Replacing your mechanical hard drive with an SSD is an upgrade that you will actually notice. All of a sudden everything seems faster. From booting and loading applications to the overall responsiveness of your operating system.

To put things into perspective I benchmarked a couple of drives that I currently have installed.

Test details: 10mb file sampled for each test 100times, 10mb file sampled 1000 times for access times

2x 1TB Western Digital Black hard disks (7200rpm) in a RAID 1 array

Model #: WDC WD1003FZEX-00MK2A0
Read: 106.5MB/s
Write: 64.9MB/s
Access time: 13.30msec

1x 250GB Samsung SSD  840 EVO

Model #: EXT0BB6Q
Read: 500.5MB/s
Write: 350.3MB/s
Access time: 0.13msec

The single Samsung SSD provided a 369% performance boost over the mechanical drive on read times alone!

Now onto the challenge

I had a laptop with an older 320GB mechanical hard drive serving as the Windows boot drive but also contained user data. By default Clonezilla cant fit this partition onto my 250GB SSD. Additionally I wanted to transfer everything over with the least amount of administrative effort and without having to reinstall Windows.

I found this task to be easy to accomplish by using the following tools:

Clonezilla
PerfectDisk Pro

Steps I used

  • First I backed up all the data. I also created a standard Clonezilla image just to be safe.
  • Next I defragmented the single partition on the 320GB hard disk using PerfectDisk Pro. This tool moved any files placed towards the end of the partition back to the beginning in a more contiguous fashion. This allowed me to resize the partition which is described in the next step.
  • The amount of data and size of the partition on my source disk needed to be less than the total amount of disk space present within target drive.  In this case I freed up some space space using the Windows Disk Management tool and shrunk the partition down to 200GB.
  • Afterwards I created an image using the device-image option followed by the savedisk option in order to save the local disk as an image. (If your wondering I dumped the image out to an external USB hard drive)
  • Next I removed the old disk and installed the new SSD.
  • Fired up Clonezilla and selected the device-image option followed by expert mode, then selected restoredisk which allows you to restore an image to a local disk. Once I reached the advanced parameters I selected the -icds option which skips checking the destination disk size before creating the partition table.

After Clonezilla finished dumping the image I powered on the laptop Windows booted normally. I then went back into the Windows Disk Management tool and expanded the partition to occupy the full size of the SSD.

That’s it!