Welcome to SSD cloning tricks. (way's means, history, pitfalls, etc) REDUX (more free stuff, makes less work)
My  "SSD" Solid State Drive (disk install) log.    My first clone is to the very first 30GB SSD, with 1TB second HDD (for all programs, data, games, etc) ' still running after many years. (and still just 1/2 full)
Index:
Get Partition Wizard.
Just Clone it.
Or just do a Fresh install.?
New disk seems dead, but is not.  My Win7 clone. 2015  example Move games?

Issues.
Do I need windows 7 , 8 or 10? for SSD's?
Sure that is best, as the OS detects SSD and just works. (my Vista LT, runs Sandisk app that makes trim work on VISTA, as does Samsung)
I have it working on Vista (fully updated) on a DELL D520. (2006 built)
Trim, is needed.


Considerations:
Most SSD now , today are 120GB or bigger,
The 120GB is only like $45 , unlike my first, at 5 time$ that.
See GPT horrors here.
If you need more space, use 2 drives,  you can even install apps to the extra drive,  all install programs, ask where to put ME.   (E: is answer, not C:/, where D: is DVD rom drive)


Tools  on hand to CLONE,
I use now, the great program called  (free) Partition Wizard 9.1 or newer. It has a clone button and works perfectly.

If the current HDD is dead, and hopeless, just install Windows to the new SSD and you are done, skip this whole page.
The old HDD was say, 500GB (mines 1TB)
That sure will not fit the new SSD , I bet.

Tools,  and ways... short list...
  Cloning way 1:  (if the new SSD is 250GB to 1GB +, most of this is not necessary, Just run any cloner, and be done with it.)

  1. Do Prep 1A ;below before beginning.  this is pre  SHRINK  steps! Don't forget to defrag last after the emptying of trash can.
  2. option 1Click control panel + Admin. tools + computer management + disk management, behold see Disc 0; C: and right click this partition and pick shrink volume to, say 90% of new SSD size.
  3. option 2, let Partition wizard do the shrink!
  4. I click apply to the Wizard, and reboot old HDD, see that it works and shows your desired size,  This makes cloning more easy and safer doing this in simple stages..
  5. Run the Wizard again and click clone. (no longer causes signature collisions with 2 system disks in the PC at reboot.
  6. Source is old HDD, target is new SSD. do not mix them up or lose data....!
  7. I shut down and removed the old  HDD and installed the new SSD (as C:)  and cold booted the system.   (just one disc for now)
  8. You can just have both disks in the system and use  the 2nd for backups. etc. (mines now in a CD bay, using a $8 HDD caddy , I got off of Feebay) If you need longer battery life, unplug the HDD bay.
  9. You are done. 
  10. See longer list here.
Win 7/8  does a SHRINK EASY:  (some expensive Cloners can do the shrink, automatically and is a trend...) if not see step 1 above.
Microsoft OS supports Shrink.
With Disk manager , shrink mode. (right click partition , select "shrink" but you need to shut off 3 things first before shrink works best (hibernate,swap and restore space)
The larger the new SSD the less work it takes to shrink , if at all.


PREP 1A:  Skip all this, if the SSD is  plenty big. 256GB+  and the HDD size is less than the SSD at get go.. Just clone the old HDD to SSD.
  • A full virus update from your A/V company of choice  (I'm running MS security essentials , or PANDA A/V what ever.)
  • Do a full AV scan now.  (it is good that then new SSD be clean, right?
  • If paranoid, like me , run "SFC /scannow" at the elevated command prompt now.
  • Shut down the 3 things here.(hibernate+swap+restore disabled)
  • We can do all these 3 things to make the C: (old HDD) smaller. to fit the new SSD. and to help the shrink work best.
  • Run CCleaner and clean the System volume information (see it?) ( restore point hog)  I killed all restore points but 1.
  • Empty the recycle bin,now.
  • Defrag C: totally, Defrag is LAST. This make the end of the HDD empty, like watching salad dressing separate , in the bottle.
  • end prep 1a.
How to gain space, or keep the C: SSD drive small, lean and mean below:

  • Games? and Basic structures:?
  • You can move GAMES  "Steam: {steam note1}  to E:   this is real easy, Steam makes moving the game folder easy.   cut and paste easy.
  • I even moved "My documents to E:"  so later if I need to backup it's all in one place.   I have  regedit that does this trick in 1min. flat.
  • I have a goal to never need to backup C: ever.  and never lose data, ever, (my E: drive is huge 2TB and my eSata  external drive is bigger and is my backup medium.)
  • I install all large apps to the E: drive.  Not C:  (with the exceptions of A/V and other core programs, like Malwarebytes, etc)
  • You can in fact, install almost anything app-wise, to any non C: drive. (done 100s) like OFFICE or Open OFFICE (better) (endless this is...)
  • Use partitions like this C: boot,OS , D: DVD, E: Data, F: Program files. G: GAMES  Makes backups child like simple.    (make up your  own rules here , good structures help)


Information, Tricks , hints and other good related facts.
  TRIM is not an issue on Windows 7   64bit on up, it's all automatic.   forget trim, it works for free out of the box.  Win7 and all WIN8 and 10.

Steam GAME  MOVE ,is here !
Super easy it is.. read this...
https://support.steampowered.com/kb_article.php?ref=7418-YUBN-8129


ISO stick boot makers.  Will take any MS ISO install and make a working bootable USB stick in a jiffy.
RUFUS (bootable install USB flash sticks, from, ISO)







GPT (uEFI) horrors:     This real and forever on all new systems.  The New rules.
The new rules, are that "they" do not want you to boot to alternate media. (they, now assume it's all infected, floppy, CD, DVD and boot sticks)
No more simple MBR partitions, and now a  Secure boot on by default.
If doing a fresh install you can switch back to the OLD MBR system. On top brand desktops you can turn off uEFI too.
 It's not hard to learn these new set of rules.
Windows 7 (32bit) its hopeless for GPT , see this page?
That means the windows 7- 32bit  install disks, (setup.exe) will not find , GPT pre-formatted  disks of any kind. But 64bit WIN 7- 10 anything DOES !.
(I never assume it's a new  erased disk with no partitions, I look first, using a Windows 8 Desktop, even better is the Live good CD with Gparted)
There are 3 paths here , do a fresh install of Windows 8.1 (or W10  is now free for 1 year, see in show up in win upgrade on my win 7 laptop)
or use Farstone drive clone workstation 11 (advanced) find a Cloner that does GPT correctly (uEFI too)

On NEW PC's we press the uEFI (new nave for old BIOS now) hot key ,function key , per PC's operators guide. 
Be sure to set BIOS to Secure boot (UEFI option) off , first.   (we need to boot to alternate media to do SERVICE)
Then install, as you see fit, MBR (legacy) or GPT new wave.  On  older PC's (2010 and older?, update the BIOS (uEFI) NOW ! many were buggy..then, not now...
Update the BIOS first , some MOBO's the newer update actually adds full new uEFI support on older MOBO's. (from none at all)
UEFI adds Support for drives larger than 2.2 terabytes (TB).
Windows 7 (32b) has no support for uEFI ,  avoid 32bit anything. or upgrade to at least W7 to 10, 64bit.
It's your computer , you can decide to not run UEFI. at any time.  if it's too much pain.
Microsoft (shock) has vast resources to read on this topic, and I highly recommend that.  Here ?

Some pages at MS are/were contradictory but the truth is a GPT disk is child's play to put back to MBR disk. Seen HERE!
See converter here.
They (MS) assumed the owner is an idiot and does not own or does not know how to flip the BIOS (UEFI) to legacy mode,  All modern BIOS allow you to do that.  (secure boot off) and UEFI OFF !
Ah, but some laptops fail to allow going to old MBR system or to turn off secure boot. (click the BIOS hot key and see what it can or can not do)first.
 
See parted magic, this is a free tool.
See the why GPT is inviable below , GOTCHA.

GPT ....  Gotcha's: GPT is a new Disk Partitioning format. (that confuses many, even veterans)
GPT is only recognized by EFI/UEFI based firmware.
 For compatibility with BIOS based peripherals and operating systems, UEFI firmware can also read the MBR partitioning scheme.
Most new systems I can build them setup with MBR only. and do....
The new rules (not bypassed easy) will block all NONE NORMAL BOOTING Methods, (USB sticks, CD, DVD, Floppy) by DESIGN.
If you buy a preformatted GPT disk, most old systems can't even see it (see why here).  Do not buy pre-formatted disk's,  or just  erase it your self FIRST.
But windows, can make this harder.

The Windows (unlike Linux) install disc's are notorious for not SEEING foreign partitions and formats.
Best solution is to  use a Parted magic boot CD and look first ! Then erase all you see there,  make the new disk UNASSIGNED . (delete and erase all partitions seen on any new SSD or HDD)
SETUP.EXE horror's : "Microsofts installer" (learned after many years)
The disk looks dead or missing?
These microsoft setup.exe programs are notoriously dumb, they do not see any alien partitions or formats. (unlike the smarter Linux O.S, can...)
It will not see, Apple APM/HFS or Linux partitions , at all, and many windows install disk are blind to GPT discs.  (Try a 64bit version yet?)
If the BIOS is set to full bore, UEFI, then the  install.exe is now blind to old MBR disks (by DESIGN) This saves some users from damaging some old MBR  Disk full of DATA..
The cure is simple , use tools that are NOT BLIND (parted magic or any top new partitioning tools (applications))
The setup program will not see the disc if the disc is preformatted, this is to save you from erasing data;.
This was dumb of Microsoft, It should show what is there, then block you..., ("pre-formatted old formatted data, ,stop now do not erase this data,, not showing the disk missing,  what silly, show it grayed out...  dah?")
There are many reasons for new disks to show up missing, for example running an old OS using a new OS, partitioned disk.  (how can a old OS, look into the future, answer, IT CAN'T)
Using Windows OS (whatever) on a APPLE or Linux, preformatted disk.
Or now the new way,  using and OS/BIOS setup for uEFI and looking at a preformatted MBR disk, it's now MISSING in action  (LOL). (only in their dreams)



Why is GPT disks invisible to old systems? "it's called a protective MBR"
Answer: In the infinite wisdom of the uEFI and GPT designers, they ASS-U-ME ,your disk has data on it, and don't want the OS or setup.exe to scramble it! 
One solution:
If the new HDD is pre-formatted, then erase all partitions and bingo, it now installs on all systems.  (read the SSD box, it will say pre-formatted for Windows 8 or Apple, or like mine no such words)
I think the new drive makers gets 90% (so called) returns, just from this simple cause. (silly huh?)
There are like a zillion boot CDs for doing "mil spec , HDD secure erasures" or run DBAN. (or just delete all partitions, in fact you can run any major partition tool and do the same)
Or plug the new drive in to any system that runs, and run MS disk manager and erase or initialize the new disk.  Get it to show un-assigned, but present.
Please do not send the HDD or SSD back to the seller or the maker,  plug it in to any working system, as the 2nd drive and nuke all partitions on it, now. (use windows 8 or newer is best)
Or use a boot CD. (even live Linux can delete any partitions)
I buy my drives,  slick of formats of any kind, nor cables or any other accessories. 
Hint1:
(the Drive maker has no idea where, you will put such a device, unless stated on the box? yes, read the box.)
Many things use HDD (or SSD) even game boxes and cars now.. space ships, who freakn knows?. (and vast other things that are not really Computers ?, as you see them...)
They make HDD and SSD (devices)  to fit vast numbers of THINGS. (not JUST PC's)
When I say they, I mean SeaGate,  or  Crucial SSD makers.etc.
Recap:
What always works?  All the above, is for problematic older systems.
  • A New DISK? , then Read the box, is it pre-formatted, yes? then erase it now. (or if it seems dead?, it's not ,you are not running the right tools ! 99.9% true...)
  • Fresh installs?
  • Decide on MBT or GPT first. (if using a huge 2.199 TB or larger you will need GPT.  (but you can split a disk up in to 3 times 1 TB partitions and run MBR (I've done this since OCT 2009)
  • Make sure your BIOS (uEFI) can see the new drive. if not?, cure  that first. (get a BIOS upgrade or enter the makers BIOS pages, and turn off secure boot or turn off uEFI mode)
  • Erase the new drive first, if need be  ( buy  any HDD/SSD devoid of any preformatted structures!)  Run Parted magic and nuke all partitions seen on the new drive.
  • Install windows 7- 64bit, (32 is dead , in my opinion) or Windows 8- 64bit or OMG not Windows 10.  (keep in mind the windows, setup.exe advance tools partition sections are brain dead, by design) IMO
  • Buy and run top partition tools, after turning off Secure boot.  Run Partition Wizard 9.1+,  now.
  • Learn that there are many partition TYPES and format structures, from 1981 to now , Microsoft DOS 1,2,3..., DR, Apple, LINUX and others that Microsoft can not see during say, startup.exe.
  • If in doubt ? on a new disk?, just Nuke the partitions. (end grief)
  • Watch out for all  new PC's with GPT and uEFI being blind to alien disks. (and booting of alien media) TURN OFF SECURE BOOT IN THE BIOS (BIOS is newly named uEFI)
  • When cloning any uEFI (GPT) system it will not want to work or run. You must turn off secure boot in BIOS.


I just did a (SSD clone) on  a  4 year old Laptop for my  friend, 2015
The  HP DV6 Laptop + Windows 7 +  500GB HDD. 64bit OS. NO GPT tricks. (after this example , I did ever PC I own. 4 laptops, and 3 Desktops)
New SSD 256GB. Crucial.
Here are the simple steps.  (better is here)
Make sure all disks and all partitions have names, (volume labels, and the new SSD too... plug it in and type in a label) (preventing disk , mix up's, and LOST DATA !)

Please note if you buy or get for free advanced partition tools, you may be able to skip steps 6 to 13, as the tool may do this automatically.
  1. A Full virus scan, and Malwarebytes (free or pro) ran.  Do not clone infected systems.
  2. Next I run MS backup to my external, spare ESATA HDD.   (skip this is not shrinking, as the old HDD is your backup)
  3. Skip steps 4 to 9 if the new SSD is huge, say 120GB up. as your HDD will usually fit there easy.
  4. I then delete the HP (sys, makers) Recovery partition , it's too old and this old W7 takes like 3 days to do the over 203 updates! (I have the new Microsoft 7 ISO that has all updates present. making this HP way, useless)
  5. Temporarily, I Delete all restore points.  and then disable the restore point feature for  now. (frees up tons of space)
  6. I disable  ,the  Hibernate feature in power settings , I keep it like that full time... (frees up tons of space)  The steps are here.
  7. and Shut off the swap/page file temporarily, aka; virtual memory, "performance tab)  and last frees up huge space) Choose no paging file here.
  8. and shut down, system RESTORE feature (for now) for all partitions to be cloned.. (seen here)
  9. Reboot and delete any hibfil file   and  page file seen in the root C:  (windows does this for you , when Hiberate is shut down)
  10. I run CCleaner, using defaults.
  11. Empty the trash can now.
  12. I then MS Defrag the C:  HDD  fully. and all other partition seen in Disk Management. (run box, type defrag)  Defrag will make shrinking the HDD very effective and small.  The Defrag makes risk lower and cloning more safe. (it's like free insurance)
  13. I shrink C: to  150GB  from its huge size 500gb HDD , that will never fit my new SSD.  (using Partition Wizard)
  14. There will  a large unallocated partition on C: NOW. mine was 350GB. (on old HDD, ignore that space)
  15. Ok we have  C: that is no longer too big. I could shrink mine to 100gb easy. or less... The OS is like 20GB so..... will fit most SSD made easy.
  16. The system is now ready to clone. There are many clone programs
  17. On any Desk top just plug in the new SSD to the SATA cables and power. if Laptop, you have 2 choices, next...
  18. I connect the new SSD in my external eSATA case to the eSata port ,then run the clone from C: to SATA. This will auto resize and expand the C: to fit 256GB.
  19. Or you can buy a DVD conversion Caddy that allows you to have 2 HDD or SSD inside one Laptop; An $8 part, with the DVD drive removed. Many folks today have no use for DVD's at ALL.
  20. The clone can be like 1 to 2 hours, or 10minutes. the paid for cloners have  fast clone options that is not for free. But who cares?  Take break and play with dog or whatever.
  21. I Remove the old HDD, and stuffed in the NEW SSD . in place of the old slow HDD. (the slug drive is gone)
  22. I boot it up and reverse steps 5 to 9 , disablements above.. and reboot.   The wizard program auto sizes the new SSD,  so no need to worry that..
  23. I run speed tests to be sure all is good. (SSD speed tests) it will scream. I see first thing, that control panel loads 10 time faster, a shocker !  As does apps and all clicking is 10x faster.
  24. For get TRIM worries, let the SSD worry for you....


THE CLONERS:

Which one is best?, is a moving target now. (but I can't beat free, easy , pretty fast and works)  No need for boot CDs or other pains. No stinking LICENSES !!!
Other Cloners, only run on one system per license and costs as much as  my new SSD, what  a RIP THAT IS !!! (no names but you will find them)

I use only one Clone APP now, called Partition Wizard 9.1 or newer.(a direct safe link)
It is free and works perfectly now. (2015)


Fresh Installs of say W7 64bit.
Make up an installer USB memory stick using the ISO from MS.
Then in the BIOS pages,   turn  off  the Secure boot and GPT options.
Run the setup on the USB stick.
Install the OS just like we have since day 1 windows. run Setup.exe , on the CD or the STICK.
Using he K.I.S.S. principles.


Happy trails !

Parting shot, I will never run windoz 10. (not hacked for updates off) AKA: VISTA 10 by tech.'s.
I do not like what they deleted from the OS, DVD support and no media (video) players, and the most important of all , I CAN NOT control, updates,.
I will never allow any OS to stall me doing work of any kind, to load updates automatically,  (I do them once a week only , while asleep, dang!)
I refuse to pay for   Windows 10 Enterprise, "Current Branch for Business" (CBB) just to have control of updates. 
I will use W10 only when I can delay updates by 1 week (while sleeping so I must be able to set the time of day the update happens too) (and shut off the , update torrent feature )
Until I have total control on privacy.  LIKE THIS.
and my legacy software runs, (old Autocad, and car OBD2 tests systems, and electronics simulators, CAE, Spice , etc)

Revision level 10: 2-10-2012  (HTML coded)   revised 9-18-2015     Document made with KompoZer