South Park

Level 6
Verified
I need to replace a prematurely failing 1 TB HDD (of which I use only around 100 GB) with a 256 GB SSD. I have a 1-year license for AOMEI Backupper Pro, but I also have a copy of Macrium Reflect Free and Acronis True Image. I have never imaged or cloned a boot drive before. Reading the manuals, Macrium seems like it would the easiest for a newbie, but the SSD maker recommends Acronis.

For those of you who are more experienced, which software would you recommend for this particular task? I'm not familiar with manually resizing partitions. Also, would it be best to clone the HDD to the SSD before installing the SSD, or should I install the SSD first, boot from a rescue USB, then clone the HDD to the SSD (as recommended in the Acronis manual)?

I use Windows 10 Home 64-bit on an Acer Aspire i3 Skylake with Secure Boot enabled and only the standard factory-installed partitions.

Thank you.
 

OokamiCreed

Level 18
Verified
Trusted
When I got my SSD from PNY, it came with AOMEI software to clone a drive. More specifically to clone an entire Windows installation.

AOMEI did not do the job properly so I had to reinstall manually. I've used Macrium many times in the past and it never failed me. Same thing for Acronis (although I only used it once or so). Keep in mind that I never used either to clone a drive but rather to restore the OS to better working order (which was backed up to an HDD).

As for cloning before using the SSD by using the software on Windows or using a USB boot drive for the software to then clone, I personally opted for using USB boot drive as it would naturally be faster and less prone to interference from the OS. If possible, don't delete anything from the HDD regardless in case the cloning fails.

You could clone the HDD to SDD then swap the cables to make the SDD the master drive (aka primary) and if it fails to boot, you still have the HDD untouched which you can swap back to HDD to use as a primary in case you need, for example, to try another software to see it it works where others failed. No such thing as being too careful. Learned that the hard way.
 

Stopspying

Level 10
@South Park - Thanks for saving me from asking this question, I have a HDD that I need to replace with a SSD in the next week or so and I have not yet decided what software to use.

The manufacturer provides Acronis True Image HD, disk migration utility, I've used this and other Acronis software before, successfully. However I use Macrium Reflect for image files and saving me from Microsoft update disasters and have great faith in their products, but I've never transferred the OS partition from HDD to SSD with it, I'm inclined to try it for this purpose.

As for when to clone the OS; it is for a PC which has 2 drive bays, I plan to remove the second HDD temporarily, insert the SSD in its place and then clone the OS to it, remove the HDD it is to replace and put the secondary HDD back into that drive housing.

As for resizing partitions I've done this a lot, the PC I need to change the drives in has AOMEI Partition Assistant and Paragon Hard Disk Manager installed; I've used both previously to manage partitions successfully and easily before. I've also used among other softwares in the past - EASEUS Partition Master, Paragon Partition Manager and Partition Magic. All worked fine, they're all inntuitive in my view. Of course Windows 10 provides its own partition management tool in Disk Management, I've long preferred to use alternatives because they usually offer more options and the GUI seems much more basic to me.
 

Stopspying

Level 10
I've just installed Acronis True Image HD to check it out after posting here. The installation process gave me no choice as to where to install it, I install software wherever possible onto a seperate partition to the OS, its an old habit that has helped to get me out of jail in the past. So it is installed on the drive that I want to clone and to use it I have to set up an Acronis account to access Acronis Cloud, sync my data and obtain free updates. I won't be using this software or storing anything on Acronis cloud, there has been no information provided prior to registering about that services data protection policies etc. Its Acronis so I'd hope that they are hot on security, but without being more open about where it is stored, what sort of encryption is included etc etc I am not going to blindly sign up to it. I can research all of that and more, but if they can't be more open from the outset, leaving users to find the information, I can't be bothered to do that. Macrium Reflect it will be, especially now @Cortex has reported their success in using it too.
 

CyberTech

Level 31
Verified
There are some useful:
 

Telos

Level 19
Verified
Content Creator
Thanks, all. I'll try it first with Macrium and see how it goes from there. I'll probably keep the new SSD external while cloning it to avoid having to boot with a recovery USB drive. (Unfortunately it has only one disk bay, so I can't easily swap drives.)
I used an Apricorn USB/SATA Data Transfer Cable. It may have come with the SSD, I can't recall. Very handy. Now I use that cable to mirror the SSD back to the HDD as a backup drive should the SSD fail catastrophically.
 

South Park

Level 6
Verified
Macrium failed twice, once with 'disk not found' and once with CRC errors (probably due to the bad sectors that chkdsk can't fix). I'm now trying AOMEI Pro, which claims it can work around bad sectors.

I used an Apricorn USB/SATA Data Transfer Cable. It may have come with the SSD, I can't recall. Very handy. Now I use that cable to mirror the SSD back to the HDD as a backup drive should the SSD fail catastrophically.
I have a Sabrent USB 3/SATA III cable, which I will probably use similarly. Thanks for the tip.

AOMEI Pro hung at 63% and had to be forcibly shut down. I'm trying it again now.
 

King Alpha

Level 25
Verified
Content Creator
@South Park - Thanks for saving me from asking this question, I have a HDD that I need to replace with a SSD in the next week or so and I have not yet decided what software to use.

The manufacturer provides Acronis True Image HD, disk migration utility, I've used this and other Acronis software before, successfully. However I use Macrium Reflect for image files and saving me from Microsoft update disasters and have great faith in their products, but I've never transferred the OS partition from HDD to SSD with it, I'm inclined to try it for this purpose.

As for when to clone the OS; it is for a PC which has 2 drive bays, I plan to remove the second HDD temporarily, insert the SSD in its place and then clone the OS to it, remove the HDD it is to replace and put the secondary HDD back into that drive housing.

As for resizing partitions I've done this a lot, the PC I need to change the drives in has AOMEI Partition Assistant and Paragon Hard Disk Manager installed; I've used both previously to manage partitions successfully and easily before. I've also used among other softwares in the past - EASEUS Partition Master, Paragon Partition Manager and Partition Magic. All worked fine, they're all inntuitive in my view. Of course Windows 10 provides its own partition management tool in Disk Management, I've long preferred to use alternatives because they usually offer more options and the GUI seems much more basic to me.
Ditto. I'm gonna replace my laptop's HDD with a M.2 NVMe SSD next week (as the primary disk) and also upgrading the RAM to 16GB. Just got the RAM now as I speak, the only thing I need is a good cloning tool.
 

South Park

Level 6
Verified
Finally cloned with bad sectors override in Macrium, took over 2 hours. Since my hand tools arrived on the same day as the SSD, I disocvered that a screw on the drive cover is rusted in place and cannot be removed. I could have bought a new laptop for what it'll cost me to get it repaired, and I'll never get to find out if the clone would have worked.
 
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redsworn

Level 4
Verified
How would I make the new SSD bootable?
I see you already cloned it successfully but I'd still reply for future reference. Use system imaging function for the OS partition and regular imaging for the rest. I usually just do a plain backup for the data when dealing with failing HDD. Because I can check the log to spot what files are corrupted or have read/write error, etc. Then I try to recover them afterwards.

...I disocvered that a screw on the drive cover is rusted in place and cannot be removed....

Is it possible to put a small drop of penetrating oil on the rusted screw? I wouldn't use a spray can to apply it though.
Wouldn't hurt to try. I definitely wouldn't use conductive spray on my computer either.
Just want to mention that contact cleaner spray is non-conductive although I'm not sure if it will help against rust.
 

South Park

Level 6
Verified
So far I have still not been able to get the drive cover open, so my question is now:

Can I boot from the Macrium rescue USB drive and then actually use Windows from the SSD connected by USB 3.0, bypassing the HDD completely? The bad sectors on the HDD are increasing every day and I'm not sure when I'll be able to get proper tools to fix the broken screw.

Thanks again!
 

South Park

Level 6
Verified
Update to the ongoing saga (which may be of help to others): After CHKDSK finally ran completely (3.5 hr.) and said that it marked the bad sectors, I tried to re-clone the HDD with Macrium, but it failed immediately with an error, even with the bad sector workaround allowed. However, AOMEI Pro did successfully clone the disk (although with some weird looking partitions which may have to be fixed later). I've ordered a better screwdriver and am waiting for it to arrive to see if I can unstick the drive cover.

The HDD seems to be working normally for now, despite the bad sectors still marked in Crystal Disk Info. I probably bought a few weeks of time before the HDD fails. Hopefully I can get the SSD installed by then.
 

Tutman

Level 5
I've just installed Acronis True Image HD to check it out after posting here. The installation process gave me no choice as to where to install it, I install software wherever possible onto a seperate partition to the OS, its an old habit that has helped to get me out of jail in the past. So it is installed on the drive that I want to clone and to use it I have to set up an Acronis account to access Acronis Cloud, sync my data and obtain free updates. I won't be using this software or storing anything on Acronis cloud, there has been no information provided prior to registering about that services data protection policies etc. Its Acronis so I'd hope that they are hot on security, but without being more open about where it is stored, what sort of encryption is included etc etc I am not going to blindly sign up to it. I can research all of that and more, but if they can't be more open from the outset, leaving users to find the information, I can't be bothered to do that. Macrium Reflect it will be, especially now @Cortex has reported their success in using it too.


As for resizing partitions I've done this a lot, the PC I need to change the drives in has AOMEI Partition Assistant and Paragon Hard Disk Manager installed; I've used both previously to manage partitions successfully and easily before. I've also used among other softwares in the past - EASEUS Partition Master, Paragon Partition Manager and Partition Magic. All worked fine, they're all inntuitive in my view.
I was wondering about Acronis True Image and will stay away!

You mentioned about using Paragon for partition management, they also have a copy/clone software too that is bundled with their latest partition software! Paragon Hard Disk Manager for Windows | Paragon Software (Seems to be still free!) BTW I love their tool and Mini Tool Partition Magic also!
 
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