How to Clone/Migrate a Hard Drive/SSD

It’s 2014 and if you have yet to hop onto the SSD bandwagon, you should really get started. It is actually a pretty simple process with plenty of prep to clone or copy your old HDD to a brand new SSD. I’ve scoured the web and I’ve put together this guide that is hopefully straightforward, fast and, most importantly, free.

The cloning process was executed on Windows 7 and please don’t hold me responsible if anything goes wrong along the way.

I have been apprehensive to take the leap because I –

  • do not know how to make my own backups
  • would like to save the hassle of reinstalling everything
  • love my current computer’s settings
  • am simply damn lazy

If you are any of the above, you’ve come to the right place. A few weeks ago, I took the leap and never looked back. Let’s get started shall we?

Step 1: Install your SSD into your PC case.

Might want to take the time to blow out all the dust and do some cable management.

Step 2: Cleaning house

First time you’d need to do is download and install: Defraggler and CCleaner and Macrium Reflect Free

Deleted all unwanted items from the source drive and run CCleaner. It’s a system cleaning tool that deletes all manner of unneeded files (recycling bin files, old temp files, cache files, etc.) that clutter up your system.

Next, run Defraggler and go grab a coffee, it might take a while to complete.

Step 3: Align your SSD

To prevent the possibility of having your disk alignment being off after cloning, you would need to execute the following steps. Think of it as an on boarding process from old tech to new of sorts.

  • Click on the Windows button. Run command prompt and key the following commands in exactly this sequence. Doing it wrong will cause you to ERASE the wrong disk.
    1. Diskpart
    2. List disk
    3. Select disk n (where n is your SSD’s number as provided by the previous command)
    4. Create partition primary align=1024
    5. Active
    6. Exit

Step 4: Clone your disks

I used Macrium Reflect Free cos it was free and that was pretty much my only option. The upside of cloning the disk incorrectly would be that you still have your original disk to fall back on.

how to clone for drive for SSD

Select your new SSD drive

how to clone for drive for SSD-1

Choose to copy partitions and settings

how to clone for drive for SSD-2I hope that you bought an SSD that’s bigger than your earlier HDD else you might be in a pickle.

Proceed to clone and grab another coffee and read a book, this process will be the longest.

Once the cloning is complete, power down your computer, unplug your original HDD (the original source of the clone). In some cases, you might need to plug your new HDD into the slot of the old HDD (I had to do that for mine) and reboot.

And that’s it, time to enjoy speedy boots and launching of your programs!