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How to perform a fresh install of Windows 7 Pro on a SSD?

Hello experts,

I'm planning to replace the 1TB Seagate Internal HDD on a Dell XPS 8700 desktop with a Samsung 840 Pro 250GB SSD.

I intend to perform a clean install on the SSD using the Windows 7 Install/Recovery Disk provided by Dell.

Have made backups of my data from the HDD and I read that AHCI has to be enabled in the BIOS before Windows 7 is installed on the SSD. Are there any other things that I should be aware of before I embark on this journey?

Would appreciate any help. Many thanks for your time.
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focus15
Asked:
focus15
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5 Solutions
 
tailoreddigitalCommented:
Have you installed Windows before?   It's pretty much the same experience as previous Windows installations.

ACHI has enhancements over IDE mode.   You really should use ACHI from here on out, unless installing an older OS.

Other than enabling ACHI in the BIOS, the setup of Windows is very similar as in the past.     Starting with 7, i find most drivers are automatically installed along with the OS, that's a nice change.

Here's a great beginners guide (minus the ACHI adjustment),
http://www.wikihow.com/Install-Windows-7-for-Beginners
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garycaseCommented:
As noted, it's very straightforward.   The BIOS almost certainly already has AHCI enabled, so you simply need to install the SSD, and do the install.

To ensure that '7 is fully installed on the SSD, do NOT leave the old 1TB drive (or any other drives) connected while you install Windows 7.    Do the install;  THEN shut down and connect the 1TB drive as a secondary drive.

The installation will be very quick ... you'll easily be running '7 in less than an hour; and it won't take too long after that to do all the Windows Updates to get it fully up-to-date.
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käµfm³d 👽Commented:
The installation will be very quick ... you'll easily be running '7 in less than an hour; and it won't take too long after that to do all the Windows Updates to get it fully up-to-date.
I concur. It was ridiculous how fast I got my system loaded and up-to-date when I switched to SSD  = )
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Alan HendersonCommented:
One thing to note after the installation. With an SSD, it's no longer necessary (in fact it's inadvisable) to run defragging software. The extra disk writing shortens the life of your SSD for insignificant performance gain.
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Natty GregIn Theory (IT)Commented:
after you enable achi, there is nothing else to do than watch the installation complete
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focus15Author Commented:
Perfect, thanks so much everyone..

To summarize:

1. Replace 1 TB HDD with SSD
2. Enable AHCI before installation.
3. Install Win 7.
4. Make sure not to run defragging software on the SSD.

There should be no issues performing a clean install using the Dell Recovery disk as long as I have the serial number that comes with the machine, isn't it?

Thanks again for your time guys.
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tailoreddigitalCommented:
Bingo, that sounds good.  

If it's the Dell you're recovering to, it should be fine.
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focus15Author Commented:
Yeah, it's the same desktop.. Thanks for the reply, Tailor.

I've seen a Windows recovery partition (about 20GB) on the 1 TB HDD that came with the desktop. I wonder if the installation would take care of this automatically or if there's anything that I should do.

Thanks again..
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garycaseCommented:
I don't believe the recovery disks will create a recovery partition on the drive.    That's designed to allow you to recover WITHOUT the recovery media.

In general, it's far better to IMAGE your system after it's installed; all the Windows Updates are done;  you've installed any additional software you use (e.g. Microsoft Office);  and you've "tweaked" your desktop the way you want it.    Then if you ever need to "reinstall" in the future, you simply restore the image -- and everything's there ... FAR more up-to-date than a factory restore (which is what you're doing now).

If you did NOT have the restore disks, there's another way you could have done this ... but since you DO have those disks, just use them (it's simpler).

By the way, you don't have to remember not to defrag the SSD -- Windows 7 will automatically exclude SSDs from the defragmentation schedule.    If you right-click on a disk; select Properties;  click on Tools; click "Defragment Now";  click on Configure Schedule;  and then click on Select Disks, any SSDs you have installed will NOT be listed for you to select.    It IS possible to force defragmentation of the disk, but it simply won't happen as a normal part of running and using the OS, which will automatically do a weekly defragmentation of all of your rotating platter disks.
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nobusCommented:
just a note  - if you do a factory recovery on a disk of different size, it can be the recovery media refuses this.
in this case, you want to recover to the original disk, then image it to the SSD
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garycaseCommented:
It's VERY unlikely that the recovery media will "care" about the size of the disk.   The whole idea of providing bootable recovery media is to be able to recover to a new disk drive ... and I've never seen one that depended on the size of that disk (as long as it was "big enough" to hold the OS.
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noxchoCommented:

I've seen a Windows recovery partition (about 20GB) on the 1 TB HDD that came with the desktop. I wonder if the installation would take care of this automatically or if there's anything that I should do.

Thanks again..
As you are using branded PC (Dell) this recovery partition was created by Dell engineers and not by Windows itself.
This partition normally contains factory backup image so that you would have a chance to restore your system backup from this backup.
Normally it is bound to some key such as F11 or similar and pressing it starts recovery environment.
As you are going to perform fresh install of Windows 7 you will get two partitions on SSD drive:
100MB MSR partition which contains Windows boot files
The rest will contain your Windows structure.
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nobusCommented:
well Garycase - i have had such a case - that's why i mentioned it
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garycaseCommented:
Do you remember what manufacturer did that?    I've done recoveries on Dells, HPs, Sony's, Compaq's, etc. and have often changed either the size of the partitions (using the built-in Recovery partition to do the recovery), or installed a new disk when using the recovery disks, and have NEVER had any issue with the size of the partition.

Just curious who imposed this kind of a limit (and when).
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focus15Author Commented:
Thanks a lot for the great info, Gary, nobus and noxcho ..

@Gary: Could you please let me know what's the best way to take an image once I setup my environment with the programs and settings that I want?

Thanks again for your time, everyone!
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garycaseCommented:
I use Image for Windows (with Image for DOS to restore the images) ... it's a bit "geeky", but not hard, and very reliable.   The only negative thing is it doesn't work with Secure Boot systems (i.e. new factory-loaded Windows 8 systems -- works fine if YOU load Windows 8 and don't use Secure Boot).    It's free to try, and $38.94 to buy (you get both products).
http://www.terabyteunlimited.com/image-for-windows.htm

But any good imager will work fine, so if you're familiar with another product and want to use it, that's fine.
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focus15Author Commented:
Thanks Gary..

I didn't have much luck with Norton Ghost when I tried it.. :(

So, once I'm happy with my system, all I have to do is run "Image for Windows" and follow the prompts and have it copy an image to an external drive right?

and then "Image for DOS" to restore, like you said..

Good thing it's not too expensive.
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garycaseCommented:
Yes, Image works very nicely.    I used to only use Image for DOS, since it boots to its own environment and you're not doing a "live image"  (i.e. imaging a system while it's running).    I never used to trust those.    But Terabyte Systems got it right with Image for Windows ... it works perfectly (although I do NOT use the system while it's imaging it).    

The pair work very well together.    Image for Windows makes it very easy to create images whenever you want ... and if you ever need to restore an image, you just boot to Image for DOS to restore it.     Image for Windows can also restore images ... but not on the OS it's actually running on.

When you get them, just ask if you have any questions about how to use them -- I think it's pretty straightforward, but will be happy to provide a bit of "tutoring" if necessary.
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nobusCommented:
no -  i don't remember, (a bit too long ago)  but if i had to guess, it would have been  a dell or HP
i use the free Paragon software for imaging now, but they have  a whole set of tools
http://www.paragon-software.com/home/br-free/download.html
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focus15Author Commented:
Do the connections look ok to you guys:

SATA and Power
SATA
SSD Power
I'll wait to hear from you guys before I power the system.. Thanks so much again.
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garycaseCommented:
You don't need to ask the same question in every related thread :-)

... but yes, all's fine -- power it up and off you go with the install.   Should be running Windows in less than an hour.
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focus15Author Commented:
Was able to install Windows without any issues (like you guys said) and I'm grateful for the tips and comments..

Thanks so very much.

btw, like you guys mentioned AHCI was enabled by default in the BIOS.. I read somewhere that some people also try the RAID option.. Which one would you recommend?

BIOS - Raid or AHCI
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garycaseCommented:
NO !    You want AHCI.    RAID is if you were going to set up a RAID array (e.g. you had two matching SSDs and wanted to run them in a RAID-1 mirror).

Just leave it set to AHCI.
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focus15Author Commented:
Perfect.. thanks again, Gary
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focus15Author Commented:
Thanks so very much everyone for your time and insights.. Much appreciated :)
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