Best Way to Clone HDD to SSD?

I just got a new netbook with a crappy slow HDD in it and I want to stick in my OCZ Vertex2 SSD.

In the past I've used Norton Ghost but that's dead now and the last time I cloned a drive I used Acronis True Image. The problem is that now the trial version of True Image doesn't clone drives any more.

I tried out EaseUS Todo Backup Home Trial 5.3 yesterday and all seemed to go well with no errors reported but when I swapped over the drive Windows wouldn't boot as there was 'no' suitable installation. :(

So, knowing you guys and your geek credentials I thought you might have an idea?

Any help would be greatly appreciated. :)

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CloneZilla seems useful from the one time I ever used it, and it's totally free, to boot (literally).

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Clone? I'd just install the OS myself (from a USB stick). It'll probably run faster.

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Heheh. When I copied my entire HDD to an external one in Windows 7, all that I used was Explorer. It probably helped that I used Windows 7 for that, and not XP.

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I am not really experienced in SSD, but why wouldn't ordinary cloning tools like Norton Ghost work? There might be the need to re-align the partitions afterwards with some new mechanical HDs that use 4K sectors, no idea if this applies to SSD.

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Yes, I'd say the discrepancy between the types of drives is justification for reinstalling instead. I don't see the advantage in cloning as it is.

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Bucket said:

Yes, I'd say the discrepancy between the types of drives is justification for reinstalling instead. I don't see the advantage in cloning as it is.


Unless he has a large base of installed programs/activated software etc. It might be a pain or even impossible to get the new system to the status quo antem after starting anew. Then it might be worth a shot.

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That seems unlikely because he said he just got the thing. I assumed he was discouraged from trying an install because he lacked an optical drive, but I could be wrong.

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Maes said:

Unless he has a large base of installed programs/activated software etc. It might be a pain or even impossible to get the new system to the status quo antem after starting anew. Then it might be worth a shot.

I think what you meant to say is that cloning would be justified if someone has a ton of programs and settings and everything working "just so". I can appreciate that, but it's kind of counter to upgrading your PC to take advantage of new, faster technology. You probably wouldn't know anything about that.

If you take more than an hour tweaking your PC (minus restarts), you're just wasting time anyway.

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Bucket said:

If you take more than an hour tweaking your PC (minus restarts), you're just wasting time anyway.


Certain Gentoo users would like a word with you ;-)

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...As soon as they're done recompiling their kernels.

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Average said:

I just got a new netbook

Bucket said:

new, faster technology.


Does not compute. And with the crappy 32-bit Atom CPUs in there, it would probably be a prime target for Gentoo "performance ricers" ;-)

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SSDs are newer and faster than HDDs. And Atom CPUs haven't been 32-bit since 2009.

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Still, they get the short end of of the stick as far as architecture goes: they are almost as plain janes as "advanced" CPUs can be.Reduced or no branch precition units, smaller caches etc.

Just being 64-bit doesn't guarantee zilch in performance, and at least with Intel platforms, it also is irrelevant to memory bandwidth: the data bus has been 64 bit ever since the first Pentium CPUs. Making the instruction themselves 64-bit just means....that you waste 32 extra bits in most cases (the difference just isn't as significant in RL as 8 vs 16 or 16 vs 32 bit), unless you really need the extra address space or native handling of 64-bit data types.

In any case, my point was that calling a netbook "new, faster technology" is really a stretch: at best, it's yesterday's technology, rebadged and sold at a budget price.

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He's upgrading his netbook with a SSD. It's newer, faster technology.

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Bucket said:

He's upgrading his netbook with a SSD. It's newer, faster technology.


If it's a budget, consumer level SSD, any perceived advantages may soon be cancelled out by finite R/W cycles, wear levelling, and R/W speed asymmetry, ML cells etc., bad firmware etc.

SSD may be awesome and all if we're talking only about hi-end/professional/server grade stuff. But like any other computer technology, the "Joe consumer" stuff you and me get to buy WILL suck or be otherwise broken/inferior in some way compared to the real thing.

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I'm sure it was also a budget HDD so it's 5400rpm at best. What are you accomplishing by splitting hairs?

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Just trying to deflate the hype.

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Honestly you could probably just copy the original drive over with a Linux LiveCD and dd and be done with it.

Make sure you upgrade the firmware on the drive to the latest available on the OCZ website. The early Vertex 2s had some really nasty bugs.

If you want to get the most out of it:

Learn how to align your partitions properly to the write blocks inside your SSD. They'll either be 128k or 512k chips, probably 512k. Starting your first partition on 1Mb is a safe bet.

Reinstall, don't copy the original drive.

Then Google how to tweak your OS to perform better with an SSD. For Windows this is namely turning off swap/indexing/defragmenting/etc, and ensuring your disk has ATA TRIM turned on. There are even tools which do most of this for you in one interface with tickboxes.

Don't listen to people who tell you to do stupid things like avoid writing to the disk for "wear levelling". Unless you write about 8Gb a day every day for 10 years, you won't wear it out.

What Maes says about consumer-grade SSDs being shit *was* true when the first ones came out. Nowadays any current SSD is a kickass addition to any computer, and will probably give you the biggest visible speed increase available.

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Maes said:

Just trying to deflate the hype.

Do I detect the smallest amount of bitterness over something you'd like to have but can't afford? :(

I don't think there's any debate these days over SSDs being any good or not, on the whole. Unless sheer size per dollar/euro/pound is your contention, in which case traditional HDDs win the contest with flying colours.

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Unless someone is s Kops/sec whore, other than the size, reliability and longevity are still an issue. An SSD does guarantee immunity to shock/vibration, but not necessarily longer life under normal use. I heard figures that 2-3 years of continuous use (not unusual, if installed in an "always on" scenario) will produce noticeable wear, at which point you're at the mercy of the wear levelling strategy. And rest assured that the "affordable" stuff won't exactly be crème de la crème de la crème in those areas.

For personal use, I avoid them, or at least I'd not use them alone: a SSD might be great for booting an OS, but not as an everyday bulk drive, and certainly not a goot idea to fill up, thus hindering its wear levelling. A SSD + normal HD configuration should be optimal, but e.g. most laptops don't have two HD bays (my Dell 1720 does, however).

We considered replacing the aging 40-80 MB HDs in my workplace's computer lab with new SSDs of about that capacity (so size wouldn't be an issue, and a 500 GB HD would be both more expensive and wasteful), but the research we performed showed that we wouldn't gain much in terms of longevity. After 2-3 years we'd be witnessing mass failures, so it's just as much a crapshoot as leaving the current HDs in and dealing with the occasional SMART error.

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Well, you're going to continue to believe that in spite of plenty of evidence to the contrary. So good luck with that.

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Such as? (don't link to Bloodshedder's article, the comments alone just fill its ass with more concrete than Doom Marine would use to fill a Macfag's). I find it amusing that you're treating me as the only "SSD skeptic" in the world, while in that article alone skeptic comments are the majority. "SSD superiority" is far from being undisputed, at this point in time. You may have chosen your flag, but that doesn't mean it's automatically over.

Actually, wait. Don't bother making counterpoints. Not you, not me, not anyone can predict how long a consumer-grade SDD drive manufactured today will last: none of them has been used for the purpotred 2 or 3 yeas. After 2-3 years, feel free to link to this here article and trumpet "told you so"! Or be ready for me to do the same. After all, the burden of proving that there won't be ANY failure problems at all (a strong claim) should fall on the claimer, not on the skeptic ( a much weaker claim). So let's just wait.

That being said, a 1000 cycle lifetime for an entire cell DOES seem too little by any standard, and is actually worse than what was used in TOTL SSD products just a few years ago. To make a comparison, "1000 cycle" CD-RWs start getting flakey before they hit the first hundred, just so you get a perspective between claims and actual performance. Decrease by an order of magnitude, and you should be spot-on.

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Oh, what the fuck? I decide to give in and view Everything Else and an argument is brewing in a thread about cloning HDDs?

MY FRAGILE SOUL IS BOILING FROM THE INSIDE OUT.

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Xaser said:

Oh, what the fuck? I decide to give in and view Everything Else and an argument is brewing in a thread about cloning HDDs?

MY FRAGILE SOUL IS BOILING FROM THE INSIDE OUT.

You enter this corner of doomworld at your own peril.

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I didn't say that. I said "let's wait and see". I know I can.

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