Project: SSD Swap

Project: SSD Swap

It was a quiet evening at home and I was trying to make a backup of my hard drive. The process ran for several hours when a message popped up warning me that sectors on my hard drive failed to copy over. A quick Google search confirmed a worse case scenario; my hard drive was failing. I was dismayed.

After ensuring all of my photos, music, and documents were backed up on DVD and an external hard drive, I began researching a purchase for a new computer. The problem I faced was that I really liked my PC. An HP Pavilion dv7 laptop, with an i7 and enough a GPU to play most games at least on low settings, was a constant companion of mine. I just didn’t feel like it needed to be put out to pasture yet. Yes, it had been replaced for a lot of what I used to do on it by my mobile devices, but there was a point in time I was on this computer every day. I just wasn’t ready to give it up yet.

It dawned on me that I could just replace the hard drive. After some research, I came across some OEM hard drives but wondered if I’d just be running into the same issue again if I replaced a 7 year old used drive with a 7 year old new drive. A few more searches and I stumbled upon Crucial and their SSD drive collection, specifically the MX500. Crucial’s website ensured that a 1 TB replacement would fit my PC, and the free cloning technology would make it simple, so I decided to take a dive in head first despite never opening up my laptop before. I rushed up to Micro Center Mall, aka the greatest place on earth, and purchased a new drive and transfer cable. I got home, hooked everything up, and started the transfer process. It was supposed to take 4 hours, but instead took 30 minutes as warning after warning of failed sectors being copied over came up. It was pretty clear my hard drive was in fact, really, really on its last leg.

Eventually I decided to can the whole process and start new again. A new install would remove all of the cruft from HP (programs like CoolSense and Tuning Assistant I never used) and fix the terrors I waged on Windows itself installing and uninstalling various programs over the years. I downloaded the ISO onto a 128 GB flash drive, set the BIOS to boot from the USB, and let it go. Unfortunately, that failed too. A message about missing drivers came up and sent me into hours of Googling, YouTube video watching, and searching for drivers. This ended up being a waste of time.

Upon stumbling on a post in a Microsoft message board about the problem, I realized that data transfers to USB aren’t an exact science and data can get corrupted. I grabbed my work PC, downloaded a new ISO to a new USB drive and tried that instead. Success!!! Now that I have an SSD instead of a mechanical drive I feel like I got a whole new computer. It is so much faster. Faster than when I first bought it I feel like. Windows boots up in a fraction of the time (sub 9 seconds). Programs boot up almost instantly allowing me to switch quickly between games. The battery seems to last much longer. It is also much less noisier than before and runs cooler. Wow, how did I not know about this previously!

If you have an PC with a mechanical drive, just get an SSD regardless of where you’re at in the process. It is well worth it.