First SSD Install -- A Couple of Tech Questions

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Posts 1551
Rick Ausdahl | Forum Activity | Posted: Sun, Oct 4 2015 6:54 AM

I just installed my first SSD and decided to do it on a 7-8 year old Toshiba Satellite laptop.  After some initial problems I think all is well, but am hoping to get a little feedback to confirm things look OK.

If it seems things are in order, I'll follow-up with an additional post to review the problem I encountered and what I did to get around it, in the hope of getting some feedback/insight as to what might have been going on.

CURRENT SITUATION

I understand three of the important issues with SSDs are:

  1. Have partitions aligned on 4k boundaries
  2. Have "Trim" enabled
  3. Avoid Defrags

I have two partitions on the drive--one for the OS and one for my data.  Here are a few screen shots that I hope show I've got these three issues covered.

1.  Have partitions aligned on 4k boundaries.

I believe the partition "Starting Offsets" in this screen shot show this to be the case.  I.e.  Partition 0 is at offset 1,048,576 Bytes.  Partition 1 is at offset 178,024,087,552 Bytes.  Both of these are evenly divisible by 4096.

2.  Have "Trim" Enabled.

Running the fsutil command returns a "0", which I understand shows trim to be enabled for the drive.  I'm hoping it reflects the condition for the entire drive (all partitions).

3. Avoid Defrags.  I turned off scheduled defragmentation.

Does it look like I'm covered?

Posts 13417
Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Oct 4 2015 7:44 AM

Everything looks OK to me. I believe TRIM is set per system, not even per physical disk.

A note for others who might stop by. The latest OSs should take care of all this for you. I think I'm right in saying that partition alignment has been taken care of since Windows Vista, and defrag and TRIM since Windows 7. So whilst it's not a bad idea to check everything is OK, it ought to be OK by default.

Posts 1551
Rick Ausdahl | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Oct 4 2015 1:30 PM

Thank you, Mark.  As noted, I have no prior experience with SSDs so can't speak to which OSs do what, but... the OS currently on this old laptop is Win7 and I had to turn off scheduled defragging.  Also had to do that after first installing the SSD on this old laptop under Win10.  However, as noted in my original post, I did have a problem I had to work around to get to this point and part of that work-around was rolling back to Win7 from Win10.  I plan to review the problem here shortly in the hope someone might have an insight or suggestion that will enable me to use the SSD with Win10.

Posts 1551
Rick Ausdahl | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Oct 4 2015 3:42 PM

SSD Problem Encountered under Windows 10.

The Laptop
The computer I chose to install the SSD on is a 7-8 year old Toshiba Satellite A215-S5837.  The CPU is an AMD Turion 64 X2 Mobile Technology TL-60, 2.0 Ghz dual-core CPU.  It came with just 2 GB of PC5300 DDR2 SDRAM, a 160GB 5400 RPM HDD, and was running a 32 bit version of VISTA.  A dinosaur by today's standards, that I had upgraded to 4 GB of RAM and a 320GB 7200 RPM HDD I had pulled out of my wife's Dell laptop when doing an HDD upgrade for her a couple of years back.  At various times, I had a 32 bit dual-boot setup (Win8/VISTA), 64 bit standard boot Win7, 64 bit standard boot Win8.1, and finally 64 bit standard boot Win10.  Apart from a couple of caveats that didn't bother me (loss of function keys and touch-pad under Win8, 8.1, and 10), the thing always ran without a hitch.

Cloning the HDD to the SSD
I downloaded and installed a complimentary copy of Acronis True Image (ATI) that came with the Crucial SSD.  I connected the SSD to the laptop via an external drive box and tried to run ATI to clone the HDD to the SSD, but ATI wouldn't run--at all.  I contacted Crucial and was told they didn't have a complimentary version of ATI that would run on Win10--I'd have to find/use something else.

I already had Macrium Reflect (Free) and Minitool Partition Wizard on the laptop so I figured I'd give those apps a try.  Macrium Reflect recognized the new drive as an SSD, indicated it successfully enabled Trim for the drive, then began cloning the drive.  When finished, it indicated a successful cloning of both partitions on the old drive (one for the OS and one for my data).

Problem with Logos?
After cloning, I shut the laptop down, installed the SSD, and fired-up the laptop.  It booted fine, although not nearly as fast as I had hoped.  I started Logos.  It also opened fine, though not nearly as fast as I had hoped.  Logos said there was an update (surprise!), so I gave it the go-ahead.  The download went fine but Logos stopped responding during indexing.  I gave it several minutes to recover, then opened Task Manager to kill it.  It couldn't kill it, then Task Manager stopped responding.  At that point, I couldn't get anything else to run and had to do a hard shut-down with the power button.  I hoped it was just a glitch.

The machine rebooted fine, I started Logos again, and got through the indexing.  I went to the Logos Home page, then tried to go back to the active layout.  Logos locked up again, then Task Manager locked up again while trying to kill Logos.  Hard shut-down and reboot again.  At this point, I thought it was a Logos problem, so I tried a few other apps like MS Word.  Things would work fine for a while, but then the app(s) would lock up and every time, I'd have to do a hard shut-down.  I then tried running a few OS programs (like Control Panel), and before getting very far the system would lock up.  Now I knew it wasn't a glitch and it wasn't Logos.

Problem with the SSD or the Cloning Process or a Combination of Win10 and an SSD on this old Machine?
I removed the SSD and reinstalled the old HDD.  I then used Win10 to delete the partitions from the SSD and Macrium Reflect to clone the drive again, but this time I did it one partition at a time--first the OS, then the data.  Again Macrium Reflect indicated all went well.  I reinstalled the SSD.  Same problem as before.  Sad

At this point I decided to try doing a restore of a System Image made before upgrading the laptop to Win10.  I selected an image of Win7 that had been made with Macrium Reflect.  I left the SSD in the laptop and booted from a Macrium Reflect recovery disk.  I then did a restore of the Win7 System Image partition to the SSD.  Macrium Reflect indicated the restore went fine.  I rebooted from the SSD that was still in the laptop.  It booted fine (and faster) and I still had both partitions (OS & Data) on the SSD.  Since then, everything has worked fine.

So... if it wasn't a hardware problem with the SSD, what was it?

  1. The cloning process (versus restoring from a system image)?
  2. Windows 10 related?
  3. One or both of the above, in combination with the hardware on this old laptop?     

If you made it all the way through this post without your eyes glazing over, I'd love to know if you have any thoughts on what was causing the problem.

Posts 1104
Lee | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Oct 4 2015 4:07 PM

Hello Rick

After reading your complete post, I believe something was not right when you did the cloning process to begin with. And that after you did the system restore you corrected the error. 

It was good that you had the system restore on hand.

Hope you enjoy the upgrade and Logos.

I would still keep an eye on Logos but it sounds like you have the problem taken care of and that it was more the OS than Logos.

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Posts 825
JRS | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Oct 5 2015 10:59 AM

FWIW:

For anyone not aware of it, the old Defragment utility has become Defragment and Optimize in Windows 10 (possibly Windows 8/8.1, too, but I can't remember).  It will automatically recognize SSDs in distinction from HDDs and either Optimize (TRIM) or Defragment as appropriate. 

JRS has left the building.

Posts 13417
Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Oct 5 2015 11:11 AM

Lee:
After reading your complete post, I believe something was not right when you did the cloning process to begin with. And that after you did the system restore you corrected the error. 

I would agree with that.

Posts 245
Alexxy Olu | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Oct 5 2015 11:17 AM

Very informative thread.

Thanks to you all.

Posts 26613
Forum MVP
Dave Hooton | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Oct 5 2015 2:50 PM

I'm surprised the cloning was faulty when using the same tool successfully to restore an image. Was it the latest version 6 of Macrium? It isn't Windows 10 as I've successfully recovered it to SSD from an image using ATI.

Dave
===

Windows 10 & Android 8

Posts 159
Donn Arms | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Oct 5 2015 3:08 PM

Because of several recent threads I decided to add anSSD. I am having an IT guy install it for me. I want to put my Windows 10 OS and Logos on it. The hard drive my OS is on now is a one terribyte drive so we cannot mirror it onto the 512 SSD. My IT guy tells me that if I simply load the OS onto the SSD card I will have to reload all my programs or they will not work. True? Has anyone advice for us?

Posts 825
JRS | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Oct 5 2015 3:53 PM

Donn Arms:

Because of several recent threads I decided to add anSSD. I am having an IT guy install it for me. I want to put my Windows 10 OS and Logos on it. The hard drive my OS is on now is a one terribyte drive so we cannot mirror it onto the 512 SSD. My IT guy tells me that if I simply load the OS onto the SSD card I will have to reload all my programs or they will not work. True? Has anyone advice for us?

1) I believe that it true that to image a HDD to a new drive (in this case an SSD), the new drive must be the same size (or larger) than the original drive.  At least that has been my experience.  However, if there is some cloning software out there that can chop the image file to fit a smaller drive, I sure would like to know about it.

2) Installing a fresh copy of the operating system is not necessarily a bad thing.  A fresh installation can be surprisingly fast because of the speed of the new SSD (your cpu, amount of memory, and bus speed will be limiting factors).  And, you will have a brand new, shiny, fresh installation w/o any hidden problems like corrupted files or registry errors, etc.  Upgrades from older OS's can have those sort of gotchas lying in wait (which may have been what lay behind the OP's problem, above). 

The only caveat to doing a clean install of Windows 10 (and I could be wrong about this) is that I believe Microsoft is only offering a free copy of Win10 to those who upgrade, i.e., not a clean install - but your IT guy will know if that is true or is able to work around it.

3) Yes.  If you do a clean install of Windows 10, you will have to reinstall all of your programs and manually reload all of your data files.  But again, the reinstalled programs will be as clean and fresh as possible with no hidden gotchas and the whole process will go much faster with an SSD.

JRS has left the building.

Posts 13417
Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Oct 5 2015 4:28 PM

Donn Arms:
The hard drive my OS is on now is a one terribyte drive so we cannot mirror it onto the 512 SSD. My IT guy tells me that if I simply load the OS onto the SSD card I will have to reload all my programs or they will not work. True? Has anyone advice for us?

He's correct.

The workaround is to remove stuff from your existing hard drive to bring it down to around 450Gb or less. Defrag the old drive and resize the partition down to as small as you can. Then mirror the partition onto the SSD, and expand it back up to fill the space. Mirroring partitions is more complex than mirroring whole drives, but your IT guy should be able to handle that.

Posts 1551
Rick Ausdahl | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Oct 5 2015 6:33 PM

JRS:

FWIW:

For anyone not aware of it, the old Defragment utility has become Defragment and Optimize in Windows 10 (possibly Windows 8/8.1, too, but I can't remember).  It will automatically recognize SSDs in distinction from HDDs and either Optimize (TRIM) or Defragment as appropriate. 

I'm assuming this is not the case with Win7 as unlike your screen shot (for Win10?) which shows an Optimize button, my Win7 installation just shows defrag.  I currently have scheduled defragging turned off.  If that's not as it should be for Win7 I hope someone will let me know.

Regarding the TRIM feature, I didn't realize that had anything to do with defragging or optimizing.  I was under the impression it was something that was accomplished by the SSDs controller on the fly as data was written and/or erased.  But... I'm just looking into SSDs for the first time, so I've likely got it all wrong.  Tongue Tied

Posts 1551
Rick Ausdahl | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Oct 5 2015 6:39 PM

Dave Hooton:

I'm surprised the cloning was faulty when using the same tool successfully to restore an image. Was it the latest version 6 of Macrium? It isn't Windows 10 as I've successfully recovered it to SSD from an image using ATI.

I don't understand it either, Dave.  Yes, I was using the latest version 6 of Macrium and as already noted, it said everything worked fined, so I don't know what to think.  If the cloning was messed up, I'm surprised that the system would even boot, let alone start apps and run them OK for a while before locking up.  Oh well!  Confused

Posts 1551
Rick Ausdahl | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Oct 5 2015 7:23 PM

Does anyone know of a good free SSD performance testing app and a safe place from which to download it?

Posts 825
JRS | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Oct 5 2015 8:33 PM

Rick Ausdahl:

I'm assuming this is not the case with Win7 as unlike your screen shot (for Win10?) which shows an Optimize button, my Win7 installation just shows defrag.  I currently have scheduled defragging turned off.  If that's not as it should be for Win7 I hope someone will let me know.

Regarding the TRIM feature, I didn't realize that had anything to do with defragging or optimizing.  I was under the impression it was something that was accomplished by the SSDs controller on the fly as data was written and/or erased.  But... I'm just looking into SSDs for the first time, so I've likely got it all wrong.  Tongue Tied

Rick, I am not sure I remember exactly when TRIM was included with Windows.  I believe it came in during the reign of Win7 and just did it's thing in the background.  As I recall, you had to take it on faith that it was doing its job and then finally MS let the world know about using fsutil.  At some point, they rolled it into the defrag utility.  TRIM is not the same as defrag - not even close.  Defrag basically organizes all of the bits and pieces of a file on a hard disk (unknown to many users is that a file on a hdd is typically written in many spots all over the hard disk and defrag works to gather them together).  TRIM works on an SSD to notify the ssd controller that a previously erased portion is now okay to write to again.  This is a very basic explanation of defrag and trim - Google can get you as technical an explanation as you care to read.

If you continue to use Win7, then, yes, you should turn defrag off.

Google ATTO or AS SSD if you are looking for a good ssd performance utility.  I like ATTO because of its graphical results.

Now ... back to George Gently Series 7.

JRS has left the building.

Posts 159
Donn Arms | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Oct 6 2015 5:07 AM

OK, now I'm worried. Can someone help me with more specific instructions? Do I name the SSD drive C? Partition it into a C and D drive and put the OS on C and Logos on D? Do I then reload all my other programs onto a hard drive? What about data files such as documents? I am fearful of losing important files in this process. I do have two 1 Terr drives installed. One of them is my C drive and the other I use to store video files I need to edit. If I delete everything on that drive can I use it to reinstall my programs (Office, Firefox, Adobe Premiere, etc) and leave the current C drive intact until I have things newly created installed on the other?

I am so thankful for all your help!

Posts 1083
JohnB | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Oct 6 2015 8:02 AM

Donn Arms:
Can someone help me with more specific instructions?

Following on from the excellent advice given by JRS & Mark, personally I would not create two partitions on the SSD, I would aim to have my operating system and all my programs on the SSD. Conventionally the operating system is always on C drive so you are correct, the SSD would be the new C drive.

If you are doing a new install, list all your programs AND make sure that you have all your program keys. If you have mislaid keys from microsoft programs there are utilties that will obtain them from your program for you. Some programs encourage you to de-register them from while still live in the old system before you install on the new one, others are happy with just un-installling them. Try not to get discouraged with all that work before installing on the SSD, Logos will be so happy with a much faster home with lots of room to play in!!

Whether you decide to move/copy your operating system from your current C drive onto your SSD or install a fresh version onto it, has to be your decision. For the future I would suggest that you consider moving towards keeping your data on a separate partition or drive from where your operating system & programs are. I find that it makes life so much easier when you need to carry out maintenance with your operating system as well as back them up.  Also, if the drive with your data on suddenly begins making odd noises it is much easier for you or someone else to use the short time before your disk dies to backup the data to another drive or media. 

I am sure that others will have better & more detailed advice than this.

Posts 1083
JohnB | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Oct 6 2015 8:32 AM

JRS:
The only caveat to doing a clean install of Windows 10 (and I could be wrong about this) is that I believe Microsoft is only offering a free copy of Win10 to those who upgrade, i.e., not a clean install - but your IT guy will know if that is true or is able to work around it.

My current understanding here is that you MUST initially do an upgrade to satisfy the requirements for a free version of Win 10. Microsoft will then automatically allocate a key based on you having Win 7/8 on the machine AND the parameters of the machine. You can then do a clean install OVER the upgrade and you should automatically find that you clean install has been authenticated by Microsoft identifying your valid system from the machine parameters now already on their database from your upgrade. I am aware of several people on a Dell forum who successfully did this. The one guy who's system was not automatically authenticated, had to spend quite a while on the phone to Microsoft to get it done but he was very impressed how helpful the MS guys were even to the extent of ringing him back.

I would very strongly suggest that anyone doing this obtains the copy of their Microsoft windows key either from their documentation or by using a suitable utility. I have found Belarc useful here. It produces piles of system information but if you comb through it does identify keys for Windows and some other MS programs. There are other free programs but in those cases "beware strangers bearing gifts/viruses". When you have done your upgrade, click on the search icon on the bottom left of the screen and type activation, then click on "See if Windows is activated", If not, try activating it before doing the clean install of Windows 10, otherwise you may have to spend a lot of time on the phone calling support. If it is activated prior to the clean install it should reactivate whenever you do a clean reinstall of Windows after connecting to the internet. Thanks to the "mobile" Dell forum guys for much of my education here.

Posts 1083
JohnB | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Oct 6 2015 8:32 AM

JRS:
The only caveat to doing a clean install of Windows 10 (and I could be wrong about this) is that I believe Microsoft is only offering a free copy of Win10 to those who upgrade, i.e., not a clean install - but your IT guy will know if that is true or is able to work around it.

My current understanding here is that you MUST initially do an upgrade to satisfy the requirements for a free version of Win 10. Microsoft will then automatically allocate a key based on you having Win 7/8 on the machine AND the parameters of the machine. You can then do a clean install OVER the upgrade and you should automatically find that you clean install has been authenticated by Microsoft identifying your valid system from the machine parameters now already on their database from your upgrade. I am aware of several people on a Dell forum who successfully did this. The one guy who's system was not automatically authenticated, had to spend quite a while on the phone to Microsoft to get it done but he was very impressed how helpful the MS guys were even to the extent of ringing him back.

I would very strongly suggest that anyone doing this obtains the copy of their Microsoft windows key either from their documentation or by using a suitable utility. I have found Belarc useful here. It produces piles of system information but if you comb through it does identify keys for Windows and some other MS programs. There are other free programs but in those cases "beware strangers bearing gifts/viruses". When you have done your upgrade, click on the search icon on the bottom left of the screen and type activation, then click on "See if Windows is activated", If not, try activating it before doing the clean install of Windows 10, otherwise you may have to spend a lot of time on the phone calling support. If it is activated prior to the clean install it should reactivate whenever you do a clean reinstall of Windows after connecting to the internet. Thanks to the "mobile" Dell forum guys for much of my education here.

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