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How to Upgrade From a Smaller SSD to a Larger One

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engrssc

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How to Upgrade From a Smaller SSD to a Larger One

PostWed Jun 17, 2020 10:24 am

From an article from Extreme Tech. https://www.extremetech.com/computing/261505-upgrade-larger-ssd?utm_source=email&utm_campaign=whatsnewnow&utm_medium=title

It’s been roughly a decade since the first SSDs started to hit the consumer market, and about seven years since they began arriving at price points that could broadly be called “consumer-friendly.” It’s only been in the past few years that SSDs have gotten inexpensive enough that buying a 512GB+ drive is more of an impulse purchase than a serious financial outlay. If you’ve already bought a new SSD or are wondering if you should pull the trigger, we’ll walk you through deciding how to move your data and the best ways to do it.

The simplest way to upgrade from a smaller SSD (or HDD) to a larger one is to pull the old drive, install your new drive, load your OS image and all associated software, and reinstall everything you don’t opt to manually preserve. We’re not spending too much time on this upgrade path, but if you want to go this route, our article on how to uninstall Windows 10 should be useful to you — particularly the “Look Before You Leap” section for advice on which files and data to back up before starting fresh.

The advantage of starting over from scratch is that you get a clean OS image and a cruft-free SSD. This is also the only practical option if you’re upgrading a laptop with a single drive bay. The disadvantage is losing an easy way to access old files if you need them, unless you invest in an external enclosure.

Another option, if you have the chassis space, is to install your new SSD, put a clean OS install on it, but keep your previous drive hooked up and available. Think of this as a best-of-both-worlds approach. We can’t guarantee the apps installed on your old SSD will still work without a reinstall, but your downloads, saved files, and documents are all still available. I tend to go this route when I upgrade or change storage solutions and while it doesn’t work for everything, it’s a quick way to solve the problem.

But what if you don’t want more than one drive and you don’t want more than one drive when you’re done? The best way to deal with this problem is to use cloning software. Disk cloning software can make a perfect image of a current SSD or HDD installation.

A disk clone isn’t just an archive or backup of your current SSD and shouldn’t be mistaken for it. Simply creating an archival backup of existing data is a good idea, but it won’t solve your problem — it’ll just drop a lump of compressed files on your new SSD. I’ve used Acronis True Image several times, but there are a number of utilities available to perform this kind of service. Wikipedia has a reasonable comparison of the various major applications.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_disk_cloning_software

You don’t need to worry about having both hard drives mounted internally to use a disk cloning utility; it’s not a problem to clone to (or from) an external connected via USB 3. It may take slightly longer, but the process should be the same.

Once the clone completes, you’ll be able to put your old drive in storage (I’d recommend not throwing it away, but I’m paranoid about data loss) and keep on going with your new hardware. As system transplants go, the entire process is pretty painless.

One last tidbit. If you are moving from SSD to SSD, don’t expect quite the same “Wow!” factor you got after moving from a conventional hard drive to an SSD. While newer SSDs are indisputably faster than old ones, the performance improvement simply isn’t as large. You may still get a performance bump out of the jump, but affordable, glorious capacity and the reliability benefits of a newer drive are the main reasons to upgrade to a new SSD.

Rgds,
Ed
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Re: How to Upgrade From a Smaller SSD to a Larger One

PostThu Jun 18, 2020 9:32 am

Thanks for that, Ed! A timely tidbit as I'm getting a little paranoid about my now-six-year-old Windows one gig boot ssd drive and have decided to go the clone root to a 2 gig replacement - ordered. I suspect you've been around the block a few times with this type of operation and I'm curious about which of the several cloning/backup utilities you've used and recommend.

Rgds,

Greg Palmer
Last edited by Greggiep52 on Thu Jun 18, 2020 5:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How to Upgrade From a Smaller SSD to a Larger One

PostThu Jun 18, 2020 12:22 pm

Hello Greg,

Most SSD manufacturers offers a cloning software (free). So if you are installing a new Samsung SSD drive, you can download a cloning software who will allow the cloning of the old disk to the new Samsung drive (some other manufacturers are also offering similar software).

Ex: For Samsung - https://www.samsung.com/semiconductor/minisite/ssd/download/tools/

Hope this helps
Best regards
François

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Re: How to Upgrade From a Smaller SSD to a Larger One

PostThu Jun 18, 2020 12:31 pm

My choice is Acronis True Image which is provided with Samsung drives, and this cloning software provided only works with Samsung products. So if you want to do cloning with other drives, you'll have to buy the full version. The trial version from Acronis excludes the cloning feature.

Rgds,
Ed
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Re: How to Upgrade From a Smaller SSD to a Larger One

PostThu Jun 18, 2020 1:00 pm

I've been using Carbon Copy Cloner for years on my Macs. Works flawlessly. Simple, straightforward, and not expensive. Versions are also available (I think) for Windows. Creates a clean bootable clone, and will clone non-boot drives as well.
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Re: How to Upgrade From a Smaller SSD to a Larger One

PostThu Jun 18, 2020 4:59 pm

Grant_Youngman wrote:I've been using Carbon Copy Cloner for years on my Macs. Works flawlessly. Simple, straightforward, and not expensive. Versions are also available (I think) for Windows. Creates a clean bootable clone, and will clone non-boot drives as well.

I'll second your praise of Carbon Copy Cloner on the Mac. Works great and very powerful. Additionally, I also use Time Machine. There is absolutely nothing better if going from an old Mac to a new one to bring all data over. It also backs up files multiple times per hour for any changes (local snapshots), hourly backups for 24 hours, daily backups for the past month, and weekly backups for all previous months until the assigned backup drive runs out of space, then it deletes the oldest backups to make room for the new ones. I have months and months of backups for files I've deleted or modified. And, best of all, Time Machine is doing this wirelessly for my laptop.
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Re: How to Upgrade From a Smaller SSD to a Larger One

PostThu Jun 18, 2020 5:03 pm

Thank you, everyone! I appreciate the feedback and hope that by Saturday morning, I'll be past this little upgrade. Again, I probably wouldn't perform this except for my fears of aging SSD components.

Rgds,

Greg
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Re: How to Upgrade From a Smaller SSD to a Larger One

PostSun Jun 21, 2020 6:47 pm

Just a followup - the upgrade was successful. I ran into a couple of bad planning moments upon receipt of the new disk on Saturday morning. I had completely forgotten that the to-be-replaced system volume was physically a pair of 500 gig ADATA SSDs in Raid 0 configuration. I spent entirely too much time researching whether this cloning would be a problem and finally came to the conclusion that everything would be a straight shot - and it was.

Again, thanks for the feedback!

Rgds,

Greg

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