Switching out OS Hard drive

I have a system that has 2 HDDs. The C drive is a solid state drive and has only the operating system and my programs on it. The D drive is for all my data files.  The C drive has only 4GB of free space which currently works fine.  However, I would like to replace the SSD with a bigger one.

I am using Windows 7.

How can I do that with out a lot of hassle?

Thanks
pcwizz1Asked:
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NVITEnd-user supportCommented:
If you don't already have a replacement drive...

I replaced a C: with Samsung 840. It has a wizard that helps. Very easy.

Other brands may have a similar wizard.
Joe Winograd, Fellow&MVEDeveloperCommented:
> How can I do that with out a lot of hassle?

Simply clone the SSD to a bigger SSD. I use Casper for cloning:
http://www.fssdev.com/products/casper/

It works on W7, W8, and W8.1, all in both 32-bit and 64-bit editions. It can clone to the same size drive or to a larger one or even to a smaller one, as long as there is enough space on the smaller one to house the used (non-free) space from the larger one. I have used Casper to clone many, many HDDs, SSDs and SSHDs (hybrids) to SSDs. It has never failed and Windows always stays activated, which can be a problem sometimes (check out this EE thread from last year). Casper is not free, but it's reasonably priced and worth every penny.

Another well-regarded (also non-free) product is Acronis:
http://www.acronis.com/

I used it previously, but now prefer Casper.

If you're looking for something that is free, I've heard good things here at EE about these (some may be free only for non-commercial use — check the licensing terms for each):

Clonezilla
DriveImage XML
EaseUS Disk Copy Home
Paragon Backup&Recovery Free

Also, some SSD manufacturers bundle (free) cloning software with their drives.

But I haven't tried any of them as I do all of my cloning now with Casper. Here's a 5-minute EE video Micro Tutorial, Cloning a Hard Drive with Casper, showing how to do it. As a disclaimer, I want to emphasize that I have no affiliation with this company and no financial interest in it whatsoever. I am simply a happy user/customer.

As a side comment, if you get a Samsung SSD 840 EVO, I recommend reading this EE article:
How to fix read performance on Samsung SSD 840 EVO and 840 EVO mSATA

Regards, Joe

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Spike99On-Site IT TechnicianCommented:
Windows 7 has tools built in that will allow you to create a backup image including files, programs & settings.  This page has details on how to do that:
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/back-up-programs-system-settings-files#1TC=windows-7

This page has screenshots for the Recovery options to create the system image & recovery disk:
http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/4241/how-to-create-a-system-image-in-windows-7/

After you create the system image, select the option to create the recovery disk on a blank DVD or USB drive.  Then, install the new drive, boot to the recovery disk & then restore your image to the new HDD.

To be sure that your data on the 2nd HDD is safe, you might want to remove that from the PC & set it aside during this operation.
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pcwizz1Author Commented:
Thank you all for your wonderful responses. I am feeling better about this now.  A couple more questions...

Once I have cloned the new (and bigger) SSD. How do I make it the boot drive of choice? Do I just unplug the old one? if so, does the OS then seek out the new (and larger) hard drive?

Basically... how do I transition to the new drive?

Thanks...
Joe Winograd, Fellow&MVEDeveloperCommented:
> Do I just unplug the old one? if so, does the OS then seek out the new (and larger) hard drive?

Yes, after cloning and replacing the old SSD with the new SSD, Windows will boot from it (and with Casper, Windows has always stayed activated for me). Regards, Joe
noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
The easiest way for you would be this wizard based tool: https://www.paragon-software.com/technologies/components/migrate-OS-to-SSD/
Just connect the new drive to your system, install this tool - run it and move the OS to new drive. It will automatically resize the partition to bigger size.
Then turn off the PC. Swap the drives (replace small one with new one) and start PC.
nobusCommented:
i also use the paragon software - and make an image of the OLD drive, so i can put it on the new one
what i always do when working with disk drives - is DISCONNECT all drives that are not needed; in your case the data drive - to avoid disk selection problems
you do not need the os migration tool, since the OS is already on an SSD
pgm554Commented:
A free and easy way is just to get an eval (60 day) copy of Symantec System Restore 2013.
Use the diskcopy function in the tools and voila ,cloned drive.

Beware of the freebies ,especially Easus ,they load your system with crapware.
pcwizz1Author Commented:
Thank you all again for your advice. I am capable of doing this process but I get a bit nervous about messing with the HDD with the OS on it. You all have been stellar.

I have decided to purchase the Casper software and a Samsung 850 EVO 500GB 2.5-Inch SATA III Internal SSD (MZ-75E500B/AM) from Amazon @ $180. My current SSD is only 110GB.

Peace and Blessings to you all!
Joe Winograd, Fellow&MVEDeveloperCommented:
You're welcome. Happy to help. I think you've made excellent choices on hardware and software. Regards, Joe
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