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A720 with 256 gb Crucial SSD with Win 8


jterpslaw

New Member
Posts
6
#1
Hi all,

Just got myself a brand spanking new Lenovo A720 which should be coming tomorrow and a 256gb crucial SSD. The A720 has Win 7 on it now. I also purchased the Win 8 UPGRADE. I plan to do the following:

1) create a backup image of my win 7 using Acronis
2) install the Crucial SSD (NEVER done this before)
3) create a loadable ISO of the Win 8 on my 3.72gb USB drive (says 4gb but it's really 3.72gb)
4) dual boot Win 7 on the HD and Win 8 on the SSD (using Brink's tutorial) by running the ISO

I have never installed an SSD. I am somewhat proficient with computers but certainly not a tech expert by any means. I am handy and I understand that SSDs are becoming much easier to work with.

Also, before any admins get annoyed at me for saying the dual boot with the upgrade, I want to make all FULLY aware that I 100% intend to delete the Win 7 if I like Win 8. I am just nervous about the functionality of Win 8 and I may decide not to keep it at all. If I dont like it, then I will stick with Win 7. I do NOT plan to keep (or use) TWO operating systems as I assume that is against the EULA. I will only be using ONE.

My question is - am I going to have issues by not having Win 7 already installed on the SSD, if I am doing a clean install of Win 8 on there? There will be nothing for Win 8 to upgrade on the SSD. Is that okay for technical purposes?
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    win 7

dren

New Member
Posts
3
#2
I installed Windows 8 and a Mushkin Atlas 240GB mSATA SSD on my A720. The process I will describe below was a bit time consuming, but it was easy.

Step #1: If you have the A720 with the 64GB SSD, disable RapidDrive. You should be able to see a program called RapidDrive in your Windows search. Run it, make sure everything is disabled. Then go to uninstall programs and uninstall it.

Step #2: Create recovery disks
--> Run "lenovo rescue system"
--> Select "create recovery disc"
--> I have a 64GB C: drive. It estimated 8 disks but needed only 6. It took two hours.

This will create a set of Windows 7 restore disks for your A720. This is a critical step if you only have the Windows 8 upgrade since you must upgrade from a drive with a valid Windows 7 installation. It also is good to have a backup so you can restore the machine to its original Windows 7 shipped state if need be.

NOTE: I read elsewhere that the recovery image must be less than the drive you plan to restore to. Hence, if you are creating recovery disks for a 750GB or 1TB primary drive and plan to install Windows on a 256GB SSD primary drive, make sure that the image is less than 256GB. This wasn't a problem for me since I had the 64GB SSD version of the A720.

Step #3: Register for the Windows 8 upgrade offer at www.windowsupdgradeoffer.com
Use the "download upgrade assistant" and burn a Windows 8 disk.

Step #4: Install the new SSD
On Lenovo's website, you can download the "Lenovo IdeaCentre A720 Hardware Maintenance Manual". It gives details about removing the base cover and installing the SSD in the mSATA slot.

Warning: I found the screws on the base difficult to get out and back in. Make sure you get a good screwdriver for this and take your time. I found it helpful to have someone secure the base as I was putting the screws back.

Step #5: Boot from the recovery disks
Yes, you will reinstall Windows 7 (and everything else you had on your C: drive). This took about an hour for my 6 disk recovery.

Step #6: Boot from your Windows 8 disk
I selected "upgrade" and not "clean install" since I wanted to keep the Lenovo games. I am not sure if "clean install" will work with the upgrade, but my understanding is that it should as long as the drive you are installing on has a valid Windows 7 installation.

The upgrade is fast. Under 30 minutes.

Step #7: Download and install all Windows 8 drivers for the A720 from the Lenovo website
Note that your WIFI will not work until you install the new drivers. Hence, you need to be wired to download these.

Another option is to download them before upgrading to Windows 8 and put the drivers on the D drive. Then you can run them after the upgrade without needing to be wired.

Step #8: Find your Lenovo games
If you did an upgrade instead of a clean install, your old Windows 7 files are in "c:\Windows.old". The Lenovo games are in the "Program Files" directory (I don't recall the exact path).
Once you find the games you want, you can right click on the executable and "pin to start" which will create a link to that game in your metro interface.
Not everything will work in Windows 8. Fruit Ninja works. The ArcSoft PhotoStudio did not work for me. I haven't tried much else.

Summary:
Overall, I have been really happy with Windows 8 on my A720. However, there have been some minor issues. For example, the volume buttons on the display no longer work (the volume keyboard buttons still work though). Also, on the Lenovo discussion boards people have reported some minor issues with the touch screen (I haven't noticed anything but I am new to Windows 8). My guess is that Lenovo will fix these issues soon. In the meantime, I am having fun with Windows 8!
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    Lenovo A720
    CPU
    i7-3610QM
    Memory
    8GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    GT 630M 2GB

jterpslaw

New Member
Posts
6
#3
Hey Dren - thanks for replying!

I already got to step 4and planning to start with 5 over the weekend after I create my recovery disks. You forgot to mention (For anyone else reading this) that you have to partition/format the SSD - I was able to do that easily by installing the SSD, right clicking on computer, select manage, selecting disk management, and clicking on the SSD to get the options for formatting.

Evidently (I havent done this yet), you also need to go into the BIOS and set SSD to boot first, regular c drive on large drive to boot 2nd, dvd/BR drive to boot 3rd, and usb to boot 4th.

Got a few Q's for you:

1) what does disabling rapiddrive do? Is it okay that I already installed the SSD and formatted/partitioned it?

2) I have the 1 TB HDD version WITHOUT the 64gb SSD. I already installed the mSata (no screws... thanks alot Lenovo/Crucial - had to repurpose from the A720!). I have seen that warning about the recovery image being less than the drive you plan to restore to. The new drive is a 256gb SSD from the 1TB HDD... the recovery file size is about 38gb I think. So what would that mean in my case?

3) Thanks for telling me about the Win8 drivers and issues with wifi - now I know to do that FIRST! Could I just save them to a USB drive?

4) There are lenovo games? I havent checked that out... thanks for the heads up... I plan to do a clean install since the computer is BRAND NEW - i have never used it, so I have no reason to just do the upgrade. Can I get the games ahead of time, put them on the D drive?

5) Any other minor issues you've seen? Is your touchscreen still working?

6) Do you have more than a single partition on the SSD? My mother-in-law (computer guru) suggests having this be a dual boot process. She suggested creating a second partition on the SSD for data.

PS - lenovo demanded that I use 6 4.7 GB dvd's. I accidentally got 8.5 GB DVD's and Recovery rejected them!!! WTF. So annoying. Now I have to return them and get the proper size so I can do this whole install right.

PS2 - i had a small phillips head screwdriver which worked fine for the back.

Thanks again!!!
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    win 7

theog

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5,591
#6
You need to boot the Windows 8 DVD from a uEFI boot drive to install.

untitled0001-1.PNG
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    ME, XP,Vista,Win7,Win8,Win8.1
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
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    Notebooks x 3

    Desktops x 5

    Towers x 4

jterpslaw

New Member
Posts
6
#7
I think I have a bios... are you saying I need to set up a uEFI or my Win 8 install wont work?

Also, I have the Win 8 UPGRADE which I created a bootable USB iso using the Win 8 program.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    win 7

theog

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#8
If you mean the Windows 8 upgrade offer download, this does not have uEFI support.

http://www.eightforums.com/installation-setup/12131-my-windows-8-upgrade-odyssey-2.html#post138839

DugieHowsa said:
Problem Solved. A big thanks goes out to ramon2000 over on the answers.microsoft.com Windows 8 forums.

Is anyone else having problems with UEFI support with the DVD ISO – Microsoft Community (Is anyone else having problems with UEFI support with the DVD ISO - Microsoft Community)

Here are ramon2000's instructions:

One must generate a new ISO file, with both boot images.

The boot images are available in the file system of the ISO.

One needs to build the ISO with the Microsoft tool “oscdimg”.

One can get the tool by either:

a) To get the tool either download the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK) from Download Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK) for Windows® 8 from Official Microsoft Download Center (Download Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK) for Windows® 8 from Official Microsoft Download Center)

or
b) Download just the tool from Converting a Win8 Install Directory to an ISO at Thursday Night (Converting a Win8 Install Directory to an ISO at Thursday Night)

Next, one can either mount the ISO file with a virtual DVD-drive, or insert the DVD into a real DVD-drive.

In the following example it is assumed that the Windows 8 DVD is in drive G:

Now, create the fixed ISO (including the UEFI boot image) with the command (all in one line):

oscdimg.exe -m -o -u2 -udfver102 -bootdata:2#p0,e,bG:\boot\etfsboot.com#pEF,e,bG:\efi\microsoft\boot\efisys.bin G:\ C:\path\to\new\win8pro-uefi.iso

The utility will create a new ISO file.

When the utility finishes completing the creation of the ISO file, burn the new ISO file to a DVD.

When rebooting the computer with the install DVD with UEFI support in the DVD drive, be sure to activate your boot menu and select the drive from the list of UEFI supported devices in case it is not set as the default boot option.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    ME, XP,Vista,Win7,Win8,Win8.1
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Other Info
    Notebooks x 3

    Desktops x 5

    Towers x 4

dren

New Member
Posts
3
#10
Hi jterpslaw,

Glad my experiences might have helped! Here are some answers to your additional questions:

> you have to partition/format the SSD

I didn't do anything special to format it. I booted from the Lenovo recovery disks (had to hit F2 or F10 or something to select the boot source) and everything just worked. I don't recall if it asked me to format it or not...

> You need to go into the BIOS and set SSD to boot first

You are right -- I had the 64GB SSD model so my mSATA was already set as primary.

> What does disabling rapiddrive do?

RapidDrive is Lenovo's proprietary solution for combining a small SSD with a larger HDD to improve overall performance. If you didn't buy the A720 with the SSD, then you won't have this installed.

With a large SSD you will get speeds as good if not better than with RapidDrive. Hence, you don't need it.

> The new drive is a 256gb SSD from the 1TB HDD... the recovery file size is about 38gb I think. So what would that mean in my case?

This should work fine. I think others had problems since they had installed tons of stuff making the image quite large. Since this is a new machine, your image is pretty small and hence I don't think this should be a problem.

> Could I just save them to a USB drive?

I think that would work, but I don't know if the USB itself needs any drivers.

> There are lenovo games? Can I get the games ahead of time, put them on the D drive?

Yes, there are many games. I got the system in August and played with them a bunch. Now I really only use Fruit Ninja. However, you can buy that in the Windows 8 store for $5.

I am not sure about the other games. I did a Windows 8 upgrade instead of clean install since I wanted to have them just in case. Even though I don't play them anymore, they are great for showing off the system to friends.

I don't know of a way to reinstall the games. Lenovo doesn't provide a software disk. You can only create the recovery disk which gives you the games but also Windows 7...

> Any other minor issues you've seen? Is your touchscreen still working?

Yes, touchscreen works great! As I mentioned, others have reported issues such as kinetic scrolling not working. I can't comment on that since it seems to be a Windows 8 feature and I wasn't looking for it.

> Do you have more than a single partition on the SSD?

Two partitions on the SSD would be fine, but it is not my preference. I already have to deal with a "D:" drive for my 1TB HDD, and I prefer the SSD to just be "C:". 240GB sounds like a lot, but it will likely fill up at some point. If I partition it I will have to manage the space at some sooner point in time.

I plan to put almost everything on the SSD (apps, user accounts, etc) so I can take advantage of the super fast SATA III speeds. I am using my 1TB HDD for large data files/backups/etc.
 
Last edited:

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    Lenovo A720
    CPU
    i7-3610QM
    Memory
    8GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    GT 630M 2GB

jterpslaw

New Member
Posts
6
#11
Help!!! I went to do the restore - I pulled the HDD drive so only the SSD drive would show up. Now it says "the available space is not enough" when I click next to install the restore on the SSD... what do I do?

In the meantime, I am just going to use my Win 7 Upgrade CD from my other computer, and not input a product code. I know Win 7 gives you 30 day trial period so I hope there's no issues when I install Win 8 over that.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    win 7

dren

New Member
Posts
3
#12
Hi Jterpslaw --

Sorry this didn't work for you. It seems the difference is the size of your drive for the recovery disks. I just did a search online and found similar issues with Lenovo laptops:

new disk partioning and one key recover feature - Page 45 - Lenovo Community

Some people in the thread suggest resizing your HDD to something smaller than your SDD prior to making the recovery disks, but it doesn't seem that anyone actually tried that (it sounds like a pain...). They also mention that you can purchase recovery disks from Lenovo. Maybe those would work with smaller drives.

Since you plan to do a clean install anyway, another option is just go ahead in install Windows 8. Then call Microsoft and explain your situation. In this thread it seems that some people have been able to get help from Microsoft product support (800-936-5700) for the situation you are in:

Windows 8 Pro Upgrade Product Key can't be used to activate - Microsoft Community

Good luck,
d
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    Lenovo A720
    CPU
    i7-3610QM
    Memory
    8GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    GT 630M 2GB

theog

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#13

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    ME, XP,Vista,Win7,Win8,Win8.1
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Other Info
    Notebooks x 3

    Desktops x 5

    Towers x 4
Posts
3
#14
I have a new lenovoa a720 delivered with windows 8 standard. I don't want to do any fancy things - you guys are in another league.

But I have done the initial backup to the D drive and must now create a bootable system. All of you spoke about DVD's. What about a bootable 64G memory stick? Before i go out any buy the correct pack of DVD's it would be nice to know if this is an alternative.

Also, i have no special key onside of computer and i have NO IDEA how i would ever get at my boot disc should i ever finally make one.

Thanks for whatever help you can give. There is not much out there right now, especially for novices.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    windows 8 standard
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    Lenovo ideacentre A720
    CPU
    i7
    Memory
    1 Tera plus 64 G

theog

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5,591
#15
I have a new lenovoa a720 delivered with windows 8 standard. I don't want to do any fancy things - you guys are in another league.

But I have done the initial backup to the D drive and must now create a bootable system. All of you spoke about DVD's. What about a bootable 64G memory stick? Before i go out any buy the correct pack of DVD's it would be nice to know if this is an alternative.

Also, i have no special key onside of computer and i have NO IDEA how i would ever get at my boot disc should i ever finally make one.

Thanks for whatever help you can give. There is not much out there right now, especially for novices.
This is a tutorial by Lenovo using the Windows 8 USB Drive Recovery app.

Methodology to create Recovery Media and reload a Lenovo Think system with Microsoft Windows 8 preload


Lenovo said:
NOTE: From this point forward in the recovery process, the choices for actual operating system recovery depend on the existing state of the computer hard drive.

Below are the instructions if there is an existing Microsoft Windows 8 install on the hard drive.
1.Select the target operating system of Microsoft Windows 8 to reload over existing Lenovo preload.
2.Select "Yes" to repartition the drives or "No" to keep existing partitions. For a clean install, the drives should be repartitioned.
3.Select "Fully Clean the drive".
4.Click Reset to begin the process.
5.The reset/recovery process takes approximately 90 minutes.
6.Once the reset/recovery is complete, the system will reboot into Microsoft Windows 8.

Below are the instructions if the hard drive is blank.
1.Select "Yes" to repartition the HDD or "No" to keep the existing partitions.
2.Click either choice, but these instructions follow the repartition scenario.
3.Select "Fully Clean the drive" as this will take several minutes to complete.
4.Click Reset to begin the process.
5.The reset/recovery process takes approximately 90 minutes.
6.Once the reset/recovery is complete, the system will reboot into Microsoft Windows 8.
 

My Computer

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  • OS
    ME, XP,Vista,Win7,Win8,Win8.1
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Other Info
    Notebooks x 3

    Desktops x 5

    Towers x 4
Posts
3
#16
How to make USB stick bottable for ideacentre a720 win 8

Thanks for reply. Your instructions are for thinkventer, mine is an ideacenter.

In either case, there is nothing here said about
a) making a usb stick the bootable media
b) forcing the system to boot from this media: on a ideacentre a770, there is no magic external key and no hints during startup for railroading the normal startup process. Somehow the bios (or UEFI?) needs to be told.

Would appreciate anything you have on this.
coldturkey
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    windows 8 standard
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    Lenovo ideacentre A720
    CPU
    i7
    Memory
    1 Tera plus 64 G

theog

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#17
Thanks for reply. Your instructions are for thinkventer, mine is an ideacenter.

In either case, there is nothing here said about
a) making a usb stick the bootable media
b) forcing the system to boot from this media: on a ideacentre a770, there is no magic external key and no hints during startup for railroading the normal startup process. Somehow the bios (or UEFI?) needs to be told.

Would appreciate anything you have on this.
coldturkey

The tutorial by Lenovo, is for all Lenovo PC's Pre-installed with Windows 8.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    ME, XP,Vista,Win7,Win8,Win8.1
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Other Info
    Notebooks x 3

    Desktops x 5

    Towers x 4
Posts
3
#18
thanks from a novice with an a720

Thanks for the patience. I will go out and buy a stack of DVD's and make a bottable recovery on them. (pity, usb would have been nice).

I DID already make a backup with macrrium reflect: image on external disk drive and one little CD for the boot. But I think I have understood that this CD won't boot up because it is (maybe?) not an UEFI boot?????

And, sorry for this, but I still don't know how to direct the resident UEFI to boot from the CD/DVD drive. The A720 doesn't have an extra button for this and there is nothing coming upon the screen during startup, as in older systems, where you could drop into the BIOS and say 'please change boot sequence' or some such thing.

This computer is so-o-o lovely - but a bit daunting for me.

CT
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    windows 8 standard
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    Lenovo ideacentre A720
    CPU
    i7
    Memory
    1 Tera plus 64 G