Replacing a laptop hard drive with a SSD  

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  1. Posts : 114
    Windows 10
       #1

    Replacing a laptop hard drive with a SSD


    I have a Dell Latitude E5420 laptop which has a Windows 10 Pro O/S. I would appreciate a step by step guide on the procedure to replace the hard drive with a Solid State drive; specifically dealing with the transfer of all the software from the old drive to the new. I have an external hard drive I use for backups and a free version of the Macrium Reflect program on the hard drive. The SSD is brand new. I have just 50 GB in total on the 231 GB hard drive. The SSD has 250 GB capacity.
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  2. Posts : 415
    Win 7 Pro/32, Win 10 Pro/64/32
       #2

    As a computer tech, I have several ways to do what you suggest.
    One way to at least try, would be to make a new backup of your Laptop drive, to an external drive.
    Then swap drives, installing the new SSD into your laptop. Hopefully you have your backup program on a bootable CD or flash drive, that will boot up your Laptop.
    Run a "Restore" of the backup, to your new SSD, and if all goes right, you should then be able to just boot up your laptop normally to your new SSD.

    For me, I'd take out your old drive, and connect it to my Main PC, along with the new SSD, on different SATA ports, and while running "Ghost" I'd clone the old HD to the new SSD. Then I'd put the SSD back into the laptop, and it all went well, the SSC would boot up the laptop. That would be the quickest and most reliable method for me.
    I only say that, because I've done it many times.
    Replacing a laptop hard drive with a SSD-external-hd.jpg
    Cloning one HD to another HD, using my main PC, and the Ghost backup program, in CLONE mode.

    If you're close by, bring it over here and I'll gladly do it for you.

    Cheers Mate,
    TechnoMage
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  3. Posts : 4,453
    Win 11 Pro 22000.708
       #3

    Many SSDs come with (or make available for download) drive cloning software. That may be the easiest path.

    You may have to acquire a SATA to USB adapter or a 2.5" external drive enclosure, if you didn't buy an SSD upgrade kit. (<$10 on Amazon, for example. I haven't checked UK pricing.) You could then clone the HDD to the SSD directly.

    Or, you could do what "TechnoMage" suggested: use backup software (like the free version of Macrium Reflect) to save an image of the HDD onto your external HDD. You then create a bootable USB version of the backup software. Swap in the SSD, boot from the USB drive, and restore the image onto the SSD. (The only issue I see is the different drive sizes, but I believe that Macrium can deal with that.)

    I'm a little surprised that this isn't covered in the Tutorials here, but I didn't find one.
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  4. Posts : 84
    win10 professional 64 bit
       #4

    I'm far from an expert on this, but have done it successfully 4 times. All the ones I did I used Acronis's clone tool. New ssd and an external enclosure for the ssd. Munted the ssd to the enclosure, plugged in the usb cable, waited for the computer to see the ssd, and ran Acronis. When it was done just swapped out the drives and all was good. I'm actually in the process of doing this on a new Dell laptop and I'm waiting for the new ssd to arrive. For some reason when I talked to dell, they gave me the wrong WD part number and instead of verifying what the laptop has in it, I ordered the wrong one.
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  5. Posts : 29,614
    10 Home x64 (22H2) (10 Pro on 2nd pc)
       #5

    gordon99 said:
    I have a Dell Latitude E5420 laptop which has a Windows 10 Pro O/S. I would appreciate a step by step guide on the procedure to replace the hard drive with a Solid State drive; specifically dealing with the transfer of all the software from the old drive to the new...

    I have a Dell Latitude E7440 that needed an emergency drive transplant when its original HDD started developing a large number of reallocated sectors.

    Before it deteriorated further I successfully made a Macrium image of the HDD to an external HDD (nearly doubling the dying drive's reallocated sectors in the process). I bought a new SSD of the same capacity as the dying HDD and restored the Macrium image to that. I actually did the restore on another machine with the SSD in a usb external drive enclosure, but you could equally well install the SSD in the laptop, boot from a Macrium recovery usb and use that to do a restore 'in place'.

    I can't remember whether or not I needed to use the Macrium recovery usb's 'fix windows boot problems' tool, but once booted from the restored SSD the system was exactly as it was before - except much faster.

    I used an image, not a clone. Cloning is not necessary, the only difference between an image and a clone is that a clone copies all the data from the unused sectors in addition to the used sectors. But the system and the installed software is in the used sectors, so an image is a fully functional copy of the original system.
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  6. Posts : 2,585
    Win 11
       #6

    I did basically what Bree suggests to upgrade the SSD in my Dell Inspiron 5577 laptop.
    I did a disc image (all partitions) with Macrium Reflect to a USB connected drive (you should have a backup anyway).
    Installed the new SSD, used Macrium bootable rescue media (flash drive) to boot Macrium. Restored the disc image to the new SSD.
    Confirmed all was well (booted from the new SSD) then used the free version of MiniTool Partition Wizard to reclaim "C" drive space as the restore was the size of the old/smaller drive.
      My Computers


  7. Posts : 7,705
    Windows 11 Pro 64 bit
       #7

    I prefer imaging to cloning for various reasons. I do this:
    1. Make a full backup of all partitions on the existing HDD to an external drive using Macrium Reflect. Use the verify option and mount the partitions in the resulting image to ensure you can read them. Create a Reflect USB boot drive and confirm you can boot from it.
    2. Remove the old HDD and install the SSD
    3. Connect the external drive containing the backup. Boot to the Reflect recovery drive and recover all partitions to the new SSD.
    4. When done boot the laptop and all should be fine. I would disable all fast boot options since you don't really need them with an SSD.
    5. You can install the old HDD in a cheap external USB caddy and use it for extra storage.
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  8. Posts : 1,650
    X
       #8

    Why make a backup of the existing HDD?

    1. Just plug the new SSD into a USB adapter and clone the existing HDD to the SSD.
    2. Use the software that comes with the SSD, or use Acronis, or use another brand.
    3. Then pull out the HDD and replace it with the SSD.

    Only one copy operation instead of two.
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  9. Posts : 114
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter
       #9

    Thank you all very much for the suggestions. I have learned a lot from them. It seems I have three options:-

    Option 1 - buy an external USB caddy for about 6 to hold the SSD while I image or clone the laptop hard drive onto the SSD followed by a straight swop. I could then use the caddy plus redundant hard drive for future .storage.

    Option 2 - buy a SATA/USB cable connector for about 6 and use this to image or clone the laptop hard drive onto the SSD followed by a straight swop.

    Option 3 - Image or clone the laptop hard drive onto my external backup, swop the laptop hard drive for the empty SSD and then use my Macrium Repair Boot Drive USB to transfer the image (or clone?) all data from the external backup to the SSD. I am a little unsure about this because I did a boot, as a trial, with the Macrium repair USB and only saw reference to browsing for an image and not a clone. I will investigate this further if I decide to go down that route.
    Thank you all once again for your help.
      My Computer


  10. Posts : 29,614
    10 Home x64 (22H2) (10 Pro on 2nd pc)
       #10

    gordon99 said:
    ...I did a boot, as a trial, with the Macrium repair USB and only saw reference to browsing for an image and not a clone...

    An image could be either, the choice between using an image and making a clone depends on which of these options you chose when making the image. An intelligent sector copy is an image of the used sectors only, an exact copy is a clone of all sectors.


    Replacing a laptop hard drive with a SSD-image.png
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