SSD transfer (again)

Sims 3 screenshotThis week’s task was move by existing my old SSD from my laptop to my gaming desktop, which I’ve had since September and am otherwise very happy with — certainly, the AMD FX-6300 Six Core CPU + Radeon R9 270X can handle most things thrown at them, with the unusual exception of The Sims 3 (no idea why the Sims is an exception; maybe something to do with the age of the game).

Installation

The prep was easy: clone my SSD back to the old HDD (which I’d kept in good condition) using EaseUs. The SSD itself is 2.5″ and I’d read online that I would need a 3.5″ bracket to fit it into my desktop — I bought a pack that included both the bracket and an SATA cable for £7 from my local Currys. After much faffing with the bracket I noticed that there were in fact four 2.5″ bays in the machine itself. Probably should have checked that.

Samsung Magician once again did a sterling job of cloning the HDD in the desktop to HDD (although I made some poor decisions about what to uninstall to make it happy it would fit on the SSD — and it seems to take a very demanding approach, requiring significant headroom before a transfer can take place). I could now boot from the SSD.

Fixing things

At this point, I had two identical partitions, one on the HDD (C: drive) and one on the SSD (D: drive). What I hadn’t realised was that merely booting from D: doesn’t change anything about where Windows looks for files, so it was loading a lot of things (key drivers, etc.) from the C: drive. This only showed up only because search didn’t work, and explorer.exe kept restarting every minute or so. The solution was to switch the C:\ and D:\ drives round, which turns out to be both possible (contrary to some suggestions on the internet) and easy. I changed both registries, but I guess you only need to change the SSD’s (so that both see their own drives as C:\ and the other drive as D:\).

One final problem eludes me, however: a warning on boot that Magician cannot communicate with the below Samsung SSD. This seems to be something to do with the fact that both HDDs use a preinstalled RAID controller (I can see this in Device Manager using the “Children” attribute) not the default controller. PC Specialist (from whom I bought the PC) doesn’t think they setup RAID, however, and it shows as AHCI not RAID in BIOS. Strange, but not fatal.

Update 5 July: The solution was to “Update” the driver used by the ACHI compatible RAID controller to use the standard Windows driver instead (hat-tip: Palorim12). This can be done in the Device Manager and requires a leap of faith: I’m not quite sure what happens if you corrupt the storage driver, but probably bad things.

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