Serving the Ponchatoula and Springfield Area
G & G Computer Repair

12152 Hwy 22, Ponchatoula, LA 70454
Gary Marmillion, Sr. & Gary Marmillion, Jr.
Ph. 225-294-3683


Disclaimer:
    This page assumes that the PC user has a good working knowledge of Windows utilities and tools. These procedures do not go into complete detail and so novice users should either do more research or get a qualified technician to do the work for them.

Install a Solid State Hard Drive - SSD
Updated 3/12/2017
The following procedures also work if you are replacing your failed or failing primary hard drive with another mechanical drive.

Install with Windows 10
    Windows 10 is now recommended. If your PC had Windows 10 pre-installed when you purchased it you can either clone the disk or clean install Windows 10 after installing the new hard drive or SSD into your PC. If Windows 10 was installed prior to new HD/SSD installation there is no need to enter any software key to activate Windows 10 on your PC with the new drive installed. Windows 10 activation information is located on Microsoft's servers so when you connect to the internet your new copy of Windows 10 will be automatically activated. Note: This assumes you re-install the same version of Windows 10 that was previously activated on your PC.
Get your new copy of Windows 10
at this Microsoft page. Follow directions on the page to install.

With Windows 7:
    Clean Install
    Disk Clone
    Activating Windows 7

    Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 ISO downloads
With Windows 8:
    Clean Install
    Disk Clone
    Activating Windows 8

    Care and feeding of your SSD


Why you may wish to install a SSD

    If you have a late-model (or not so late) PC equipped with a powerful processor and plenty of RAM that you feel is just a bit slow to boot and start programs then a excellent option to speed it up more is to install a Solid State Drive in place of your primary hard drive.
    As a matter of fact, an SSD will boost the speed of nearly any PC irregardless of processor as long as said PC has a SATA drive interface.
    Just about all SATA SSDs are 2.5" in size - just right for a laptop PC. And with an inexpensive installation kit they will be right at home in a desktop PC.

Read this informative article from PC World for even more information.

SSDs are very fast.
    Everything is solid state in your PC with the exception of the mechanical hard drive. A mechanical, rotating-disk type hard drive is the main speed bottleneck in a PC system with a fast processor and super fast Dynamic Random Access Memory. Even the fastest 10,000rpm mechanical hard disk drives do not compare favorably to the speed of a SSD.

    SSDs, composed of solid state flash memory, are super fast, especially at reading data. This means that a PC with a SSD installed will boot much faster than one with a normal hard drive. Programs will also start faster.
    Adding an SSD is the best way to supercharge your PC. Instead of the normal one to two minute boot time (or more) with a mechanical hard drive you can watch your PC boot in 30 seconds or less with a SSD installed.
    In addition, all of your programs will start and respond faster as will as will system files and windows.

    Solid state drives store data on flash memory chips, while hard drives store data on rotational media with magnetic surfaces. Because solid state drives do not use moving parts, they are both faster and less power hungry than traditional hard drives. Solid state drives are also more rugged; their solid construction strongly resists vibration and shock.

    The latest SSDs have a SATA III 6Gbits per second interface that is backward compatible with the SATA II 3Gbits per second and also the older SATA I 1.5Gbits per second drive interfaces.
    If your computer has a SATA interface you're fine. Unfortunately older PCs that use the IDE or PATA interface are mostly out of luck.

    The interface speed is a maximum and does not really indicate how fast hard drives transfer data. Sequential Read/Write Speeds for many SSDs usually top 500Mbs/s. This is compared to the fastest mechanical hard drives that boast Sequential Read/Write Speeds that are substantially less than 200Mbs/s.

    So even though it is possible to install a SSD in either a desktop or a laptop PC and enjoy a great leap in overall system performance, SSDs also have their drawbacks.

SSDs are expensive when compared to normal hard drives.
    SSDs come in sizes ranging from 32GigaBytes to 1TerraByte (960GB). SSD costs average just a little less than 65 cents per gigabyte with larger savings realized as drive size increases. This is expensive when compared to normal rotating disk hard drives that may cost as little as 6 to 10 cents per GigaByte.

    The operating system must be either re-installed or transferred to the SSD to gain the maximum speed benefit from a SSD. This means that the entire Windows folder including Program and Users folders should be on the SSD to gain this speed benefit. Therefore the smallest usable size for a replacement drive is normally 128GB which will normally cost about $70 to $100 - for the drive alone.
    64GB SSDs certainly have the capacity to hold the operating system but are a bit small especially if the SSD is the only drive installed. It is also wise to allow for future expansion.

    Right now the ideal size for a SSD is 240, 250, or 256GB; the exact size depends on brand, type, and length of warranty. This size SSD is a sweet spot, which has a good combination of speed, capacity, and affordability. Expect to pay anywhere from $110 to $200 for this size SSD.
    A 480, 500 or 512GB SSD will cost anywhere from $230 to $400 depending on brand and model.

Here is one place to look at SSD hard drives at Amazon.

    When all is said and done, it is evident that SSDs are the way to go if you can afford one and you are willing to take the trouble to install one. Much has been written about SSD drive endurance but the fact is that SSDs will usually outlast most PC systems with anything like normal use assuming proper installation.

    Finally, if you are planning to purchase a new PC but are hesitant because the one you have is still running well and getting the job done then you may want to contemplate installing a SSD in your present PC rather than getting a new one - even if you must pay a technician to install it!
    Why? You will save money and get a massive performace boost at the same time, if your PC is running Windows 7 or 8.
    Be sure to read the PC World article (linked above) for more information to help you make your decision.
    You can also read my file Is your PC running Sloowly Now? for help to clean up your PC's hardware and software to prepare to install a SSD.

Installation with Windows 7

    Installing a SSD on a desktop or laptop PC with Windows 7 is usually fairly straight forward. You can either clean install Windows 7 on your new SSD or you can use a USB to SATA connector to connect your new SSD to your PC then us cloning software to place the data from the installed hard drive onto your new SSD. On a PC with an extra drive bay you could use your old drive as a secondary drive after installing the SSD, which will provide you will more data capacity.

Important! Make a backup of all personal data and files from your existing hard drive to a USB Flash Drive or external hard drive, if available, before removing it.

    In any case, you should always be sure that your PC is running well on the new hard drive or SSD before you reformat or make any changes to your old hard drive.

If you wish to perform a clean install
You have three choices:

    #1 - Purchase a
full version of Windows 7 here.
    #2 - Install Windows 7 from your Recovery Disks.
    The purpose of Recovery Disks is to re-install Windows onto a replacement hard drive if the original drive fails so they should work to install Windows 7 onto a SSD as well.
    #3 - Download an appropriate copy of Windows 7 from Digital River.

Update 3/13/2015
Digital River no longer offers Windows 7 ISO downloads.

To get an ISO of Windows 7 go to the Microsoft Software Recovery Page and enter your 25 digit product key found on your PC and the language. Click the Next - Verify Product Key box then you will be provided with a link to download the ISO.

Important
    If you use this ISO to install Windows onto a new hard drive or SSD you should know that all user data and installed programs will be removed. This means that you will need to make a backup of your user data to reinstall onto your new drive.
    Additionally, you will need installer programs and appropriate software keys (if necessary) to reinstall your programs onto the new hard drive or SSD.
    If your PC shipped with pre-installed software, such a Microsoft Office, you may be better off using the manufacturer's recovery disks to install Windows onto your new hard drive or SSD.

    After you have downloaded the ISO file you must create a bootable DVD with a program such as ImgBurn or bootable Flash Drive (at least 4GB) using a small program called Rufus.

Use this DVD or Flash Drive to install Windows onto your new hard drive.

Install Windows 7
    *Remove the primary hard drive from your PC.
    *Install the SSD drive in the same bay from which you removed the old drive.
    *Insert the media and install Windows. If PC does not boot from disk tap the F-12 key at boot or boot into BIOS and change the boot order.
    After installing Windows 7 you can use the product key located on a sticker on your PC to activate Windows 7. If you choose to purchase a copy of Windows 7 you can either use the product key on your PC or the one that came with your purchased copy of Windows 7.

*If you used a full version or downloaded copy of Windows 7:
    After successfully installing and activating Windows 7 open the Device Manager then download and install any device drivers that the Windows installer may have missed installing. You may need to go to the support site for your PC to get some of these drivers.

If you wish to clone the disk in your PC
    You can only do this if the total data on your hard drive is substantially less than the capacity of your SSD.
    *Click Computer in the Start Menu to check. You can right click each partition (C:, D:, etc.) then choose Properties to check the Used space: in Gigabytes. Add the Used space: values from each partition you plan to place on the SSD.
    If the data from your installed hard drive will nearly fill or overfill your SSD it will be necessary to either get a larger SSD or remove some of the data (if possible) from the drive before performing the cloning operation.
    Always leave provision for some empty space on the drive - at least 15 to 20% of capacity.

*Connect your new SSD drive to your PC with a USB/SATA connector then:
    *Download a copy of either
EaseUS Todo Backup Free from CNET's Download.com or Macrium Reflect Free from the Macium site and use it to clone your hard drive to your SSD drive.

    If your SSD came with a software program to clone your drive then you may wish to use that program rather than downloading one.

    *After the cloning operation is complete remove the original hard drive from your PC then install the SSD in its place. BE SURE THE CLONING OPERATION IS FULLY COMPLETE. DO NOT STOP THE CLONING SOFTWARE WHILE IT IS RUNNING!

    *After you have determined that the cloning procedure was successful by booting your PC from the SSD you can use your original drive for a secondary drive if your PC has room more than one internal drive.
    Or you can use the drive as a backup drive with a suitable enclosure with a SATA to USB connector. (Get one with USB 3.0 if possible.)

Activating Windows 7
    If you did not enter the product key during installation or if the product key was not accepted.
    To start the Product Activation Wizard, follow these steps:
    *Click Start
    *Right-click Computer.
    *Select Properties.
    *At the bottom of the window, click Activate Windows now.
    *Enter your product key.
    If you have no internet connection or your product key is not accepted you will need to call the Microsoft Product Activation Center.
    This may happen when using your original product key and you install a new hard drive and/or make other significant hardware changes.
    Start the Product Activation Wizard again then:
    *Click Use the automated phone system to activate.
If the automated system does not work or you have other problems you can call again and stay on the line to wait for a person to answer.



Installation with Windows 8

    Installing a SSD (or any new hard drive) into a Windows 8 PC is not quite as straight forward as it is for Windows 7. However it can be done if everything is checked closely.
    On a PC with an extra drive bay you could use your old drive as a secondary drive after installing the SSD, which will provide you will more data capacity.

    Also, if your PC is still in warranty it would be a good idea to contact your PC's manufacturer to discover if installing a SSD will void your warranty.

Important! Make a backup of all your personal data and files on your existing hard drive before removing it.

Disk Clone
    I can see no obvious reason why you can't use the disk cloning procedure to install a SSD into a Windows 8 PC like you can with a Windows 7 PC. So if you wish to clone your disk
use the same procedure as Windows 7.
    In addition, cloning the disk will eliminate any problems with activating (making genuine) your new Windows installation.
    To check the Used space: on your disk. (Remember, if you have installed a Start Menu program the menu will read This PC rather than Computer. If you have no Start Menu program simply type This PC in the Start Screen to check your disk space.)

Clean install Windows 8
    Many experts agree that it is best to perform a Clean Install of Windows 8 on a SSD (or any replacement hard drive.)
Important
    Remember, a clean install will remove all user data and installed programs on your PC. Be sure to back up your user data and have installer programs and appropriate product keys to reinstall your programs after the clean install of Windows. If you do not have these then you will be better off using recovery disks that you created or obtained from your PC's manufacturer.

Update 3/13/2015
    If your PC originally shipped with Windows 8.1, Microsoft now offers a download of a Windows 8.1 ISO that you can use to clean-install Windows 8.1 onto any new hard drive (including an SSD). Go to
Create installation media for Windows 8.1 and follow the directions on the page.

Note: After the Windows installation you may need to go to your PC manufacturer's support site to download drivers for your PC.

If your PC did not ship with Windows 8.1 you still have four other choices:
    #1 - Purchase a full version copy of Windows 8.1. (Not System Builder OEM version)
    Note: The System Builder OEM version comes with no direct Microsoft support and is for installation on new PCs and is tied to that hardware after installation.
    #2 - If your PC shipped with an earlier version of Windows, you can purchase an upgrade version of Windows 8. Then you must first install and activate the operating system from which you are upgrading onto the SSD before installing Windows 8. (Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7.)
    Get either one of the above Windows 8 versions here.
    #3 - If you have a late model PC that shipped with Windows 8 installed you may be able to obtain an OEM Windows 8 disk a (disk will work only on your PC) from your PC manufacturer for a nominal fee. Contact them, it's worth a try. You will, almost certainly, need your PC's serial number and service tag and/or proof of purchase.
    #4 - Install from the recovery disks. If you did not create your recovery disks you can obtain them from your PC's maker for a nominal fee.
    The purpose of Recovery Disks is to re-install Windows onto a replacement hard drive if the original drive fails so they should work to install Windows 8 onto a SSD as well.

    In any case, you should always be sure that your PC is running well on the new hard drive or SSD before you reformat or make any changes to your old hard drive.

Install Windows 8
    *To install Windows 8 on your new SSD you must first remove the primary hard drive from your PC.
    *Install the new SSD in the same bay from which you removed the old drive.
    *After installing the SSD boot your PC into the BIOS to be sure the new drive is recognized properly.
    *Insert the media and install Windows. If PC does not boot from disk tap the F-12 key at boot or boot into BIOS and change the boot order.

    If you use the OEM, full or upgrade disks I recommend waiting until installation is complete and successful before entering the Windows 8 product key. If there are problems with the installation you can always try again without creating additional activation problems later.

*If you used an OEM, system builder or upgrade version of Windows 8:
    After successfully installing and activating Windows 8 open the Device Manager then download and install any device drivers that the Windows installer may have missed installing. You may need to go to the support site for your PC to get some of these drivers.

Activating Windows 8
    If you have problems activating Windows 8 after installation try the following procedure. You will need an internet connection. To start the Product Activation Wizard, follow these steps:
    At the Start screen, swipe in from the right side, or hover your mouse in the upper-right corner of the screen to display the charms menu.
    Tap or click the Settings charm.
    Tap or click Change PC Settings.
    If your PC is not activated, PC Settings will provide instructions that are customized to your activation error. If telephone support can provide help for your error, tap or click the appropriate link, which may resemble one of the following:
    Activate
    Activate by phone
    Contact customer support for help

    For even more information concerning Windows activation, if you have an internet connection go to this link on the Microsoft Support Website.

    Additionally, if you decide you don't like the Windows 8 Start Screen and you would rather work from the desktop exclusively be sure to read Making Windows 8 Run more like Windows 7.



Care and Feeding of your SSD

    Even though SSDs are generally durable and long lasting there are certain things you should do, or avoid doing after installing a SSD.

    You may have noticed that I did not include any information about installing Windows XP or Vista on a SSD. This is because the older operating systems do not include native support for the features required to setup and maintain a Solid State Drive.
    Support for TRIM, partition alignment, and other features desirable for a SSD is missing in Win XP and Vista.

    If your PC runs Windows 7 or Windows 8 you may not need to worry about setting up your SSD. - the operating system will do most of it for you.
    However, if your new SSD came with software to optimize your new drive (Such as Samsung's Magician software) I encourage your to learn it and use it.

With all of that said, it is a good idea to check the settings for yourself.
  • Turn off Scheduled Disk Defragmenting - in Windows 7 & 8 Disk Properties, Tools menu

  • Turn off Virtual memory - in Advanced System Properties (from System in Control Panel)

  • Disable Superfetch - accessed from services.msc

  • Turn off Hibernation - in Control Panel, Power Options

    Generally anything you can do which will lessen the necessity for small, frequent writes to your drive will help to lengthen the life of your SSD. Things such as:
    Invest in additional RAM
        Since RAM is relatively inexpensive now it is wise to be sure you have at least 8GB installed along with your SSD.
        A 64-bit operating system is a necessity for this.
        More RAM will lessen the need for frequent writes to the hard drive.
    Don't over fill your SSD
        SSD drive manufacturer's recommend, somewhere in the fine print, that is not recommended to fill the drive more than 80%.
        This empty space is necessary to allow the wear-leveling algorithms to work properly.
        If you do not overfill your SSD it will last longer.
    Store large files on a secondary drive
        If your PC has a second drive bay it is wise to store large media files (movies, music, massive databases, etc) on a regular mechanical hard drive.
        You can use the drive that your SSD replaced for this.
        If your PC has only one drive bay you simply may need a larger SSD to avoid overfilling it. Or you can put your old hard drive into an enclosure and use it as an external drive to hold your large files as I mentioned earlier.

    Finally, it must be noted that SSDs are just now getting to be really popular. If, and when, SSDs get to be commonplace it is hoped that the price per gigabyte will be low enough so that almost everyone will be able to afford one (with a large capacity).
    The speed advantage of SSD certainly makes them desirable now.

Good Luck!




Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 ISO downloads
    If you need a copy of Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 for some reason you can get an ISO file from the following links. All versions require activation with a valid product key after installation.
    Choose to save these files to your desktop.

Windows 7
Microsoft Software Recovery Page

Windows 8.1
Create installation media for Windows 8.1
Note: If your PC shipped with Windows 8.1 this ISO should work just fine. But if your PC shipped with Windows 8.0 it may not.