How much of a job is it to install a new SSD while still keeping my old one
running as before?
In this excerpt from
Answercast #69, I look at the steps involved in adding an SSD drive to a
current computer system and how it can be used to speed up a computer.
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Installing an SSD drive
Well, it depends on your computer more than anything else. You would need
of course two drive slots.
If you’ve got a laptop, you probably don’t have another drive slot so you’re
kind of out of luck. You can only have one drive in that machine and you would
need to make the choice between the hard drive that’s there now or the
replacement SSD because it would be a true replacement.
On a PC, on a desktop PC where you may have additional slots, it’s very easy
to do exactly what you described. In other words, to simply add an SSD to that
machine is usually a simple matter of connecting up the cables, installing the
drive into the box, and powering it all up.
Take advantage of the speed
The problem is that that’s typically not what you want.
You indicated that you wanted to keep your old one running as before. I
don’t think you do.
What you want typically from installing an SSD is to have your
operating system installed on the SSD – so that it runs
faster. That means moving it from your old hard drive and that means that it
is not running as before. It may be present in the box, but it is definitely not
running as before.
Install the SSD as your primary drive
In my opinion, the right thing to do for adding an SSD to an existing
desktop PC is to first:
Do everything you can to reduce the amount of space taken up by things on
your hard drive to be smaller than the size of your eventual replacement
Now, replace the hard drive. In other words, install the SSD in place of the
hard drive in the machine.
- Restore: using the recovery media for your disk-imaging program. Restore
the backup image that you took from your old hard drive and place it on the new
one. Place it on the replacement SSD.
Once that’s working, then install your old hard drive back into your machine
as a second drive. The net result is that what you will have is a C drive that
is much faster, that will contain your operating system, on your SSD.
Then, you’ll have another disk drive (most likely drive D) that is your old
hard drive; with everything that either was on it or everything that you want
to put on it. That would be accessed slower than the SSD, but still be
relatively fast for things like data files and so forth.
There may be some tweaking involved in making sure that the operating system
is treating the SSD as an SSD. Windows 7 should auto detect that properly, but
in case it doesn’t, you may need to make a couple of additional settings
changes to make sure that Windows 7 doesn’t, for example, try and defragment
that disk every week.
But that’s what it boils down to. So you know, how much of a job is it?
Well, it depends on what you think about what I just described.
It is trivial to just install it as another drive, but that’s typically not
what most people want. What most people want is typically something
significantly more involved that involves swapping around your operating system
from one drive to the other.