Saturday, April 28, 2012

Upgrading SSD

When I purchased my build-to-order desktop PC, they were giving out free 30GB Kingston SSDs. I thought I could speed up my computer by using the SSD as the primary boot disk and buying a large conventional HDD (2TB) to store programs and data. 30GB should be enough for just Windows 7, right? Right?

I soon found out that 30 GB was not enough. Even though I installed everything I could (whenever I was given the option) on the secondary drive, I found myself running out of room on the 30GB SSD. For the past month, I've been averaging ~1GB free. Windows 7 seems to eat up free space each time there's an update, which seems like every week. I finally admitted the problem and bought a 120GB SSD from Crucial/Amazon for ~$140. I looked through the documentation online and it looked like an easy upgrade. After all, I was just copying data from one disk to another... how hard can it be?

I thought the SSD came with a data transfer kit (USB to SATA cable + software) but when the packaged arrived, it only had the disk drive... no cable, no software. I cracked open the computer case and could not find any free SATA connectors. I ended up unplugging my DVD-ROM and attached the new SSD drive. Anyway, it took a few tries and a lot of Googling but I managed to clone the original 30GB boot disk. I initially used a free program, EASEUS Partition Manager, but it created 3 partitions and the main partition was not aligned for a SSD. I read some more and tried a different software called Clonezilla which involved creating a boot CD and lots of restarts. It managed to clone the original SSD but left a 90GB unallocated partition which I fixed with Windows Disk Management. It wasn't too hard but the whole process took me ~3 hours. In the midst of all this, I got fed up and ordered the $20 cable/software kit that I thought I was getting; hopefully I can cancel that order with Amazon.

Since I have a small case, there's not much room. I haven't figured out how to remove the original SSD drive so the new one will just have to hang outside the case for now.

Woohoo, C: drive is no longer red! It took Windows 7 only one reboot to suck up another 3GB. When I was fixing the partition size, it said that there was 92GB free. Right after reboot, it said there was only 89GB free. There's probably a % disk size process in the background or something. Sigh... hopefully this will last longer than 12 months.

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