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Can I do a fresh install of windows 7 to ssd, then restore system image

Posted on 2014-01-17
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Last Modified: 2014-01-25
Hi,

Can I do a fresh install of windows 7 to ssd (to assure alignment, etc), and then do restore from a system image that has all my apps?  

Thanks
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Question by:taborrg
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by:bigeven2002
ID: 39790265
Hello,

I don't see why not.  So I understand, you are wanting to do a clean install of Windows 7 to verify it works correctly?  How up-to-date is your image?  Is it atleast Service Pack 1?
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by:taborrg
ID: 39790270
Hi bigeven2002,

I'm just trying to avoid needing to activate windows for the new drive, since it's already activated on the existing HDD.  The image is an up to date instance of Windows 7.

Have you worked with SSDs?  

Thanks
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 39790279
Why are you concerned about activation?  There should be no activation problems if the hard drive is the only thing you're changing.  I've copied drives multiple times without issue, but even if it wanted you to activate, you're allowed to replace a hard drive so activation shouldn't be an issue.  Just do it.

Also, Windows 7 Backup is potentially a full image backup - you can simply boot to the Win7 DVD and restore (though I THINK the Win7 backup utility requires you to restore to a drive of equal or greater size.  You might have to use a third party if the SSD is smaller (which I suspect it is).
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by:bigeven2002
ID: 39790284
I have not worked with SSDs.  But windows activation is triggered on major hardware change and changing the drive is one of those major changes, however I am not 100% sure it will trigger reactivation after imaging.  I did some searching but am getting mixed results.

Is your image from an OEM computer, e.g. was Windows 7 pre-installed when you purchased it?  If so, I think activation will not be triggered.  If it is a retail copy of Windows 7, it may trigger activation.

I did find some information on this forum link that details what Windows looks for to determine if reactivation is needed.
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by:taborrg
ID: 39790285
Hi Lee W, MVP,

I know you can activate more than once, but there is a limit after which you need to talk to someone in India ( I have had this experience, quite boring ).

Copying multiple times is not the problem - I am talking about doing a copy - so, not the issue.

The issue is that when cloning (by whatever means) from an HDD to an SDD, there are possible problems with alignment issues.  A fresh install of windows 7 takes care of that.

I was just wondering if the alignment issues reappeared with the image copy - I suspect not - but I thought someone might know for sure.

Thanks
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by:taborrg
ID: 39790289
Hi bigeven2002,

I don't expect reactivation issues - and if so, the worst is I will have to call them up and discuss it.  The only issue I'm concerned about is if the image restore will foul up the alignment settings from the fresh windows 7 install.

Thanks
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by:bigeven2002
ID: 39790290
Ok sorry, I think I'm getting off track then, the real issue is that of alignment, not one about activation and such.  Depending on the age of your HDD, it was probably formatted as a 512 byte sector drive by manufacturer.  The latest HDDs and (I think) SSDs are formatted to the new native 4K sector format, but some emulate the old 512 byte standard.

If we can get some information from you on the make and model of your SSD, we can probably find that out.
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by:taborrg
ID: 39790297
Hi bigeven2002,

I'm getting a Crucial M500 SSD.
   

and putting in an Inspiron N5040
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by:taborrg
ID: 39790301
According to fsutil -  my current HDD has,

Bytes Per Sector  :               512
Bytes Per Physical Sector :       4096
Bytes Per Cluster :               4096
Bytes Per FileRecord Segment    : 1024

The HDD is 300 GB, the SSD is 240 GB.
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bigeven2002 earned 500 total points
ID: 39790302
Ok thanks for the information.  I found a good article on the HDD to SSD copy and alignment.  It indicates that since your image has Windows 7 SP1, it should work by default.  However, if there is a problem with performance, the article shows how to fix it with a third party utility by realignment.  The last page shows step by step for copying with correct alignment.

http://us.hardware.info/reviews/4583/how-to-copy-hdd-to-ssd-with-correct-4k-alignment

From what I can tell online, the M500 is 4K sector format, if I understand correctly, its firmware can emulate the old 512 format for backward compatibility.
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by:taborrg
ID: 39790303
Maybe the answer is to do a windows backup of the HDD - then a fresh windows install to the SSD, followed by a windows restore?
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by:bigeven2002
ID: 39790306
Before doing that, try the steps with the 3rd party tool as indicated on the last page of the article.  May take much less time:

http://us.hardware.info/reviews/4583/7/how-to-copy-hdd-to-ssd-with-correct-4k-alignment-step-by-step-copying-hdd-to-ssd-with-correct-alignment
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by:garycase
ID: 39790308
Changing the hard drive does NOT trigger a re-activation.

There is also NO reason to do an install before you restore an image -- that will have no bearing on the alignment of the SSD (restoring the image is going to completely overwrite the initial install).

Just use any good imaging utility that supports scaling and copy your current hard drive to the SSD.   It will work fine.    I generally use Image for DOS, but any good imaging utility will work.

By the way the M500's are excellent SSDs.   I've installed 3 of the 240GB versions in the past two weeks.    The only SSDs I use these days are Intel and Crucial.
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by:taborrg
ID: 39790309
Thanks, bigeven2002.
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by:bigeven2002
ID: 39790310
Actually, since this is a laptop, do you have a USB3 to SATA adapter cable?  If not, then maybe my last post is moot.
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by:taborrg
ID: 39809722
By way of follow up - I just did a simple clean install, and activation went through with no problems.

Thanks to all for your information and help.
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by:bigeven2002
ID: 39809727
Ok great, thanks for letting us know.
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