Replacing my SATA C: drive on my Windows PC with a Solid State Drive (SSD) has probably been the single most cost effective improvement I have made to this system. The machine is vastly more responsive in almost every respect. Even Web pages seem to load and display faster. What was sluggish and at times irritating is now nimble and a pleasure to use. As an objective indicator, the Windows satisfaction / performance index previously rated the machine at 5.9 which was also the Hard Drive index. It is now rated at 7.2 and the Hard Drive index is 7.9!
However, upgrading to an SSD drive by migrating my C: drive from the original 500GB SATA disk to the new 256GB SSD has also been one of the more frustrating processes I have encountered. Even though the C: partition occupied only 200GB of the 500GB disk and there was only about 160GB of data in that C: partition. (The remainder of space was allocated to the D: drive.)
A clean install of Windows on the new drive is the recommended approach, but of course that means hours of re-installing your programs… if you can. Fortunately, there are some excellent guides on how to “clone” your Windows / boot drive to SSD but it took me a week of evenings at the computer to finally succeed. There are some reference links at the end of this blog.
I first tried Nero Back-it-Up to create a boot DVD and drive image but the restore was to no avail. I still don’t know what the problem was. I then read that it is usually fine to use the built in Windows 7 repair Disk and imaging facilities. You can buy other software, but why not use what is free? Well it worked, but with a caveat. Even though Windows prompts you to specify which partitions to include in the image to be copied, it still assumed I was copying a 500GB drive rather than a 200GB partition to the new 256GB drive. Thus when, I tried to copy the image to the SSD drive, I received the message “no suitable disk available”. No other information, which I think is a bit poor. The work around was to back up the data on the D: partition and to delete the D: partition, making it unallocated space. Then create the image of the C: partition and Master Boot Record. This was acceptable to the Windows imaging program. Ah, the relief!
There are a number of other issues to address if you are planning to proceed with this upgrade and they are well addressed in the excellent articles below, and elsewhere. I hope my small contribution helps clarify for you what was somewhat unclear for me.
Recovering Windows 7 with System Image Restore Disks: http://archive.benchmarkreviews.com/?id=439&Itemid=72&option=com_content&task=view
Migrating to SSD: