Question on switching from hdd to ssd without cloning

  1. Posts : 12
    Windows 10

    Question on switching from hdd to ssd without cloning

    My laptop hdd is about 7 years old so i'm switching to an ssd. I've seen all the info on cloning etc.. but I'm wondering if I can just do a clean install of Windows 10 on the new drive and go from there..

    My original OS was Windows 7 and that's what I have discs for.. but I upgraded to Windows 10 for free and it's all activated, recognized on this pc. I know to get the Media Creation Tool for USB and to boot from USB..

    My lack of understanding here is what to do before then.. do I just put in the new drive and boot from USB? I remember installing clean Windows 7 and it was frustrating having to install everything in the proper order.. will the Windows 10 given to me by the Media tool that I now have on USB include everything needed for install, like the drivers etc.. ?

    I'm not concerned about cloning this drive as I have what I need backed up from it already on another portable drive.. plus i'm concerned about cloning a failing drive as it is.. I guess I'm seeking a way to do this as though I only have the new drive to work with.. though as mentioned I don't have Windows 10 install discs. Should I attempt that or should I do a clone of the old drive?

    Even if I don't do it, i'm just wondering what someone does under complete drive failure at this point.. and they only have a new drive to work with so a clone wouldn't be an option... upgraded to Windows 10 on old drive but no discs to install it with.. they do have the install media on usb..
      My Computer

  2. Posts : 34,935
    Win 10 Pro (1903) (2nd PC is 21H2)

    Yes you can clean install with your SSD in. Remember to enable AHCI in your BIOS for better performance before you install Windows. Activation should be automatic.

    Windows 10 ISO Download - Windows 10 Installation Upgrade Tutorials
    Clean Install Windows 10 - Windows 10 Installation Upgrade Tutorials

    Note that the next major upgrade (effectively a Windows reinstallation, keeping almost everything) will be being rolled out from mid April onwards over the following 2 or 3 months, I suppose.

    Once you have your system up and running, if you haven't started using it yet, this would be a great time to start using disk imaging routinely.

    Here's my write-up on the value of disk imaging.

    Creating disk images lets you restore Windows and all your disks and partitions to a previous working state, quickly and probably without technical help.

    You can recover from:
    - a failed disk drive (restore to a new one)
    - ransomware (which encrypts your disk)
    - user error
    - unrecoverable problems from failed updates to problem programs
    - unbootable PC (hardware faults aside)

    Images also act as a full backup- you can extract files too.

    You can even use images to help you move more easily and quickly to a new PC.
    Can be used with Laplink software to transfer your build automatically to another PC

    Imaging can even help you sleep at night knowing you have a second chance.

    Many here recommend Macrium Reflect (free) as a good robust solution and more reliable than some others. It’s
    - more feature rich
    - more flexible
    - more reliable
    than Windows Backup and Restore system images.

    It's well supported with videos, help and a responsive forum.

    There are other such programs, free/commercial, some with simpler interfaces, but Macrium R is one of the most robust and reliable.

    How long does it take?
    SSD+ USB3 - maybe 15 mins for the first system image, less thereafter
    HDD + USB2 - maybe 40-50 mins
    That’s with little personal data, few programs installed.
    - of course, depends how much you have on C:
    (You can and should image all your partitions and disks)

    Once you've created your first image, keep it updated with e.g. differential imaging- which images just changes from the first image, more quickly, and creates a smaller image file.

    You need a backup medium - say- twice as large as the total amount of data you are imaging to keep a reasonable number of differential images. This will vary dependent on the number of images you keep, so is only a rough practical guide.

    Some comment that system restore isn't always reliable; if it works and solves the problem, great. But sometimes restores won't work or fail. And of course a restore point only covers a limited number of aspects of the system. That’s where disk imaging comes in.

    (There's a tutorial on Macrium in the Tutorials section, and a couple of videos in the user videos section on this forum)
    Backup and Restore with Macrium Reflect - Windows 10 Backup Restore Tutorials
      My Computers

  3. Posts : 17,266
    Windows 11 Pro

    If you are still running your old Windows 10 system hard drive, it is best to export the drivers to an external storage location such as a USB flash drive. If you have extra room, the Windows 10 USB flash drive you created with Media Creation Tool is just fine. Just create a folder for Drivers on it.

    So, let's say the folder you create to hold drivers on a USB flash drive is F:\Drivers. Open a Command Prompt (Admin) and in the elevated command prompt window run:

    dism /online /export-driver /destination:F:\Drivers

    The path in red is to the folder on an external storage device you create.

    Then you can just install the new SSD. Boot the computer from the Windows 10 USB flash drive. If it asks for a product key, just click on the link for "I don't have a product key." Select the custom install option. If there are any partitions listed on the SSD on the next screen, delete them one at a time until you get to 1 big unallocated space. Click on the unallocated space and next to let Windows set everything up.

    If you have devices that are unknown in device manager after installation or that have exclamation points - you can update the drivers from you Drivers folder you created.
      My Computer


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