows 7, I upgraded the firmware of SSD by downloading it from Crucial.com.

Thanks all for your help...

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jamesdak
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Re: Installing OS on SSD from HDD
In reply to indusphoto, Dec 9, 2012

Good deal, I'll be upgrading mine tomorrow while watching football.

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Birk Binnard
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Don't forget to mark the old Windows partition Inactive
In reply to indusphoto, Dec 9, 2012

Every partition on every disk drive is either Active or Inactive.  This information is in the partition header and is not normally accessible.  A system should have only one Active partition because the boot loader searches each partition for Active status and then proceeds to load the OS (whatever it is) from that partition.

When you clone Windows from one disk to another, or even do a clean install of Windows on a new disk, the old one will still be marked as Active.  Since the new Windows disk will be higher in the boot order there is usually no problem with the old one still being Active because the boot loader will find the new one first.  But if something odd happens and the boot loader finds the second/old disk it will try to boot from there.

So it's best to mark the old Windows partition as Inactive. You have to do this from a DOS prompt, and the only tricky part is making sure you select the correct partition to mark as Inactive.  If you mark the current one Inactive your system will fail to boot (because the boot loader won't know to load winders from that partition.)

Here's how to do it:

  1.  Open up a command prompt and type DISKPART.
  2. Type LIST DISK
  3. Type SELECT DISK n (where n is the number of the old Windows drive)
  4. Type LIST PARTITION
  5. Type SELECT PARTITION n (where n is the number of the active partition you wish to make inactive)
  6. Type INACTIVE
  7. Type EXIT to exit DISKPART
  8. Type EXIT again to exit the command prompt
  9. Reboot

If you have DiskManager open when you do this you will see the change reflected on the disk diagram as soon as you make the change.  This is a good way to verify you have changed the correct disk.

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indusphoto
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Re: Don't forget to mark the old Windows partition Inactive
In reply to Birk Binnard, Dec 9, 2012

Hi Birk,

I didn't know about this earlier. I tried your steps, but the problem is I have 3 partitions in Hard drive. Which one do I need to select?

Here is the command output:

DISKPART> list disk

Disk ### Status Size Free Dyn Gpt
-------- ------------- ------- ------- --- ---
Disk 0 Online 931 GB 0 B
Disk 1 Online 119 GB 6144 KB
Disk 2 No Media 0 B 0 B
Disk 3 No Media 0 B 0 B
Disk 4 No Media 0 B 0 B
Disk 5 No Media 0 B 0 B

DISKPART> select disk 0

Disk 0 is now the selected disk.

DISKPART> list partition

Partition ### Type Size Offset
------------- ---------------- ------- -------
Partition 1 OEM 39 MB 31 KB
Partition 2 Primary 14 GB 40 MB
Partition 3 Primary 916 GB 14 GB

Thanks for your help...

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jamesdak
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Re: Don't forget to mark the old Windows partition Inactive
In reply to Birk Binnard, Dec 9, 2012

Pardon my ignorance but if the hard drive with the old OS on it has not been partioned won't doing what you say make the whole drive unavailable?  I plan on doing the exact same thing today but will be then using that drive as my mainn storage drive for my images.

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Birk Binnard
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Re: Don't forget to mark the old Windows partition Inactive
In reply to indusphoto, Dec 9, 2012

indusphoto:

The answer is 3 - you want to mark Partition 3 as inactive.  How to know this is probably more complex than you want to know, but in case you do here is a picture of my current disk drive/partition setup.  I'll use it to explain the answer to your question about which partition to fix.

Note there are are 4 disks - 2 HDD and 2 SSD.  The Disk numbers, 0 - 4, are determined by the motherboard's physical connectors to which each disk is connected.  These numbers are for identification only, they have nothing to do with any sort of actual priority for anything.

Disk 3 is my boot disk.  This is a new (3 day old) 128GB SSD that I just installed and onto which I cloned my former OS boot drive.  Note that Disk 3 has 2 partitions.  This is because when you do a clean install of Windows 7 it creates a separate 100MB partition for future recovery purposes.  Note also that the large partition, where my Win7/software/etc. is installed, is the only partition marked as Active.  That is because (1) it got created from cloning a previous boot disk (Disk 2) which had the Windows partition marked as Active, and (2) I have marked as Inactive the previous boot disk's Active partition.

Disk 2 is my former boot disk.  It is formatted the same as Disk 3: a 100MB System Reserved partition and a second partition for booting that consumes the rest of the disk.  The larger partition on this disk still has all the same Windows/application software on it as before - in case for some reason I have to go back to boot from it.  But the Windows partition is no longer marked Active; if I wanted to boot from Disk 2 I'd have to go back to Disk Manager (or use a DOS command) and mark the partition as Active.

So - in your case the partition to mark as inactive is the one you used to boot from, NOT the one you boot from now.  If you open Disk Manager you will see 2 partition marked as Active - your old one and the one you boot from now.

Your SSD is Disk 1.  You can tell this because Disk 0 is shown as being 931GB  in size and your SSD is much smaller than this.  So you obviously have to fix a partition on Disk 0 (which you already know.)  You could brute-force the process by simply marking them all as Inactive (because if a partition is not Active, then it is Inactive.)  But the real answer to your question is 3 because Partition 1 is tiny and was set up by Dell (that's where the OEM comes from);  Partition 2 is also small and is probably the System Reserved partition, although I can't be sure of this.  Partition 3 was where all the real software was stored (if you had any.)  So that's the one to mark Inactive.

Jamesdak:

No is the answer because marking a non-boot partition as Inactive will not affect the partition's use as a data partition. The reason is that marking a partition as Active or Inactive only affects the Boot Loader.  Nothing else cares about this.  You can mark any partition (other than a real boot partition) as either Active or Inactive and it has no effect at all.  But if you mark a boot partition as Inactive your system will not boot because the Boot Loader (which is part of the system  BIOS and not on any disk drive) will not be able to find the boot partition.

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jamesdak
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Re: Don't forget to mark the old Windows partition Inactive
In reply to Birk Binnard, Dec 9, 2012

Thanks.  Just got done attempting to install the SSD.  But discovered that while the screws I ordered where phillips I got in allen ones,  So I was unable to do the install right now as I do not have an allen wrench that little.  Closest hardware store is 30 minutes away so oh well.  Guess I"ll do it later.

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Birk Binnard
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Try tape insted
In reply to jamesdak, Dec 9, 2012

Many people (including me) don't use screws at all.  I used double-sided sticky tape to just stick the drive onto the bottom of an empty HDD slot.  The 1/16" thick foam tape works best for this.

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