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How to replace my HD with SSD and another one for fast backups?


Posts
62
#1
Hi people,

First a little background. I'm 69 yrs old and a former Electronics Research & Development Technician with an ASET ( Associate in Science in Electronics Technology - 1969 ). But back then, I was taught discreet hardware, not computers. Stuff like transistors, tubes and TTL. :) Over the years I picked up the rest on my own, but never really got formally educated, so I'm a little rough around the edges with newer tech. :) I started around 1987 with MSDOS and an 8086 PC, and just kept going. Not into gaming at all - no time. I currently have a part time home business and use the PC for that and personal computing - mostly writing, web, email, etc.

I'm currently using a newer ( to ME ) refurbed AMD FX-8310 tower with 8GB DDR3 Radeon R7 240 2Gb and 2Tb HD, with Windows 8.1. ( My older PC died from the "free" Windows 10 upgrade, when it obsoleted the hardware horribly! )

I managed to set up my own home wifi for the two PC's and the three TV's, with Comcast high speed internet and DISH net for the satellite, but did it with help from online forums. There are online forums for everything now. Even plumbing for home.

I like Altap Salamander as a 2 pane file manager, which replaced the old Norton Commander that became defunct. It's telling me that I have 261gb of 923gb occupied on my D drive, and 94gb of 924gb occupied on my C drive. I use D more for data and C more for system and programs.

I assume 1000gb is 1 tb in all this, though it's a little mind boggling to someone who, in 1978 was working with the latest greatest giant 30mb hard drives, that were an inch thick and about 15" square. :)

Anyway, I'm now interested in the possibility of getting into SSD for 2 purposes. I have an ESATA BlacX backup dock from my old dead PC, which I want to move over to this newer one. On the older PC I was using Acronis True Image to back up the drive to another one on the dock and it used to take something like 30 minutes to do a full bootable clone.

So I want to do that now, on this newer machine. But I'm intrigued by solid state drives, which have come down in price some, and appear to be just as reliable as magnetic HD's, right? ( I'm not clear on the number of write cycles thing, which leaves me a little apprehensive. )

So it could be much faster to replace my internal drive with a 1TB SSD AND use a 1TB SSD for backing up with the ESATA BlacX, right? ( OR just backup to 1TB magnetic drives that I have around now. )

I'm a bit frustrated with online backup that I've tried and used, like Carbonite and Idrive, which seem to take forever to backup everything, and then it's all somewhere else, so who really knows, right? ( I don't trust that much. )

I was lucky when my old PC died, not to lose everything, and to be able to get it all to this newer PC, but would like that to be more reassuring in the future, with not only stored clones in the safe here, but even incrementals done instantaneously. My whole computing life, including home business, is on this PC and I'm just scraping by trying to pay the bills and stay afloat for as many years as possible, so I don't have to live in a wood shack and eat dog food, or any of that.

So I found this lovely looking drive at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073SBQMC...colid=C0VA6DYQXVYN&psc=1&ref_=lv_ov_lig_dp_it and it appears like it might be easy to do what I want to do with it. Replace my internal drive, making the PC faster, and maybe even have one, if I can afford it, to backup to externally and store in the safe.

How hard is this to do?

- Kung Fu Mama Bear
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    Asus
    CPU
    FX-8310
    Memory
    DDR3 8GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Radeon R7 240 2GB

mrjimphelps

"Phelps Helps"
Posts
153
#2
@MamaBear2017:

Your decision here will be made by how much money you want to spend. The drive you have selected is a bit expensive; but that may not be an issue for you.

You have selected a SATA SSD drive; although faster than a mechanical SATA drive, you could do even better if you get an NVMe M.2 drive. These drives are small circuit cards, and they plug directly into the PCIe slot on your motherboard. From what I have read, these drives are a lot faster than SATA SSD drives, if your motherboard supports the technology. (If it doesn't, you will probably still get a speed boost, but not like you would if your motherboard supported the technology.) You could get one of these drives in a smaller size, and use it as your Windows drive; then use your current mechanical hard drive as your data drive. Doing things this way would give you the best bang for the buck.

Here is some good information about the various types of SSDs available, and the different SSD technologies:
https://www.pcworld.com/article/3234838/storage/best-ssds.html#toc-4
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Linux Mint 18.2 xfce 64-bit (VMWare host) / Windows 8.1 Pro 32-bit (VMWare guest)
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    Dell
    CPU
    Haswell
    Memory
    4 GB
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Acer 23"
    Screen Resolution
    1920 x 1080
    Hard Drives
    Two hard drives, 1TB each: One for Linux, one for my data.
    Keyboard
    IBM Model M
    Browser
    Firefox, Opera
    Antivirus
    Sophos (Linux), Trend Micro (Windows)
    Other Info
    I use Samba to share my data drive with the other computers at my house and with my guest session in VMWare Workstation Player.
Posts
62
#3
Thanks Jim.

I don't see anything about this PC supporting that NVMe M.2, and like I said, I'm not gaming or anything. I don't need the latest greatest. Just that some programs like OpenOffice and Serif PagePlus X9 are pretty slow to open on the magnetic drive. As far as expensive, I need at least a 500gb SSD because I have about 350gb of data spread over my C: and D: partitions. I don't anticipate a huge increase in that, so could likely do with a 500gb SSD instead of the 1TB, for now. That would cut the price to around $120.

I guess my main question is, how easy would it be to replace the magnetic drive with one of these SSD's?

I guess my main question is whether the SSD will install and plug into one of the drive bays, and if they have a spare one. I really need to pop the case and take a look, though.

These desktops remind me of the old CRT TV's, where they used to say that a $400 CRT was protected by a 10 cent fuse. In this case, it looks like a $400 refurbed PC is protected by a 50 cent fan. :)
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    Asus
    CPU
    FX-8310
    Memory
    DDR3 8GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Radeon R7 240 2GB

mrjimphelps

"Phelps Helps"
Posts
153
#4
It would be very easy to replace your traditional hard drive with any SSD. I did that about a year ago on my wife's Dell laptop. The only thing I needed to accomplish the task was an external hard drive and a blank CD.

To sum up what I did: I backed up the hard drive, restored the backup to the SSD, rebooted the computer, then made sure TRIM was active on the SSD.

Here are the specific steps I took:
  • I purchased a 240GB SATA SSD that was physically small enough to fit into the laptop's HD space.
  • I did a full image backup of the hard drive using Macrium Reflect Free. I saved the backup to the external hard drive.
  • I created a Macrium emergency boot disk (I used the blank CD for this purpose), so that I could boot the computer with that disk.
  • I shut the computer down, removed the hard drive, and installed the SSD in its place.
  • I booted the computer with the emergency boot disk. (This was necessary, because there is no Windows disk currently installed in the computer at this time -- the SSD is currently blank.)
  • After booting with the emergency boot disk, I was in a Macrium windows-like environment. I chose to do a restore, selecting the backup that was stored on the external hard drive.
  • After the restore finished, I restarted the computer, this time booting from the SSD.
  • I made sure TRIM was active on the SSD.
That's all there was to it! The computer has worked perfectly since that time.

Since you have a desktop computer, you can pretty much use any SSD on the market, except for perhaps the newest ones that I described above. But you can probably use those kinds as well.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Linux Mint 18.2 xfce 64-bit (VMWare host) / Windows 8.1 Pro 32-bit (VMWare guest)
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    Dell
    CPU
    Haswell
    Memory
    4 GB
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Acer 23"
    Screen Resolution
    1920 x 1080
    Hard Drives
    Two hard drives, 1TB each: One for Linux, one for my data.
    Keyboard
    IBM Model M
    Browser
    Firefox, Opera
    Antivirus
    Sophos (Linux), Trend Micro (Windows)
    Other Info
    I use Samba to share my data drive with the other computers at my house and with my guest session in VMWare Workstation Player.
Posts
62
#5
Thanks Jim! But it looks like the WD Blue SSD that I mentioned ( 500gb ) even comes with cloning software? So I could clone to that, then make it my boot drive?
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    Asus
    CPU
    FX-8310
    Memory
    DDR3 8GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Radeon R7 240 2GB

mrjimphelps

"Phelps Helps"
Posts
153
#6
You could use the software that they provide. And it will probably work just fine. But if that doesn't do the job, then you can always start the process over with something like Macrium Reflect Free.

Point is, this is an easy process.

After you complete the process, put your old hard drive into a static bag (to protect it from static electricity), label it with some information about what is on it (and the date it was retired), and then put it in a drawer or other safe place. One day you may be glad you did that, because you could reinstall it in an emergency.

And do regular backups of your SSD. You never know when a problem will happen that will be easily solved simply by restoring a backup.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Linux Mint 18.2 xfce 64-bit (VMWare host) / Windows 8.1 Pro 32-bit (VMWare guest)
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    Dell
    CPU
    Haswell
    Memory
    4 GB
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Acer 23"
    Screen Resolution
    1920 x 1080
    Hard Drives
    Two hard drives, 1TB each: One for Linux, one for my data.
    Keyboard
    IBM Model M
    Browser
    Firefox, Opera
    Antivirus
    Sophos (Linux), Trend Micro (Windows)
    Other Info
    I use Samba to share my data drive with the other computers at my house and with my guest session in VMWare Workstation Player.
Posts
62
#7
Thanks Jim!

I have Acronis, so I can clone a hard drive easily with that. :)

And this is for my part time home business, so I definitely keep cloned copies in the safe. And because it's for the business, I may even spring for some additional SSD's that I can put in the safe, for cloned backups. I imagine that backing up from one, and to one, would really blaze. :)

And I think the safe might even protect them against, worst imaginable scenario, an EMP. But of course then, we'd have much more serious problems, like 75% of the population being potentially wiped out...
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    Asus
    CPU
    FX-8310
    Memory
    DDR3 8GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Radeon R7 240 2GB

mrjimphelps

"Phelps Helps"
Posts
153
#8
Acronis should be fine for this purpose.

I suggest that you have a separate drive for your data. In this way, you can do occasional backups of your Windows drive, and regular backups of your data drive. In fact, if you feel comfortable with online backups, you could have a second drive in one of your computers, share it with all other computers in your office, and set up an online backup service to backup that one drive. In this way, all of your data from every computer would be maintained on that one drive, and that drive would be safely backed up at all times.

You don't need to backup your Windows drive very often, because it doesn't change that often; and usually it is easy to bring things up to date if you have a backup that isn't super old. But your data needs to be constantly backed up, because it constantly changes, and generally your data is irreplaceable if you don't have a backup of it.

At my house, my main computer has two hard drives; and every computer uses that 2nd hard drive as its data drive. Life is very simple when you set it up that way.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Linux Mint 18.2 xfce 64-bit (VMWare host) / Windows 8.1 Pro 32-bit (VMWare guest)
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    Dell
    CPU
    Haswell
    Memory
    4 GB
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Acer 23"
    Screen Resolution
    1920 x 1080
    Hard Drives
    Two hard drives, 1TB each: One for Linux, one for my data.
    Keyboard
    IBM Model M
    Browser
    Firefox, Opera
    Antivirus
    Sophos (Linux), Trend Micro (Windows)
    Other Info
    I use Samba to share my data drive with the other computers at my house and with my guest session in VMWare Workstation Player.

mrjimphelps

"Phelps Helps"
Posts
153
#9
If you want to make absolutely certain that your backups are good, you could get two identical SSDs for a computer. Then install one of the SSDs, and set it up as described above. Put the other aside, in a static bag, and in a safe place.

Now, after you have done a full system backup of your SSD, shut the computer down, swap one SSD for the other, and restart the computer. Then do a restore of the backup you just made to the "other" SSD. Then reboot the computer. If everything works just fine, then (1) you know that you have a good backup, and (2) you have a 2nd drive that is just like the 1st drive, that you can easily swap with, as an alternative to restoring the latest backup.

The main benefit of doing the above is that you will have absolute confidence that the backup you made is good.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Linux Mint 18.2 xfce 64-bit (VMWare host) / Windows 8.1 Pro 32-bit (VMWare guest)
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    Dell
    CPU
    Haswell
    Memory
    4 GB
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Acer 23"
    Screen Resolution
    1920 x 1080
    Hard Drives
    Two hard drives, 1TB each: One for Linux, one for my data.
    Keyboard
    IBM Model M
    Browser
    Firefox, Opera
    Antivirus
    Sophos (Linux), Trend Micro (Windows)
    Other Info
    I use Samba to share my data drive with the other computers at my house and with my guest session in VMWare Workstation Player.
Posts
62
#10
Seems like a lot of work, opening up the case, unless I have back panel sockets for them.

I still gotta pop the case and make sure I can do all this. I mean, what if there are no expansion bays or slots?

I CAN still use the ESATA plug on the mother board, I think, to go out to the BlacX backup dock. Then after I clone it, I can boot to that drive.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    Asus
    CPU
    FX-8310
    Memory
    DDR3 8GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Radeon R7 240 2GB

mrjimphelps

"Phelps Helps"
Posts
153
#11
I'm sure that you have sufficient bays and SATA data ports for mounting a couple of drives. But as long as you have an available SATA data port, you could get some SATA extension cables (say, 2 ft long each), one for data and one for power, and extend them out of the back of the case. You would use these cables to connect your SSD. You could then swap drives all you want without ever opening the case again, simply by powering off, unplugging one drive, plugging in the other drive, and then powering on.

I used to do backups that way. I had a pair of cables extending out of the back of the computer. When I wanted to do a backup, I powered down, hooked up my internal SATA hard drive, and powered up. I then backed up to that drive. When the backup was done, I powered down, unplugged and stored the drive, and powered up. I never had to open the case to do a backup!
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Linux Mint 18.2 xfce 64-bit (VMWare host) / Windows 8.1 Pro 32-bit (VMWare guest)
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    Dell
    CPU
    Haswell
    Memory
    4 GB
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Acer 23"
    Screen Resolution
    1920 x 1080
    Hard Drives
    Two hard drives, 1TB each: One for Linux, one for my data.
    Keyboard
    IBM Model M
    Browser
    Firefox, Opera
    Antivirus
    Sophos (Linux), Trend Micro (Windows)
    Other Info
    I use Samba to share my data drive with the other computers at my house and with my guest session in VMWare Workstation Player.
Posts
62
#12
Thanks Jim! I'll let you know how this works out.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    Asus
    CPU
    FX-8310
    Memory
    DDR3 8GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Radeon R7 240 2GB