Moving Windows 7 to SSD


  • I currently have Windows 7 installed in the fourth primary partition of a hard drive.  I want to install it instead to a new SSD.  (The computer will be unchanged except for addition of the SSD.)

    I can easily transfer the Windows partition using Acronis (or other tools).  That would leave me with two questions:

    1)  Windows 7 has special support for SSDs.  Since I didn't install it to an SSD, will that support be missing if I simply transfer the partition to the new drive?

    2)  After moving the partition, the partition number will be changed.  How do I correct that?  In Windows XP, I would just have edited boot.ini.  I think this is where BCDEDIT comes in, but I won't have a bootable Windows until after I do those changes.  Can I run whatever I need to do from the install disk, and how?

    I'd appreciate any suggestions.
    Tuesday, September 29, 2009 2:38 PM

All replies

  • Hi, May I suggested you just do a clean install to the SSD and it will update the boot menu. That way you can test it and then if happy transfer data to it, from the other W7.  It the SSD has to at least have 16GB for Win 7. Slan go foill, Paul
    Tuesday, September 29, 2009 2:53 PM
  • I prefer not to reinstall if possible.  It takes a day or two effort to reinstall Windows 7 and all applications, upgrade drivers, configure applications, etc., etc.

    Obviously, I'll do that if I have to, but I'm hoping there is an easier way.  With XP, moving the boot partition around was easy.
    Tuesday, September 29, 2009 4:26 PM
  • SSD drives are very speed sensitive to something called 'Partition Alignment'.

    When doing a virgin install of Win 7 onto an SSD, Win 7 is smart enough to set alignment
    to 1024 and adjust other items. ( winxp is 32 I believe )

    Bringing back an image that was made on a regular hard drive, might not be aligned.

    This is what I did recently.

    Back up an image from my hard drive.

    Install SSD.
    Boot Vista recovery disk and run Diskpart.
    Set up my partitions and align.
    Close Diskpart.

    Then using BartPE, I was able to bring back my back up image.
    My back up software did not change the alignment set in Diskpart. So will some won't. Snapshot de that I use did not.
    If your backup software changes the alignment, you will have to virgin install or get different back up software.

    Cant help you on the second question.
    Tuesday, September 29, 2009 6:54 PM
  • Thanks for the info on alignment--I might well have missed that! 

    EDIT: Acronis TIH 2010 reportedly will preserve alignment if you backup and restore an entire disk.  But if you're just restoring a partition (which is what I would be doing), it reportedly defaults to the old style alignment used on hard drives.  I.e., not optimized for SSD.  Or so I deduce from reading the Acronis forums.

    I have other backup tools that I think won't change the alignment, but I've not yet tested them in Win 7.

    Tuesday, September 29, 2009 11:40 PM
  • Hi, it is easy to transfer Win 7 from the original partition to the new SSD. However, it is hard to say whether the computer can boot up after the system drive has been changed.


    The booting files stored on the first partition will still search for the original (fourth) partition. After the transferring, the system drive will not be found. Then it cannot boot up. If however, you run a startup repair and the system can boot up, then the SSD will become the system drive. You cannot change the drive letter now. In the best situation, if we can change the drive letter of the SSD via a third party application, the applications you have installed will fail to find their paths as well.


    Thus, what I want to say is, I still recommend you to clean install Win 7 on your SSD. It seems that it will not save much time if you prefer to transfer Win 7 rather than a clean installation.



    Cecilia Zhou
    Wednesday, September 30, 2009 8:34 AM
  • While I agree that a clean install of Win7 is fast enough compared to a restore, the problem is that I have already spent several days building a production system with many applications.  It's the stuff after the OS install that takes the time.

    No one has commented on whether transferring the OS from a hard drive to SSD would include Windows SSD support.  If it didn't, then transferring the OS would be hopeless.

    I don't know enough about the details of what information is kept in the BCD store, but I wonder if it might be possible to do a clean install onto the SSD and then restore the backed-up fourth partition to the SSD without damaging the BCD store.  Or maybe a dance of backing up the BCD store and then restoring both the original fourth partition and the store to the SSD.  The idea would be to keep the BCD store created by a fresh install but restore the OS from the previous install.  fyi, the SSD would be the boot drive instead of the hard drive that is the current boot partition.

    I may try that if I feel adventurous.  But if I have to reinstall everything, I can do that.  I'm sure not going to invest any more time into the current installation before the SSD arrives.
    Wednesday, September 30, 2009 9:52 AM
  • See Nosmo King's response above.  If you're going to put Windows 7 on an SSD, a clean install is warranted. 

    As for you existing apps and data, I suggest you try the Windows Easy Transfer utility.  You'll still have to manually install the operating system and your appliation programs to the SSD, but WET should bring over the application settings and user data in one step. 

    Hint: Don't delete anything on the 4th partition of the hard drive (the source) until you're satisfied everything is working well from the SSD.
    Saturday, October 03, 2009 5:19 PM
  • ive moved win 7 64 and XP several times to new hard drives. i use Boot it to profrom this task. Win 7 will work just fine. but in XP in the boot.ini file you need to change the partition position and or the drive where XP is. you can edit the XP boot.ini file using Boot it.

    If you use bootit...on their web site there are several help videos. one of which tells and shows you how to prerfor the above.
    Anyway that how i did mine..good luck
    Sunday, November 08, 2009 7:24 PM
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