HDD to SSD Upgrade Guide
This user guide is not definitive. It is intended as a guide, further research, software or hardware may be required depending on application, operating system, system requirements and more.
Option 1 – Fresh Installation of Windows OS
Pros – Faster to get up and running, the fresh installation will prevent any old unused data being cloned/copied, installation will be optimised for the SSD.
Cons – None of your other applications like office/email etc will be copied. You will need to re-install the applications you need. You will also need to copy/move personal data/photos/files from the old drive to the new.
Option 2 – Clone/copy your existing drive to the SSD.
Pros – Done correctly the cloned SSD should be a direct plug and play replacement in your system. You should see no difference in the use of the machine except the performance increase.
Cons – Additional equipment and software needed in the form of a HDD/SSD enclosure and cloning software. Depending on Source to destination drive capacity cloning a larger (500GB HDD) to a smaller (128GB) is not fully possible. You can clone the OS partition and other folders, but you can’t clone more than the destination drive capacity. Remember Windows only takes about 20GB so any more than that and you are copying files and programs.
Before you begin
First, you'll need to find out if your Microsoft account is linked to your Windows 10 digital license. Select the Start button, then select Settings > Update & Security and then select Activation. The activation status message will tell you if your account is linked.
If your Microsoft account is not linked to your digital license, follow these steps to Add an account:
Sign in as an administrator to add your Microsoft account. To confirm that you're using an administrator account, select the Start button, then select Settings > Accounts > Your info . Under your name, you’ll see Administrator. If you’re not an administrator, see Create a local user or administrator account.
Confirm that the administrator account is also your Microsoft account by checking to see if an email address is displayed above Administrator. If an email address is displayed, this is a Microsoft account. If not, you’re logged in using a local account. If you don’t yet have a Microsoft account, you will need to create one for Free on the Microsoft site.
Once you confirm that you’re an administrator and using your Microsoft account, go back to the Activation page, select Add an account, enter your Microsoft account and password, then select Sign in.
After your Microsoft account has been added, the message on the Activation page will change to: Windows is activated with a digital license linked to your Microsoft account.
Option 1: Fresh Install
Take a Fresh 8GB+ USB memory stick/drive and create a Bootable Windows 10 USB Media drive. You can do this on the Microsoft website FREE HERE.
Then using another blank USB device make sure you backup your personal files. Thinks like photos, letters, work documents etc.
Power off your PC or Laptop. Open the side/base panel to gain access to the HDD. Remove the HDD carefully, replacing it with the new SSD (For PC you may require a 2.5” to 3.5” adapter plate). If you are unsure there are many very good visual guides specific to most mainstream makes and models on YouTube available free.
Once installed and you’ve replaced the cover/panel plug the Bootable Windows USB device and power on your PC/Laptop. You should then be guided through a fresh Installation of Windows. Once set up and connected to the internet. Activate Windows using your digital license and copy over your files from the backup USB and re-install any other software you want/need.
Option 2: Clone Install
Download and install your preferred cloning software. There are several options available, some are free. Others are charged. Be aware of the limitations of free trial versions, often they won’t support full Clone options, or may not work when cloning larger capacity drives to smaller ones. Here is a link to software provided by SiliconPower for use with their drives. One of the better paid software options is EasUS.
You will need a USB external 2.5” Enclosure. Put the NEW SSD into the enclosure; connect it to the PC/Laptop and using the software and its instructions clone/copy the HDD Operating system to the SSD. This may take quite some time (30mins+)! Especially if you are being selective and trying to clone parts of the HDD and resizing partitions.
Once the operation is complete, power off your PC or Laptop. Open the side/base panel to gain access to the HDD. Remove the HDD carefully, replacing it with the new SSD (For PC you may require a 2.5” to 3.5” adapter plate). If you are unsure there are many very good visual guides specific to most mainstream makes and models on YouTube available free.
Once installed and you’ve replaced the cover/panel, power on your PC/Laptop and if the clone was successful you should boot into Windows quickly and have all the files/folders and applications that you chose to clone. Any missing files can be copied from the old HDD by using the HDD caddy again. If the drive you replaced was a 3.5” from a PC you will need a larger powered caddy. Or swap back to the old HDD and copy your extra files onto a USB drive.
Remember if option 2 fails you can always go back to option 1 after you re-format the SSD to wipe it clean
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