Windows 10 hard drive swap

Is there a drama-free way to move a Win10 installation from a mechanical drive to an SSD?
It’s a 640GB drive of which she’s using less than 80. For $50 I can get a 120GB SSD and bring peace to our home. It’s just a question of migrating the install.

Dakwife’s computer is getting to be pretty slow (HP Pavilion dv6, quad-core AMD, 6GB RAM, upgraded to Win10, 5400 RPM drive). After doing 10 minutes of tech support work for her over the holiday, I bitched about the speed and she said “yeah, it’s been getting slower for a while but I didn’t want to complain” (this is the same Dakwife who had documents stuck in her print spooler such that nothing would print at all for weeks, but “didn’t want to bother” me by asking about it).

Quietly used as anger fuel.

I’ve taught my wife to bother me early and bother me often on stuff like that so I can fix the problems on my terms instead of when it’s a real issue.

OK, maybe I didn’t teach her, she learned this because I’m a lazy asshole.


I just replaced my internal spinner SATA drive with an SSD drive.
I used Acronis Backup 11.5 to restore an image that I created weekly as a backup.
What type of SSD drive are you purchasing? Some come with software to achieve this.
If your looking for free, I have used Macrium Reflect:
You can either make an image of existing drive or “Clone” old drive to new one.Cloning would be faster as it is only 1 step. And yes, it will resize partitions. i.e 640GB to 128GB
I prefer making an image as there is redundancy… the image file is left intact after a restore.

My 2cts

1 Like

No. It is impossible to do. It cannot be done. Do not attempt this.

It can only end in tears.


It’s ok, it’s not windows 95… it’s dead, I promise, you’ll never have phantom devices screaming for drivers in the middle of the night.

Shhh, it will all look better in the morning.


/me collapses, weeping silently to self


I also prefer to have an image before futzing with migration.
It seems like the computers I’ve used that have been upgraded to Win10 are usually slower than the ones that got a clean install. But switching to an SSD should help tremendously. If you can find a slightly larger one for not too much more $$, I’d get a bigger drive. The updates are not voluntary and not small, so they may eat up that 40GB of free space before too long.

1 Like

I’m not sure how I’d even do a clean install. The system was purchased with Win7 and we did the free update. I have no installation media for 10, and the recovery and “tools” partitions from HP on the platters.

Newegg has an ADATA 256GB model for $65 on sale right now. Never heard of the brand, but I’ve been out of the loop a few years.

The other question is where to put the image. I’ve got a half-dozen drives in the house but not all have sufficient space. It’s a real mess.

Undecided on the exact drive thus far. Does that software require that I boot off other media to take an image of the drive?

Yes, this can be a CD or a flash drive.

If you don’t have a USB drive with enough space available, you could shrink the primary partition on the existing drive, make a new partition, and store the image there. It would slow down the image creation process, but it’s free.

I’ve heard of ADATA… I haven’t heard much, but I haven’t heard anything bad.

Do you have Fry’s there? I’m seeing a $50 120GB, but no better deals than Newegg on 250-ishGB. But then again, the Evo lines are supposed to be pretty good, and $80 is not a bad price.

Sunday’s promo code should work for this ad: 451673
Also, free shipping is included!

Making an image of the OS drive is the way to go. Just make sure you get all the partitions.

You don’t need another drive for the image. Your new drive is where the image will go. Get either an enclosure or the cables to hook it up externally and image the OS to the new drive. You should then be able to swap the drives and boot like nothing happened. Just a drive change should not trigger a new activation but I’ve had to do a couple recently and at least the process is pretty painless with MS on the phone (just talking to a computer so no back talk). And if you run into problems, plug the old drive back in.

There are ways to make sure you have your free W10 license associated correctly but most involve attaching it to your MS account. Linky. But I would also be prepared to just buy a new license. Media should be the same and you just plug in the code.

I’m still waiting for prices to drop on 1TB SSDs to drop as it seems the good sales only happen at 500GB and under. :slight_frown:

So I was just issued a Win 10 laptop at work. Faster processor, more memory, seems to run the same or even slower than the Win 7 laptop due to the amount of security they’ve got it. Anti-virus wants to run all. the. time. Why doesn’t it come with an SSD to compensate for how much it’s being dragged down?

I’ve had good luck with the Samsung SSDs for my Hackintosh build… I need to update that thread, in fact…

1 Like

Another Drive

No. I mean yeah you can and it’s not all that faffy now, and like @Woodman says you usually don’t get phantom devices anymore (unless you have AMD anything in the machine, which you do, so heyo). But with any drive swap I recommend what I always recommend: clean install with new media. You already have your license key, you can use the MSFT automated phone service to generate a new activation key and after that you’re set!

Ok, this triggered an OMG reaction… like teenage girl style…
This is not Win10 related, but triggered a rant:
For a few years, I have had a laptop for work that belongs to a client - I can remote into their network and do work without always needing to drive across town. That’s great.
The first one had a 15" screen and ten-key, which was wonderful, but it was really heavy. Win7, i5, 4GB RAM.
Last year, they had some people leave, and I know a few peeps in IT, so I managed to get a newer laptop assigned to me. I thought it was gonna be great! Newer, faster i5 proc, supposed to have had more memory (but still stuck at 4GB), and 14" screen, so much lighter. Lost the ten-key, awww. :frowning2: But once I started using it, what a disappointment. The screen is hideous… I don’t know if the resolution is way lower, or if it is just a random aberration, but it looks like shit. The secondary LCD I have connected to the docking station, which was manufactured in May 2006, is an order of magnitude easier on the eyes than the laptop’s crap screen.
Ok, so I can live with using the side screen most of the time, since it is usually docked now-a-days. But the bite in the ass is the memory size and usage. (Did McAfee/CA get bought by Dell or something?) Whatever the deal is, the amount of security crap they have running is astoundingly awful. When I login from a cold boot, before I launch anything, it is using at least 2.1GB of RAM, primarily bloated IT crap related to the antivirus, antimalware, user tracking, web filtering, and disk encryption packages, and the related system monitoring of them. Seriously, 50+ modules launch at startup that have nothing to do with productivity. The old laptop had Win7 and had a lot of the same crap eating memory, but usually only 1.5GB or less. The new OS is Win8.1, but the new image has updated versions of all the background processes, and they just seem to be so much more intrusive.
Not that there is anything I can do about it, other than bitch and be thankful that I don’t have to use it all day, every day.

Ok, I’m done. Just had to blow off some steam.

Seriously, EaseUS freeware will do it just fine. Just give them an email account you don’t care about, they do send spam.

We’re Fry’s-less and I slacked on checking out those deals so they’ve passed.

I found a well-reviewed Silicon Power SLC 240GB drive on Newegg for $70 that looks like it’ll work well.